Becoming an MRO Student


Becoming a formal student is a process of making a conscious commitment to the teachers, the training, and the sangha. It involves noticing what is fundamentally important in our lives and dedicating time and energy to break free of a lifetime of conditioning. The entry process involves passing through five barrier gates designed to help prospective students clarify their intent. Because the journey is a long and challenging one, it is best not to begin without a deep, personal sense of what it will demand.

The five barrier gates are:

  1. Participation in an Introduction to Zen Training Weekend retreat.
  2. Completion of a week-long meditation intensive (sesshin) at the Monastery.
  3. Meeting with the Guardian Council, a group of senior MRO students, to articulate one’s reasons for practicing Zen and wanting to become a formal student.
  4. Tangaryo, dawn-to-dusk sitting in solitary zazen.
  5. Asking the teacher for the teachings.

It is not necessary for formal students to be in residence at the Monastery. Most people practice at home, maintaining a relationship with the teacher and sangha through visits, retreats, sesshins, and short-term residencies. Training advisors — lay and monastic seniors — can offer valuable guidance.

Whenever possible, non-resident students also sit with one of the Monastery’s affiliate groups or come to the Monastery for the Sunday morning program and for dokusan, private face-to-face teaching. Media support in the form of downloadable audio and video are also available.


Listen to the teachings here.

Reading list

View the recommended reading list for MRO Students.