Thinking about emptiness might seem like a misguided approach to spiritual practice or perhaps just a poor use of one’s time. But that is exactly what was advocated by the Indian philosophers who developed Abhidharma, Madyamika, and Yogācāra. As Buddhist scholar William S. Waldron points out in his work, these developments were merely a further elaboration of the Buddha’s own logical schema in helping us to dissect and divest from our presumptions and delusions.
First the podcast, an abridged version of a longer conversation you can find at the bottom of this page.
There’s a saying about modern religious practice in Japan. “When there’s a birth, go to the Shinto temple for a blessing. When there’s a marriage, go to a church for the ceremony. When there’s a death, call a Zen priest.”
Our newly launched journal—Mountains and Rivers: Zen Dharma and Practice—is now available. Just ahead of the February 2020 release date, journal editor Suzanne Taikyo Gilman and the journal’s designer, Kristin Keimu Adolphson, sat down for a conversation about this exciting project with Valerie Meiju Linet, a former editor of Mountain Record quarterly.
Here’s a bit of the backstory covered in the recorded conversation. In discontinuing our quarterly print journal in early 2019, we knew that we still wanted to offer something in print that would document some of the best teachings and conversations that were taking place in our midst. Now, after nearly a year of working through a bounty of material, the first issue has just gone on sale. Its pages are filled with rich photographs, enlivening conversations, and insightful teachings from all of our Mountains and Rivers Order teachers.
When launching the Buddhist Poetry Festival in 2018, David Hinton was one of the first writers who came to mind and it was no accident that we scheduled him to open up the event on the first morning. Hinton bridges past and present, distinguishing himself as one of the foremost translators of ancient Chinese poetry and philosophy working today. His translations strive for accuracy while coaxing the aesthetic potential out of each phrase. The results are fresh takes on early Daoist and Buddhist literature, inviting us into the heart/mind of practitioners who lived centuries and even millennia before today.
After many years of publishing highly lauded books of translations and essays about translation, Shambhala Publications recently brought out an original collection of Hinton’s own poetry, influenced by the hermits, scholars, and monastics of antiquity that he’s studied so deeply. At the Buddhist Poetry Festival, he read from that new collection, Desert, on the cusp of its release. He also read from No-Gate Gateway, a recent translation of Master Wumen’s koan collection, and from Mountain Home, an anthology of ancient Chinese poetry that helped cement Hinton’s reputation when it was first published in 2002.
Following the reading, festival director Hokyu JL Aronson sat down with David Hinton for this live conversation that also included the festival audience.
A video of the reading, featuring Achong Jusan Chen reading some of the poems in their original, classical Chinese:
In September, Zen Mountain Monastery hosted the biannual conference of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association for three full days of practice, discussion and exploration. Close to 70 ordained priests and transmitted teachers joined the conference, representing dozens of training centers and sitting groups throughout North America. Following the conference, we spoke with Tenku Ruff who serves as the president of the SZBA Board of Directors and was very involved in the organization of the event. CLICK HEREto see photos from the conference.Continue reading “The Soto Zen Buddhist Association at ZMM” »
Margaret Gibson in conversation with Zuisei Goddard, Sensei
Zen Mountain Monastery, 7/6/2018
Over the course of four decades, Margaret Gibson has amassed a body of work as rich and varied as it is consistent in aspiration. One reads a poem by Margaret Gibson and comes away having shared in the yearning to see deeply, often exploring how seeing through another’s eyes can expand our sense of self. Continue reading “Margaret Gibson at the Buddhist Poetry Festival” »
The term Mindfulness—as an approach to meditation or perhaps as a lifestyle choice—seems to be everywhere one turns these days. But it’s origins in the Buddhist canon and its explication by some of the great meditation masters of the ages, can lead us to equanimity, insight and, ultimately, to wisdom and compassion. In this March 2017 interview with Zuisei Goddard, Sensei, we talk about the misunderstandings and true potential of cultivating—and maintaining—awareness. This conversation was recorded ahead of Zuisei’s April 2017 retreat, “Taming the Mind.”