Retreat Teachers

At ZMM and ZCNYC

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. She also oversees our Tenkozan line of statues and naturally dyed fabrics, designed and produced on the Monastery grounds.

Events with Mn. Shoan Ankele

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
February 3 - 5, 2023

Are you new to meditation or Zen Buddhist practice? Have you read books about Zen, or been doing meditation on your own? Do you think you’d like to study with a teacher? Designed for those new to Zen or formal Zen training, this introductory retreat allows you to immerse yourself in Zen practice and experience the Monastery’s Eight Gates program. With a partial re-opening underway, we are happy to offer this on-site retreat safely. During the weekend, you’ll receive instruction in zazen (seated meditation) and have a chance to experience and ask questions about liturgy, work as sacred activity, art and body practice, the teachings of wisdom and compassion, and Buddhist study. You’ll learn how to establish a consistent home practice and receive guidance on bringing it into your work, family, and relationships. And you’ll have the opportunity for private interview with a teacher to explore the importance of the teacher-student relationship for the spiritual path. This retreat also gives you a chance to encounter the Monastery cloister—a dynamic spiritual community whose everyday activities and concerns are simplified. By entering the cloister for a weekend, you experience a place uniquely conducive to spiritual practice and to connecting to your own…

Exploring Wisdom and Compassion: Further Steps Along the Path of Zen
February 10 - 12, 2023

Within the dharma, wisdom and compassion are sometimes spoken of as the two wings of a bird—we need both of them to fly. We can nurture these qualities in how we engage our life as a field of practice. For the most part, the barriers we encounter and the sources of our suffering are created by our misunderstanding of the nature of things. As we begin to develop some insight into the nature of mind, our experience of our life begins to shift. This is what all of Zen practice is pointing towards. During the morning, we will focus on zazen, looking at developing concentration, working with thoughts and emotions, and what it means to cultivate compassion as part of a meditative practice. In the afternoon, our focus will shift to how we can develop our practice off of the cushion. What does concentration look like in the midst of full-on activity? How can awareness transform our experience of difficult feelings on the spot? How does softening and opening to our own experience nurture our compassionate heart?  This weekend retreat is meant to be a follow up to our popular Introduction to Zen Training Weekend. For those interested in doing…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
March 10 - 12, 2023

Are you new to meditation or Zen Buddhist practice? Have you read books about Zen, or been doing meditation on your own? Do you think you’d like to study with a teacher? Designed for those new to Zen or formal Zen training, this introductory retreat allows you to immerse yourself in Zen practice and experience the Monastery’s Eight Gates program. With a partial re-opening underway, we are happy to offer this on-site retreat safely. During the weekend, you’ll receive instruction in zazen (seated meditation) and have a chance to experience and ask questions about liturgy, work as sacred activity, art and body practice, the teachings of wisdom and compassion, and Buddhist study. You’ll learn how to establish a consistent home practice and receive guidance on bringing it into your work, family, and relationships. And you’ll have the opportunity for private interview with a teacher to explore the importance of the teacher-student relationship for the spiritual path. This retreat also gives you a chance to encounter the Monastery cloister—a dynamic spiritual community whose everyday activities and concerns are simplified. By entering the cloister for a weekend, you experience a place uniquely conducive to spiritual practice and to connecting to your own…

Dharma Gates: Living a Zen Path
March 15 - 19, 2023

This retreat is for people between the ages of 18-30. In collaboration with Dharma Gates, a grassroots nonprofit dedicated to opening pathways into formal meditation training for people ages 18-30, Zen Mountain Monastery is offering a 5-day immersion in the path of Zen Buddhism.  Zen is a practice of discovering our natural inner clarity and learning how to bring this into our everyday life. Over the past fifteen hundred years, the Zen tradition has evolved various upaya, or skillful means, to help us wake up to reality right where we are. This retreat will be an opportunity for beginning to intermediate practitioners to experience Zen training within the supportive environment of the monastery. During our time together, we’ll engage in some of the core practices of Zen, including zazen (Zen meditation), Buddhist liturgy, and silent work practice, all of which emerge from direct contact with our inherent wakefulness. We’ll spend one full day in silence, following the structure of a classic one-day Zen meditation retreat. Appreciating the opportunity to come together with practitioners at a particular stage of life, we’ll take some time for active reflection, too – through discussion, movement, or art practice –  on key topics and challenges…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
April 7 - 9, 2023

Are you new to meditation or Zen Buddhist practice? Have you read books about Zen, or been doing meditation on your own? Do you think you’d like to study with a teacher? Designed for those new to Zen or formal Zen training, this introductory retreat allows you to immerse yourself in Zen practice and experience the Monastery’s Eight Gates program. With a partial re-opening underway, we are happy to offer this on-site retreat safely. During the weekend, you’ll receive instruction in zazen (seated meditation) and have a chance to experience and ask questions about liturgy, work as sacred activity, art and body practice, the teachings of wisdom and compassion, and Buddhist study. You’ll learn how to establish a consistent home practice and receive guidance on bringing it into your work, family, and relationships. And you’ll have the opportunity for private interview with a teacher to explore the importance of the teacher-student relationship for the spiritual path. This retreat also gives you a chance to encounter the Monastery cloister—a dynamic spiritual community whose everyday activities and concerns are simplified. By entering the cloister for a weekend, you experience a place uniquely conducive to spiritual practice and to connecting to your own…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
May 5 - 7, 2023

Are you new to meditation or Zen Buddhist practice? Have you read books about Zen, or been doing meditation on your own? Do you think you’d like to study with a teacher? Designed for those new to Zen or formal Zen training, this introductory retreat allows you to immerse yourself in Zen practice and experience the Monastery’s Eight Gates program. With a partial re-opening underway, we are happy to offer this on-site retreat safely. During the weekend, you’ll receive instruction in zazen (seated meditation) and have a chance to experience and ask questions about liturgy, work as sacred activity, art and body practice, the teachings of wisdom and compassion, and Buddhist study. You’ll learn how to establish a consistent home practice and receive guidance on bringing it into your work, family, and relationships. And you’ll have the opportunity for private interview with a teacher to explore the importance of the teacher-student relationship for the spiritual path. This retreat also gives you a chance to encounter the Monastery cloister—a dynamic spiritual community whose everyday activities and concerns are simplified. By entering the cloister for a weekend, you experience a place uniquely conducive to spiritual practice and to connecting to your own…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
June 2 - 4, 2023

Are you new to meditation or Zen Buddhist practice? Have you read books about Zen, or been doing meditation on your own? Do you think you’d like to study with a teacher? Designed for those new to Zen or formal Zen training, this introductory retreat allows you to immerse yourself in Zen practice and experience the Monastery’s Eight Gates program. With a partial re-opening underway, we are happy to offer this on-site retreat safely. During the weekend, you’ll receive instruction in zazen (seated meditation) and have a chance to experience and ask questions about liturgy, work as sacred activity, art and body practice, the teachings of wisdom and compassion, and Buddhist study. You’ll learn how to establish a consistent home practice and receive guidance on bringing it into your work, family, and relationships. And you’ll have the opportunity for private interview with a teacher to explore the importance of the teacher-student relationship for the spiritual path. This retreat also gives you a chance to encounter the Monastery cloister—a dynamic spiritual community whose everyday activities and concerns are simplified. By entering the cloister for a weekend, you experience a place uniquely conducive to spiritual practice and to connecting to your own…

Further Steps Along the Path of Zen: Exploring Wisdom and Compassion
June 16 - 18, 2023

Within the dharma, wisdom and compassion are sometimes spoken of as the two wings of a bird—we need both of them to fly. We can nurture these qualities in how we engage our life as a field of practice. For the most part, the barriers we encounter and the sources of our suffering are created by our misunderstanding of the nature of things. As we begin to develop some insight into the nature of mind, our experience of our life begins to shift. This is what all of Zen practice is pointing towards. During the morning, we will focus on zazen, looking at developing concentration, working with thoughts and emotions, and what it means to cultivate compassion as part of a meditative practice. In the afternoon, our focus will shift to how we can develop our practice off of the cushion. What does concentration look like in the midst of full-on activity? How can awareness transform our experience of difficult feelings on the spot? How does softening and opening to our own experience nurture our compassionate heart?  This weekend retreat is meant to be a follow up to our popular Introduction to Zen Training Weekend. For those interested in doing…

June 2015 ZMM Work Practice-Garden Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
June 30 - July 2, 2023

Are you new to meditation or Zen Buddhist practice? Have you read books about Zen, or been doing meditation on your own? Do you think you’d like to study with a teacher? Designed for those new to Zen or formal Zen training, this introductory retreat allows you to immerse yourself in Zen practice and experience the Monastery’s Eight Gates program. With a partial re-opening underway, we are happy to offer this on-site retreat safely. During the weekend, you’ll receive instruction in zazen (seated meditation) and have a chance to experience and ask questions about liturgy, work as sacred activity, art and body practice, the teachings of wisdom and compassion, and Buddhist study. You’ll learn how to establish a consistent home practice and receive guidance on bringing it into your work, family, and relationships. And you’ll have the opportunity for private interview with a teacher to explore the importance of the teacher-student relationship for the spiritual path. This retreat also gives you a chance to encounter the Monastery cloister—a dynamic spiritual community whose everyday activities and concerns are simplified. By entering the cloister for a weekend, you experience a place uniquely conducive to spiritual practice and to connecting to your own…

Weekend Sesshin
July 14 - 16, 2023

Because sesshin is a very intensive retreat, if you have not attended sesshin at Zen Mountain Monastery you must have a pre-sesshin interview, so please call or email the Training Office to schedule at (845) 688-2228, or registrar@dharma.net. A weekend sesshin is a great way to experience sesshin for the first time, and also a wonderful opportunity for more experienced practitioners. Characterized by silence and deep introspection, sesshin is recommended to anyone who is sincerely interested in experiencing intensive Zen training. We wake up each day before dawn to begin a schedule that includes 7 to 10 hours of zazen, chanting services, formal silent meals in the zendo (oryoki), silent work practice and talks by the teacher and senior students. Sesshin is an opportunity to receive support from the teachers, draw from the tremendous strength of people practicing together and experience the deep stillness that lies within each one of us. As with all in-person retreats at the Monastery, participants are required to follow the current protocol for keeping everyone safe. Please review the current protocol requirements before registering, and if you have further questions, please contact the registrar. Financial concerns should not prevent you from attending a program at…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
August 4 - 6, 2023

Are you new to meditation or Zen Buddhist practice? Have you read books about Zen, or been doing meditation on your own? Do you think you’d like to study with a teacher? Designed for those new to Zen or formal Zen training, this introductory retreat allows you to immerse yourself in Zen practice and experience the Monastery’s Eight Gates program. With a partial re-opening underway, we are happy to offer this on-site retreat safely. During the weekend, you’ll receive instruction in zazen (seated meditation) and have a chance to experience and ask questions about liturgy, work as sacred activity, art and body practice, the teachings of wisdom and compassion, and Buddhist study. You’ll learn how to establish a consistent home practice and receive guidance on bringing it into your work, family, and relationships. And you’ll have the opportunity for private interview with a teacher to explore the importance of the teacher-student relationship for the spiritual path. This retreat also gives you a chance to encounter the Monastery cloister—a dynamic spiritual community whose everyday activities and concerns are simplified. By entering the cloister for a weekend, you experience a place uniquely conducive to spiritual practice and to connecting to your own…