Zen Training

Photo by David McNamera, MRO

This is the Way I Express My Gratitude

· Dharma Discourses, Zen Training · , , , ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

In the Mountains and Rivers Order we have two paths by which a student can practice and realize Buddhadharma—a lay training path and a monastic path. These make up the fourfold sangha as established by the Buddha: female and male monastics, and female and male lay students. The lay and monastic students together create an interdependent and co-dependent body that is sangha. Each path has its own integrity and is mutually dependent upon the other, and the differences between the two paths helps to give each its vitality.

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New Zealand Sesshin, July 2017

· Reflections, Retreats, Sangha News, Zen Training ·

NOTE: This July, Shugen Arnold Sensei made his annual trip to New Zealand to lead retreats and public programs with our substantial sangha there. He first visited NZ almost 30 years ago with Daido Loori Roshi and he and other teachers in the Order have been visiting ever since. In this blog post, sangha member Navina Clemerson shares her reflections on the sesshin that took place . To read an account of the public talk given by Shugen Sensei in Nelson, click here to read another post by Myokei Adams and Gensei Moore. 

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Rakusan Moshin’s Ordination Day

· Sangha News, Zen Training · ,

The monastic calling can sweep up the young in their daisy-eyed enthusiasm. It can take root in older practitioners, too: a penchant for absolute commitment previously unknown to the individual. It can also burn steadily, if flickering, throughout decades of practice, finally being realized when circumstances come together or after a very long period of discernment.

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Dharma Transmission for Hojin Sensei

· Sangha News, Zen Training · ,

On Sunday, June 18, 2017, Shugen Sensei completed a process of dharma transmission to Jody Hojin Kimmel as a large gathering of sangha shared the moment. Denbo, the actual transmission empowerment, took place—in accord with tradition—at midnight the evening before without witnesses. Dharma transmission is an intimate expression of the student meeting the teacher’s understanding and conveyance of the Dharma. Hence it is referred to in Zen as a direct mind-to-mind transmission, beginning with the Buddha and his student Mahakashyapa and onward through the ages. 

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Falling into Summer

· Sangha News, Zen Training · , , , , ,

Shuso Hossen with Valerie Meiju Linet

With the onset of summer, our Spring Ango training period came to a close with multiple displays of dedication and playful inquiry. First, on May 17 and 18, art presentations were held at the Zen Center and at the Monastery, giving ango participants the chance to share their work. Over the course of the ango, we took up the Karaniya Metta Sutta as an entry point for creative explorations. The results came in photos, poems, sculptures, video, watercolors, collage and in just about every size and shape you could imagine. (Medium, short, small, or otherwise!)

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Photo By Onj

Finding Our Way

· Dharma Discourses, Teachings, Zen Training · , , , ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Listen to this Talk

The Zen tradition places a special emphasis on beginner’s mind because the mind of a beginner has qualities that are so important for dharma study. The beginner’s mind can be quite open and have a certain kind of innocence within the dharma. There can be a sense of eagerness to set out on a journey into unknown territory. And there’s no history with regards to practice and training, which means there’s not much accumulation, not much prejudice to cloud our view.

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Photo By Keith Chastain

Arousing the Aspiration for Enlightenment

· Teachings, Zen Training · , , , ,

By Dogen Zenji

Kashvapa Bodhisattva extolled Shakyamuni Buddha with a verse:

Although beginner’s mind and ultimate mind are indistinguishable, the beginner’s mind is more difficult. I bow to the beginner’s mind that lets others awaken first. Already a teacher of humans and devas, the beginner’s mind excels the mind of a shravaka or of a pratyeka-buddha. Such aspiration is outstanding in the three realms, so it is called unsurpassable.

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Spring 2017 Jukai

· Sangha News, Zen Training

On Sunday, April 23, Shugen Sensei officiated over a jukai ceremony for six students who have been practicing and studying the Bodhisattva precepts for several years.

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2017 Spring Ango Gets Underway

· Sangha News, Zen Training

On Sunday March 5, the Monastery marked the beginning of the Spring training period with an Ango Opening Ceremony. This brief yet meaningful service brings the sangha together and reminds us of both our personal commitment and the shared experience of intensifying our practice.

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Spring Ango 2017

· Sangha News, Zen Training ·

Shuso Letter

Dear Sangha Family,

I am sincerely honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve as Chief Disciple for the Spring Ango. When Shugen Sensei requested that I step into this service position, I felt both the gulp! of nervousness, anticipating the exposure and responsibility of this role, as well as a surprising readiness to step forward into the unknown, offer myself to the sangha, and learn as much as I can from this experience.

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