• Maximum $150.00 – The retreat cost is $75. If you're unable to pay this amount, please offer what you can.

Date & Time Details: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Location: Zen Center of New York City

Address: 500 State Street Brooklyn, NY 11217



Song of Zazen

with Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

August 17, 2019

The Song of Zazen – The Gateway to Freedom

All beings by nature are Buddha,
As ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
Apart from beings, there is no Buddha.
How near the truth, yet how far we seek.
                                  —Master Hakuin

In the Buddha’s enlightenment, he directly experienced the essential, free and unhindered truth that is the nature of every person. Yet, because of  false views and fearful attachments, we perceive ourselves as separate and estranged from people, our world, and even ourselves. We can so easily experience our lives as confined and hemmed in, while living in the midst of the boundless possibilities of an awakened life. In his famous poem, The Song of Zazen, the great Zen master Hakuin Enkaku (1685-1768), one of the most influential Japanese Zen teachers, offers us teachings to illuminate that which is hidden. They are both inspiration and guide to help us in our practice of meditation, both on and off the cushion.

In this retreat, we’ll closely study and practice this powerful teaching – through careful reading, chanting and zazen itself – and allow it to help us see more clearly into that which we truly are. We’ll discuss some of the more subtle aspects of zazen through both koan introspection and shikantaza –just sitting– and how our meditation is both an expression of buddha nature and the path to its realization. We’ll also discuss those karmic obstructions that hold us back: self-doubt, regret and fear.


We strive to keep our retreat prices low and offer these programs on a sliding scale. It’s important that the dharma is available to everyone. Thank you for your continued support.

No deposit is necessary to register. You can pay the full balance at the door by cash, check or credit card.


Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi
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