Mt. Equity Sangha is a community of Soto Zen Buddhist practitioners living in the mid-Atlantic region and Fargo, North Dakota. We follow the Shikantaza tradition which is dedicated to the practice of “just sitting” and are guided by our teacher, Reverend Patricia Dai-En Bennage Roshi, who retired as Abbess of Mt. Equity Zendo in Pennsdale, PA in 2017.
The Mt. Equity community continues to study and practice in the Soto Zen tradition in Lewisburg, PA with Rev. Dai-En, and with lay teachers and senior precepted students in other Pennsylvania locations in State College, Harrisburg and East Berlin, as well as in Baltimore, MD and Fargo, ND. Our sangha is committed to continuing the teachings at the heart of Zen practice: the cultivation of equanimity, patience, clarity and compassion, and the support of good health within one’s personal life as well as in the wider community.
Information about our practice locations and contacts for each can be found below. Information about specific meditation activities can be found on the Events page. We welcome newcomers and experienced practitioners alike and ask that you contact the particular practice location in which you are interested prior to your first visit.
Reverend Dai-En Bennage teaches and hosts evening zazen and special events. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Moon-on-the-Lake Zendo, East Berlin, PA
Moon-on-the-Lake Zendo is a Soto Zen practice place in South Central Pennsylvania. It was started by lay teachers Barbara Tokuen Gray and Marcy Daijun Brenner. The zendo consists of space in both teachers’ homes that is set aside for weekly meditation, instruction and weekend practice. Currently, weekend events lasting two or three days occur once every two months. Located on the shores of Lake Meade in rural East Berlin, PA, close to Harrisburg, York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and State College, the setting offers practice in a serene natural setting. Sangha members include precepted students trained by Rev. Dai-En at Mt. Equity Zendo as well as newer students. New and experienced practitioners alike are welcomed and encouraged to participate after consultation with the teachers.
Six Rings Sangha, State College, PA
Six Rings Sangha was started in 2002 in State College, PA as a local satellite sangha of Mt. Equity Zendo. Six Rings offers weekly meditation, chanting, monthly service and periodic dharma discussion in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition. Meetings are on Thursday evenings from 7:30-9:00 p.m at a renovated, one room school house in Linden Hall. Lay teacher Barbara Tokuen Gray, who co-founded the sangha in 2002, currently serves as guiding teacher, visiting frequently and offering periodic Days of Zen. Several members of the sangha are long standing precepted students of Rev. Dai-En. One senior student, Mary Keien Boutselis, provides steady guidance to the practice locally. Newcomers to Zen as well as more seasoned practitioners are welcomed, and meditation instruction is offered.
Long River Sangha, Harrisburg, PA
For over a decade, Long River Sangha (LRS), a satellite sangha of Mt. Equity Zendo, has been practicing Shikantaza in the Harrisburg area. Led by lay teacher Marcy Daijun Brenner, LRS meets in a comfortable space located along the Susquehanna River in uptown Harrisburg. We open the evening with chants, practice both seated (zazen) and walking (kinhin) meditation, and follow with tea, a shared reading and personal reflections expressed in the Dharma. Most longstanding practitioners at LRS are precepted students of Rev. Dai-En and we practice in a manner consistent with Soto Zen as transmitted through the lineage of our teacher. Newcomers are always welcome. Zafus (meditation cushions) and/or chairs are provided as needed. LRS meets every other Monday from 6:10 to 8:15p.m. Prior to the zazen period, a fifteen minute one-on-one meeting with the teacher, called “Questions No Answer,” is encouraged. Further details will be discussed after initial inquiry about attending LRS.
For information, contact, Marcy Daijun Brenner at 717-712-2234 or email@example.com.
Baltimore Dharma Group, Baltimore, MD
Baltimore Dharma Group is a small, urban sangha that aspires to serve Baltimore City as a dharma gate of joyful ease in the Soto Zen tradition. It was begun in 1999 by Zuijun Esho Gry Gambert Sensei (1952-2012) who trained with Glassman Roshi at the Zen Center of New York. We also benefit from a direct affiliation with Rev. Dai-En of Mt. Equity Sangha in PA, and have dharma connections to the Thich Nhat Hanh (Plum Village) and the Zen Peacemakers communities. Sunday morning sitting and service is the core of our practice, from 7:30-9:00 am. Thursday evening class meets from 7:30 – 9:00 pm and consists of half an hour of meditation followed by Dharma readings and discussion. We practice at a Friends Meeting House in the city. Please contact us before your first visit.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Land Sangha, Fargo, ND
Open Land Sangha meets at the Spirit Room in Fargo, North Dakota. The Spirit Room is a locus of local and national artistic expression that also provides a peaceful and welcoming environment for meditation.
We were co-founded in February 2018 by lay teacher Nancy Nanshin White and senior student Tom Tomei Knapp. As a new sangha, Open Land is focused on beginner’s mind, using the guiding principles of our teacher, Rev. Dai-En Bennage. Our weekly practice period includes two 15-minute periods of seated meditation with walking meditation between them. We then share a Dharma reading that provides examples of how to apply the teachings to everyday life and conclude with comments from the students. As our small sangha matures and grows, we plan to offer chanting, extended practice periods, and Dharma talks.
We meet on Monday evenings from 7-8:15pm. All are welcome. No prior experience is necessary. Instruction is given each week at the beginning of the period. For more information, contact Nancy Nanshin White at (218) 512 0412 or email@example.com.