Mountains & Rivers Sutra Study – Part Three (via Zoom)
with Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi
May 23, 2020
An all-day retreat that continues the investigation into Dogen Zenji’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra (Sansuikyo).
Online sessions will run from 10am -12pm and 1:30-3 pm.
These mountains and rivers of the present are the actualization of the word of the ancient Buddhas. Each, abiding in its own dharma state, completely fulfills its virtues.
The Mountains & Rivers Sutra is one of the greatest and most unique teachings of the Zen tradition. In it, the deeply awakened 12th century Buddhist Master, Eihei Dogen, presents the teachings of mountains and rivers, rock and water, as the very expression of enlightenment, the word of the ancient Buddhas. Sublime in its poetic voice, and profound in its dharma teaching, it can both challenge and inspire dharma students at every level. Dogen uses mountains and rivers to express the intimate co-dependence of absolute truth and everyday phenomena as he urges us to examine reality deeply, and then to examine still more. Mountains do not lack the characteristics of mountains. Therefore, they always abide in ease and always walk. Examine in detail the characteristic of the mountains’ walking. . . If you doubt mountains’ walking, you do not know your own walking; it is not that you do not walk, but that you do not know or understand your own walking. Since you do know your own walking, you should fully know the green mountains’ walking.
This teaching is especially important and relevant in our time of climate crisis, when the sense of separation and alienation between body and mind, human and earth, sacred and mundane is clearly unsustainable. Water is seen as dead or alive depending on [the seer’s] causes and conditions. Dogen’s words can thus help us to look closely at the real nature of self and other, sentient and insentient, so that we can practice, realize and actualize the essential harmony that is the every-moment truth of our lives, so that we can meet the fierce urgency of today.
This virtual retreat will concentrate on Dogen’s teaching, and through discussions will aim to help us trust the non-dual, inexpressible reality of all things, and see this manifesting in all life and every being. The purpose of the retreat, as of Dogen’s teaching, is for us to awaken and alleviate the suffering of all beings.
Your registration confirmation will include a link to the Zoom sessions.
Donations are appreciated to help support our efforts during this time.
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order, abbot and resident teacher of Zen Mountain Monastery, and abbot of the Zen Center of New York City. Shugen entered full-time residential training in 1986 after studying mathematics and receiving a degree in classical music. He received dharma transmission from John Daido Loori, Roshi in 1997. His teachings on Zen, social justice and environmental stewardship have appeared in various Buddhist journals, and The Best Buddhist Writing 2009 (Shambhala Publications). His book of poetry, O, Beautiful End, a collection of Zen memorial poems, was published in 2012.
Learn more about Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi