Daojin: People of the Way

Training Requirements

Featured in Mountain Record 29.4, Summer 2011

The daojin (person of the Way) training track within the MRO provides an opportunity for lay practitioners of the order to intensify their training and forge a closer relationship with Zen Mountain Monastery and the Zen Center of New York City. It’s a path that allows students to explore the ways in which they can be of service to the Order and the world at large by spending scheduled time at the training centers and practicing and perfecting the five daojin vows in their lives: simplicity, constancy, right livelihood, right action and awareness. This track also acknowledges the unique qualities and abilities of each student and aims to bring them to fruition, at the same time that it sets firm requirements for the amount and type of participation each student has to commit to within the ongoing program. At its foundation, it is an expression, both in spirit and form, of the path of a formal student of the Order as defined by the Rule of the Order.


To explore the MRO daojin path candidates must be formal students in good standing and meet all the student requirements. They have to have received the bodhisattva precepts within the Order and must have engaged the moral and ethical teachings for at least two full years after the jukai ceremony.

General Description

The daojin program is a four-year course of study and training designed to allow prospective daojin to clarify their intent and see if they are able to commit to the vows and concrete requirements of daojin life. Having fulfilled all the requirements and upon completion of the program, students can petition MRO teachers and the Monastic Council to receive full ordination as daojin. In the event that a student is turned down, he or she can continue training as a formal student and is also eligible to enter another daojin program to continue the clarification/formation process.

First Year

The purpose of the first year is to introduce prospective daojin to the requirements of participation and presence at the Monastery and to allow them more contact with the teachers and the training staff. These requirements include being at the Monastery ten out of the twelve weekends when Introduction to Zen Training retreats are being conducted and to participate in a week-long daojin residency, usually held in July. The sessions at the Monastery during the Introductory Retreats are dedicated to furthering liturgical training and study of selected readings pertaining to religious life.