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Brave Together and Awakening Justice

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Brave Together and Awakening Justice
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This week, the Monastery and MRO sangha celebrated the life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with two different events. We’ll be making Sunday’s Awakening Justice program available online next week. For now, you can view Shugen Roshi’s pre-recorded address for the occasion and listen to this podcast recording from earlier in the week.

On Thursday evening, we tuned in to Brave Together. This conversation panel was moderated by MRO sangha member Tanya Bonner and featured author Pamela Ayo Yetunde, co-editor of Black and Buddhist, and MRO sangha members Degna Chikei Levister and Yama Faye.

The four panelists took up questions related to how they encountered Buddhism and connected with the Dharma, and their experiences as Black practitioners entering different sangha communities. This lively discussion is followed by a brief Q&A.

Mind is Buddha

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Mind is Buddha
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 1/10/2021

Mumonkan (Gateless Gate) – Case 30: Mind is Buddha

On the Road to Find Out

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
On the Road to Find Out
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/03/2021

Mumonkan (Gateless Gate) – Case 31: Joshu Saw Through the Old Woman

In this first teisho of the new year, Shugen Roshi reflects on his own path to the Dharma and some of the hidden teachings along the way.

Fusatsu: The 2021 New Year

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Fusatsu: The 2021 New Year
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/31/2020

Zen Mountain Monastery guides us into the New Year 2021 with a Fusatsu, or renewal of vows ceremony, on New Year’s Eve. During which Shugen Roshi offers an empowering talk on the virtues of intention and vows. Pointing to the reality of intention: “the Buddha was enlightened to the profound, radical truth, that intention is karma, intention is action that has consequence”. Roshi illuminates the great power of mind, which can be used haphazardly to solidify our position in samsara and cause unimaginable suffering in the world. Yet that same mind has the capacity to be free of all attachments through intention.

Breathing Into Humility

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Breathing Into Humility
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/30/2020

Book of Serenity, Case 3: “The Invitation of the Ancestor to Eastern India”

“A raja invited the twenty-seventh Buddhist ancestor Prajnatara to a feast. The raja asked Prajnatara, “Why don’t you read scriptures?” The ancestor said, “This poor wayfarer doesn’t dwell in the realms of the body or mind when breathing in, doesn’t get involved in myriad circumstances when breathing out—I always reiterate such a scripture, hundreds, thousands, millions of scrolls.”

At the end of a difficult year, Shugen Roshi offers a thoughtful and compassionate teaching on wholehearted-continuous practice. Beginning with a story of the very first ZMM New Year’s Eve in 1980, Roshi goes on to examine what it means to not “dwell in the realms of the body or mind when breathing in.” Pointing out that we, as practitioners, can become attached to forms, even though our inherent nature is without restriction. Holding tightly to our conceptions, we might mistake the forms of practice for practice. Going deeper into the heart of being, we’re able to use the forms as structure and skillful means.

Encountering Buddha

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Encountering Buddha
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Danica Shoan Ankele, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/29/2020

What is the method that allows us to be “brutally” honest with ourselves in zazen practice? How honest are we willing to be? Are we willing to encounter the confusion of not getting what we seek on our own terms? Asking the question: What is it that separates our deluded life from our Buddha life? Shoan quotes Huang Po, who tells us that “All Buddhas and ordinary beings are one Mind… There is no distinction between the Buddha and ordinary beings, except that ordinary beings are attached to forms and thus seek Buddhahood outside themselves.” Various traditions tell us to “practice mind essence” and “rest in unfabricated and innate naturalness.” How do we “rest” in the display right before us, while avoiding getting lost in the “quicksand of the conceptual mind” where we attempt to replicate the Buddha’s experience through our intellect, ideas and perceptions?

Blue Mountain Walks

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Blue Mountain Walks
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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei

Broadcasted from Hogen Sensei’s home in Pennsylvania, 12/28/2020

Invoking the beloved Mountains and River Sutra Hogen Sensei quotes “These mountains and rivers of the present are the actualization of the word of the ancient Buddhas. Each, abiding in its own dharma state, completely fulfills its virtues. Because they are the self before the germination of any subtle sign, they are liberated in their actualization.” (Link) With this profound pointing, Hogen invites us to see through our fabricated ideas, beyond self and other.

Alone in the Forest

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Alone in the Forest
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Prabu Gikon Vasan, Senior Lay Practitioner

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/27/2020

Perhaps all of us can relate to the experience of being alone, when we hear a branch snapping, or leaves rustling, and we find ourselves full of fear and dread. Although sometimes it is appropriate to be alert and ready, how often are we just building up nightmares in our mind? Do we have the same reaction to work or individuals we don’t like? The Buddha spoke of this experience 2500 years ago “I considered thus: if I dwell in such frightening places as woods and forest I might encounter fear and dread. And later I dwelt in such frightening places as woods and forests and while I dwelt there a wild animal would approach, or a peacock would break a twig, or the wind would rustle the leaves and I’d think is fear and dread coming? Then it occurred to me, why do I just keep waiting for fear and dread to come, what if I, in whatever state i’m in, when fear and dread come, where to subdue that fear and dread…” Using this teaching and his personal experience, Senior lay student Gikon, shows us how to step into our experience of fear as practice and realization.

The Distance of Heaven and Earth

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Distance of Heaven and Earth
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/20/2020

 

Shakyamuni Buddha

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Shakyamuni Buddha
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/13/2020

The Transmission of the Light, Case #1