The student in this koan asks, “Do people these days need Enlightenment or not?” Shugen Roshi deeply investigates the many facets of this question, presenting a path which acknowledges the painful reality of suffering but remains based in unshakeable faith in the basic wholeness of every person.
Is there Buddhadharma in the new year? How could it be any different in the new year? Reflecting on the recent passing of his 91-year-old mother, Shugen Roshi speaks on how we prepare ourselves for transitions and what we can rely upon at moments of great change.
Because the self does not exclude anything, it’s boundless – this is non-greed. Based in this we can bring forth more naturally loving words and beneficial actions. By taking up this practice we begin to directly experience self and other merging and falling away.
Buddhism teaches that living a human life is both fragile and extremely powerful. What are the practices we, as aspiring bodhisattvas, can use to guide ourselves through this precious life? In the first of two talks by Shugen Roshi on Shantideva’s Four Methods of Guidance, he takes up generous giving and loving speech: practices of gentle attention to ourselves and others which have the power to transform our lives.
Until the end of his life, the Buddha continued to encounter Mara, the insidious voice which tries to undermine the faith of the practitioner. Here, Shugen Roshi speaks of the need to continually meet Mara’s voice with tenderness and courage, emphasizing that no length of practice or depth of realization silences Mara – nor should it.
In this talk, given following our annual vigil to celebrate the Buddha’s enlightenment, Shugen Roshi evokes the Shakyamuni’s profound humanity and exceptional faith, emphasizing that we show our reverence for the Buddha and his teachings by actualizing them in our own place and time, our own bodies and minds.
Particularly during the holiday season, the virtue of generosity is frequently and casually invoked. But how do we actually practice true giving and true receiving? Shugen Roshi describes giving in harmony with receiving, not looking for something in return – a generosity which is deeply authentic even when only great effort can bring it forth.
In this talk, Shugen Roshi takes up the lines central to our Ango study of Buddha ancestors: “I am like this. You are like this. All the ancestors in India were like this.” Through the lens of Master Dongshan’s Five Ranks, he speaks of the importance of practicing, actualizing and transmitting that which is always present and cannot be taught.
“Concentration nurtured with virtue is of great fruit, great reward. Discernment nurtured with concentration is of great fruit, great reward. The mind nurtured with discernment is rightly released.” In this talk from November’s Shuso Hossen Sesshin, Shugen Roshi delves into this simple yet profound teaching from the Pali Canon. Ethical action, meditation and insight rely on and support each other, he notes, forming a unified path which can address the many aspects of our humanity.
Shugen Roshi officiates a ceremony in which Nancy Meyer-Emerick (Eisho, “eternal bloom”), Constanza Ontaneda (Sokyo, “everyday sutra”), Steve Miron (Seigan, “sacred eye”), Achong Chen (Jusan, “pearl mountain”), Jonathan Rosenthal (Seiko, “boundless peace”), and Polly Horn (Kiho, “radiant dharma”) receive the sixteen Buddhist precepts and are given their new dharma names.
Shugen Roshi leads a discussion of the recorded lives and past lives of the Buddha’s first disciples, touching on the nature of religious narrative, Buddhist philosophies of karma and rebirth, and the importance of studying the ancestors.
Unfortunately, a few minutes of this talk could not be recorded due to technical difficulties.
In a moment which so urgently demands that we step forward to alleviate the suffering of the world, where do we take refuge? Where do we find the ground from which to act justly and with compassion in difficult moments? Shugen Roshi invites the sangha to present their understanding.
The True Dharma Eye: Master Dogen’s Three Hundred Koan Shobogenzo, Case #25
Zen Mountain Monastery, 9/29/2018
What does it mean to bow to the Buddha, to the mountain, to our teachers? Shugen Roshi speaks of a kind of veneration that allows us to be earnest in asking for the teachings while maintaining deep faith in our own enlightened nature.
This talk was given at the opening of the current ango training period. Shugen Roshi addresses the theme of the ango, and questions how we can best honor our lineages, knowing that the manners of the past can sometimes clash with our own values of equality and inclusivity.
Check out the audio above or watch a video of this talk below.
With apologies, the video image cuts out during the last couple minutes of the talk. The audio, however, remains consistent through the conclusion.