Retreat Teachers

At ZMM and ZCNYC

Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order and Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery. 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.

Events with Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Rohatsu Sesshin
December 26 - 31, 2022

In the Zen tradition, Rohatsu sesshin celebrates the Buddha’s enlightenment and is traditionally the most intensive and challenging sesshin of the year. Each day begins well before dawn (3:45 am) and is a continuous practice of meditation throughout the day while sitting, walking, standing and lying down. There are from nine to eleven hours of zazen (the time for sitting meditation increases each day), chanting services, formal silent meals in the zendo (oryoki), silent work practice and talks by teachers and senior students. Sesshin is also an opportunity to receive personal guidance in private interviews with the teacher, and to draw from the tremendous strength of people practicing together as we experience the deep stillness that lies within each one of us. Because Rohatsu sesshin is a very intensive retreat, you are required to have attended at least one full sesshin at Zen Mountain Monastery previously. If you have not attended Rohatsu before, do not register until you have a pre-sesshin interview; please call the Training Office at (845) 688-2228 to schedule one. Participants must join by Wednesday, December 28 As with all in-person retreats at the Monastery, participants are required to follow the current protocol for keeping everyone safe…

One Continuous Thread: Home Practice Intensive—December 2022
December 26, 2022 - January 1, 2023

Welcome to One Continuous Thread-Rohatsu, a way to bring elements of a formal zazen intensive into your daily life. You will be able to participate with ZMM’s Sesshin via live webcast. We’ve designed this retreat keeping in mind the unique circumstances that each person finds themselves in during this time of social distancing. 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. After registering, you’ll receive further guidance on how to engage with the retreat, and a full schedule of the Monastery’s zendo activities. You can base your own sitting around that or set your own schedule. Webcasted dharma talks during the week will also be available as audio files. There will be a Zoom offering for Opening Guidelines on Sunday night, 12/26, and all participants, especially new ones, are encouraged to attend (regardless of day of arrival), and an evening Closing Reflections on Friday evening.    You will be contacted no earlier than the evening of…

Introduction to Zen Training Weekend
January 6 - 8, 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…

Entering the Way of Compassion—The Practices of a Bodhisattva, Precepts II
January 13 - 15, 2023

A Precepts II Retreat in the Mountains & Rivers Order The vow of the Bodhisattva is to alleviate suffering and give selflessly for the benefit of all beings—to live with compassion. According to Buddhist teachings, each of us is naturally endowed with compassion. So why do generosity, kindness and patience so often seem difficult to bring forth? What constricts our hearts and ability to respond skillfully? Indeed, what is it to be skillfully compassionate towards ourselves and others? This retreat is open to all who are interested in practicing the Dharma and cultivating a life of wisdom and compassion. It is also part of the Mountains and Rivers Order training program for students receiving the Buddhist precepts.  In this retreat, we will examine and discuss bodhicitta—the great aspiration to liberate self and other—and its important role in generating compassion. We’ll also study the teachings of the Paramitas or Perfections, those practices and enlightened views of selfless compassion: generosity, morality, patience, joyful effort, meditation and transcendent wisdom.  By exploring the issues that challenge us the most, we’ll see how we can bring compassionate action into our daily practice, both spontaneously and intentionally. As with all in-person retreats at the Monastery, participants…

New Years' Sesshin
January 23 - 29, 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 before you register, so please call or email the Training Office to schedule at (845) 688-2228, or registrar@dharma.net. Since there are a limited number of spots, please sign up for only 1-2 sesshin per quarter. If registration is full, and you do not need an interview (as a first-time participant) please put your name on the waiting list.  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 personal guidance in private interviews with the teacher, 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 (this link is updated frequently…

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…

Self-Doubt and Profound Trust
February 11, 2023

If you want to attain the matter of suchness, you must be a person of suchness. You already are a person of suchness. Why worry about the matter of suchness?  —Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo fascicle “Suchness” Since every dharma practitioner already possesses Buddha nature, the teachings encourage us to practice with confidence and faith. This allows us to enter more deeply and freely into our meditation and study, and to aspire to enlightenment. However, a great many Western practitioners carry strong currents of self-doubt, self-criticism and even self-hatred. This can affect how we hear the teachings and then practice them. Facing one’s normal distractedness, self-clinging, and karmic regrets can be interpreted as signs and confirmations of one’s inadequacy as a practitioner and human being. And yet Dogen taught, “Without exception, everyone is a vessel of buddhadharma. Never think that you are not a vessel.” In this daylong retreat, we’ll examine and discuss some of the prevalent and powerful forces that instill such beliefs of insufficiency within us so we can see into their creation. In this way, we see that such thoughts and emotions are not who we are but what we have learned. We’ll then look at various practices that can heal…

Bodhidharma Sesshin
February 20 - 26, 2023

**There are no formal talks or face-to-face teaching during Bodhidharma sesshin. If this is your first sesshin, please consider signing up for the sesshin in January** Because sesshin is a very intensive retreat, 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 registrar@dharma.net. If registration is full, and you do not need an interview (as a first-time participant) please put your name on the waiting list. Since there are a limited number of spots, please sign up for only 1-2 sesshin per quarter. 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 personal guidance in private interviews with the teacher, 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…

Ango Opening Weekend Sesshin
March 3 - 5, 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 before you register, so please call or email the Training Office to schedule at (845) 688-2228, or registrar@dharma.net. If registration is full, and you do not need an interview (as a first-time participant) please put your name on the waiting list.  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 personal guidance in private interviews with the teacher, 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 (this link is updated frequently so check back). Review the current protocol requirements before registering, and if you have further questions, please…

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…

Founding Sesshin
March 27 - April 2, 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. Since there are a limited number of spots, please sign up for only 1-2 sesshin per quarter. If registration is full, and you do not need an interview (as a first-time participant) please put your name on the waiting list.  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 personal guidance in private interviews with the teacher, 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 (this link is updated frequently so check back).…

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…

Apple Blossom Sesshin
April 24 - 30, 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. Since there are a limited number of spots, please sign up for only 1-2 sesshin per quarter. If registration is full, and you do not need an interview (as a first-time participant) please put your name on the waiting list.  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 personal guidance in private interviews with the teacher, 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 (this link is updated frequently so check back).…

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…

Shuso Hossen/Ocean Gathering Sesshin
May 22 - 28, 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. Please call or email the Training Office to schedule at (845) 688-2228, or registrar@dharma.net before you register. Since there are a limited number of spots, please sign up for only 1-2 sesshin per quarter. If registration is full, and you do not need an interview (as a first-time participant) please put your name on the waiting list.  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 personal guidance in private interviews with the teacher, 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 (this link is updated frequently so…

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…

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…