Spring 2016 Updates

Teaching in the Ten Directions

In April, Shugen Sensei participated in the Woodstock-area Earth Day celebrations at St. Gregory’s Church with the Interfaith Council, and led the Ango Intensive at the Monastery (see related article). During the month he traveled to Yale University to meet with the Zen Buddhist student practice group run by two sangha members who are enrolled there. He visited the Ulster Correctional Facility with several senior students to lead a presentation on Buddhism for chaplains and administrators. Hojin OshoIn May Sensei participated in a panel discussion with Religions for Peace at the United Nations in New York City. Later in the month he traveled to Buffalo to lead a public program over two evenings, “Meditation as the Whole of Life,” which included zazen instruction, a presentation and discussion. He also offered a one-day zazenkai with the Monastery’s affiliate, the Buffalo Zen Dharma Community. This spring, Sensei also began a series of on-line sessions with students of the Order who live far from the Monastery to offer support for their practice at home.

Throughout the spring Hojin Osho has been frequently in residence at the Temple in Brooklyn, leading zazenkai and other retreats. Hogen is now coordinating residency training at the Temple and teaching in residence several times each month. Zuisei has also offered several workshops.

Jukai at the Monastery

On Sunday April 17th four students received the Bodhisattva precepts in a ceremony officiated by Shugen Sensei, surrounded by students, friends and family members. Pictured from left to right, Christian Kyoji (“compassionate mirror”) Panas, Anna Myojo (“bright morning star”) Shifton, Charla Koren (“peacefulness practice”) Malamed, and James Busan (“dancing mountain”) Mannion.

Farewell to Tendo

Long-time monastic resident Will Tendo Leckie will begin his return to lay life at the end of May. We wish him good luck with warm appreciation for the many ways he contributed to the caretaking of the sangha and the Monastery. His life here enriched our practice together and we will miss him greatly.

Merging of The Boards - Dharma Communications and ZMM

In a long-considered effort to integrate operations, Dharma Communications and Zen Mountain Monastery officially merged the two separate Boards of Directors into one corporate entity. The overlap of operations, budgets, staffing and infrastructure made a merger the best decision, agreed members of the boards. The unanimous decision was made official at a joint Board meeting in May.

Practicing Membership in the MRO

Now those who would like to make a commitment to the MRO sangha without entering into formal training as a student can become “Practicing Members.” For an annual donation of $120 (or $10 a month) Practicing Members receive a complimentary subscription to the Mountain Record and a 10% discount on Monastery retreats while helping to support the Monastery, the abbot and the monastics. This is distinct from “Training Students” who make a commitment to participate in two sesshins and one ango each year. The Practicing Member option is available to anyone who practices at the Monastery or the Temple, and may also be of interest to Training Students who no longer wish to fulfill their student commitments but would like to way to express their connection the Order. It is not intended for those training as students who can no longer participate in the more rigorous zazen intensives due to ill health or aging bodies, or for those who are unable to come to the Monastery for a specific period of time, but who wish to maintain their student commitments and resume them in the near future. In these cases, just be in touch with the Training Office and ask for what you need. It is absolutely possible to shift your training at the Monastery into gentler and more flexible forms and we also appreciate that everyone’s training has natural periods of ebb and flow. If you have questions about Practicing Member, Training Student, or other related matters, please call or email the Training Office. Those who would like to become a Practicing Members can simply give us a call at 845 688-2228.

Buddha's Birthday Celebration

In May the Monastery held a special Sunday service to honor the birth of the historical Shakyamuni Buddha with the sangha, especially children, invited to make offerings in the zendo. Later the Zen Kids, Tweens and Teens presented a fine performance of The Kind Prince, a shadow play created especially for the occasion with the help parents and Monastery residents over the past few months. See pictures and video.

Orchard Plantings and New Greenhouse

With winter plantings nourishing and aerating the orchard field in Han Shan meadow, an expanded array of new fruit tree plantings were placed in their new home this spring. Six plum trees, one apple, three pear trees and four cherry bushes have been planted in a deer-proof enclosure. The development of a fruit orchard is one element of the self-sufficiency land use being developed at the Monastery, which includes a vegetable and flower garden, a new year-round greenhouse, expanded honeybee hives, as well as plantings for natural dyes and herbs.

Hemera Foundation Support for Monastery Retreats

In 2014 the Monastery began a unique partnership with the Hemera Foundation. By awarding Contemplative Fellowships for artists and educators, Hemera Foundation has made it possible for dozens of people to come through the Monastery gates and participate in retreats and residencies at the Monastery. In 2016 a new fellowship for health care professionals was added. Since the program began, many have received supplemental support to attend retreats and residencies

New MRO Students

In March, Paul Burns and Craig Webster, and in May, Elise Lark and Tess Edmonds, all passed through the five barrier gates to become formal MRO students.


The Monastery would like to thank John Caruso, MRO and Rick Shinsui Bowles, MRO for the delicious baked goods, to Judith Schutzman, MRO for the food processor, Achong Chen, MRO and Steve Miron, MRO for various kitchen donations, and to the anoymous donor who gifted the new pressure cooker. Many thanks to those who continue to donate used Mountain Records and other books to the NBPS.

Dharma Communications appreciates graphics training provided by Michael Link, and the transcribing work of Carolyn Kamei McCarthy, MRO. Gratitude to Joe Kenshu Mieloch for the new audio equipment for the Temple and for his help adjusting the Sangha House audio system. Thanks to Craig Webster, MRO, for the donation of the label making device and our continued appreciation to all those bodhisattvas who donate their time to helping with the caretaking, cooking and office work at the Temple.

Comings & Goings at the Monastery

In residence for the three-month spring ango at the Monastery are Ben Bertino of Roselle, NJ, and Shannon Shinko Hayes, MRO, from Brooklyn, NY. From March through May month-long residents included Keith Kusei Barkett of Canaan, NH, Jay Ekis, of Montpellier, VT, Katrina Goli of Montgomery Village, MD and Carol Mousseau of Victoria, BC, all for one month. In March Genjo Gebauer, MRO of Chesterfield, NH was in residency for one week, in April Nicholas Perry and Valentina Homem for two weeks and Jinshin Dragotta, MRO of Doylestown, PA for three weeks of residency. In May for a week of residency were Ann Danoff of Philadelphia, PA, Sabrina Worth of Forest Hills, NY and Samson Zhilyaev of Blacksburgh, VA, and for the month of May, Carol Mousseau of Victoria, BC and Taylor Landesman of Brooklyn, NY. Also in May we said goodby to Bruce Hoshu Norris, MRO completing two years of residency, and James Busan Mannion, MRO completing three years.

Comings & Goings at the Temple

In March, Daniel Latorre, MRO completed two months of residency, Jessica Ludwig, MRO completed three, Todd Fubai Cowery, MRO, completed nine months of residential training, Gregory Rosen completed three weeks and Ian Falcon began a year-long residency. In April, William Lee, MRO began a three month residency and in May, Shon Arieh-Lerer, Jill Mijanovic and Nicholas Gentile joined us for the monthof residential training.