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Mondo on the Courage of the Bodhisattva Path

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 9/27/2020

A question and answer session with Shugen Roshi,  the residents of Zen Mountain Monastery, and the larger sangha, who participated via zoom.

*This audio is missing the first minute or so of Shugen Roshi’s opening remarks. There is also a lot of echo in Roshi’s voice during the first two minutes.

Relying on a Spiritual Friend

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 9/26/2020

From  “The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva“, verse 6, Relying on a Spiritual Friend.

“When in reliance on someone, your defects wane and your positive qualities grow like the waxing moon. To cherish such a spiritual friend even more than your own body is the practice of a bodhisattva.”

In Touch with Jizo Bodhisattva

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Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei

Zen Mountain Monastery, 09/25/2020

We may find ourselves asking who is Jizo Bodhisattva? How do they relate to my life, in this moment?

Hojin Sensei offers us direct insight into these questions, touching the heart of our Ango practice, and offering it our hearts. A heart to heart transmission. By pulling together ancient teachings and contemporary poets Hojin shows that we are Jizo Bodhisattva. When we let our Bodhicitta swell into our awareness we manifest as Jizo Bodhisattva. Here in this moment! We offer our compassion to our family, our friends, animals and even inanimate “objects”. We experience kindness from complete strangers, and are inspired to step forward. Know this truth, and walk unhindered in any realm of existence for the sake of all beings.

What’s Underneath the Mask?

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Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student

Zen Mountain Monastery (Via Zoom), 09/24/2020

Senior Lay Student Yunen discusses his development of practice through the framework of the Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma (hinayana, mayahana, and vajrayana) and within our current social crisis. Yunen touches on the intimate and vulnerable experience that is possibly universal to all Buddhist practitioners. The experience of coming to practice for ourselves and our own liberation, only to find that our liberation is deeply connected with all sentient beings. Yet upon this realization of interconnectedness, we find no burden but true inspiration and meaning.

Giving up Negative Friendships

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 9/23/2020

From  “The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva“, verse 5, Giving up Negative Friendships.

“When friendship with someone causes the three poisons to increase,
Degrades the activities of listening, reflecting, and meditating,
And destroys loving kindness and compassion,
To give up such a friendship is the practice of a Bodhisattva.”

Shugen Roshi offers practitioners skillful means to navigate their challenging friendships with his commentary of the 5th bodhisattva verse. In this discourse of the 37 Verses of the Practice of a Bodhisattva, Shugen Roshi asks us to carefully examine the friendships and interactions that we label as negative or bad. By bringing our mindful attention to our habits around friends, we can begin to transform our reactionary experience into wholehearted practice.

Letting Go of This Life

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 9/20/2020

From  “The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva“, verse 4, To Let Go of This Life.

“Old friends and relatives will separate.
Possessions gained with exertion will be left behind.
Consciousness, the guest, will leave the guesthouse of the body.”

Continuing to work through the 37 Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva, Shugen Roshi takes up verse four, a profound teaching on the impermanent nature of our possessions, our relationships, and our life itself. Recognizing this truth allows us to engage the people and things of this world with greater intimacy and compassion, taking care of our lives with deep attention and respect.

Note: this talk was given outdoors, so there is more background noise in the recording.

Buddhist Studies – Session 1

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 9/16/2020

Fall Ango Study Session #1 on “The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva

Covering verses Two and Three

A Precious Human Life, So Hard to Obtain

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 9/13/2020

From  “The Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva“, verse 1, A Precious Human Life, So Hard to Obtain.

“Now that I have this great ship, a precious human life, so hard to obtain I must carry myself and others across the ocean of samsara. To that end, to listen, reflect, and meditate Day and night, without distraction, is the practice of a bodhisattva.”

So begins the 37 Verses of the Practice of a Bodhisattva, the 14th century Tibetian teachings we are taking up this ango. Shugen Roshi unpacks these rich instructions which speak to the favorable conditions which allow human beings to encounter the dharma, and how to share generously and appreciate the mystery and truth of our interconnectedness.

Fusatsu: September 2020

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 9/10/2020

Shugen Roshi takes up the powerful liturgy of Buddhist vows in the fusatsu ceremony where we give expression to our aspirations and the wish for enlightenment. We embody reverence and learn humility through these words and gestures—a bow, a dedication, invoking the names of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas—and cultivate bodhicitta out of compassion for all beings. We are reminded that aspiration does not belong to the realm of success and failure. Rather, it requires that we place our faith fully in the authenticity of awakened buddha nature of our own bodies and minds.

Fall 2020 Ango Opening Talk

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 9/06/2020

Speaking about the power we have in setting intentions and naming our aspirations, Shugen Roshi kicks off the three-month intensive as a time in which we will be challenged. We can reflect on a teaching of the Tibetian sage Padmasambhava, to have “A view as vast as the sky, and attention to cause and effect as fine as barley flour.” This reminder can help return us to expansive awareness and non-judgement and help us act with great care and discerning wisdom. A commitment to be of benefit without attachment to results, Roshi says, is the life-giving path of the bodhisattva which we travel together.