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Nothing to Give: Giving it All

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Bonnie Myotai Treace is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Hermitage Heart, and Bodies of Water Zen. Myotai Sensei teaches from Gristmill Hermitage, the retreat house of Hermitage Heart in Garrison, New York.

Sensei Bonnie Myotai Treace established and was the Abbess of the Zen Center of New York City (Fire Lotus Temple) and served for over a decade as the Vice Abbess of Zen Mountain Monastery. Rigorously trained in koan Zen as well as in the subtle school of Master Dogen’s Zen she studied for over twenty years both the Rinzai as well as Soto lines of Zen Buddhism. The first dharma heir of John Daido Loori Roshi of the Mountains and Rivers Order, she received full transmission in 1996 in the Harada-Yasutani lineage. She was also president of Dharma Communications, a right-action enterprise devoted to making Buddhist teachings widely available through the production of video tapes, books, meditation supplies, and a quarterly journal, Mountain Record. She has published in Buddhist journals and has provided chapters for various books, most recently, Water: Its Spiritual Significance; Lotus Moon: The Poetry of Rengetsu, and The Art of Just Sitting: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza. At both Zen Mountain Monastery and Fire Lotus Temple, she enjoyed hosting and co-leading hundreds of retreats and conferences, many with religious leaders of various faith traditions, as well as on topics related to women’s leadership, arts and poetry in spirited spiritual life, and wilderness training.

Since taking Vows to Water in 2007, Sensei’s  initiated the 108 Bodies of Water Mala, offered as a poetic and visual language for the practice of attention to the water crisis, with liturgies conducted at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC as part of the Thomas Berry memorial, among other venues. From Gristmill Hermitage, she provides spiritual direction, leads meditation and retreats, supports those involved in the water projects, and writes.

Water & Its Spiritual Significance

Exploring man’s ecological, spiritual, and symbolic relationship with nature through meditation and thoughts on water, this volume is a useful tool for religious practitioners of all faiths to understand more deeply the connection between their religious life and the earth. Based on the idea that water is the original, primordial mirror, the examination details how a community’s values are now reflected in its water, asking questions such as What are our polluted rivers and streams saying about us? And does that match what our faith instructs us to be? With input from many voices and traditions, the collection includes essays and poetry from a wide range of intellectuals and poets, including Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Bonnie Myotai Treace, Thomas Merton, Huston Smith, and Henry David Thoreau, among others.

Retreat Links:
To Order a Water Bowl and Practice the Koan of Water

Freshwater 101

Water Facts

Water Wisdom

Save Our Seas; Save Ourselves

Water Tops All Issues

Art for Water

Confluence Project