Zen Buddhism emphasizes meditation as the means to study ourselves and understand who we truly are. The Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism (MRO) was founded in 1980 by American Zen Master John Daido Loori, Roshi. The MRO is an organization of associated temples, practice centers, and sitting groups in the United States and abroad. Daido Roshi is the abbot of the MRO's main house, Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, NY, and Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei is resident teacher at the MRO's New York City affiliate, Zen Center of New York City: Fire Lotus Temple. The MRO seeks to provide modern training that integrates spiritual practice with daily life. Dharma talks are an essential aspect of Zen training, and the talks offered here were given at both Zen Mountain Monastery and the Zen Center of New York City.
Pick up a newspaper or turn on the television, and you're bound to see suffering. And it's not just on the news; we struggle with great and small issues all the time, as do our families and friends. How do we respond to the cries of the world? There's so much suffering that it often seems easier to retreat into distance and cold-heartedness, but each of us is born with the ability to give. When we allow that giving to happen naturally, something comes to life: we learn to listen to the cries of the world with our whole body and mind, and we see how easy it is to turn things around with simple actions and gifts. To really take on the responsibility of caring, to willingly accept the consequences of love, transforms our lives entirely.