A New Incarnation

· Editorial, Open Access · ,

Editorial by Danica Shoan Ankele

Dear Reader,

Here at the Monastery, we’ve been having deep discussions about the Mountain Record over the past several years. After long conversations and careful reflection among the Mountain Record staff, the Monastery’s abbot, monastics and Board of Directors, we’ve decided it’s time to make a significant change. We’re excited about the vision we have in mind, but we also feel the poignancy of shifting the Mountain Record’s familiar and well-loved format.

There’s no doubt that people read differently today than they did when we first got started nearly 35 years ago. With the creation of the internet, more and more of us read on-line, and as dharma practitioners, an astonishing range of spiritual teachings are now just a Google-search away. Yet we’re committed to continue the mission of the Mountain Record: to provide inspiration and support for your spiritual journey. As we stand poised on the precipice of a new incarnation, we’ve given a great deal of thought to the question of what that will look like.

We want to continue to bring you the content that is uniquely ours to offer, the things you can’t find anywhere else. In a recent reader’s survey, you were nearly unanimous in declaring the dharma talks to be a favorite part of each issue, and also voiced strong support for the “Sangha News & Updates” section, responses that echo our editorial intuition about how to best move ahead. We envision the new Mountain Record as having two distinct strands: one, an annual printed compendium of dharma teachings from the Mountains and Rivers Order, a beautiful, image-filled publication featuring talks and teachings relevant to contemporary practice. The other strand will be an expanded and improved sangha news section, available to anyone and located on the Monastery website. You might think of this as an ongoing record of the “sayings and doings” of the Order, including photo-filled updates on activities within the sangha, teachings, retreats, special projects happening at the Monastery and Temple, media reviews, in-depth interviews, personal essays, podcasts and video shorts. All of this will be available to anyone on the Monastery website.

With mixed feelings but a prevailing sense of optimism, we’ll be letting go of the subscription-based, quarterly journal in both its print and digital formats. The next issue of the Mountain Record, a tribute and celebration of our decades of publication, will be the last to arrive in your mailbox. We’ll refund you for any remaining issues on your subscription and will be contacting you about this soon. From there, we’ll turn our time and energy to compiling, editing and designing the first edition of the annual Mountain Record, which will be for sale in early November 2019. At the start of next year we’ll unveil our revamped online presence with a variety of original features to keep you engaged and connected to your home practice and the wider MRO sangha. 

As we’ve been talking about this, time and again Daido Roshi has come to our minds. Involved in every step of its creation and evolution until his passing in 2009, the Mountain Record was something he loved so much. When I try to imagine what he would say about all this (he was always ahead of the curve in adapting to new technology), I see his piercing gaze and hear his no-nonsense tone: “Okay, but you better make it good.” As this next iteration of Mountain Record comes into being, we will make it good. We will make it powerful and nourishing and beautiful and like nothing else out there. You can count on us for that.

Thank you for your support all these years—from those of you who have been receiving the Mountain Record since it was first printed on the Monastery copy machine, to those of you who are recent subscribers. I hope you will savor this issue, our second-to-last, which is fittingly on the theme of “Resilience.” Change is a given in this life. When it comes, let’s do our very best to take care of it, and offer our response for the benefit of all beings.

Yours in the dharma,

Danica Shoan Ankele

Mountain Record, Managing Editor

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