Winter 2018 Updates

Teaching in the Ten Directions

In December Hojin Sensei attended the Annual Interfaith Breakfast of the Brooklyn Borough President and offered a poem there. Shugen Roshi attends the Woodstock Interfaith Council’s monthly meetings upstate.

In Buffalo, NY in mid-Janurary, Zuisei led a weekend sesshin for the MRO affiliate group, Buffalo Zen, and gave a Sunday talk.

Traveling halfway around the earth to visit our sangha in New Zealand for four weeks in January and February, Hogen Sensei offered teachings in Christchurch at the Opawa Zendo, then led a weekend residential retreat and a week-long sesshin in the mountains outside of Christchurch. Hogen Sensei also offered teachings in Wellington and Auckland hosted by local sangha members living there.

On on February 3, 2018 coordinators of Buddhist Action: Morals, Vision, Justice took up the question: How does a group whose members come from various Buddhist traditions organize to respond to the pressing moral issues of our day? Over 225 Buddhist practitioners—including Shugen Roshi and twenty MRO students—gathered at Union Theological Seminary in New York City for a day to explore ways to take a more public stance on the pressing issues of our day, and transform right action based on the precepts into social action. For more on this new coalition see

Ordination For Shea Zuiko Ikusei Settimi

On Sunday, December 10, 2017 Shugen Roshi officiated Tokudo, the full Monastic Ordination, for Shea Zuiko Ikusei Settimi. During the morning ceremony at the Monastery she received the kesa, zagu, monastic bowl and lineage chart as well as the monastic name Zuiko, which means “auspicious peace.” The culmination of many years of residential and lay training in the Mountains and Rivers Order, Zuiko began practicing with the Order in 2004 while living in New York City, and she soon joined the Monastery’s residential community and several years later, after a period of discernment and practice, became a postulant monastic in 2014. Zuiko currently oversees the Monastery Store and is involved in a range of initiatives at both the Monastery and Fire Lotus Temple.

Sangha Wedding

Shugen Roshi officiated at the wedding of long-time sangha member and former Temple resident Mari Kyusho Briggs to Masaki Suzuki in June 2017. The wedding was attended by sangha, family and friends. Kyusho is a teacher in New York City and has served as the Temple’s baker, providing the sangha with sumptuous oryoki sweetbread and Sunday cookies for over twelve years.

Buildings and Grounds

\Renovations continue through the winter months on cabins and other buildings around the Monastery grounds. Meanwhile, the garden’s greenhouse kept on the heat (with solar-generated electricity) during its first over-winter, providing abundant salad greens, herbs, and the first flowers, and offering caretaking crews a sweet green oasis in the middle of a winter landscape.

New Postulant Monastics

On the morning of December 15, 2017 two residential training students received the black robes of postulant monastics in a brief ceremony officiated by Shugen Roshi: Jeffrey Kien Martin, Monastery Bookkeeper, and Hokyu JL Aronson, Program Coordinator. Postulancy is the first stage of monastic discernment for those who wish to explore this path, living a life of service to the three treasures of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, in the Mountains and Rivers Order.

New MRO Students

Sitting Tangaryo in January to become students of Hojin Sensei were Doug Hull and Gale Delaney, and becoming students of Shugen Roshi were Bill Amadeo, Christine Fowle, and Elizabeth Bolton. All participants passed through the five barrier gates to become formal Mountains & Rivers Order students.


The Monastery would like to thank all of the bodhisattvas who continue offering their assistance at the Temple, the Monastery, and at our affiliate groups across the planet. Gratitude to David Cook for donations of excellent coffee for the Temple sangha. More garden support was provided by donations from Bill Amadeo, and thank you to Chase Takusei Twichell for help in the stitchery and in planning the Buddhist Poetry Festival. Transcription assistance is highly appreciated from Sara Itoku Ahbel-Rappe and Laura Close. To all of those who submitted photos for the issue we are indebted, please keep shooting and keep sending your work! Our next issue of Mountain Record is on “Words and Phrases.”

Comings & Goings at the Monastery

Joining residential training in December was Michelle Sellars, Brooklyn, NY, for one month. In January month-long residents included Judy McCarthy, Linden NJ, Mae Quinn, St. Louis MO, Liam Delaney, Bedford Hills, NY, Gregorgy Witkowski, Kingston NY, Steven Siegelski, Hurley NY, Sean Stephen Byrne, Randolph NJ, Chris Krivanek, Port Jervis NY, for two weeks J Smith, Powell TN, and for three months, returning resident Jess Plumb of the UK. Monastery residents in February included Tyler Tenniswood, East Lansing MI, Riley Packer, Alpine UT, Colin Fenderick, Tampa FL, Weyman Fussell, Washburn TN, Nick Neihart, Salt Lake City, UT, and beginning a year-long residency, Alli Renji Liss, Albany NY. In January we also said goodbye to John Caruso, and in February bid farewell to Christine Fowle and Ian Falcon, all who were completing extended periods of residency.

Comings & Goings at the Temple

Month-long resident at the Temple in December was Layla Smith, and in January, Bigwan Liu began a six-month residency, Alexander Bayevsky and Stu Kennedy were each in residence for a week. In February, Courtney Coulson joined for a month of residential training.