Jun Po's Health Update
First, l would like to thank all of for your love and support.
My physical condition has become a bit more complex. I am experiencing increased neuropathy in my calves and feet, as well
as increase of fibrosis in my throat from cancer chemo and radiation treatment. My Parkinson’s symptoms include increased
hand and interior tremors, more difficulty with balance and walking, deep fatigue, swallowing and slightly slurred
I continue to do everything I can to slow this degeneration process. For instance, today’s PT routine included meditative
healing visualization, cardio training, weight training, speech and swallowing exercises, combination yoga/Qi Gong,
diet, drugs, herbs, etc. And, oh yes, extra rest.
Practicing the Mondo Koan art of radical self-acceptance and the truth that feeling is information (my angst becomes my
liberation) … how interesting. Once again I get to practice what I teach and preach. In understanding the message
within this fear and anxiety, I get to transform my reactive patterns into conscious responses ………………
one day at a time. What an interesting koan, this Parkinson’s koan.
I don’t foresee an early life exit for me. I will be with you for many years. However, do come and practice with me sooner
rather than later. I do not know how many years I have left to teach, to transmit this Dharma. Parkinson’s disease
at this time has no effective treatment and no cure; each of us with this malady progresses at our own special rate.
Come join me at Rohatsu sesshin this year here in Wisconsin December 3-10. And I will lead two sesshins at Dai Bosatsu
Zendo next year: June will be our traditional silent retreat and now in October, a Mondo Zen retreat. Do not procrastinate.
Remember, your practice is your Enlightenment. Please join me if possible at all three …………………
cause, “There ain’t no party like a Mondo party, cause a Mondo party don’t stop!”
In any case, keep your eyes and heart wide open, and remember, it’s celebrate not celibate in our tradition - celebrate
the whole gift of your life, even your demise.
Inka at Peace on the Street
Our Brother Hollow Bones priest Hui Neng Stan Kohler founder of Peace on the Street
will receive Inka dharma transmission from Jun Po on November 20, 2016, at his Applied Zen Community Center, 451 E
117th St in New York City. Hui Neng will become an 84th Patriarch in the Hollow Bones Rinzai Zen Lineage. Contact him
directly if you intend to be there to witness this event.
About Hui Neng ...
When one reaches a certain age, it is fairly easy to fill up a page or so of this and that when called upon to provide
background. But before going there, I’d like to take a moment to say why I founded Peace on the Street. To begin
with I love cities, and having grown up on a farm, I have no illusions about what it means to return to the land. It
means unmitigated work. And although I grew up on the west coast, I really love New York.
A lot of people talk about the city being the source of sin, corruption, etc., etc. But when it comes right down
to it, the Christian scriptures say that Jesus will return and create a city, the New Jerusalem - a city not a
suburb or farmlands. To that end I own property here in Spanish Harlem, where we operate our school.
I did a bunch of stuff before starting to meditate. I grew up as a Catholic in a third generation American family with
two sisters and one brother. My mother was a special education teacher, and my father was retired military and
a correctional officer at San Quentin. We lived in the San Francisco Bay area, and I went to Marin Catholic High School
and St. Mary’s College.
I got an advanced degree from the California State University at San Francisco (MA) as well as a lifetime Community
College Teaching Certificate. I got married a couple of times, had a couple of kids, and did a lot of work managing
mental health programs.
In 1969 I came to Manhattan for a couple of years and worked for the Addiction Services Agency. My family and
I lived in Horizon House, a therapeutic community on East 4th and Avenue C, for most of that time. In the mid-70's,
back in California, my sister and I founded and operated St. Bernadette’s, a
private school for autistic children.
I was certified as a Community Dispute Mediator by the San Francisco Community Board Program as well as an Emotional
Support Counselor for the terminally ill by the Shanti Project. This was in the early 80’s when AIDS was just being
to appear, and within a short time, we focused exclusively on clients with this illness.
Prior to starting Peace on the Street in 2003, I worked for five years as a project manager for the City of New York
(ACS). I developed software to manage health services for children in foster care. In addition, in the late 90’s,
I was an instructor in project management at Columbia University.
Around 32 years ago, I began to study meditation, and around 22 years ago, I began teaching. During that time I studied
with the controversial teacher Dr. Frederick Lenz (Rama). I was both certified to teach and ordained as a monk by him.
I taught classes on 182nd St in a classroom that was provided by the Alianza Dominicana. I also taught classes on campus
at City College.
I've also been involved in supporting families that have family members that join religious groups of which the family
disapproves/ During the last 90's, I co-authored a book The Cult Around the Corner to help families
concerning this issue.
And again, it's easier to practice in far away quiet place, but that's not available for most of us. So I developed
techniques and exercises that worked in the city. I also decided to push the envelope and developed ameditation
program for inmates at Riker's Island. (cont. next column)
The 85th Patriarch
On September 24th, 2016, Fudo Myoo Teja Bell will most likely (if he passes the 5 gates) become the 85th Patriarch of the Hollow Bones Rinzai Zen Lineage and the first Dharma Heir of DoShin Daigu Michael Nelson Roshi, founder of Integral Zen. The ceremony will take place in the new Community Dharma Hall at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California. Both DoShin and Fudo Myoo are committed to forwarding the work begun by their teacher JunPo Kando Denis Kelly Roshi. Mondo Zen is an evolution of the ancient pearl of Rinzai Zen brought into the 21st Century in a form that resonates with our western cultures and minds.
DoShin Roshi will be assisted in this ceremony by four of Teja’s other Teachers: Spirit Rock founder Jack Kornfield
and Aikido Master Sensei Frank McGouirk Shihan, along with Dharma teachers and mystics Trudy Goodman and John Travis. The inclusion of these teachers in this ceremony is meant to honor and integrate the many different Traditions of Dharma that Teja has studied in addition to Rinzai Zen, including Theravāda, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna Buddhism and other healing and mystical arts such as Aikido, Qigong and Tai Chi.
In the readiness of time, Fudo Myoo will become a most auspicious Integral Zen Roshi who truly integrates the Dharma for the benefit of all beings.
From Fudo Myoo...
We practice not just for ourselves but for the benefit of all of life. So too, this acknowledgement of lineage transmission is not just about one person but is also about the universal transformation potential that is present in our awakening community. It is a celebration of our aspiration and efforts toward True Knowledge based in selfless compassion, kindness and respect, and the sparkling clarity of embodied wisdom.
I am fortunate to have the confidence of Doshin Roshi and the blessing of Junpo Roshi in this moment of passing along the responsibility of lineage to me as the 85th Patriarch of Rinzai Zen. This is a responsibility that I take seriously, of course. Saying this, those that know me also know that I am somewhat of a ‘Ronin’ and outlier in terms of being molded into and forwarding the forms of traditions – this is so not only in Zen but in the other forms of spiritual practice, including martial arts, healing arts and embodiment arts that I continue to practice and teach.
Like our teacher Junpo Roshi, I do not fold easily into the templates of the past nor adhere to them just out of tradition; this is not out of laziness or mere personal preference, but out of seasoned observation, trial and error and concern for the relevance and usefulness of practice forms and teachings that were most certainly designed for the culture and the time out of which they arose. This includes monastic practice forms and cultural norms that are not simply superimposable on to modern human beings who do not have the context or a cultural connection to them. Thus has the expression of the Dharma morphed over time and place.
An important question for all of us engaged in Buddhist practice is: how to keep the kernel of truth and the essence of practice in these fast moving times and ever-changing landscapes of a highly complex and diverse global community while facing the challenge of the merging of ancient traditions as they meet modern science and technology. We live in interesting times indeed. For me the emphasis is on awakening consciousness and implementing skillful means while living in integrity with the fluidity of the Tao. The question is how to include and simultaneously transcend the past and embrace the uncertainty of the future with courage and wisdom without giving into resignation. A timeless koan!
My commitment to the Way is to continue to acknowledge and work on my own awakening and to share this with sensitivity and ferocity always with self-reflection and humility that honors the beauty of the Way, honors the ancients and honors the potential evolutionary flow of our Radiant Hearts actualizing the truth of the Dharma in its multitudinous forms of expression.
September 15-18, 2016 - 3-Day Integral Mondo Retreat (MKP) in Batavia, NY
September 22-25, 2016 - 4-Day "Houseshin" Retreat led by Soham Clint VanEgeren in Appleton, WI
October 3-9, 2016 - 7-Day Mondo Zen Teacher Training led by Junpo Roshi at Venwoude in the Netherlands
October 7-9, 2016 - 3-Day Taste of Mondo Zen led by Meru Roshi and Rev. Shokan Mui at Still Point Zen Center in
Random Lake, WI
October 28-30, 2016 - 3-Day Silent Zen Retreat with Green Tara Sangha led by Vimala Roshi in De Pere, WI
October 29- November 5, 2016 - Hollow Bones - 8-Day Mondo Zen Teacher Training led by Doshin Roshi in Loveland,
November 17-20, 2016 - 3-Day Integral Mondo Zen Retreat (MKP) in Seabeck, WA
December 3-10, 2016 - 8-Day Hollow Bones Rohatsu Sesshin led by JunPo Roshi in Green Bay, WI . Please note: this is one week later than in previous years.
December 15-18, 2016 - 3-Day Integral Mondo Zen Retreat (MKP) in Charles Town, WV
January 7-13, 2017 - 7-Day Hollow Bones Mondo Zen Sesshin led by Junpo Roshi in Sonoma, CA
Visit the Retreat Calendar on the website for more information.
In this Dharma life unfolding, Tozan Paco John Verin and Sosan Marcus Karlstad will soon be starting their 1,000 day
practice commitment at Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji, our root monastery.
This idea emerged during the June 2016 sesshin at DBZ as a way for our two priests to deepen their practice and to
support DBZ, as well as to bring Mondo Zen to the monastery.
Tozan and Sosan will begin their first kessei on September 14th and become part of the full time staff at DBZ
- engaging in daily practice and samu, supporting programs and events. They will also have the privilege
of classical koan study with Shinge Roshi.
Jun Po will travel to DBZ in mid-November to introduce Mondo Zen to the community and to help create a follow-up
Mondo practice program there facilitated by both Tozan and Sosan.
The Hollow Bones Sangha is warmly invited to attend DBZ programs, kessei, sesshins, and trainings for their own
practice as well as to support our two priests in their new adventure.
Excitement and opportunity, a never-ending practice.
For Tozan and Sosan … not a casual affair. Deep bows to your commitment.
... Hui Neng (cont.)
I spent five years, from 1998 - 2003, teaching there. One reason for creating, along with Sifu Garcia, Peace on the Street was the goal of providing a program that would support inmates returning to the city as well as our neighborhood residents themselves.
As time went on we discovered that our joint meditation/martial arts program was unusually effective. Youngsters came to Sifu Garcia to learn to fight. After they got nice with their hands, it was a short walk across the hall to learn how to get nice with their minds.
During the last several years, I have been actively involved in the Hollow Bones Order. I was ordained as a Zen Priest with the dharma name Hui Neng in 2004 by Zen Master Jun Po Denis Kelly, 83rd Patriarch in the Rinzai Zen lineage.
Hui Neng, the Sixth and final Zen Patriarch, is credited with completing the transformation of Zen from a foreign psychology into a genuine Chinese expression of the basic teachings of the Tathagata. I look to Hui Neng as a model in my goal of creating an approach to Buddhism that resonates with inner city Americans.
During the winter of 2013, I joined the CPE program of the Spiritual Services Department of Mt. Sinai Hospital and worked up through the spring of 2016 as a volunteer intern chaplain. For the most part during that period, I provided weekend and night support for patients that were actively dying. Last year we expanded our program with GreenHope providing support for woman returning from prison. And last winter we conducted a series of meditation workshops for the participants in our neighborhood Youth Build program as well as conducting our “You’ve Been Stopped” survival training for local youth when there is police contact.
Looking towards the future, we are opening our new Zendo next month, September 2016. We will be developing additional conflict resolution workshops during the coming year as well as starting our pilot workshop in self-preservation for LGBTQ youth.
These new initiatives, like all of our programs, have the fundamental goal of making life easier and more successful for members of our community through applying Zen principles to the day to day challenges.
In retrospect and conclusion, I quote the poet T. S. Eliot:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Jun Po of a Thousand Faces
Multiple reflections of the early
Treading deeper into the woods,
seeing with his fingertips,
He gently opens the moist, ancient,
humus, a gold glinting of the
Whispering from the mysterious and
magical universe, born of the Earth
and Praised by the Trees:
Intimacy of the most Natural Revelation!
a dash of this and dash of that, now,
Adhering to the ancient Vow,
he takes the first bite of the juicy
before serving his guests!
Not Knowing is MOST Intimate!