One Continuous Thread

A Home Practice Intensive

The virtue of ceaseless practice is never hidden; therefore the mind is aroused and practice begins. Its virtue, however, is not immediately revealed, and thus it cannot be seen, heard, or comprehended. Although it is not revealed, do not study it as something hidden.
— Dogen Zenji

Welcome to One Continuous Thread, a home practice retreat that parallels the Monastery’s sesshin and is designed to bring elements of a formal zazen intensive into your daily life. We’re so glad to have you with us.

We’ve designed this retreat to be flexible so that it can meet the unique circumstances of your life. Some people can engage fully with a sesshin schedule in their homes; others may seek the rigors and rewards of a zazen intensive while navigating their ongoing responsibilities to work, family and friends. One Continuous Thread can hold it all as we sit together, even while our needs and experiences might be quite diverse.

MRO teacher Shugen Roshi, and Dharma Holders Mn. Shoan and Mn. Gokan are an important part of creating the container for One Continuous Thread.

Shugen Roshi

Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order, abbot and resident teacher of Zen Mountain Monastery. Shugen Roshi will be meeting with students attending the in-person sesshin at the Monastery and will also hold one group meeting for his formal students.

Mn. Shoan Ankele

Danica Shoan Ankele is a Dharma Holder and Senior Monastic in the Mountains and Rivers Order. A native of New York City, she first came to the Monastery as a sophomore in college and has been in full time residential training since 2007. She became a senior student in 2009 and took full monastic ordination with Shugen Roshi in 2015. Shoan is the Monastery’s Creative Director and Training Coordinator. During the week, she will be meeting with participants attending the in-person sesshin at the Monastery and will also hold group meetings for online participants via Zoom.

Mn. Gokan Bonebakker

Senior Monastic and Dharma Holder Bear Gokan Bonebakker first came to the Monastery in 1994, and has been in residence since 2007. He was ordained in 2014. Gokan is the Operations Director, helps coordinate the National Buddhist Prison Sangha, and works in the orchard. During the week, he will be meeting with participants attending the in-person sesshin at the Monastery and will also hold group meetings for online participants via Zoom.

Many others will be sitting with you, whether on Livestream or here at the Monastery. As you look over the list of retreat participants (coming soon), bring the Sangha Treasure into your mind and heart. Draw on our collective energy for support and inspiration, especially at times when your energy is low or when things are challenging. 

Guidelines

One Continuous Thread is a way to practice most deeply and ceaselessly at home and to do all that we can to arouse the mind to practice and experience the seamlessness of our life. To practice in this way is to bring mindfulness to all of our activities, to cultivate a calm and wakeful awareness. It means being in accord with and adapting to the surroundings and the people we are encountering and to study the way of an undivided mind.

1. Maintain inner and outer silence and stillness as much as possible.
2. Regard the practice of simplicity of thought, speech and action.
3. Consider doing some caretaking around your home. Mindfully wiping windows, preparing your meals, sweeping, taking care of plants, hanging laundry in the sun.
4. Schedule to sit at least four hours per day for some depth of zazen. It will be up to you when, and for how long each session will be.
5. Practice resting.
6. Recite the Four Immeasurables each day, either with the sangha at dawn via Livestream, or on your own. As you do, bring to mind people near and far. Be sure to include yourself. Liturgy can be recited at any time.
7. During the livestream of formal talks, please do a period or two of zazen prior to the talk and sit in a meditation posture as you receive it. Let the teaching be your singular focus whether you are listening live or to recordings at a later time.
8. Take your meals oryoki style or in a simple mindful way. Enjoy reciting a meal chant.
9. If you are able to, consider taking time to do some movement (e.g. qigong, tai chi, yoga) or go for a mindful walk to enliven your senses and allow nature to bring both calm and expansion. Relish the quiet beauty of sky and trees. Breathe in the goodness and steadiness of these great ancestors we live amongst.
10. The use of electronic devices, internet, and all communications can be examined and used knowingly. Be very conscious and deliberate. Know if something can wait, and allow it to wait. This is an opportunity to examine carefully what we turn towards.
11. If and when you may be writing, reading, doing art practice, body practice, or work practice, let it serve to deepen your concentration and zazen practice. Find the continuity of being present in activity.
12. If you do reading and study during this intensive, consider having it all be Dharma study.

If anything should occur during the week that you need help with, please write the Training Office at mro@dharma.net or call us at +1 (845) 688-2228.

Schedule

Sesshin will unfold over the course of seven days—beginning on Monday evening and concluding on Sunday afternoon. Here is the schedule we’ll be following at the Monastery. All events are Eastern Standard Time and held via Zoom, unless otherwise noted.

Monday

Orientation & Opening Guidelines, 7:00 p.m., Zoom
Opening Remarks by Shugen Roshi 8:10 – 9:00 pm

Tuesday to Saturday

Wake-up, 3:55
Zazen, 4:30–6:20
Morning Service, 6:20–6:40
Oryoki Breakfast, 6:40–7:20
Caretaking Practice, 8:15–9:49
Zazen, 10:00–12:00

Optional Qigong in Sangha House, 10:00–10:25
Face-to-face Teaching (except Tuesday), 1o:30–11:40, Zoom

Noon Service, 12:15–12:30
Oryoki Lunch, 12:30–1:10
Rest Practice, 1:15–2:20
Zazen, 2:45–3:25
Dharma Talk (except Tuesday), 3:25–4:25
Zazen, 4:25–5:10
Evening Service, 5:15–5:30
Informal Supper, 5:30–6:00
Zazen, 7:00–9:00

Face-to-face Teaching (except Tuesday), 7:45–8:45 PM, Zoom

Closing Reflections (Saturday), 7:00–9:00, Zoom

Sunday

Sunday morning service (9:00 am – 12:00 pm) will be broadcast at livestream.com/mro

Livestream

This Sesshin We will be Broadcasting via ZOOM: Use this Link to Access: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84664915912?pwd=dUoyS3M3TlpxdGg0RWI4SWU4dEF4QT09

Zoom Guidelines During One Continuous Thread 

 For this Intensive, we are using zoom instead of livestream. The intent is that One Continuous Thread participants can see each other and offer support and accountability to each other through our sitting practice. The following guidelines are to help you create a conducive space for your practice and – since everyone will be on zoom – that you space be quiet and still so as not to distract others.

  • Having your camera on is optional but encouraged when you can commit to sitting a complete period of zazen. 
  • You can either choose to pin the ZMM zendo or have display grid view to view the other zoom sangha members.  
  • Practice keeping your awareness directed inwards rather than being pulled into discursive thoughts about the other sangha members on zoom. 
  • Before turning on your camera, please be seated and still for zazen. 
  • With your camera on, you can either choose to sit facing the camera and monitor, or sit turned away, as long as you’re in view of your camera. 
  • Commit to having your camera on before a sitting period has formally begun (indicated by three strikes of the ubon). Remain still with your camera on until the period ends and kinhin (walking meditation) begins. At that point, you may turn your camera off and/or move until the next sitting period begins. 
  • If you cannot commit to sitting the full next period of zazen, you may turn your camera back off. 
  • If family members or pets enter your room while you’re sitting, please turn your camera off until the room is still again.
  • The chat function will be turned off during the OCT, and everyone will be muted so the shared space remains quiet.
  • If you experience technical difficulties, you can email mroweb@dharma.net

Liturgy

Liturgy can be a powerful way of invoking the mind of practice, immersing ourselves in the teachings, and connecting with the buddha ancestors. Join us in the zendo via Zoom and lend your voice with the words below. We also welcome and encourage you to adapt the liturgy to suit your circumstances.

Morning Zazen

The Four Immesurables

May all beings be free from suffering and the root of suffering. May all beings know happiness and the root of happiness. May all beings live in sympathetic joy, rejoicing in the happiness of others. May all beings live in equanimity, free from passion, aggression and delusion.

Verse of the Kesa

Vast is the robe of liberation, a formless field of benefaction. I wear the Tathagata’s teachings, saving all sentient beings.

Morning Service

Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, doing deep Prajna Paramita, clearly saw emptiness of all the five conditions, thus completely relieving misfortune and pain. Oh, Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form. Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form. Sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness are likewise like this. Oh Sharipura, all dharmas are forms of emptiness; not born, not destroyed, not stained, not pure, without loss, without gain. So in emptiness there is no form; no sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena; no realm of sight, no realm of consciousness, no ignorance and no end to ignorance, no old age and death and no end to old age and death, no suffering, no cause of suffering, no extinguishing, no path, no wisdom and no gain. No gain and thus the bodhisattva lives Prajna Paramita, with no hindrance in the mind; no hindrance, therefore no fear. Far beyond deluded thoughts; this is Nirvana. All past, present, and future Buddhas live Prajna Paramita and therefore attain anuttarasamyak-sambodhi. Therefore know Prajna Paramita is the great mantra, the vivid mantra, the best mantra, the unsurpassable mantra. It completely clears all pain. This is the truth, not a lie. So set forth the Prajna Paramita mantra, set forth this mantra and say, Gate! Gate! Paragate! Parsamgate! Bodhi Svaha! Prajna Heart Sutra.

All Buddhas Dedication

All Buddhas throughout space and time, All Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, Maha Prajnaparamita.

Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani

No mo san man da moto nan oha ra chi koto sha sono nan to ji to en gya gya gya ki gya ki un nun shiu ra shiu ra hara shiu ra hara shiu ra chisu sa chisu sa chisu ri chisu ri sowa ja sowa ja sen chi gya shiri ei somo ko. (depending on who is officiating the service, we will either chant this three times through, getting faster each time, or just once, very slowly)

Meal Service

Oryoki Meal Gatha

Buddha was born at Kapilavastu, enlightened at Magadha, taught at Varanasi, entered Nirvana at Kusinagara. Now I open Buddha Tathagata’s eating bowls; May we be relieved from self-clinging with all sentient beings.

Liturgist: In the midst of the Three Treasures, with all sentient beings, let us recite the names of Buddha:

Pure Dharmakaya Vairochana Buddha; Complete Sambhogakaya Vairochana Buddha; Numerous Nirmanakaya Shakyamuni Buddhas; Future Maitreya Buddha; All Buddhas throughout space and time; Mahayana Saddharma Pundarika Sutra; Great Manjushri Bodhisattva; Mahayana Samantabhadra Bodhisattva; Great Compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva; All Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas Maha Prajna Paramita.

Liturgist (breakfast): This food comes from the efforts of all sentient beings, past and present, and its ten advantages give us physical and spiritual well-being and promote pure practice.

Liturgist (lunch): We offer this meal of three virtues and six tastes to the Buddha, Dharma,and Sangha,and to all the life of the Dharma Worlds.

First, seventy-two labors brought us this food; we should know how it comes to us. Second, as we receive this offering, we should consider whether our virtue and practice deserve it. Third, as we desire the natural order of mind to be free from clinging we must be free from greed. Fourth, to support our life we take this food. Fifth, to attain our way we take this food.

(Lunch: All those of the spiritual worlds, now I give you this offering. This food will pervade everywhere.)

First, this food is for the Three Treasures. Second, it is for our teachers, parents, nations, and all sentient beings. Third, it is for all beings in the six worlds. Thus, we eat this food with everyone. We eat to stop all evil, to practice good, to save all sentient beings, and to accomplish our Buddha Way.

After eating: The water with which I wash these bowls tastes like ambrosia. I offer it to the various spirits to satisfy them. Om Makurasai Svaha!

Liturgist: May we exist in muddy water with purity like a lotus; thus, we bow to Buddha.

Work Service

Sutra of Great Compassion

Kanzeon at one with the Buddha, Related to all Buddhas in cause and effect And to Buddha, dharma and sangha. Joyful pure eternal being— Morning mind is Kanzeon, evening mind is Kanzeon. This very moment arises from mind, This very moment is not separate from mind. (chanted three times)

All Buddhas Dedication

All Buddhas throughout space and time, All Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, Maha Prajnaparamita.

Noon Service

Identity of Relative and Absolute

The mind of the great sage of India was intimately conveyed from West to East. Among human beings are wise ones and fools, but in the Way there is no northern or southern ancestor. The subtle source is clear and bright, the tributary streams flow through the darkness. To be attached to things is illusion, to encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment. Each and all the subjective and objective spheres are related, and at the same time independent. Related, yet working differently, though each keeps its own place. Form makes the character and appearance different; sounds distinguish comfort and discomfort. The dark makes all words one, the brightness distinguishes good and bad phrases. The four elements return to their nature as a child to its mother. Fire is hot, wind moves, water is wet, earth hard; eyes see, ears hear, nose smells, tongue tastes the salt and sour. In accordance with each dharma, the root gives rise to separate leaves. Root and branch must return to the great reality. The words high and low are used relatively. Within light there is darkness, but do not try to understand that darkness. Within darkness there is light, but do not look for that light. Light and darkness are a pair, like the foot before and the foot behind in walking. Each thing has its own intrinsic value and is related to everything else in function and position. Ordinary life fits the absolute as a box and its lid. The absolute works together with the relative like two arrows meeting in mid-air. Reading words, you should grasp the great reality. Do not judge by any standards. If you do not see the Way, you do not see it even as you walk on it. When you walk the Way, it is not near, it is not far. If you are deluded, you are mountains and rivers away from it. I respectfully say to those who wish to be enlightened, do not waste your time by night or day.

All Buddhas Dedication

All Buddhas throughout space and time, All Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, Maha Prajnaparamita.

Dharma Talk

Gatha on Opening the Sutra

The Dharma, incomparably profound and infinitely subtle, is rarely encountered, even in millions of ages. Now we see it, hear it, receive and maintain it. May we completely realize the Tathagatha’s true meaning. (chanted before the Dharma talk)

Four Bodhisattva Vows

Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them. Desires are inexhaustible; I vow to put an end to them. The Dharmas are boundless; I vow to master them. The Buddha Way is unattainable; I vow to attain it.

Evening Service

Daihishin Dharani

Namu kara tan no tora ya ya namu ori ya boryo ki chi shiu ra ya. Fuji sato bo ya moko sato bo ya mo ko kya runi kya ya en. Sa hara ha ei shu tan no ton sha namu shiki ri. Toi mo ori ya boryo ki chi shiu ra ri. To bo na mu no ra kin ji ki ri mo ko ho do sha mi sa bo. O to jo shu ben o shu in sa bo sa to no mo bo gya. Mo ha de cho to ji to en o bo ryo ki ryo gya chi. Kya rya chi i kiri mo ko fuji sa to sa bo sa bo. Mo ra mo ra mo ki mo ki ri to in ku ryo ku ryo ke mo to ryo to ryo. Ho ja ya chi mo ko ho ja ya chi. To ra  to ra chiri ni shui ra ya sha ro sha ro mo mo ha mo ra ho. Chi ri i ki i ki shi no shi no ora san fura sha ri ha za ha za. Fura sha ya ku ryo ku ryo mo ra ku ryo ku ryo. Ki ri sha ro sha ro shi ri shi ri su ryo su ryo. Fuji ya fuji ya fudo ya fudo ya mi chiri ya. Nora kin ji chiri shuni no hoya mono somo ko shido ya somo ko Moko shido ya somo ko shido yu ki shiu ra ya somo ko. Nora kin ji somo ko mo ra no ra somo ko shira su omo gya ya. Somo ko sobo moko shido ya somo ko shaki ra oshi do ya somo ko. Hodo mogya shido ya somo ko nora kin ji ha gyara ya somo ko. Mo hori shin gyara ya somo ko namu kara tan no tora ya ya. Namu ori ya boryo ki chi shiu ra ya somo ko. Shite do modo ra hodo ya so mo ko.

All Buddhas Dedication

All Buddhas throughout space and time, All Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, Maha Prajnaparamita.

Evening Zazen

Four Bodhisattva Vows

Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them. Desires are inexhaustible; I vow to put an end to them. The Dharmas are boundless; I vow to master them. The Buddha Way is unattainable; I vow to attain it.

Sunday Service

Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, doing deep Prajna Paramita, clearly saw emptiness of all the five conditions, thus completely relieving misfortune and pain. Oh, Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form. Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form. Sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness are likewise like this. Oh Sharipura, all dharmas are forms of emptiness; not born, not destroyed, not stained, not pure, without loss, without gain. So in emptiness there is no form; no sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena; no realm of sight, no realm of consciousness, no ignorance and no end to ignorance, no old age and death and no end to old age and death, no suffering, no cause of suffering, no extinguishing, no path, no wisdom and no gain. No gain and thus the bodhisattva lives Prajna Paramita, with no hindrance in the mind; no hindrance, therefore no fear. Far beyond deluded thoughts; this is Nirvana. All past, present, and future Buddhas live Prajna Paramita and therefore attain anuttarasamyak-sambodhi. Therefore know Prajna Paramita is the great mantra, the vivid mantra, the best mantra, the unsurpassable mantra. It completely clears all pain. This is the truth, not a lie. So set forth the Prajna Paramita mantra, set forth this mantra and say, Gate! Gate! Paragate! Parsamgate! Bodhi Svaha! Prajna Heart Sutra.

Identity of Relative and Absolute

The mind of the great sage of India was intimately conveyed from West to East. Among human beings are wise ones and fools, but in the Way there is no northern or southern ancestor. The subtle source is clear and bright, the tributary streams flow through the darkness. To be attached to things is illusion, to encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment. Each and all the subjective and objective spheres are related, and at the same time independent. Related, yet working differently, though each keeps its own place. Form makes the character and appearance different; sounds distinguish comfort and discomfort. The dark makes all words one, the brightness distinguishes good and bad phrases. The four elements return to their nature as a child to its mother. Fire is hot, wind moves, water is wet, earth hard; eyes see, ears hear, nose smells, tongue tastes the salt and sour. In accordance with each dharma, the root gives rise to separate leaves. Root and branch must return to the great reality. The words high and low are used relatively. Within light there is darkness, but do not try to understand that darkness. Within darkness there is light, but do not look for that light. Light and darkness are a pair, like the foot before and the foot behind in walking. Each thing has its own intrinsic value and is related to everything else in function and position. Ordinary life fits the absolute as a box and its lid. The absolute works together with the relative like two arrows meeting in mid-air. Reading words, you should grasp the great reality. Do not judge by any standards. If you do not see the Way, you do not see it even as you walk on it. When you walk the Way, it is not near, it is not far. If you are deluded, you are mountains and rivers away from it. I respectfully say to those who wish to be enlightened, do not waste your time by night or day.

Ancestral Lineage

Bibashi Butsu Daiosho, Shiki Butsu Daiosho, Bishafu Butsu Daiosho, Kuruson Butsu Daiosho, Kunagommuni Butsu Daiosho, Kasho Butsu Daiosho, Shakyamuni Butsu Daiosho, Makakasho Daiosho, Ananda Daiosho, Shonawashu Daiosho, Ubakikuta Daiosho, Daitaka Daiosho Mishaka Daiosho, Bashumitsu Daiosho, Butsudanandai Daiosho, Fudamitta Daiosho, Barishiba Daiosho, Funayasha Daiosho, Anabotei Daiosho, Kabimora Daiosho, Nagyaharajuna Daiosho, Kanadaiba Daiosho, Ragarata Daiosho, Sogyanandai Daiosho, Kayashata Daiosho, Kumorata Daiosho, Shayata Daiosho, Bashubanzu Daiosho, Man’ura Daiosho, Kakurokuna Daiosho, Shishibodai Daiosho, Bashashita Daiosho, Funyomitta Daiosho, Hannyatara Daiosho, Bodaidaruma Daiosho, Taiso Eka Daiosho, Kanchi Sosan Daiosho, Daii Doshin Daiosho, Daiman Konin Daiosho, Daikan Eno Daiosho, Seigen Gyoshi Daiosho, Sekito Kisen Daiosho, Yakusan Igen Daiosho, Ungan Donjo Daiosho, Tozan Ryokai Daiosho, Ungo Doyo Daiosho, Doan Dohi Daiosho, Doan Kanshi Daiosho, Ryozan Enkan Daiosho, Taiyo Kyogen Daiosho, Toshi Gisei Daiosho, Fuyo Dokai Daiosho, Tanka Shijun Daiosho, Choro Seiryo Daiosho, Tendo Sokaku Daiosho, Setcho Chikan Daiosho, Tendo Nyojo Daiosho, Eihei Dogen Daiosho, Koun Ejo Daiosho, Tettsu Gikai Daiosho, Keizan Jokin Daiosho, Gasan Joseki Daiosho, Taigen Soshin Daiosho, Baizan Monpon Daiosho, Nyochu Tengin Daiosho, Kisan Shosan Daiosho, Morin Shihan Daiosho, Taishi Sotai Daiosho, Kenchu Hantetsu Daiosho, Daiju Soko Daiosho, Kinpo Jusen Daiosho, Tetsuei Seiton Daiosho, Shukoku Choton Daiosho, Ketsuzan Tetsuei Daiosho, Hoshi Soon Daiosho, Goho Kainon Daiosho, Tenkei Denson Daiosho, Zozan Monko Daiosho, Niken Sekiryo Daiosho, Reitan Roryu Daiosho, Kakujo Tosai Daiosho, Kakuan Ryogu Diaosho, Ryoka Daibai Diaosho, Ungan Guhaku Daiosho, Baian Hakujun Diaosho, Gonshin Ryoko Diaosho, Hakuyu Taizan Daiosho, Muge Daido Daisoho.

Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo

Kan ze on na mu butsu yo butsu u en yo butsu u. En bup po so en jo raku ga jo cho nen. Kan ze on bo nen kan ze on nen. Nen ju shin ki nen nen fu ri shin. (chant three times)

Women Ancestors (Abbreviated)

Maha Pajapati Daiosho, Patachara Daiosho, Sukha Daiosho, Zongchi Daiosho, Ling Xingpo Daiosho, Lingzhao Pang Daishi, Liu Tiemo Daiosho, Kongshi Daoren Daiosho , Yu Daopo Daiosho, Miadao Daiosho, Mugai Nyodai Daiosho , Konto Ekyu Daiosho, Mokufu Sonin Daiosho.

Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani

No mo san man da moto nan oha ra chi koto sha sono nan to ji to en gya gya gya ki gya ki un nun shiu ra shiu ra hara shiu ra hara shiu ra chisu sa chisu sa chisu ri chisu ri sowa ja sowa ja sen chi gya shiri ei somo ko. (depending on who is officiating the service, we will either chant this three times through, getting faster each time, or just once, very slowly)

All Buddhas Dedication

All Buddhas throughout space and time, All Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, Maha Prajnaparamita.

Nenju

Names of Buddha

Pure Dharmakaya Vairochana Buddha; Complete Sambhogakaya Vairochana Buddha; Numerous Nirmanakaya Shakyamuni Buddhas; Future Maitreya Buddha; All Buddhas throughout space and time; Mahayana Saddharma Pundarika Sutra; Great Manjushri Bodhisattva; Mahayana Samantabhadra Bodhisattva; Great Compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva; All Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas; Maha Prajna Paramita.