Retreat Teachers


Degna Chikei Levister

Degna Chikei Levister works as the Associate Dean for Enrollment Management and Access Initiatives at the City University of New York School of Law and the Executive Director of the Pipeline to Justice program, which provides access to law school to those historically excluded from the legal profession. Chikei has been a practicing member of the MRO for over twenty-five years. She currently serves as a member of the MRO Ethics Committee, the Sangha Harmony Advisory Council and co-leads the MRO’s Women’s Affinity group. She was a former member of the MRO Board of Directors. She lives on the lower east side of Manhattan.

Events with Degna Chikei Levister

Touching Liberation Together — Sesshin for Black, Indigenous, Asian and People of Color (BIAPOC)
June 8 - 11, 2023

Please join us for the MRO’s first BIAPOC-only sesshin at Zen Mountain Monastery.  In this silent retreat, we hope to create a safe affinity space for members who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian and People of Color (BIAPOC). New or more experienced BIAPOC practitioners are welcome to join us. Together, we will embrace the liberatory practices of our Buddhist ancestors through sesshin, characterized by silence and deep introspection. We will wake up each day before dawn to begin a schedule that includes 7 to 10 hours of meditation, chanting services, formal silent meals (oryoki), silent work practice, body practice, and talks by the teacher and senior students. Because sesshin is a very intensive retreat, if you have not attended sesshin at Zen Mountain Monastery you must have a pre-sesshin interview before you register, so please call or email the Training Office to schedule at (845) 688-2228, or As with all in-person retreats at the Monastery, participants are required to follow the current protocol for keeping everyone safe (this link is updated frequently so check back). Review the current protocol requirements before registering, and if you have further questions, please contact the registrar. This retreat is free of charge but…