Bringing Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery into being

June 26, 2019

We are very excited to announce that on Monday, June 10th, we became stewards of 14 acres of land at 87 Kaye Road, Millerton, NY, where we will together be bringing Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery into being. The land where our community will practice is a currently very green watershed to the Webatuck Creek that rises up into the Taconic ridges of the Appalachian range. These are among the most ancient mountain expressions of Mother Earth, believed to be nearly 500 million years old. Our individual, human anxieties are tiny flurries amid these great settled beings and so we do as our many Zen ancestors did before us and go learn from them. In doing so, may we also remember and honor those indigenous ancestors who cared for this land for thousands of years before us. As Dogen Zenji wrote:

Mountains have been the abode of great sages from the limitless past to the limitless present. Wise people and sages all have mountains as their inner chamber, as their body and mind. Because of wise people and sages, mountains appear. You may think that in mountains many wise people and great sages are assembled. But after entering the mountains, not a single person meets another. There is just the activity of the mountains.

We are honored to have the opportunity to root and carry forward our Soto Zen tradition and the lineage of Suzuki Roshi in sangha together. We are also thrilled to begin our many conversations about how to deepen our flavor of practice at BZC in a monastic setting. There is much to come!

We are so deeply grateful for all of the inspiring effort that allowed this to unfold. We would like to thank our board of directors for their wise oversight, the BZC staff and our Monastic Acquisition Committee for all their work writing grants and overseeing due diligence processes, our strategic partner TDC for their ongoing guidance, our benefactors at Still Water for their very generous gift and to all of you who have diligently supported this process with your effort, feedback, thoughtfulness and unwavering practice. May we offer deep bows to one another all around!

So we would like to make you aware of two things. Firstly, we will be accepting applications for monastic residence starting now. Please find the Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery (AHZM) application here (in PDF format) and here (in Word format). Please keep in mind that we have a very limited number of monastic spots at this time. Also, this first, small group of monks will be engaging in the relentless work of building a monastery and we will be considering applicants in light of this particular set of needs.

Secondly, on Sunday, August 11th, we will be holding a public ceremony on the land to formally open the monastery, honor our many supporting ancestors and offer prayers for the land. Further information on the ceremony will be forthcoming so there is no need to reply to this email with questions. For now, please just save the date.

Thank you all for your loving support throughout this process. Now is the time to rest and enjoy the beautiful summer as we prepare ourselves for the work ahead of bringing a monastery to life. May we always remember that our every thought and action is for the benefit of all beings and our collective liberation from suffering in this world.

With great respect and appreciation,
Greg and Laura