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The ZMM Podcast Presents: Mountains & Rivers Annual Journal

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Our newly launched journal—Mountains and Rivers: Zen Dharma and Practice—is now available. Just ahead of the February 2020 release date,  journal editor Suzanne Taikyo Gilman and the journal’s designer, Kristin Keimu Adolpson, sat down for a conversation about this exciting project with Valerie Meiju Linet, a former editor of Mountain Record quarterly.

Here’s a bit of the backstory covered in the recorded conversation. In discontinuing our quarterly print journal in early 2019, we knew that we still wanted to offer something in print that would document some of the best teachings and conversations that were taking place in our midst. Now, after nearly a year of working through a bounty of material, the first issue has just gone on sale. Its pages are filled with rich photographs, enlivening conversations, and insightful teachings from all of our Mountains and Rivers Order teachers.

To see sample pages and order your very own copy, visit the journal’s web page. mountainrecord.org/print-journal/

Beyond the Fear of Birth and Death

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 03/06/2020

Working with the Diamond Sutra, Hogen Sensei asks: “How may we overcome the fear of birth and death and arrive at the state that is as indestructible as a diamond?” To cultivate the life of the bodhisattva, as the Buddha urges us, we can question and examine the illusion of the fixed sense of “me” and dedicate our efforts to liberate all beings. Even in the midst of our karma, we can lift away the defilements that obscure the luminous mind which sees all things with clarity. In a gentle and non-obsessive way, we can continuously turn toward the Bodhisattva Path.

Fusatsu: March 2020, ZMM

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 03/05/2020

Every kind of being sees differently, as Dogen states in the Mountains & Rivers Sutra. So how is it for you—and where do we meet each other? In this talk given during the Renewal of Vows—Fusatsu ceremony, Shugen Roshi notes that much of what is happening in our minds we don’t see clearly. How each moment of action happens starts long before the action is taken. In ones own mind, the feeling states which overwhelm our natural clarity need to be seen and given space so that, in time, clarity can manifest in our thoughts, words and actions.

Spring Ango Opening, Zen Mountain Monastery, 2020

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 03/01/2020

The theme for this Spring ango is drawn from the teachings of Master Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra, a teaching which was formative in the founding of the Monastery and in the formation of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism. Shugen Roshi delves into this history and more in an introduction to the three-month intensive training period, ango, and the various areas of study and practice which will be available.

Be Careful What You Ask For

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Yukon

Michael Yukon Grody, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 03/01/2020

Senior Monastic Yukon makes us a gift of his perspective on practice after 37 years, focused on the skillful means we employ to maintain our practice. Be careful what you ask for, he says: This is a constant practice of releasing what we cling to, and we cling to everything. Practice dismantles both hopes for the future and thoughts about the past, and to have peace we have to open up to the gifts of the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and all that helps us release the anxiety of not knowing who we are.

Bodhidharma’s Emptiness

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 02/29/2020

From the Book of Serenity, Case 2

Shugen Roshi offers this discourse on the original Zen teachings of Bodhidharma who, when meeting with Emperor Wu in ancient China, upheld the fundamental meaning of the Holy Truth: the emptiness of any intrinsic existence. Focusing on the nature of emptiness and how we can understand these very profound teachings, Roshi explores the importance of emptiness in putting an end to suffering, and our very real capacity as human beings to do this. In practice and study of emptiness and form we are expressing what it is to be alive and to be free within our sentient bodies and minds, practicing liberation and sharing that with all beings.

Bendōwa

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 02/23/2020

From Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo

Shugen Roshi offered this discourse at the conclusion of the Bodhidharma Sesshin, exploring Dogen’s Bendowa, “The Wholehearted Practice of the Way.” How does our cognizant, thinking mind hold the inconceivable? Dogen examines the “wondrous art, supreme and unconditioned” of practice characterized by receptive samadhi. In this quiet sitting, when the mind is allowed to calm and remain free of the constant creation of ideas and words, the clutter of accumulations can fall away. “To study the world in a moment of sitting,” as Dogen says, we see more and more clearly that our states of mind directly affect and create our world.

Keeping Quiet

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 02/23/2020

In approaching a Zen koan, Hogen Sensei encourages us to let go of our passion to acquire understanding by grasping for answers. Rather, if we can let teaching stories begin to move us without grasping, our whole life can begin to unfold more clearly. Toward this end he explores Pablo Neruda’s famous poem “Keeping Quiet” and a koan, “Stop the Distant Temple Bell,” as both bringing fuller awareness to our lives and to the fundamental questions which bring us to spiritual practice: what is this life of ours, and how can we engage it in the wholeness of our being?

Ching Ch’ing’s Sound of Raindrops

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 02/16/2020

The Blue Cliff Record, Case 46

What is the fundamental nature of our experience of the world? Is it ‘out there’, or ‘in here’? In this discourse Shugen Roshi explores how zazen helps us to stop and see what is actually in front of us without becoming stuck or getting lost. Through calming the mind and recognizing our cycles of habit and reaction we can reach into the ground of reality, and in that awareness and clarity we can engage with what is imperative in our lives.

Yun Men’s Appropriate Statement

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 02/16/2020

The Blue Cliff Record, Case 14

Where is the place where the absolute nature of reality meets the relative details of our lives? The place where each is identical to the other? The “teachings of a whole lifetime” referenced in this koan presented by Hogen Sensei comes down to the practice and realization of the Buddha, the “appropriate statement” perhaps when the self is seen and released and forgotten, when the absolute nature of reality is present in the relative aspects of our life, in every step of our practice.