Zen training in the Mountains and Rivers Order includes taking up creative expression—both the traditional Zen arts as well as contemporary arts—to deeply study the self through using our inherent human creativity.
Hojin Sensei spoke in March after her recent art practice retreat, “Face to Face,” offering these words: This exquisite magical display we call our body, our self. What is it? Of course ‘face’ does not always mean the physical part of the body. In another way it’s the surface of the mind’s mirror which is also being attended to—seeing our bodies, the directness with our embodiment, as a sacred awakened activity.
by Diego Antoni
Seiryu knows his way from Mexico City to Mount Tremper inside out. He doesn’t even need to spend the night in New York City anymore, as when he was less familiar with the subway and the bus to Mount Tremper. He has now been coming to ZMM from his home in Mexico City several times a year since his first trip in 2007.Read more
The Beyond Fear of Differences (BFoD) Planning Group held a public forum at the Monastery on Sunday, March 3, 2019—a moment 10 years in the making. It was a chance to welcome the whole Sangha into the development of the BFoD mission and vision process, to share the details about the process that the committee had been involved in, and to let people know how they can get involved. A similar forum was held one week later at the Zen Center of NYC.Read more
On Saturday, January 5th, ZCNYC held its first retreat just for people of color: Healing the Wounds of Racism with Valerie Brown and Marisela Gomez. This program was the result of changes in the Programming Committee that brought people of color from the Beyond Fear of Differences Planning Group into the decision-making process around programming. With their help promoting this program—even with a cold rainy day—turnout was excellent, indicating a clear need for these programs going forward.Read more
The True Dharma Eye, Case 101
Nanyue’s “Its Not Like Something”
Zen master of Nanyue went to study with the Sixth Ancestor, Huineng. The Sixth Ancestor said: “Where are you from?” Nanyue said, “I came from National Teacher Huian.”
The Sixth Ancestor said, “What is it that has come like this?” Nanyue could not answer.
He attended on the master for eight years and worked on this question. One day he said to the Huineng, “Now I understand it. When I first came to study with you, you asked me, ‘What is it that has come like this?’ The Sixth Ancestor said, “How do you understand it?” Nanyue said, “To say it’s like something misses it.” Huineng said, “Does it depend upon practice and enlightenment?”
Nanyue said, “It’s not that there is no practice and enlightenment. It’s just that we should not be defiled by them.”
The Sixth Ancestor said, “Just this non-defilement is what buddhas have maintained and transmitted. You are like this. I am like this. All the ancestors in India were like this.”
Blue sky, bright sun
there is no distinguishing east from west.
Yet acting in accord with the imperative
still requires dispensing medicine when the sickness appears.
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 EditorsRead more
Mondo by John Daido Loori, Roshi
originally printed in Mountain Record in the issue Spiritual Calling (2008)
In the Zen Buddhist tradition there are several ways of engaging with a teacher and one of them is mondo, an informal question and answer session on some aspect of the Dharma. This mondo was held with John Daido Loori, Roshi, the founder of the Mountains and Rivers Order, at Zen Mountain Monastery in 2008.Read more
by Robert Genjin Savage
originally published in the Mountain Record journal on Compassion (1991)
Before I discovered Zen, week-long solo backpacking trips were my sesshins. The absence of human references in the blank stare of nature can either quiet the mind or drive it crazy. I’ve experienced both.Read more
by Maureen Jisho Ford
originally publishing in Mountain Record journal: Wellness (1990)
It was in the fall of 1985 that I first came to Zen Mountain Monastery. What had brought me here was the same search that, 25 years earlier, had taken me to the Novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy. The decision to be a nun had been made in early childhood, and, in retrospect, I realize that it arose from a desire to experience God. As a child I had been fascinated by the stories of the saints and mystics, and although many of the stories had an almost fairy tale quality, I nevertheless sensed that, at their core, they contained an account of something I wanted for myself, namely, union with God, the mystical experience. What better place to find God, I reasoned, than in a convent.Read more