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.
Often our minds seem like prisons we can't escape. Even when we are worn out by our stories and repetitious thoughts, we continue to think and act in ways that keep us caged. Holding onto these patterns takes a tremendous amount of energy, and that's why we get worn out. Meditation practice lets the mind come to rest, and allows us to experience our lives with freshness and fluidity. When we stop dwelling within our own confusion, we can approach each moment without a plan or agenda, and act according to what unfolds before us. Letting go doesn't take energy at all; it relaxes our effort, and teaches us to live the way of freedom.