Deepening Zen: The Long Maturation
Mitra Bishop Roshi
Foreword by Hozan Alan Senauke
Introduction by Bodaiko Shannon Starkey
182 pages, 6.14 x 9.21, paperback
Available September 2023
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FROM THE FOREWORD by Hozan Alan Senauke, abbot, Berkeley Zen Center
When our Japanese teachers came to the West, they brought us an immeasurable gift—Zen as continuous, lifelong practice. This is what Roshi Mitra Bishop means by “the long maturation” in this wonderful book. There are several dimensions to this book, Deepening Zen, that call forth my appreciation.
First is the skillful way Roshi Mitra weaves together psychology, neuroscience, history, and dharma. Like it or not, we live in a psychologizing age. But the teachings here keep returning to Buddhadharma. That is our refuge—Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Roshi Mitra insists that we can rely on dharma, which is not other than our own enlightened nature.
Second, this is a book full of stories. Savour the stories. Observe how some of them weave through the book to deliver their cargo of wisdom. Maybe this is the defining characteristic of being human— the ability to create stories from our experience. Of course, we can be misled by stories, but all the great perennial wisdom is found in stories. This is true for the Buddha’s Pali Sutras, for the Bible, for the collections of challenging and enigmatic Zen koans, and for the pages of this book. May these insightful stories come home to you, and help you in the work of saving all sentient beings.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
“Mitra Roshi beautifully addresses the elements that are vital to practitioners of Zen in the modern world. These include inner relaxation, ever-deepening concentration, somatic awareness, a high level of commitment, radical presence and determination to move through all the obstacles our constructed self may throw up.
She unfolds each of these clearly while also encouraging the help that psychotherapeutic techniques can provide in dissolving barriers caused by past experiences of abuse and other trauma. Most importantly she addresses the Long Maturation, the joyful continuation of practice throughout our life that is essential for insights and breakthrough experiences to continue to deepen, function freely and bring benefit to the world. This book will be very helpful to anyone who wishes to see clearly into, and resolve for themselves, the most profound questions of human life.”
- Jan Chozen Bays, MD, Abbott of Great Vow Zen Monastery and author of Jizo Bodhisattva, How to Train a Wild Elephant, Mindful Eating, and Mindful Medicine
“With Deepening Zen, Mitra Roshi eloquently puts her own long years of dedicated Zen practice and training openly and personally before us. From this foundation of actual experience, she reveals how Zen can help each of us mature through our difficulties, and by not avoiding them but working and deepening with them, realize greater freedom, wisdom, insight, and compassion. Bravo!”
- Roshi Rafe Martin, founding teacher, Endless Path Zendo, Rochester, NY, and author of A Zen Life of Buddha and many other books.
"A valuable rectification of popular misunderstandings about Zen. Matters like “the long maturation” and extended out-breath practice [susok’kan] have been recurring motifs in the interviews I have done with Mitra Roshi over the last ten years; it is a great pleasure to see her teaching and understanding of practice expanded here."
- Rick McDaniel, author of Zen Conversations and Further Zen Conversations
ABOUT MITRA BISHOP ROSHI
Diplomat's wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, Mitra-roshi began Zen practice January 1, 1974, when she realized without a doubt that nothing outside her would provide lasting happiness and peace. What followed was-and is still ongoing-almost 50 years of concentrated Zen practice. She began teaching in the 1980's, established Mountain Gate in which concentrated Zen meditation practice is offered, in 1996 on her return from living and training at Sogen-ji Rinzai temple in Japan. That time was preceded by 20 years of intensive Zen practice at the Rochester Zen Center under Roshi Philip Kapleau, and was followed until COVID lockdown, with continuing training under Harada Shodo Roshi, Abbot of Sogen-ji and Tahoma Monastery on Whidbey Island, WA. She continues to teach full-time at Mountain Gate-Sanmonji (sanmonjizen.org) in New Mexico.