Retreat Teachers


Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei

A Zen priest, Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei received transmission of the Precepts from Daido Roshi, who began the process in 2009, and from Shugen Roshi, who completed the transmission in 2012. In 2017, she received full dharma transmission from Shugen Roshi. She currently serves as MRO Director of Training and co-Director of the Zen Center of NYC. Before entering the Monastery in 1990, Hojin Sensei studied fine art and trained under legendary ceramicist Toshiku Takaezu, among others. Over the years she has taught drawing, ceramics, and painting, and continues to teach on the creative process within the Mountains and Rivers Order.

Events with Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei

Zazenkai - March
March 21, 2020

Zazenkai presents us with an opportunity to return to the well of introspection and committed Zen practice. The day includes an extended schedule of zazen, liturgy, face-to-face interview with a teacher, a formal talk and oryoki lunch (formal meal served in the zendo). Zazenkai is an important way for experienced students to further their practice and for newer students to take a preparatory step toward the practice of sesshin. 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.

An Evening of Poems from the First Buddhist Women (Therigatha)
April 16, 2020

An evening of Buddhist poetry for those who self identify as Women  The Therigatha are a collection of poems by the first Buddhist women ordained at the time of the Buddha. These poems are called udanas, inspired utterances about the joy of realizing freedom from suffering. They are also great literature in the way that Ezra Pound meant when he said “Literature is news that stays news”. Let us join together for this evening to bring these womens’ poems to life and see how much they may delight us today and experience how they are also able to change how we see ourselves. 

Investigating Wonder: Taking Up the Faith Mind Poem Through Art Practice with Hojin Sensei
May 8, 2020

Inquiry, questioning, and wonder are not only states of mind emphasized Zen training. This can be how we live. The creative process is to pass through the doorway of the known to the unknown; to allow ourselves to be ‘lost’; wander in new lands; get inside of the journey and dare to be our usual self. In this way the creative process can break the masks of learned behavior and reveal the inexplicable. In this retreat we will look at the teachings of the Faith Mind Poem and take up the practice of no preferences. To allow anything to appear whether it be strange, awkward, sexual, dark, chaotic, or beautiful. All of it is free to come and go unfettered, carrying with them the full range of thought and feeling. Through this process we may just find where the real creativity takes place because our whole being wants it and asks to be itself again. Please don’t let financial issues prevent you from attending a program at the Monastery. If you can’t afford the program fee, there are options. 

Being the Bowl: A Clay Retreat with Raku Firing
July 8, 2020

A multi-day adventure in zazen, clay, painting and mark-making with a palette of colors foraged here on Mt Tremper and from the nearby Esopus River. We’ll begin with a simple technique of forming clay bowls by hand. Continuing our exploration, we will delve into various materials to enhance our connection to being the bowl. The work will finally be glazed and fired by participants in a joyful and wondrous spontaneous 600-year-old traditional Japanese firing known as raku. (Translated as “relaxed ware”) This retreat will be assisted by Yosha Scott Childress. Register early as there is limited enrollment and this retreat tends to fill quickly.  

Circles on the Water: Call to the Forest — Meeting our Women Ancestors
August 4, 2020

A Wilderness Retreat for those who self identify as Women  In the early poetry of the first Buddhist women, the Therigatha, we read of women going into the forest for a quiet place to turn inward and free their minds. This wilderness excursion will take us into mountains, forests and onto the waters of the Adirondacks’ Lake Lila so that we too quiet down into our naturalness and experience the generosity of this Great Mother Earth. Our trip will allow us to develop the skills of canoeing and camping so we may feel at home and self-reliant in the woods and on water within natures unpredictable conditions.  In our group gatherings we will invoke our Women Dharma Ancestors through their poetry in the Therigatha, and through collected stories about their lives and practices. What were their challenges on the path? How can their lives guide us into our own journey? There will be times of being together in silence; zazen, creative process, canoeing explorations, hiking, and plenty of swimming off the rocks and focused Dharma study together.  If you have not previously done a retreat at Zen Mountain Monastery, please call the training office at 845 688-2228 to schedule a phone interview.…

Wild Grasses Sesshin: A Meditation Intensive for Women (Self-Identified)
September 10, 2020

A Sesshin for those who self identify as Women  A special meditation intensive led by Hojin Sensei, Wild Grasses Sesshin is a chance for those who identify as women to practice this ancient form of zen training within the uniquely supportive environment of an all-women practice community. 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), work practice and talks by the teacher and senior students. This sesshin will offer an opportunity to draw from the tremendous strength of people practicing together and experience the deep stillness that lies within each one of us. Participants may begin this sesshin on Thursday or Friday evening. Because sesshin is a very intensive retreat, those wishing to attend should first complete an Introduction to Zen Training Retreat or have participated in sesshins at another Zen center. Those who have never participated in sesshin before, or who are newer to Zen practice, should plan on beginning with the Friday-Sunday portion of the retreat. First-time sesshin participants should call the…