Photo by Pere Tubert Juhe

Your Rightful Place

· Teachings · ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

From The Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines
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The Buddha said, ‘It is as with a mother who has many children five, or ten, or twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand. If she fell ill, they would all exert themselves to prevent their mother from dying, to keep her alive as long as possible, and to keep pain and unpleasantness away from her body.

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Who’s Your Mama

· Editorial, Essays · ,

by Suzanne Taikyo Gilman, Mountain Record Editor

I arrived at the monastery for the first time curious about Zen but prepared to stay on the sidelines. Organized religions of any kind were to me male-defined, patriarchal institutions I was better off avoiding, and yet here I was. When I turned toward the monastic in the zendo for beginning instruction there was a woman—in black robes and distinctive bald head—and she spoke with a clear, soaring enthusiasm for the dharma. A sudden recognition, and a new picture came into view—this is my seat.

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Earth Initiative: Regional Action

· Earth Initiative · ,

The Bees and the Mountain Bears

For many years the Monastery garden has shared space with a trove of bee hives, growing to a whopping six active, thriving hives this summer. In addition to providing pollination for the gardens and beyond, the bees have shared the surplus of their delicious raw honey, which we have been selling at the Monastery Store.

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Earth Initiative: National Action

· Earth Initiative · ,

Dakota Access Pipeline Project

My great-grandmother became known as Pearl, as her Sioux birth name was forgotten. Her legend in my family suggests that her patient endurance—despite the traumas of her life during the Western expansion—was similar to the Earth’s great offering of itself. The Earth has offered a great quantity of petroleum, transformed from her earliest life forms, to allow for our great industrial age.

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Earth Initiative: Global Action

· Earth Initiative · ,

New Zealand and the ‘Climate Angels’

“It’s different when you arrest an angel.” That’s what I thought when in May 2016 I saw the Climate Angels being carried away by police at the blockade of the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, Australia. Protestors are often dismissed and ignored, and their messages even more so. Even this message, which should strike so desperately close to home: that Australians will lose much that they love (including the great barrier reef) to climate change unless the vast majority of coal reserves are kept in the ground.

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Photo by Joselito Tagarao

From The Perfection of Wisdom

· Teachings · ,

translated by Edward Conze

The Venerable Subhuti, by the Buddha’s might, said to the Lord: The Lord has said, ‘Make it clear now, Subhuti, to the Bodhisattvas, the great beings, starting from perfect wisdom, how the Bodhisattvas, the great beings go forth into perfect wisdom!’ 

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Photo by anandajoti

From Right View, Red Rust, White Bones

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Essays · ,

A Re-examination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority

by Allison Goodwin

In the Tripitaka and later sutras, the Buddha repeatedly establishes standards for evaluating spiritual teachings and practices—including his own—before one accepts them. He makes clear that his teachings are often misremembered, misrepresented, or misunderstood: This is one of his main reasons for outlining terms for investigating spiritual doctrine. He also warns that false and inaccurate teachings are among the conditions that will lead to the decline and disappearance of the Dharma.

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Photo by Daniel Mennerich

Facets of the Jewel

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Essays · ,

A Conversation with Women Teachers in the Mountains & Rivers Order

Jody Hojin Kimmel and Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, with Danica Shoan Ankele

Shoan: I wanted to speak to you as women teachers within what has historically been a very patriarchal tradition. As you know, some spiritual paths speak about spiritual development in terms of balancing “the masculine” and “the feminine” within us. I’d like to begin with a question I heard recently that has been nagging at me: “Where is the feminine in Zen?”

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Welcoming All of Our Ancestors

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Essays, Sangha News · ,

by Shannon Shinko Hayes, MRO

The Mountains and Rivers Order sangha has recently been formally introduced to our women ancestors. For several years our Sunday morning program has included a service at the Mahapajapati altar during which we chant a short list of names. We now begin a new tradition, chanting a long list of the names of women ancestors, at the Monastery and Temple every other Sunday, alternating with chanting the list of our lineage—all male ancestors—that has been part of the Sunday service for the past 35 years.

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Photo by Patrick Emerson

Receiving the Marrow by Bowing

· Teachings · ,

by Eihei Dogen

In the practice of unsurpassable, complete enlightenment, what is most difficult is to find a guiding teacher. The guiding teacher should be a strong person, regardless of being a male or female. The teacher should be a person of thusness, with excellent knowledge and wild fox [transformative] spirit, whether living in the past or present. This is the face [essence] of attaining the marrow, the guiding virtue. This is “not ignoring cause and effect,” and “You and I are just this.”

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