Geoffrey Shugen Arnold

Medicine and Disease Heal Each Other

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Blue Cliff Record, Case 87

Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/24/2019

In this talk, Shugen Roshi uses Yunmen’s pithy teaching on medicine and sickness as a way of looking at the profound and challenging truths of non-attachment and non-duality. Although we may have many ideas about what these words mean, it is only through direct study and practice that we can really understand and embody them. This is the path to genuine compassion and relaxed freedom.

Beyond Fear of Difference Ten Values: Trust

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Center of New York City, 3/17/2019

Shugen explores one of the values established for the Sangha’s “Beyond Fear of Differences” work: trust. A cultivation of confidence in the Sangha’s working together to achieve mutual liberation, trust is essential and not separate from compassion and love.

Fusatsu: Refrain From Unwholesome Action

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/14/2019

 

This Fusatsu talk invites us to reflect deeply on Dōgen’s teaching from the Spring Ango study fascicle, “Refrain from unwholesome action. Do wholesome action. Purify your own mind. This is the teaching of all buddhas.” Shugen Roshi looks into how all action natures (positive negative, and neutral) are unborn, undefiled, and are reality– but manifest in various ways. Study of our thoughts, words, and actions offers insight to understanding intentions, desires, and karma. With an undefended heart, refraining from unwholesome action, how is “the power of practice immediately actualized” on the immeasurable scale Dōgen describes?  

P’an Shan’s There is Nothing in the World

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Blue Cliff Record, Case 37

Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/10/2019

How do we meet the moment, in the moment, when it is occurring? To say that there is nothing in the three worlds (form, formless, desire) is to understand that no material world exists outside of mind. Mind itself is without any substance of its own, yet practice involves examining mind. This talk explores how this case and teaching can help us not be bound by anything — by identity, the past, nor intellectual inquiry.

Spring Ango Opening 2019 ZMM

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/3/2019

As we step into a new training period, Shugen Roshi reflects on “Manifesting Buddha,” the theme for this ango. He also talks about the work of confronting oppression, particularly the subtle kinds that we inflict upon those different from ourselves. This work is none other than the spiritual development of all buddhas and ancestors who sought to clarify their karma of negative emotions, self-grasping, and delusion.

 

A note about the below video: apologies for the low quality image at the start. It improves over the course of the talk.

 

 

 

Bodhidharma’s Skin, Flesh, Bones & Marrow

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

True Dharma Eye, Case 201

Zen Mountain Monastery, 02/24/2019

In the case, four of Bodhidharma’s disciples express their understanding in their own ways, and each answer contains the teacher’s whole being. All perspectives necessary, and none superior nor inferior, this talk earnestly invites us to consider the case as related to the time and place of Bodhidharma’s teaching and successors, as well our own. Aspiring toward an enlightened society that extends beyond these lives in which we find ourselves currently practicing, how will we manifest Buddha, now and into the future?

Changsha Advancing a Step (part 2/2)

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Book of Serenity, Case 79

Zen Center of New York City, 02/10/2019  

Changsha Advancing a Step (part 1/2)

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Book of Serenity, Case 79

Zen Center of New York City, 02/09/2019

 

Mondo on the Precept of Being Giving and Not Stealing

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Center of New York City, 02/07/2019

What is giving? What is stealing? Within Buddhism there are many ways to understand this. Literally, on its face; with an openness, acknowledging that when rules are rigid they can result in less compassion than if the rules are not adhered to; and further, with respect to time, place, person and position.

In this question and answer teaching, the sangha and Shugen Roshi explore, together, what this precept is, its many meanings, and the sometimes complicated ways in which we can apply it and it affects our lives.

*Note: We experienced Technical Audio difficulties with this talk. There are some sections of the audio which we were unable to repair around 37:00-39:30, and 48:30. The second problem section included a lost question.

Yunmen says “You’ve Missed It”

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Gateless Gate, Case 39

Zen Mountain Monastery, 02/03/2019

Exploring Yunmen’s reply to a monk in the case, “You’ve missed it,”  what is the transcendent use of speech, and how does it open us to practicing what is real and what is true? Wishing for the gladness of all, how do we truly begin such a goal by working with ourself? Accepting that it is not easy, how can our lives become truly Alive?

*Note: We experienced Technical Audio difficulties with this talk. On 2/5 we replaced the audio file with an improvement. If you downloaded the old audio, you may wish to re-download this one. The audio gets better 5 minutes into this talk.

Baizhang’s “Wild Ducks”

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Blue Cliff Record, Case 53

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/27/2019

Seeking to be free of hiddenness, attachments, and partiality, Shugen Roshi inquires into this koan conversation as an example of how all aspects that feed into the student teacher relationship contribute to liberation. How do we encounter situations without getting stuck? How does living life as the larger body offer freedom, and also allow for beneficial use of those sense perceptions which previously perpetuated samsara?

Guishan and Iron Grindstone Liu

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Blue Cliff Record, Case 24

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/26/2019

How do we eliminate distance in understanding the basis of what is true? This case’s exchange between Liu Tiemo (Iron Gridstone) and her teacher Kuei Shan (Chinese pronunciation) offers insight into resting in Self-nature, empty and undivided.

The Way is Originally Perfect and All-Pervading

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

from Fukanzazengi, Master Dogen

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/23/2019

Expounding the opening of Master Dogen’s Fukanzazengi, this talk encourages our trust in experience as practitioners of each moment, as it is — itself a manifestation of Buddha nature pervading the whole universe, existing here and now.

 

 

How Should a Suffering Bodhisattva Practice Their Mind?

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

From The Vimalakirti Sutra

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/20/2019

 

Mi Hu’s “Enlightenment or Not?”

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

The Book of Serenity, Case #62

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/13/2019

The student in this koan asks, “Do people these days need Enlightenment or not?”  Working from the Book of Serenity and other texts, Shugen Roshi deeply investigates the many facets of this question. A true path, he says, acknowledges the painful reality of suffering but remains grounded in an unshakeable faith in the basic wholeness of every person. 

Jingqing’s “Buddhadharma at the New Year”

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

The True Dharma Eye, Case #39

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/06/2019

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.

Shantideva’s Four Methods of Guidance (Part 2)

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Zen Center of New York City, 12/23/2018

 

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. 
 

Shantideva’s Four Methods of Guidance (Part 1)

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi   

Zen Center of New York City, 12/22/2018

 

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.

Master Dongshan Is Unwell

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi   

The Book Of Equanimity, Case #94

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/16/2018

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.

The Buddha’s Enlightenment

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi   

The Transmission of the Light, Case #1

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/9/2018

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.