Mondo Zen | Hollow Bones | Friends of Zen

July, 2012

Jun Po at Shobo-ji in August

The Zen Studies Society is hosting an Introduction to Mondo Zen at Shobo-ji in New York City on Friday evening, August 24, and all day Saturday, August 25, 2012.  The event will be led by Roshi Jun Po Denis Kelly.

Mondo Zen is based on Japanese and Chinese Zen and updated for the 21st Century. Mondo Zen transcends the hierarchical/authoritarian, gender-biased and constraining monastic aspects of traditional Zen in favor of practical, experiential in the world engagement.

The event will start Friday evening from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and continue on Saturday from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Participants will provide their own meals. Limited sleeping space is available in the Dharma Hall of the Zendo for people from out of town. The cost per participant is $125.

Shobo-ji is located at 223 E. 67th St between 2nd & 3rd Avenues in New York City.

Contact Gangyo Larry Gagler at to register.

Reflections from Sesshin by Scott Youmans

Clear Blue Heron

After breakfast, I look for solitary spaces and find the deserted patio near to the zendo. Its bricks are cold on my bare feet, and I feel the morning dew on the moss and the dandelions growing between the stones as I make my way to a bench in the sun. Erupting over the canopy of trees, I am captivated by a brilliant flash: the morning sun has illuminated the underwing of a heron rising above the pond.

In this moment, the bird seems to hover, frozen in time. In this moment, it is impossible to be anywhere or anything else. I am clear, tracking the heron’s majestic arc across the sky. This clarity I want to take with me into my practice and into my life. There is no bottle to fill with it, only the vessel of my soul, which I must somehow learn to empty in order to hold all of the heron’s gift. This week is about being that empty. This week is about being that clear.

Koi Witness

Practicing kinhin outside one afternoon, we closely and silently followed one another along the wood-chipped path that wound through the forested grounds surrounding the zendo. At one point, the path wraps around a murky pond with a mass of lilly pads at one end. Walking past the pond, I noticed a red-orange
koi hovering just below the surface of the dark water, motionless, except for the opening and closing of its mouth. 

Who was gazing at whom? Fish witnessing a line of meditators; a line of meditators witnessing fish.

Jun Po's Biography

A Heart Blown Open: The Life & Practice of Zen Master Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi by Keith Martin-Smith is available on Amazon.    

Listen to Ken Wilber interview Jun Po about his biography (courtesy of Integral Life).

The Mondo Roku

Dear Hollow Bones Sangha,

I am humbled to have been asked to write and compile The Mondo Roku, a record of the sayings, flavor, themes and messages from Junpo's extensive teachings and the Mondo Zen process.

There are many such Roku in Zen history. There are Roku that contain koans (the Hekiganroku) and Roku that capture the sayings of a particular master (the Rinzai Roku, aka Linjilu), for example.

I am requesting that you send me any exchanges that you have had with Junpo, either in private or public, that you feel really capture some of the following:

1. The essence of Junpo's teachings and/or personality
2. The essence of Mondo Zen
3. A great lesson, Zen style

Your name will not appear anywhere in the book. All exchanges will be anonymous: between "the master" and "the student(s)."


This book will be a Zen theory, philosophy and practice text - not a storybook - so please keep the themes of your stories connected at least tangentially to the Mondo Process & Zen Buddhism.

Thank you so much for your help on this valuable project.

My email is:

With love and respect,


July 10-15, 2012 - 5-day Mondo Zen Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at Creighton Retreat Center in Griswold, Iowa.

September 22-28, 2012 - 6-day Silent Sesshin led by Doshin Roshi at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, California.

September 24-30, 2012 - 7-day Mondo Zen Teacher Training led by Jun Po Roshi at Venwoude International in the Netherlands.

October 5-7, 2012 - Weekend Mondo retreat at Still Point Zen Center in Random Lake, Wisconsin with Meru Doug Szper. Contact to register.

October 13-20, 2012 - 7-day Mondo Zen Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at Sunrise Ranch near Loveland, Colorado.

November 24-December 1, 2012 - Rohatsu 7-day Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality in Green Bay, WI.

January 19-25, 2013 - 6-Day Mondo Zen Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, CA.

March 23-29, 2013- 6-day Mondo Zen Sesshin at Pendle Hill led by Jun Po Roshi.

May 11-18, 2013 - 7-day Teacher Training led by Jun Po Roshi at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado.  Prerequisite:   Participation in at least one Mondo Zen retreat.

June 15-22, 2013 - 7-day specially designed Mondo Zen Sesshin at Dai Bosatsu in New York State led by Jun Po Roshi.

Visit the Retreat Calendar on the website for more information.

Gratitude to Iowans 

A very special thank you to those in Iowa who are contributing scholarship money so that others may attend the July sesshin.  Their generosity is helping others transform their lives.

Giving without expecting a return is the heart of our dana paramita tradition. 

If you wish to contribute to our scholarship fund, use Support Us on our website (indicate what it is for in the comment section).  Your generosity helps spread this teaching and will enrich the lives of many.

Loveland Sesshin

Over 50 people attended this Mondo Zen Teacher Training at the ever-peaceful Sunrise Ranch in May. Three people took jukai:

Emyo Darlene Tataryn
Hosho Don Koehler
Dazu Justin Park


Unconditional love ....

Dear Jun Po,

I got a tattoo on Friday afternoon; it is a large enso that spreads across the center of my back, below my shoulders. When I wear a shirt, it is invisible. It's for nobody's eyes but my own.

The image has been with me since childhood; my Mom and Dad brought back a t-shirt from one of the first Hollow Bones retreats they attended: it had enso and read, “Only don't know.”

My favorite shirt as a child, I still wear it today. There is a lot of love and celebration of Mom, Dad, you, and the environment I was brought up in in this tattoo.  It serves as a reminder that everything is perfect and essential as it is, that enso is not separate - but instead this void is universal and boundless.

Centered around my body's core, it symbolizes my character & universal being fully exposed and open to both receiving and letting go. To simply be here now in this state of deep heart.

Caitlin (Mudita)*

*Jun Po gave Caitlin the Sanskrit dharma name Mudita ("Gladness") in 2000 when she was ten.


A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it. 

Mondo Zen's Mission from our Sutra Book

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