Ron Hogen Green

Not Betraying Others

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei

Broadcasted from Hogen Sensei’s home in Pennsylvania, 11/18/2020

Case 47 from Dogen’s 300 koan Shobogenzo, Guishan’s “Do Not Betray Others”:

One day after sitting Guishan pointed at the straw sandals and said to Yangshan, “All hours of the day, we receive people’s support. Don’t betray them.” Yangshan said, “Long ago in Sudatta’s garden, the Buddha expounded just this.” Guishan said, “That’s not enough. Say more.” Yangshan said, “When it is cold, to wear socks for others is not prohibited.”

In today’s talk, Hogen sensei invites us to reflect on the nature of self and other. When giving, who is it that is receiving, and who is it that is giving? Hogen reminds us to be wary of dualistic thinking. We might also ask what is being given when nothing is physically exchanged? In other words, what is exchanged when we are in a state of ignorance? Or what is exchanged when we practice wholeheartedly? Hogen draws upon modern studies published in the Scientific Journal to point to the teachings of the old Zen Masters, that we are deeply interconnected. Showing us that the self does not end at the tip of our nose.

An Old Man Alone in the Morning

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei

Broadcasted from Hogen Sensei’s home in Pennsylvania, 10/23/2020

Rarely do we, as a society, intimately contemplate death. Even the minority of those seeking to uncover the nature of death may be doing so superficially. Hogen speaks of a renowned philosopher, who wrote many prized works on death. Yet in his final days, sensing the reality of life and death, he proclaimed them all worthless! Fortunately for Zen students, we don’t have to wait for our lives to end. We can practice and become intimate with life and death. Pulling from one of America’s great contemporary poets, Hogen Sensei supports and inspires our own reflection:

“There are questions that I no longer ask
and others that I have not asked for a long time
that I return to and dust off and discover
that I’m smiling and the question
has always been me and that it is
no question at all but that it means
different things at the same time
yes I am old now and I am the child
I remember what are called the old days and there is
no one to ask how they became the old days
and if I ask myself there is no answer
so this is old and what I have become
and the answer is something I would come to
later when I was old but this morning
is not old and I am the morning
in which the autumn leaves have no question
as the breeze passes through them and is gone” by W.S. Merwin

Mondo: Fall 2020 Ango Opening

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi & Ron Hogen Green, Sensei & Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei

Zoom, 9/5/2020

Intention, Aspiration and Vow are taken up by three teachers of the Mountains & Rivers Order in open discussion with the on-line sangha.

The Whole World Is Medicine

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei

Broadcasted from Hogen Sensei’s home in Pennsylvania, 6/27/2020

Blue Cliff Record, Case #87

“Medicine and sickness heal each other. The whole world is medicine. Where do you find the self?” Speaking on this simple, powerful koan via Zoom from his home, Hogen Sensei explores how poison is transformed into medicine, how medicine can be misused as poison, and how we can meet the great challenge of this time with honesty, clarity, and humility, within the freedom of no-self. He emphasizes that rage itself can heal, quoting Zenju Earthlyn Manuel Sensei, who writes of anger as “a burning from which I am able to speak on injustice from a place that includes the liberating nature of all beings.”

The Tripitaka is Embroidered in the Eiheiji Brocade

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Mountain Monastery – Broadcasted from Hogen Sensei’s home in Pennsylvania 04/19/2020

From the Eihei Koroku

Please note that there are a few words in this recording that are not clear due to technical difficulties.

From his home in rural Pennsylvania, Hogen Sensei offers this talk on the path of realization as this world at this time—a Buddha field manifesting wisdom and wholeness of all phenomenon—which is our world, the world of things and people, where nothing seems certain. We take refuge in the three treasures of Buddha, dharma and sangha especially by looking deeply within ourselves, at our honest feelings, and our tenderness and fears. “Emotions can also become refuges,” he says, by returning to our roots, our willingness to witness difficulty, to practice our feelings and not neglect the simple joys and surprise in day to day life.

Spring Ango Opening, ZCNYC, 2020

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 03/08/2020

Exploring the study text for the 2020 Spring Ango, Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra, Hogen opens the Spring Ango at the Zen Center of New York City, reviewing the meaning and history of Ango, a three-month period of intensive training and dedication to practice. Ango helps us realize that our practice is about aspiration, not accomplishment. We become more alive through increased intimacy with the teaching. Ango is one answer to the question, “What are you going to do about it?” It invites us to turn both inwards with concentration to our practice, and outwards with compassion to the world outside the Monastery.

Suffering Cannot Reach It

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 03/07/2020

True Dharma Eye, Case 260

Hogen Sensei asks: How do you actually wake up, using the events of your life to become real? In the koan, the monastic asks Caoshan “Where do we go to avoid the heat?” We come to practice for answers to the “heat,” the many forms of delusion and suffering. Sensei says that even when suffering we can be present with fundamental acceptance and love, and then “no suffering can reach there”. There is a goodness that does not belong to bad or good judgements, and wherever you may find yourself, you are standing in the midst of the Buddha Field. Each thing is whole and complete, so, start with yourself and be present.

Beyond the Fear of Birth and Death

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 03/06/2020

Working with the Diamond Sutra, Hogen Sensei asks: “How may we overcome the fear of birth and death and arrive at the state that is as indestructible as a diamond?” To cultivate the life of the bodhisattva, as the Buddha urges us, we can question and examine the illusion of the fixed sense of “me” and dedicate our efforts to liberate all beings. Even in the midst of our karma, we can lift away the defilements that obscure the luminous mind which sees all things with clarity. In a gentle and non-obsessive way, we can continuously turn toward the Bodhisattva Path.

Keeping Quiet

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 02/23/2020

In approaching a Zen koan, Hogen Sensei encourages us to let go of our passion to acquire understanding by grasping for answers. Rather, if we can let teaching stories begin to move us without grasping, our whole life can begin to unfold more clearly. Toward this end he explores Pablo Neruda’s famous poem “Keeping Quiet” and a koan, “Stop the Distant Temple Bell,” as both bringing fuller awareness to our lives and to the fundamental questions which bring us to spiritual practice: what is this life of ours, and how can we engage it in the wholeness of our being?

Yun Men’s Appropriate Statement

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 02/16/2020

The Blue Cliff Record, Case 14

Where is the place where the absolute nature of reality meets the relative details of our lives? The place where each is identical to the other? The “teachings of a whole lifetime” referenced in this koan presented by Hogen Sensei comes down to the practice and realization of the Buddha, the “appropriate statement” perhaps when the self is seen and released and forgotten, when the absolute nature of reality is present in the relative aspects of our life, in every step of our practice.

Guarding Our Minds From Wild Elephants

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 02/15/2020

Shantideva taught about guarding our minds as you would tame a wild elephant, using “the rope of mindfulness” to hold the elephant on all sides. Thinking we can control outcomes, on the other hand, says Hogen Sensei, generally leads to trouble for ourselves and others. Awakening to the disasters we cause can be humbling, but may also awaken the “guardians of mind,” which allow mindful activity and non-harming to thrive.

Jukai Ceremony, Winter 2019, ZCNYC

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 12/08/2019

On Sunday, December 8, Hogen Sensei gave the bodhisattva precepts to Donna Nicolino in a jukai ceremony after a week of training at Fire Lotus Temple. In addition to the hand-made rakusu and lineage chart of the ancestors, Donna received the dharma name Dojaku, meaning “Dynamic Tranquility.”

Sengcan

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Transmission of the Light, Case 31

Zen Mountain Monastery, 11/21/2019

What does it mean to be ill, yet be free from illness? This may be one of the most difficult ways that we can encounter nonduality. Hogen Sensei reminds us that we should not pretend that our experience of sickness does not exist, even though there is no “I” that can ultimately be found. If our work is seeing into the emptiness of things, how do we offer the Dharma when someone, perhaps ourselves, is ill or suffering?

T’ou Tzu’s All Sounds

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 11/03/2019

Blue Cliff Record, Case 79

Hogen Sensei explores the question: How can we understand the difference between absolute and relative? How can we rest in emptiness and yet manifest in each situation as true wisdom and compassion? Using T’ou Tzu’s famous koan as an entry into the mystery of absolute and relative truths, Sensei looks at morality that is not just absolute and not just relative, but specific to the situation. Our task is to investigate our life, using these two fundamental truths to find the wisdom that will eventually arise from practice.

Another Way

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 11/02/2019

Hogen Sensei uses singer Aimee Mann’s lyrics, “For the sake of momentum, I have allowed my fears to get larger than life,” to explore alternatives to the momentum of karma. While we remain embedded in our accumulated karma, frozen in place by our fears, how can we open our hearts? Moments of a quiet mind in zazen, in which there is a sense of nothing else—this is the doorway into wholeness. Hogen Sensei reminds us of this and asks: “Right now you are alive. So what is the plan? What will you do with it?”

Buddhist Studies Mondo on the Third Noble Truth, ZCNYC

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 10/31/2019

 

Dharma Encounter October 2019

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Dharma Encounter

Zen Mountain Monastery, 10/27/2019

The World-Honored One Ascends the Teaching Seat

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Mountain Monastery, 10/23/2019

True Dharma Eye, Case 141. The Buddha is expected to give a talk, but, shortly after taking the teacher’s seat, abruptly gets up and leaves. His attendant, Mahākāśyapa, claims the dharma has been expounded – that is, that the talk has been given. How can this be? Hogen Sensei explains the wisdom teaching – the just sitting – in the Buddha’s silence.

Mondo on the Second Noble Truth, ZCNYC

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

Zen Center of New York City, 10/13/2019

In this question and answer session with sangha members, Hogen Sensei explores The Second Noble Truth—the cause of suffering is craving, or thirst.

Sansheng’s “Golden Fish”

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei 

True Dharma Eye, Case 52

Zen Mountain Monastery, 09/27/2019

What is the nourishment we need to sustain ourselves, to take a good look at our own actions, to awaken and live from a realized perspective? Delusion creates suffering for ourselves and all beings, so how do we leap free, like the golden fish, from the net? Or, is living in the net just fine as it is? Hogen Sensei explores awakening, realization, and practice in the “real thing” of our lives.