Other MRO Teachings

Learning To Love What Is Not For Our Keeping

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Yukon

Michael Yukon Grody, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 01/05/2020

 

Bodhicitta

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ShoanDanica Shoan Ankele, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/29/2019

In this talk from Rohatsu Sesshin, Mn. Shoan reflects on a commonly used intention-setting invocation from Tibetan Buddhism:

“May the precious bodhicitta arise where it has not yet arisen, and where it has arisen, may it not diminish.” This kind of directed aspiration also pervades Zen liturgy.  When we look, we see it everywhere. That desire for awakening fuels our capacity to notice habitual patterns, commit to the path and stay the course.

Living By Vow

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 12/29/2019

In the spirit of the New Year, senior monastic Gokan encourages us to be inspired by Zen teacher Okumura Roshi’s definition of a bodhisattva as a person who lives by vow instead of karma. Our karma is the habit energy of our conditioning, but a true vow—whether public or personal—is a compass that helps us turn in the right direction. In living our lives based on vow we can continuously shift the direction of our karma towards the Buddha Way.

The Courage To Meet Reality

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Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student

Zen Mountain Monastery, 12/28/2019

“Humankind cannot bear much reality,” noted the poet TS Eliot. From this vantage point senior lay student Yunen considers the role of courage and whole-heartedness in a life of practice. What is is that I think that I personally cannot bear? In practice we learn to just take the next step, facing the realities we think we cannot bear with wholeheartedness for the benefit of all beings, giving rise to joy and the freedom to love.

The Four Mind Changings

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 12/01/2019

Senior monastic Gokan, reflecting on cultivating appreciation and giving thanks, brings up the Four Mind Changings as as ways to help our understanding of the Dharma. Sometimes referred to as the Four Remembrances, these are thought of as preliminaries in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, preparing our minds to receive further teachings. These four are: appreciating the human life we have, understanding impermanence, understanding karma, and understanding samsara. Developing a deeper awareness of these can serve to change our narrow, self-grasping view and support us on the path of practice.

Avalanche

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Robert Rakusan Ricci, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 11/24/2019

In this rousing and poetic talk senior monastic Rakusan uses Leonard Cohen’s song “Avalanche” as the framework for a journey into Buddhist teaching and practice. Hearing the voices of Cohen, James Joyce, Bob Dylan and the Vimalakirti Sutra, we range from the emergence of a sense of self through form and emptiness to the flowering of Bodhicitta. Rakusan reminds us, “It is indeed our turn, Noble Friends, to realize the Dharma…..It is our turn to smile on the subway.”

Listen To Silence

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Michelle Seigei Spark, Lay Senior

Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/22/2019

We encounter ourselves in the quiet atmosphere of zazen. Senior lay student Seigei takes us through the experience of listening to silence, reminding us that silence is the refuge we find in zazen, where we are awakend by silence. In listening to silence we can encounter the power of aloneness, bringing with it challenges and difficulty as well as the opportunity for the quiet receptivity to hear what is true.

We Should Remember

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Prabu Gikon Vasan, Senior Lay Practitioner

Zen Center of New York City, 11/17/2019

 

Two Kinds of Thought and The Four Endeavors

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 10/27/2019

 

Coming Into Focus

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Robert Rakusan Ricci, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 10/20/2019

With the easy grace of a life-long poet, monastic Rakusan delves in to the instructions of the Buddha’s path—to calm the mind, open the heart—for the purpose of bringing reality in to focus. He looks at ways to awaken our energy, finding the inspiring ways we can “fill the dull corners” of our minds and light up our world.

Humility and Reverence

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Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student

Zen Center of New York City, 10/20/2019

 

The Persistent Illusion Of Time

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Yukon

Michael Yukon Grody, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 10/06/2019

Seeking the Dharma is an unusual way to find peace and healing, but the Buddha was very clear that the Way is available in every moment and in every action, and with others we find support and guidance which we need to let ourselves be vulnerable. In this talk, monastic Yukon encourages us to take every opportunity to explore the nature of reality, and thereby how we can develop a true compassionate heart—not separating self, other, objects and the entire world.

 

To Study The Self

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ShoanDanica Shoan Ankele, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 09/29/2019

Realization, Zen practice and everyday life, how are these all related? To study the self, a fundamental teaching from Dogen Zenji, opens many doors as it profoundly disrupts our ability to grasp at fixed definitions or to put ourselves in a box, giving us ways to develop and experience our own liberation.

Transformation

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ShoanDanica Shoan Ankele, Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 09/01/2019

How does the magic of transformation happen? We may all secretly wish to transform what we don’t like, but how open are we to transformations we can’t even imagine? And to do this not just for ourselves, but for the betterment of all beings? Monastic Shoan explores how wisdom grows through the willingness to blossom, and to wake up, in this very life.

Quenching the Thirst

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ShoanDanica Shoan Ankele, Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 08/24/2019

 

The Long Haul

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Robert Rakusan Ricci, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 08/22/2019

Words from long-time Zen practitioner and monastic Rakusan. Drawing on his lifetime of poetry as spiritual practice, he offers perspectives on the long road of distraction and commitment, obstacles and skillful means helping us to grapple with the wonder and the mystery of our lives.

Clear Spirit Breeze, Breath of our Song

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Michael Chizen Brown, Senior Lay Practitioner

Zen Mountain Monastery, 08/21/2019

A universal spiritual element, the breath of life is also the basis of zazen practice as taught in Zen Buddhism. The breath as a practice is fundamental in working with the mind, letting go of conceptual thought, practicing bodhicitta, and raising the Buddha Mind. Long-time senior lay practitioner Chizen shares perspectives on practicing the heart of the Way during the Hazy Moon Sesshin.

The Practice of True Reality

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic

Zen Mountain Monastery, 08/18/2019

A verse by Master Hongzhi is a direct encouragement to work with mind and the thoughts which generally occupy us. This helpful talk from monastic Gokan explores using these teachings to shift from habitual spinning into a practice that is not obscured by external causes and conditions, but is a practice of true reality.

Using the 24 Hours

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Valerie Meiju Linet, Senior Lay Student

Zen Center of New York City, 08/04/2019

How do we best use our minds throughout the day? Taking up an exchange between Zen master Joshu and a student, senior lay student Meiju explores the urgency we feel at not wasting our lives, or our time, as a place that often slips into disconnection from what is actually happening. How do we use the 24-hours without being used by them?

The Monster Within

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Yukon

Michael Yukon Grody, Senior Monastic

Zen Center of New York City, 07/28/2019

We all have the capacity to change for the better, and often face resistance to those very changes that could improve our lives and those of our communities and our world. What is underneath our resistance? Monastic Yukon asks, What do we feel apart from, how do we feel disconnected? From the natural world, and from each other? Understanding our minds and our intrinsic Buddha nature can bring out the sense of wholeness and compassion within us that we deeply want to know.