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Dharma Talks, Events, Interviews & Other Media


Buddhist Studies, Session 7, Zen Mountain Monastery


Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/16/2020


Yanyang’s “Thing”


Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Book of Serenity, Case 57

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/12/2020

Jukai Ceremony, Winter 2020, ZCNYC


Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei

Zen Center of New York City, 01/12/2020


On Sunday, January 12, Hojin Sensei officiated a winter Jukai ceremony at Fire Lotus Temple in which three students received the sixteen Buddhist precepts.  As part of the ceremony Hojin Sensei offered teachings on the moral and ethical teachings of Zen Buddhism, and the particular challenges we face in living with, and through, these vows.

After a week of training, including hand sewing a rakusu and receiving the ancestral lineage charts, the three new Jukai students received the following dharma names: Jean Ann Oji Wertz (“Compassionate, Loving Response”); David Genwa Nelson (“Eye of Harmony”); Simon Sekku Harrison (“Touching Sky-like Nature”).


Learning To Love What Is Not For Our Keeping


Michael Yukon Grody, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 01/05/2020


Daitsu Chisho


Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

The Gateless Gate, Case 9

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/05/2020

At the conclusion of an introduction to Zen Practice Weekend, Shugen Roshi examines a koan originally drawn from the Lotus Sutra. In this teaching story, how are we to understand attainment or the absence of attainment? The Way is originally perfect and all pervading, always present – and yet we experience a sense of distance, a gap. It is within this gap that practice occurs.

Fusatsu, New Years Eve, 2020


Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/31/2019

In a Renewal of Vows for the new year, Shugen Roshi explores the Buddhadharma as a path of peace which can direct us to cease from harm and practice good. Our basic impulse is toward good, but this needs to be practiced and cultivated in order to be brought forth. The taking of vows is an act of courage that helps us rise to the challenge of being happy and free even in the midst of conflict.

Dongshan’s “Not-Buddha”


Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

True Dharma Eye, Case 72

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/30/2019

Shugen Roshi examines Dongshan’s koan of “Not-Buddha,” encouraging us to go beyond the status quo of suffering. When we can see Samsara as not inevitable, we are beginning to go beyond our powerlessness and take up the burden of not knowing what happens next. The Way is free from success or failure, and we can open our hearts and minds by trusting that the treasure store is open even when our habit-minds think otherwise.



ShoanDanica Shoan Ankele, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/29/2019

In this talk from Rohatsu Sesshin, Mn. Shoan reflects on a commonly used intention-setting invocation from Tibetan Buddhism:

“May the precious bodhicitta arise where it has not yet arisen, and where it has arisen, may it not diminish.” This kind of directed aspiration also pervades Zen liturgy.  When we look, we see it everywhere. That desire for awakening fuels our capacity to notice habitual patterns, commit to the path and stay the course.

Living By Vow


Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 12/29/2019

In the spirit of the New Year, senior monastic Gokan encourages us to be inspired by Zen teacher Okumura Roshi’s definition of a bodhisattva as a person who lives by vow instead of karma. Our karma is the habit energy of our conditioning, but a true vow—whether public or personal—is a compass that helps us turn in the right direction. In living our lives based on vow we can continuously shift the direction of our karma towards the Buddha Way.

The Courage To Meet Reality


Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/28/2019

“Humankind cannot bear much reality,” noted the poet TS Eliot. From this vantage point senior lay student Yunen considers the role of courage and whole-heartedness in a life of practice. What is is that I think that I personally cannot bear? In practice we learn to just take the next step, facing the realities we think we cannot bear with wholeheartedness for the benefit of all beings, giving rise to joy and the freedom to love.