What is Ango?
Ango—“peaceful dwelling”—is a traditional intensive training period common to many schools of Buddhism.
Ango traces its history to the time of Shakyamuni Buddha and the early sangha. Each year, as the monsoon rains began, the community would gather together. This enabled everyone to deepen their practice and polish their understanding through the indispensable teachings of the Three Treasures—Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Ango in the Mountains and Rivers Order
The MRO is committed to protecting the spiritual integrity and practice of ango. We recognize the complexity of practicing in the world of family, livelihood and other responsibilities, and this is particularly true during this time of Covid. At the same time, understanding the transformative effect that spiritual practice has on our lives, we emphasize the importance of entering regular periods of intensified training. All MRO students are required to formally participate in at least one ango each year.
During ango, Monastery residents intensify their daily practice by increasing their involvement in the Eight Gates of training and participating in monthly sesshins. Home practitioners take up the challenge by increasing their Eight Gates practice at home and making contact with the teachers at the Monastery, Temple or affiliate groups. Each ango, participants help create a unified sangha by joining in at least two zazen intensives and engaging with Buddhist study and Beyond Fear of Differences / anti-oppression work. Participation in an Introduction to Zen Training Retreat or Zen Practice Retreat online with the Monastery are strongly encouraged for those formally participating in ango.
Each ango begins formally with an Ango Opening Ceremony during which those participating in the training period step forward to acknowledge their commitment. This Spring, the opening ceremony will took place on March 7th as part of our Sunday morning program with those of us at the Monastery crossing the literal threshold and many more, including the ango’s chief disciple, doing so from their homes and over Zoom. You can watch Shugen Roshi’s talk from that day on our Livestream page or within our podcast.
If you have questions about any aspect of ango training, call the Training Office and speak with one of the senior monastics.