Fall Ango

Karma and the Path of Compassion

Ango—“peaceful dwelling”—is a traditional intensive training and an important part of our Zen practice.

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.

Ango Requirements

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.

If you have questions about any aspect of ango training, call the Training Office and speak with one of the senior monastics.

Each ango begins formally with an Ango Entering Ceremony during which those participating in the training period step forward to acknowledge their commitment. This Fall, the entering ceremony will take place on September 5th 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.


Buddhist Studies Sessions over Zoom with Shugen Roshi

Zoom registration links will be sent to all ango participants for the following dates: September 9, October 14, and November 11.

Click here for new study questions prepared by Shugen Roshi for the November 11th session.

Click here for a recording of the October 14th session.

These recommended books are available in full from online booksellers. Ango registrants will also receive scans of relevant selections.

Karma: What It Is, What It Isn’t, Why it Matters, by Traleg Kyabgon
Rethinking Karma: The Dharma of Social Justice, edited by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Assalayana Sutta (freely available through Access to Insight)

Special Opportunities for Ango Participants

3 Fridays, 10:30am-12 pm
September 3, October 1, November 12

Creative Expression: Three Fridays with Hojin Sensei

Tuesdays, 11am-12 pm

(except during sesshin)

Iyengar Yoga with Matt Angaku Dreyfus

Iyengar Yoga is based on the teachings of Yoga Master BKS Iyengar (1918- 2014). It is a multifaceted method which includes a dynamic, energetic approach to Yogic postures as well as quiet, supported practices. Sessions will support you in feeling lightness in the body, freedom in the breath and spaciousness in the mind.

9:30 – 10:30am

(except during sesshin)

Focused Flow Yoga with Michelle Laura

This weekly focused flow yoga class will explore eight limbs of yoga to still the mind, focusing on breath work, deep body awareness and alignment in asana.  Class ends in deep relaxation (Savasana) and a brief time of sitting in your new body experience.

6 – 7pm

September 27, October 11 & 25, November 8

Hara-Focused Body Practice with Mayumi Ishino
(for BIPOC Sangha)

Hara focused movements: visualizing an inner tree with breath.

A series of simple movements connect the breath and body parts, releasing physical and mental tension, while deepening awareness of the lower abdomen (hara). The class includes standing, sitting, and lying down positions as well as a brief sharing period.

For our public programs calendar go to:

Fall Ango Activities List

All events can be joined online.

Ango Entering Ceremony at ZMM Sunday, September 5, 9-12pm   

Monastery Intensives

  • Ango Opening Sesshin— September 3-5
  • Mountains and Rivers Sesshin / One Continuous Thread— September 20 – 26
  • Harvest Sesshin / One Continuous Thread — October 18 – 24 
  • Shuso Hossen Sesshin / One Continuous Thread — November 15 – 21

Temple Programs (check back for more dates)

  • Half-day Sit: Peaceful Dwelling — September 4, 8am – noon
  • Half-day Sit: Like a Mountain — September 25, 8am –  noon 

Monastery Retreats and Evening Programs:

  • Ch’an Buddhist History with Dr. Elizabeth Morrison — Saturday, September 18
  • Relaxing Into Reality with  Mn. Shoan Ankele
    Thursday, September 30, 6:30pm
  • Awakening to Karma with Hogen Green, Sensei — October 15-17
  • Madhyamika & Karma with Elizabeth Mattis Namgyl — Thursday, October 28, 7pm
  • “In Darkness There is Light” — an Ango Intensive with Shugen Roshi — November 4 – 7

Fusatsu: Renewal of Vows at the Monastery and the ZCNYC Temple 

  • September 16, Thursday, 7:30pm – with Shugen Roshi – Monastery
  • October 7, Thursday, 7:30pm – with Hojin Sensei – ZCNYC Temple

Buddhist Study Sessions over Zoom with Shugen Roshi  

September 9, October 14, November 11 — 7 to 9 pm
Reading materials will be sent in advance of each session.

Dharma Encounters at the Monastery (as part of the Sunday morning program):

September 26, October 24, and November 21 (Shuso Hossen Ceremony)

Special Events at the Monastery:

  • Jukai Ceremony, October 17  (as part of the Sunday program)
  • Shuso Hossen Ceremony, November 24, 9:00am (with Sunday program)

Sangha Practice & Affinity Groups:

These have become an integral and often joyous part of our training together over the past year and a half. Consider joining a group that’s right for you, as a drop-in participant or ongoing member. No formal commitment to these is required. Visit ZMM.org/staying-connected for more information.

NEW ADDITION: On Tuesdays, 6:30–8:00 p.m, a Fall Ango 2021 Core Reading Group provides a novel way to encounter these dharma teachings with fellow students through reading them aloud with each other. Practice listening, explore vocabulary and meet some of the short Sutras cited in these chapters…all in a friendly low-fi atmosphere. Here is a zoom link  (passcode 420873).

NOTE: In addition to the Beyond Fear of Differences (BFOD)/Anti-Racism Ango Commitment for ango, two BFOD programs are currently being planned on the topics of intention/impact and microaggressions, and will be posted as soon as possible here and on the programs page.