In the summer of 2018, Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) held its first-ever residential retreat. This special weeklong gathering took place in the farmland of the Watershed Retreat Center in Millerton, a couple of hours north of New York City. This was a very special occasion for our sangha, more than we could realize at the time.
In fact, that retreat laid the ground for the establishment of Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery (AHZM) just a year later! On August 11, 2019, the Brooklyn Zen Center sangha, as well as friends from near and far, came together for the opening ceremony of Sōshinji 宗心寺, Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery. Since then, monastic life has begun in the new temple, with a growing group of residents now following a monastic daily schedule.
We would like to share with you the dharma talks offered by BZC dharma teachers Kosen Gregory Snyder and Laura O’Loughlin during that foundational retreat, back in 2018, in the yurt zendo at Watershed, next to the land that now holds Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery. The talks focused on the seminal Zen teaching poem “Sandokai,” using the translation in the BZC chant book, “Harmony of Difference and Equality,” and Suzuki Roshi’s commentary, “Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness,” as a support for the exploration of the relationship between oneness and multiplicity.