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Dharma Talks, Events, Interviews & Other Media

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Beholding, Not Beholden

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Beholding, Not Beholden
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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic and Dharma Holder

Zen Mountain Monastery, Sunday 11/28/2021

From Bodhidharma’s “Breakthrough Sermon”

Drawing inspiration from Bodhidharma’s “Breakthrough Sermon”, Gokan encourages us to behold our mind; this is the essential practice of Zen. When we are not attentive, the thoughts we allow to develop in our mind separate us from this world. However, we can choose to not be swallowed by our thoughts; by giving our awareness to this moment.

 

A Terrible Gift

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
A Terrible Gift
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Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student

Zen Center of New York City, 11/28/2021

Yunen explores the universal experience of grief, examining how it can come into our lives through tremendous loss and also through smaller disappointments. Yet in this grief, large or small there is space to practice and realize ourselves.

 

Shuso Hossen featuring Degna Chikei Levister

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Shuso Hossen featuring Degna Chikei Levister
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Degna Chikei Levister, Senior Lay Student

Zen Mountain Monastery, Sunday 11/21/2021

True Dharma Eye, Case 2 – Baizhang Remains Seated

On November 21st, we concluded our Fall 90-day ango training period with this Shuso Hossen ceremony. Shuso Hossen means “chief disciple (or, literally, ‘head seat’) dharma encounter.” It is a centuries-old tradition that empowers a Zen student to represent the teachings and help guide other students in their own cultivation. In this case, Degna Chikei Levister completed her training in the role of Shuso by offering her first public talk to the sangha in which she presented her understanding of a koan from the collection found in the teachings of Eihei Dogen.  Following her talk, there was a “dharma encounter” in which Chikei was asked questions by those in attendance for further clarification. After an acknowledgement from her teacher, Shugen Roshi, a number of monastics and fellow practitioners offered Chikei congratulatory poems.

The Middle Way Is Close

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Middle Way Is Close
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Saturday 11/20/2021

From Transmission of the Light, Case 22 – The 21st Indian Ancestor, Vasubandhu

As we practice to free ourselves, we are constantly in the midst of change. And in this endlessly changing world, we unknowingly try to create a substantial, permanent self. This interaction between Vasubandhu and Jayata illustrates the essence of middle way. By not denying, not grasping or seeking something eternal, we will encounter a true way of patience, generosity, perseverance, faith, respect and devotion. Practice is not about a perfect life, it is about living this life completely.

 

Anger and its Discontents (It’s not about the meatloaf)

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Anger and its Discontents (It's not about the meatloaf)
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Maureen Jisho Ford, Senior Lay Student

Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Friday 11/19/2021

Senior lay student and retired mental health professional Maureen Jisho Ford investigates the roots of anger in this funny yet deeply honest talk. What does it take to interrupt our impulses and find the gaps between events we might find challenging and harmful reactions? Jisho asks, “Has anyone ever really won an argument?” Indulging in anger, as the Buddha pointed out, is like picking up a burning coal with your bare hand to hurl it at another. This has implication in every sphere of our life, right down to our most intimate relationships.

 

Everyone Has Their Own Light

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Everyone Has Their Own Light
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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei

Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Thursday 11/18/2021

From The Blue Cliff Record, Case 86 – Everyone Has Their Own Light

Hogen Sensei asks us: “how can we talk about enlightenment when there is nothing to understand about enlightenment?”. We are inherently enlightened but our conditioning, karma and unskillful ways prevent us seeing it. We should remember that we all have own light and that zazen is the process for cultivating this light.

 

Trust the Dharma

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Trust the Dharma
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Wednesday 11/17/2021

From Transmission of the Light, Case 28 – The 27th Indian Ancestor, Prajnatara

Of all the possible directions we can take, why does one person take a direction which is very different from everybody else’s path? How do we know if the path is true for us? Shugen Roshi reminds us that  when we encounter a teaching that we may or may not understand but have an affinity with, we should trust that affinity.

The Body Exposed

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Body Exposed
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Sunday 11/14/2021

From The Blue Cliff Record, Case 27 – Yun Men’s “The Body Exposed, The Golden Wind”

There’s a banquet of teachings for every human experience we are having, have had, will have. So how do we fully avail ourselves to that? Shugen Roshi speaks about sincere continuous practice of mindfulness and knowing how to be alone.

Alive to Cause and Effect

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Alive to Cause and Effect
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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Sunday 11/07/2021

From Wumen’s Gateless Gate, Case 2 – Baizhang and the Fox

With this teisho, Shugen Roshi sums up the Ango Intensive retreat “Within Darkness There Is Light—The Teachings of Karma and the Path of Compassion”.

Good Grief

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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast
Good Grief
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Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei

Zen Center of NYC, Fire Lotus Temple, Sunday 11/07/2021

 

Hojin Sensei talks about grief as a process, and what it means to practice good grief. She brings in teachings from the Dhammapada, the Therigatha, and the Hidden Lamp. She invites everyone into the possibility of fully and freely experiencing our grief, letting it move through us and crack us open.