Other MRO Teachings

The Mind Is Already Peaceful

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 4/21/2019

 

We can be deceived by our moods and feelings into believing that they are us. Gokan shows us that by simply remembering to return to the moment we can see through our agitations to find our inherent peaceful Mind.

Cultivating Reverence

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 3/31/2019

 

Gokan takes up Dogen’s opening lines of the Ango fascicle, “Refrain from Unwholesome Action,” and asks what is refrain from? Gokan suggests we cultivate reverence.

Alchemy in Practice

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Susan Seien Wilder, Lay Senior

Zen Mountain Monastery, 3/28/2019

 

The precious Dharma teachings have the capacity to hold all of our turmoil and troubles when we take the time to open our hearts, become receptive, and “refrain from unwholesome actions,” recognizing the alchemy that can only happen with a calm mind and a willingness to be transformed.

Illuminate Your Mind

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ShoanDanica Shoan Ankele, Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 03/17/2019

On the path of awakening, perfectionism can be confused with clarity. Shoan takes up the important distinction between the two in this senior’s talk.

Being an Ordinary Human

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Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student

Zen Center of New York City, 02/24/2019

 

In this talk, Yunen, works with the pervading sense of lack, and our striving to “get somewhere else”, which forms the defining characteristic of samsaric existence, and which we inevitably bring into our practice. He then encourages us to wholeheartedly embrace our humanity, and to engage ourselves and our life (and all of its confusion and disappointments ) with courage, compassion, and joy.

Listen There is Something You Need to Hear

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 2/17/2019

Entering via the Buddha’s consistent offering of the noble eightfold path as route to liberation, this talk deepens understandings of helpful view, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration by encouraging us to always keep looking and listening, as the universe itself is always teaching truth at any given moment. We have to listen to find practice for ourselves by training in these skillful aspects of morality, concentration and insight. Direct experience is always true, but requires repeatedly verifying such for ourselves, as we don’t know how deep it really goes. How can liberation permeate our lives, settling agitation, and thus seeing clearly?

Do Not Squander Your Life

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ShoanDanica Shoan Ankele, Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/27/2019

 

What is squandering? This talk invites us to connect to our personal senses of the crux of what it means to live spiritually,  working with our minds to uncover the intrinsic wholeness so often obscured in this very life. How can we use hindrances themselves as a points of entry for discovering a natural mind-state, thus re-connecting to the essence of truth? Forget trying to achieve in practice. Just show up and practice your life. Your one precious life.

Right View, Right Seeing

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Michelle Seigei Spark, Lay Senior

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/25/2019

This talk looks to basic Buddhist teachings as a foundation for entering practice, citing ‘right view’ as the first step in the eight-fold path. Drawing upon Pali and Tibetan teachings, as well as insights of direct experience, personally examining the four noble truths allows us to return to spaciousness and to trust our ability to love. 

 

A Single Excellent Night, Part 3

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 01/24/2019

 

In the third of his talks on a Pali teaching about the urgency of practicing the present moment, Gokan reflects on aspects of his first two talks inquiring into our tendencies to dwell in either reviving the past or in future hopes, with citations including the Gospel of Thomas.

Listening To The Way

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Danica Shoan Ankele, Senior MonasticShoan

Zen Center of New York City, 1/6/2019

“Seeking answers with closed ears is like trying to touch the ocean bottom with a pole.”  Opening with a poem by Ryokan, a 17th century Zen master, Shoan encourages us to stop creating, let go of our fixed ideas, and practice attentively listening to ourselves, to others, and to our world.

 

Nuts and Bolts

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Yukon

Michael Yukon Grody, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 12/30/2018

A Single Excellent Night, Part 2

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/30/2018

 

In the second of two talks on a Pali teaching about the urgency of practicing the present moment, Gokan reflects on the tendency to imagine the future, whether with excitement or dread, rather than truly dwelling where we find ourselves. He urges us to remember that our fantasies of the future are only mental fabrications – our life is happening right now.

A Perfect Offering

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Prabu Gikon Vasan, Senior Lay Practitioner

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/28/2018

 

Gikon uses the opening prayer from Shantideva’s “Way of the Bodhisattva” to draw our attention to the many moments of offering which punctuate the liturgy of sesshin, urging us to take up this practice wholeheartedly even in moments where we may feel we have nothing to give.

The Happiness of All Beings

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Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student

Zen Center of New York City, 12/16/2018

Happiness is pervasive: it doesn’t increase or decrease. Our mind, meanwhile, experiences happiness and unhappiness, sometimes with great intensity. If happiness is our real condition, what is it that we look for from practice? 

A Single Excellent Night

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/2/2018

 

Gokan uses an early teaching of the Buddha to speak about the role of the past in our practice and the need to see the way in which our past shapes our present while still being able to let that go and rest in this moment. We apologize that the first few minutes of this talk were not recorded.

The Practice of Giving Thanks

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Jeanne Seisen Lewis, Senior Lay Student

Zen Center of New York City, 11/25/2018

 

Seisen, a senior lay practitioner in the Mountains and Rivers Order, uses her own experience of practicing gratitude over the years to speak about how offering thanks inexhaustibly highlights the complete interdependence of all things.

 

 

Shuso Hossen Ceremony for Kerstin Seishin Maile

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Kerstin Seishin Maile, Senior Lay Student

The True Dharma Eye, Case #212

Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/18/2018

Seishin, a seasoned practitioner in the Mountains and Rivers Order, offers her first talk and engages the sangha in dharma encounter as part of her transition into the role of a senior student.  We apologize for the low quality of this recording.

No Time To Waste

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Prabu Gikon Vasan, Senior Lay Practitioner

Zen Center of New York City, 11/18/2018

 

Gikon uses the teachings of early Theravada nuns, in particular the experience of Kisa Gautami, to examine the meaning of true freedom, and relates their struggles our modern day experiences of meeting barriers and attachments.

Calling In The Ancestors

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Danica Shoan Ankele, Senior MonasticShoan

Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/15/18

 

In this talk, Shoan evokes the pervasive presence of the ancestors in our practice of zazen, oryoki, and liturgy. She cites the writings of women ancestors across space and time, speaking to the mystical truth-seeking heart of every religious tradition.

To Be Cultivated and Not To Be Cultivated

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 11/11/2018

 

Drawing on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, Chan Master Sheng-Yen, and IMS Teacher Joseph Goldstein, Gokan offers insight into how we stop creating evil, practice good, and actualize good for others. How does zazen help us to do that, to stay in our own experience? And how do zazen and the precepts give each other life?