Opening Talk of Sesshin

This is the opening ceremony and talk of the June 2020 Mt. Gate 7-day sesshin.

On the Ground of Being

The first day of the June 2020 sesshin at Mountain Gate [] Mitra-roshi shares some of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche's teaching on the ground of being.

Dharma Gates!

On the second day of the June 2020 sesshin at Mountain Gate [] Mitra-roshi spoke about the "Dharma gates"—entries into greater freedom from our "stuff"—that are so much more available to us in this challenging time, and how to enter them to deepen your practice and move closer to Awakening to your True Self. This amazing practice works inexorably to free us at ever deeper levels, if we work at it despite the seeming obstacles that can arise.

Guided Lovingkindness in the Era of Anxiety

Metta practice—lovingkindness practice—is an ancient Buddhist teaching quite relevant to today. In this guided lovingkindness practice, Mitra-roshi speaks to some of the reasons why doing metta practice can be difficult, and how to work with those difficulties. This is followed with an actual guided metta practice.

Working With Emotions

Day 3 of sesshin, Mitra-roshi shared some of the Tibetan Dzogchen teachings on working with "The Five Poisons"—emotions. Sharing the words of Padmasambhava and Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, she also shared some of her personal experinces in working with difficult emotions in the context of Zen practice, along with an episode in the training life of Harada Shodo-roshi.

Dynamic Practice

Mitra-roshi describes some of the differences between the Soto and Rinzai zendo formats and speaks to the necessity of ongoing practice in the midst of activity combined with zazen on the cushion. She describes some of the ways this is accomplished at Sōgen-ji, the Rinzai temple in Okayama, Japan where she spent a number of years in training. Commenting also on the need to avoid judging our practice, as well as sharing Master Hakuin's concern about the "cave of dead sitting," and sharing some of the teaching of Urgyen Rinpoche, she addresses ongoing practice in action.

Important Details for Susok'kan Practice

There have been many misconceptions shared over the decades regarding breath practice in Zen. In this video of teisho on Day 5, Mitra-roshi brings these up and offers clarification.

The Vital Importance of Practice Beyond Kensho

The most deeply realized teachers tell us that post-kensho practice is vital: opening further, becoming aware of where we may be behaving in less that appropriate, less than compassionate, less than honoring ways and working to let go of those behaviors. Otherwise our practice is superficial. Moreover, not doing this is why there have been unfortunate examples of supposedly legitimate Zen teachers abusing their students. Their training was simply insufficient.

Life As It Is

Continuing the theme from the previous day's teisho of continuing practice, some of the teaching of Mingyur Rinpoche is shared, along with examples from Mitra-roshi's own life, on how adverse feelings can become stored in our bodies, and dealing with those feelings in Zen practice.

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