The Alliance reaches out to the public through teaching, writing, and retreats, offering this vision of the human role in the community of life, grounded in the tangible reality of holding and caring for the shared land.

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The farm supports the Alliance and the Zen Community, offering a place for spiritual practice, a home for the work of protection and restoration, and food for residents, volunteers, and sharing.


The practice of awakening is one with the practice of transforming the earth which is our true body. A study and practice group meets at the Northfield Buddhist Meditation Center.


Words From My Teacher

Our lives are patterns of the fabric produced by the loom of time and space.

When we see the individual things, each one is impermanent, constantly changing, without any fixed independent entity.

But this work of weaving continues. Our life is a result and a gift from people and things from the past.

What we do now influences later generations, whether positively or negatively.

The loom is weaving the ancient brocade of eternity, while the spring is new, fresh and different each year.

The spring of the entire heaven and earth is manifested within a tiny plum blossom in the cold air.

The tiny blossom actualizes the spring of the entire heaven and earth.

All individual things are working together as a whole without anything being excluded.

There is no observer and observation from outside.

~ Shohaku Okumura Roshi

Shohaku Okamura Roshi

Upcoming Events


Starts: Fri Feb 22 - 12:00 AM

16922 Cabot Avenue

Silent meditation retreat in the Zen tradition. If you would like to come, please speak with Shodo in advance.   NOTES: Advance registration is required, one week in advance. Retreats are held at a private home on a 17-acre farm, an hour south of Minneapolis, on the Cannon River. Retreat leader is Shodo Spring, dharma […]

  • 22
  • Mar

Starts: Fri Mar 22 - 12:00 AM

16922 Cabot Avenue

Silent meditation retreat in the Zen tradition. If you would like to come, please speak with

  • 26
  • Apr

Starts: Fri Apr 26 - 12:00 AM

16922 Cabot Avenue

Silent meditation retreat in the Zen tradition. If you would like to come, please speak with

  • 24
  • May

Starts: Fri May 24 - 12:00 AM

16922 Cabot Avenue

Land Care Retreat May 24 - 26, 2019 SPIRITUAL PRACTICE WITH THE NATURAL WORLD Friday ev

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Latest News


The Gods Will Come.

“Go ahead, light your candles, burn your incense, ring your bells and call out to the Gods but watch out, because the Gods will come. And they will put you on the anvil and fire up the forge and beat you and beat you until they turn brass into pure gold.” ~ Author Unknown This […]


Notes from Mountains and Waters Alliance, late fall

Greetings! Here are a few announcements and a report from the past year. Announcements: The potluck group has gotten big enough that it’s not posted any more, to keep the size reasonable. If you would like to come, please email Shodo directly and ask. We’re sharing food and studying together. Zen practice events: Rohatsu sesshin, […]


Challenging new reading – Paul Kingsnorth and Morris Berman

Paul Kingsnorth‘s essay Dark Ecology begins with a contemplation of the scythe so lovely that I want to run outside right now and grab the scythe. Of course I would have to sharpen it first, and it’s not exactly the season. But, he says, a weed whacker or brush hog isn’t really more efficient than […]


Moving into leadership

On Saturday, Thich Nhat Hanh returned to his root temple in Vietnam – the place where he entered the Way. He wrote “It has been my deep wish for many years now to return and live where my ancestral teachers lived … until the day this body disintegrates.” (Full letter is here.) Louise Dunlop sent […]


There are many ways to get involved

Learn more about Mountains and Waters Alliance Membership – working to protect and restore the wholeness of life on earth. Its members include human people, rivers, rocks, trees, hills – sentient beings from all parts of the family of life. Check out ways you can Volunteer or.. Consider donating to Mountains and Waters