Mondo Zen | Hollow Bones | Friends of Zen

September, 2013

Update on Jun Po's Health

Dear Sangha,
Jun Po is recovering very well from his angioplasty and stent placement!  He completed cardiac rehabilitation at our local hospital and has intensified his Russian Kettle Bell training, walking, and swimming program. 

JP quote: "The Kettle Bell training is kicking my (you fill it in)."  His cholesterol is exactly where it needs to be with a combination of a small amount of conventional medicine and a lot of lifestyle change, as well as some targeted supplements.

Love to All,

Life is short and waits for no man or woman. It is erotic, not neurotic. Do not postpone your Awakening. Be very well.

Love and Gratitude to All,

Jun Po

The Marriage of Wisdom and Compassion

by Meru Doug Szper

It’s been said that Zen is the marriage of wisdom and compassion.  So, I’d like to explore these two concepts a little more deeply.  First, Wisdom is not the same as Knowledge.  I have known many people with very little formal schooling (knowledge) who had deep insight (wisdom) born of life experiences.  And I have known many highly educated people with advanced degrees who displayed little in the way of wisdom and insight. 

To me, Wisdom comes from the ability to see beyond the information one is presented with and recognize the patterns and deeper truths within that information.  Hence, when one reads a spiritual teaching, very often the wisdom is hidden within the words.  Those who simply take the words literally will miss the deeper insight and understanding that is offered.  The parables of Jesus are a good example of this.  We must look beneath the surface for the deeper meaning in these teachings.

Many years ago, when I first stepped onto the Buddhist path, the traditional “Four Vows” of the awakened ones contained these words about true teachings: “I vow to study and master them all.”  This wording triggered an image in my mind of hundreds of feet of library bookshelves, filled with rows and rows of books containing “true teachings.”  And more being produced on a daily basis.  There was simply no way that one person could study all of these teachings.  Perhaps, 1,000 or 2,000 years ago, it would be possible for one person to read all of the written spiritual teachings available.  That is simply no longer true.

Shortly after that, the wording was changed to “I vow to embody and master them all.” I smiled at the wisdom in this change of wording.  For, if I embody the true teachings of any one spiritual master, I embody them all.  The deepest meaning of the teachings of all spiritual traditions leads us to the same embodiment of the ultimate Truth.

Compassion is often born of suffering.  The Buddha set out on a quest to understand the nature of suffering in the world.  He studied for many years with some of the greatest spiritual teachers of his time, only to find their path to enlightenment lacking.  Along the way, he subjected his body to extreme deprivation and suffering, with the intention that this would free him from attachments to form.  He then turned inward to find the Wisdom within the words of these teachings.

From this inner wisdom, he saw that neither self-aggrandizement nor self-deprivation were helpful on the path to wisdom.  Instead he taught the “Middle Way”- moderation.  He recognized that physical suffering was an inescapable fact of life for humans.  It was inherent in being born, growing up, growing old and dying.  We might find a respite from the physical suffering in our hale and healthy youth, but eventually the body begins to fail, and we experience physical suffering

However, he also realized that most of human suffering is not physical, but rather cognitive, emotional, and spiritual.  This was a key insight.  I sometimes substitute “essential discontent” for self-inflicted cognitive and emotional suffering.  Our ego minds (the egoic structure with which most people self-identify) are the source of all of these forms of suffering.  And, more importantly, there is a way out of this suffering.
It starts with understanding who we are and who we are not.  One of my early wisdom teachers said it thus: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  If we can begin to shift our self-identification from the egoic self to a deeper, spiritual level, we see our life experiences in a very different way.  We begin to place less emphasis on our own personal needs and see life from a broader perspective.

Then, we begin to see the suffering of others with deep compassion.  Spiritual masters throughout history, like Abraham, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi and Mother Teresa, have discovered, experienced, and embodied this truth.  Empathy for the suffering of others arises from a place of deep wisdom and letting go of self-centered beliefs.

“For I have suffered as I now see them suffering.”  This empathy and compassion arises naturally when we dis-identify with ego mind and begin to self-identify as the (formless) presence and awareness which experiences this human body and ego mind (form).  This is your true nature.  This is your birthright.  But, if you don’t claim it, you continue to muddle on in confusion and discontent.

Dear Hollow Bones Sangha Members,

We’re entering the final week of our first 70-Day Cyber-Sangha Program, which was quite valuable and successful.  We had thirteen participants on  continents with great connection, support, and practice.

So, it’s time to sign up for the next 70-Day cycle, September 29 – December 8, with a few new features:
  • New – Weekly Large Group Calls for more Sangha connection (optional)
  • Select your Priest (if you have a preference, I’ll do my best to put you in the group of your choice)
  • More enhancements coming soon
Click here for more details

Peace, Blessings, and Love,



September 14-20 - 6-Day Silent Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in California.  This retreat is full. To be put on the waiting list, contact Kevala at

October 4-6 - 3-Day Taste of Mondo Zen at Still Point Zen Center in Random Lake, Wisconsin, led by Meru Roshi.  Contact Meru at

October 19 - One-day Silent Retreat at Norbertine Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Contact Vimala at

Novembver 1-3 - 3-Day Integral Mondo Zen Retreat at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center led by Doshin Roshi.  Registration by Bodhi William Prince at

November 9-16 - 7-Day Integral Mondo Zen Sesshin in Loveland, Colorado, led by Doshin Roshi. 

December 1-7 - 6-day Rohatsu silent sesshin at Norbertine Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin, led by Jun Po Roshi.

December 13-15 - 3-Day Integral Mondo Zen Retreat in Charlestown, West Virginia, led by Doshin Roshi.  This retreat is full.  To be put on the waiting list, contact Paul Fogarty at

January 18-24, 2014 - 6-Day Mondo Zen Sesshin at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center led by Junpo Roshi in Sonoma, California.

March 15-21, 2014 - 6-Day Mondo Zen Sesshin at Pendle Hill in Pennsylvania led by Doshin Roshi.

March 17-23, 2014 - 6-Day Mondo Zen Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at Venwoude International, Netherlands.  Contact for information.

May 10-17, 2014 -7-Day Mondo Zen Retreat led by Junpo Roshi in Loveland, Colorado.

June 14-21, 2014 - 7-Day Silent Zen Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at Dai Bosatsu Zendo, in the Catskill Mountains, New York.

Visit the Retreat Calendar on the website for more information.

The Junpo Roku 

Authored by Daju Suzanne Friedman, The Junpo Roku is a record of the early teachings of Roshi Junpo Denis Kelly.

The roku is available now through CreateSpace and also for Kindle.

Mondo Manual for eReaders

The Mondo Training Manual is now available for iPad, Kindle, and other eReaders thanks to Sosan Marcus Karlstad.

Check Latest Resources on our website.

Reflections from the Iowa Sesshin

Insight: When I used to perform in front of an audience (e.g. singing/playing the guitar or public speaking), I would often speak from within the body, and it would go well.

However, every so often, my performance would go better than well. I would be "in the zone." I knew there was a shift but never understood what was happening.

After the Iowa retreat, I realized I sometimes protect myself by speaking from within the body instead of from without the body. I realized there is a field of energy beyond the body.

The interesting thing about it is that I am sometimes able to tap on this energy and speak from this place.

I notice a deeper connection with others when I speak from this place. This energy does not only flow from within but from the outside in and into a vastness that listens ever so deeply and ever so lightly.

Sufi Saying

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself
“Is is true?”
At the second gate ask,
“Is it necessary?”
At the third gate ask,
“Is it kind?”

From DBZ

geese floating on the lake
breeze stirring a patch of water
grasses dancing
sky, clouds, birds
no one watching
- Vimala John Nemick


Mondo Zen's Mission from our Sutra Book

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