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The Zen Mountain Monastery Podcast

The Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO) is a Western Zen Buddhist lineage established by the late John Daido Loori Roshi and dedicated to sharing the dharma as it has been passed down, generation to generation, since the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. Zen Mountain Monastery, the main house of the Mountains and Rivers Order, is one of the West’s most respected Zen Buddhist monasteries and training centers. Nestled in New York’s beautiful Catskill Mountains, the Monastery draws its strength from the ancient tradition of Buddhist monasticism. Since 1980, the Monastery has offered spiritual practitioners traditional and innovative ways to engage the dharma through a wide range of retreats and residential programs that unfold within the context of authentic, full-time Zen monastic training. The Zen Center of New York City: Fire Lotus Temple is the city branch of Zen Mountain Monastery. Supporting home practitioners in the metropolitan area, ZCNYC offers varied practice opportunities within the Eight Gates training matrix.

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The Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO) is a Western Zen Buddhist lineage established by the late John Daido Loori Roshi and dedicated to sharing the dharma as it has been passed down, generation to generation, since the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. Zen Mountain Monastery, the main house of the Mountains and Rivers Order, is one of the West’s most respected Zen Buddhist monasteries and training centers. Nestled in New York’s beautiful Catskill Mountains, the Monastery draws its strength from the ancient tradition of Buddhist monasticism. Since 1980, the Monastery has offered spiritual practitioners traditional and innovative ways to engage the dharma through a wide range of retreats and residential programs that unfold within the context of authentic, full-time Zen monastic training. The Zen Center of New York City: Fire Lotus Temple is the city branch of Zen Mountain Monastery. Supporting home practitioners in the metropolitan area, ZCNYC offers varied practice opportunities within the Eight Gates training matrix.

Lessons from Bodhsattva Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Sunday 01/16/2022 - Celebrating the Love in Action of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Invoking the life and words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Shugen Roshi celebrates his teachings on the power of love and its manifestation in the Beloved Community. Sangha is an example of this united effort to live as an expression of love, and the life of practice requires our sincere engagement and action. Dr. King believed in the “practical realism” of love, a power which is always available and can be lived every day. Understanding the interrelated structure of reality from a Christian perspective, he said, “Your suffering is my suffering,” echoing the Bodhisattva's vow to put an end to the suffering of all beings. - Shugen Roshi's  dharma talk is preceded by a sangha presentation "From Refuge to Sanctuary: an MRO Tribute to Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr." hosted by senior lay student Chikei Levister. - (You can watch the video of the sangha presentation here: vimeo.com/666366222.)

Jan 16 2022

1hr 2mins

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Everything Is Workable

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Sunday 01/09/2022 - From The Gateless Gate, Case 20 - A Person of Great Strength

Jan 09 2022

44mins

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Fusatsu: Undertaking Great Compassion Without Delay

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Friday Evening 12/31/2021 - Shugen Roshi offers inspiration on the virtues of vow during the New Year's Eve Fusatsu, or renewal of vows, ceremony.

Jan 01 2022

38mins

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Not to Worry!

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Thursday 12/30/2021 - From Transmission of the Light, Case 41 - The 40th Ancestor, Great Master Tongan Daopi

Dec 30 2021

45mins

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A Brief History of Non-doing

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Danica Shoan Ankele, Senior Monastic and Dharma Holder - Zen Mountain Monastery, Wednesday 12/29/2021 - Mn. Shoan begins with a powerful thought experiment and then takes us on a journey recounting her investigation into the beginnings of the Zen tradition, the stories of Bodhidharma facing the wall, in his cave, and some early interpretations of what it means to meditate. Through zazen we can experience reality intimately and completely, abiding in love and compassion, non-doing.

Dec 29 2021

37mins

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The Mirror Of Experience

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Tuesday 12/28/2021 - From Dongshan's "Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi" - This is Part 2 of Shugen Roshi's teaching on Dongshan's poem. Here he focuses on the metaphor of the mirror; how it's been used throughout various Buddhist teachings, what it means and how it helps us relate to our own experience.

Dec 28 2021

48mins

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Appreciating The Monastic Life

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Sunday 12/19/2021 - Shugen Roshi offers this dharma discourse on the monastic life.

Dec 19 2021

47mins

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Buddha’s Lions Roar

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Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei - Zen Center of NYC, Fire Lotus Temple, Sunday 12/12/2021 - Dharma talk at the completion of the vigil commemorating Buddha's enlightenment. - Hojin sensei speaks to the life of Buddha before and after his enlightenment. Her skillful narration points to the same experiences we may share with Shakyamuni, and we can find an inspiration to practice wholeheartedly.

Dec 12 2021

49mins

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Now You Have It, Keep It Well

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Sunday 12/12/2021 - From Dongshan's "Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi" - Shugen Roshi offers this Dharma Discourse as a fitting teaching at the completion of this year's Buddha's Enlightenment Vigil. We do the vigil to endeavor what the Buddha did. And there is indeed something to celebrate; that the Buddha decided to teach and transmit what he realized. Dongshan's song starts out by imploring us to take care of this intimate, profound teaching. "Now you have it, keep it well."

Dec 12 2021

42mins

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A Bodhisattva Does Not Wait

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Sunday 12/05/2021 - From Wumen's Gateless Gate, Case 39 - Yunmen says you've missed it. - When we experience suffering, more often than not, we disseminate it in various ways so that others also experience suffering. However, the Buddha realized that we can actively bring suffering to rest. Don't wait. Examine it when it arises.

Dec 05 2021

42mins

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A Nature Like Ashes

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Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei - Zen Center of NYC, Fire Lotus Temple, Sunday 12/05/2021 - Hojin Sensei speaks on the practice of patience, drawing on historical and modern day bodhisattvas, skillfully showing that it is in the very moments when we do not want to practice patience that we can step into and see our mind.

Dec 05 2021

36mins

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Beholding, Not Beholden

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Bear Gokan Bonebakker, Senior Monastic and Dharma Holder - Zen Mountain Monastery, Sunday 11/28/2021 - From Bodhidharma's "Breakthrough Sermon" - Drawing inspiration from Bodhidharma's "Breakthrough Sermon", Gokan encourages us to behold our mind; this is the essential practice of Zen. When we are not attentive, the thoughts we allow to develop in our mind separate us from this world. However, we can choose to not be swallowed by our thoughts; by giving our awareness to this moment.

Nov 28 2021

28mins

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A Terrible Gift

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Patrick Yunen Kelly, Senior Lay Student - Zen Center of New York City, 11/28/2021 - Yunen explores the universal experience of grief, examining how it can come into our lives through tremendous loss and also through smaller disappointments. Yet in this grief, large or small there is space to practice and realize ourselves.

Nov 28 2021

27mins

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Shuso Hossen featuring Degna Chikei Levister

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Degna Chikei Levister, Senior Lay Student - Zen Mountain Monastery, Sunday 11/21/2021 - True Dharma Eye, Case 2 - Baizhang Remains Seated - On November 21st, we concluded our Fall 90-day ango training period with this Shuso Hossen ceremony. Shuso Hossen means "chief disciple (or, literally, 'head seat') dharma encounter." It is a centuries-old tradition that empowers a Zen student to represent the teachings and help guide other students in their own cultivation. In this case, Degna Chikei Levister completed her training in the role of Shuso by offering her first public talk to the sangha in which she presented her understanding of a koan from the collection found in the teachings of Eihei Dogen.  Following her talk, there was a "dharma encounter" in which Chikei was asked questions by those in attendance for further clarification. After an acknowledgement from her teacher, Shugen Roshi, a number of monastics and fellow practitioners offered Chikei congratulatory poems.

Nov 21 2021

1hr 12mins

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The Middle Way Is Close

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Saturday 11/20/2021 - From Transmission of the Light, Case 22 - The 21st Indian Ancestor, Vasubandhu - As we practice to free ourselves, we are constantly in the midst of change. And in this endlessly changing world, we unknowingly try to create a substantial, permanent self. This interaction between Vasubandhu and Jayata illustrates the essence of middle way. By not denying, not grasping or seeking something eternal, we will encounter a true way of patience, generosity, perseverance, faith, respect and devotion. Practice is not about a perfect life, it is about living this life completely.

Nov 20 2021

41mins

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Anger and its Discontents (It’s not about the meatloaf)

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Maureen Jisho Ford, Senior Lay Student - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Friday 11/19/2021 - Senior lay student and retired mental health professional Maureen Jisho Ford investigates the roots of anger in this funny yet deeply honest talk. What does it take to interrupt our impulses and find the gaps between events we might find challenging and harmful reactions? Jisho asks, "Has anyone ever really won an argument?" Indulging in anger, as the Buddha pointed out, is like picking up a burning coal with your bare hand to hurl it at another. This has implication in every sphere of our life, right down to our most intimate relationships.

Nov 19 2021

55mins

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Everyone Has Their Own Light

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Ron Hogen Green, Sensei - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Thursday 11/18/2021 - From The Blue Cliff Record, Case 86 - Everyone Has Their Own Light - Hogen Sensei asks us: "how can we talk about enlightenment when there is nothing to understand about enlightenment?". We are inherently enlightened but our conditioning, karma and unskillful ways prevent us seeing it. We should remember that we all have own light and that zazen is the process for cultivating this light.

Nov 18 2021

41mins

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Trust the Dharma

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Wednesday 11/17/2021 - From Transmission of the Light, Case 28 - The 27th Indian Ancestor, Prajnatara - Of all the possible directions we can take, why does one person take a direction which is very different from everybody else's path? How do we know if the path is true for us? Shugen Roshi reminds us that we must be aware that when we encounter a teaching that we may or may not understand but have an affinity with, we should trust that affinity. Similarly, we should rely on the meaning of that teaching rather than the words.

Nov 17 2021

39mins

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The Body Exposed

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Sunday 11/14/2021 - From The Blue Cliff Record, Case 27 - Yun Men's "The Body Exposed, The Golden Wind" - There's a banquet of teachings for every human experience we are having, have had, will have. So how do we fully avail ourselves to that? Shugen Roshi speaks about sincere continuous practice of mindfulness and knowing how to be alone.

Nov 14 2021

42mins

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Alive to Cause and Effect

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Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi - Zen Mountain Monastery, New York, Sunday 11/07/2021 - From Wumen's Gateless Gate, Case 2 - Baizhang and the Fox - With this teisho, Shugen Roshi sums up the Ango Intensive retreat "Within Darkness There Is Light—The Teachings of Karma and the Path of Compassion".

Nov 07 2021

50mins

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iTunes Ratings

139 Ratings
Average Ratings
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Works Class Teachera

By funky-button - Apr 19 2020
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The speakers at Zen Mountain Monastery are warm, thoughtful, and principled. Each one of their talks is filled with lessons that can be revisited (a d applied) again and agai . My life is better because these podcasts are available.

Ridiculously great dharma talks.

By Divneykat - Jun 09 2018
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I find the substance of these teachings showing up in ways large and small every single day.