MITRA BISHOP ROSHI is the founder of Mountain Gate-Sanmonji. She first encountered the practice of Buddhism while living in Asia and began practicing Zen in 1974 while living in Turkey. Later she trained at the Rochester Zen Center with Roshi Philip Kapleau. Mitra-roshi received a B.A. from Indiana University, and worked in graphic, interior, and architectural design for many years. She has two children, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
In 1986 Mitra-roshi was ordained by Roshi Kapleau (top photo, right). In 1992, after completing her formal training in Rochester, she went to Okayama, Japan, where she continued to deepen and broaden her practice at Sogen-ji, a Rinzai Zen temple, under the guidance of the Ven. Harada Shodo-roshi.
When Mitra-roshi returned to the United States in 1996, she was formally sanctioned to teach by Roshi Kapleau as a Dharma Heir. In that same year she was asked to come to Hidden Valley Zen Center in San Marcos, California to guide the Sangha there. Concurrently, she established Mountain Gate as a monastic practice center in the mountains of northern New Mexico.
Taking to heart the admonition, “There’s no beginning to enlightenment, no end to practice, no beginning to practice, no end to enlightenment,” she continues to train intensively with Harada-roshi. Mitra-roshi also travels to other locations, including Mountain Gate’s sister temple, the Hidden Valley Zen Center in southern California to offer guidance in sanzen and lead sesshin and other Dharma events.
Mitra-roshi is an accomplished calligrapher whose works hang in Zen temples and are for sale through this website. She also writes regularly for “The Oak Tree in the Garden,” the bimonthly journal published by Mountain Gate’s sister Sangha, the Hidden Valley Zen Center. Her writings have also appeared in the book Mu, edited by James Ford, in Kenneth Kraft’s, Zen Teaching, Zen Practice, in Blossoms of the Dharma, edited by Thubten Chodron and Sylvia Boorstein, and in Record of the Hidden Lamp. She has also written for the website Sweeping Zen and for Buddhadharma Magazine.