Ending Well, Beginning Well

· Sangha News · , , ,

Shugen Roshi wrote the following preface for issue 37.1, the final quarterly print issue of Mountain Record. This long-considered change reflects how communications have evolved since we began publishing the journal in the 1980s. Starting this spring, follow our on-line updates and offerings, here and through our newsletters, and look for our annual print journal, available December 2019. —The Editors

This marks the last issue of our paper and ink Mountain Record: The Zen Practitioner’s Journal, which was first published in the earliest years of Zen Mountain Monastery. Whenever I think of the Mountain Record, I think of Daido Roshi and those who made the journal possible over the years, like Bonnie Myotai Treace, Sensei and Carole Kyodo Walsh. Their dedication to the dharma and to creative expression was the driving force that gave birth to the journal and nurtured its development. This was especially important in the early years when there was little staff and financial resources to bring each issue to fruition. Readers like you have been both the inspiration and the beneficiaries of these many years of publication, and have witnessed the Mountain Record as it has grown and matured into its present form.

I bow in deep respect to my teacher, Daido Roshi, and to you and all those dedicated to hearing, practicing and realizing buddhadharma. May we continue to bring forth the great light of wisdom through the sacred teachings old and new, through our lives, and through our next expression of the Mountain Record. We look forward to bringing you an annual published volume of dharma teachings and creative works, and to an ongoing offering of the sayings and doings of Zen Mountain Monastery and the Mountains and Rivers Order online. 

Thank you for your interest, support, and participation in our continuing evolution.

In gassho,
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold
Abbot, Zen Mountain Monastery

Editorial by Suzanne Taikyo Gilman
Mountain Record editor

Finding unique, inspiring writing from our  thirty-five years of publication was not a challenge, but deciding what to include was. This scavenger hunt brought out voices and perspectives which have stood the test of time. Each piece was written by a Mountains and Rivers Order student or teacher, some with added notes from the authors. All speak in some way about the path of practice—meeting each other in our awakening bodhicitta while striving to live well and bring good into the world. 

Daido Roshi’s teachings to the sangha on spiritual calling took place while he was facing his own illness and mortality directly, and offers a generous perspective on what is essential to living life in the dharma to its fullest. This is followed by Genjin Savage on wilderness camping—one of Daido’s favorite offerings to the sangha—as an opportunity to explore our deep affinity with the natural world. Jisho Ford’s piece on facing cancer follows her odyssey of self-healing as a student of the Way. Hojin Sensei, Kigen Delaney and Seisui Rosen all offer reflections on zazen; the dramatic changes of childbirth as described by Annie Redman segues into the bumpy journey through adolescence described by Yuho Rider.

More sangha members write on practicing the precepts in their chosen spheres—as lawyer, documentary filmmaker, and parent—all aspects of living with a moral and ethical commitment to address conflicts and suffering with an open and compassionate heart. Hojin Sensei, Zuisei Sensei and monastic Shoan Ankele share a conversation about Zen training, patriarchy and the need to create a vibrant, skillful practice environment that nourishes and awakens all beings. And Myotai Sensei’s discourse, originally given soon after 9/11, speaks from the heart of her work at Ground Zero. Her teachings on grief and illumination are just as relevant and resonant as we live with the uncertainty, turmoil, and loss of today.

Fittingly, this collection of mountain light begins and ends with new material from this time and place in our sangha. A discourse from Shugen Roshi explores the Zen teachings of Dongshan’s Five Ranks, encouraging and challenging us to meet each other with the open the heart of compassion. And concluding this issue are reflections and images from sangha members who went on a pilgrimage to India this past fall and encountered a full range of challenges, frustration, inspiration and appreciation traveling in the footsteps of the Buddha.

Together, we honor the contributions of writers and readers over the many years of our publication, as well as the spiritual practice that has brought this journal to life. In these pages and in the future print and digital offerings from the Mountains and Rivers Order, we will continue to explore and celebrate this ancient wisdom tradition as it manifests here and now. May we all enter the path of awakening and realize the Buddha Way together. 

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