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.
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. 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 one program offered at the Monastery. Attendance at an Introduction to Zen Training Retreat and a sesshin at the Monastery are requirements for formally participating in Ango.
Each Ango begins formally with an Ango Opening Ceremony at the Monastery during the Sunday Morning Program. Typically, this ceremony includes the installation of a Chief Disciple, a training position for a junior student who is chosen by their teacher to provide an example of sincere and vigorous practice during the Ango. This serves as a rite of passage for the Chief Disciple in becoming a senior student. If no student is ready, then we conduct the Ango without a Chief Disciple. At the opening ceremony, one of the teachers offers a talk introducing the theme of the Ango. Check the Monastery Calendar for dates.
If you have questions about any aspect of ango training, call the ZMM or ZCNYC Training Offices and speak with one of the senior monastics.
The following are suggested translations of Eihei Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra: