Mondo Zen | Hollow Bones | Friends of Zen

July, 2013

Update on Jun Po's Health

Dear Sangha,

On Friday, July 12th, Roshi had a small stent placed in one of his coronary arteries due to a 75% blockage. The artery is the LAD and is one of the major blood suppliers to the heart muscle. This artery, unfortunately, is also known as  “The Widow Maker.” He is doing wonderfully now and although a bit fatigued, feels great.

Jun Po had a couple of episodes of chest pain during high intensity exercise (swinging kettle bells!) that he attributed to injuring his sternum in a bike accident that occurred about one and a half years ago.

We got an exercise stress test that he passed with flying colors.  An ultrasound of his heart during the test showed no problem with his heart muscle.  However, surprisingly a CAT scan of the arteries of his heart showed way too much calcium build up even though his cholesterol was great.  His cardiologist did not suspect this and felt this was clearly genetic, and because of Jun Po’s healthy lifestyle, it did not show up until now at 71 years old rather than at 40-50.

Jun Po had a cardiac catheritization/angiogram that showed a blockage that was repaired through a 5 mm incision.  The procedure took a little over one hour, and we were home later that same evening!

Our hope is that this will relieve some of Jun Po’s fatigue…we will see.  He will be starting Cardiac Rehabilitation this week and is on medication to keep his blood thin until the area around the stent heals.  He is also on medication to lower his LDL (bad) cholesterol to <80. this is to prevent additional cholesterol plaques from forming while we are increasing intensive lifestyle change: exercise, supplements, and nutrition.>

Integrative Medicine transcends and includes, using the best of both worlds. We are our parents and family genetics.  Our lifestyle choices affect the expression of our genetic predispositions so please do not put Diesel fuel into a Regular tank.  Pay attention to your family’s medical history.  Get your health screenings done. How you choose to use that information is up to you.  So as in Mondo: “Answer the phone.  Get the information.”

In Love & Good Health,

P.S.  Message from battle-worn Jun Po:  Keep you heart wide open and remember practice IS enlightenment. It’s celebrate, not celibate!   

Unconditional Love,
Jun Po

Dai Bosatsu ... Coming Home

Sisters and Brothers, 

I hope you will be able to join us next year and attend sesshin at our root monastery, Dai Bosatsu Zendo, deep within the Catskill Mountains of New York State. 

Our traditional seven-day sesshin held last month at Dai Bosatsu Zendo was perfect.  This was the first time I have led sesshin there in twenty years.  Shinge Roshi, the new abbess, and the DBZ staff welcomed us and cared for the forty-nine of us with such open hearts. 

The hard rock maple forest woodpecker dharma talks were matched in quality by the insight-filled, humorous and loving Teisho transmission dharma talks given by Vimala John Nemick, Taiso Byran Bartow, Hifu George Burch, and yours truly.

The blending of Qigong led by Daju Suzanne Friedman and Yoga led by Ma Dhyana Kathleen Kelly-Hoffman was a perfect balance for the long hours of zazen. There were daily forty-minute meditation nature walks around Beecher Lake. Our sacred laughter practice shook the mountain, and our Mu/Know, No koan practice penetrated deep into emptiness.

I was moved to tears many times. We are all more awake now. Yes!  We have opened further the front door to our tradition.

We have returned.  

Feel free to go visit or experience practice there anytime. We are welcome in every way. For instance, one of our sangha, Sosan Marcus Kalstad has been there for these last few months doing a traditional 100-day Kessei training period. Gratitude to you, Sosan.

The dates for next year’s 2014 DBZ Hollow Bones sesshin are June 14-21, 2014. If you would like to attend, please go to our website and register ASAP. We have twelve registered already and only fifty seats. 

Keep your practice strong, embody the five training elements, and master the Mondo Zen protocol. Never doubt the imperturbability of your true pure Awareness.

Never doubt the invincible compassion of your true, pure Heart.  

With eternal gratitude~
yours in this Dharma,

Jun Po

Ordinary Joriki

by Eisho Shima

After telling my local sangha about my experience at DBZ, I felt the words I’d spoken were the same ones I’d used for years, but knew that something had shifted significantly during sesshin. Perhaps the intensive practice form catalyzed new growth in me, or maybe it illuminated what was already here. What is clear is that although I’ve long had quite a bit of discipline, determination, and understanding of my suffering, now I can mobilize the joriki within me, in order to stop manufacturing suffering.

The intention of our practice is to alleviate suffering, in ourselves and so-called others. But where does the power to do that come from? How can we summon the energy to realize our true nature, see through our delusions, and take compassionate action? How can we take practical steps in our lives now, not waiting for elusive “enlightenment”?

Zen practice develops joriki (Japanese for “the power of intense concentration”) - the strength to put our attention where we want it, for as long as we want it. The more we meditate, the more joriki we cultivate. Like a magnifying glass igniting paper, joriki allows us to burn through layer after layer of our delusions. We can then experience and keep our attention on the true nature of reality and become free to respond to circumstances with wisdom and compassion.

With sufficient joriki, you can put your full attention on what is actually happening right now. Not on a story about circumstances, or on the memories and anxieties they provoke. Engaging this capacity, you’re no longer driven by your unconscious reactivity, no longer tethered to your brain’s chatty default mode of manufacturing suffering.

I had arrived at Dai Bosatsu Zendo expecting a week of serene and spacious samadhi, but instead faced unusual sleepiness and previously unseen depths of psycho-emotional pain. Within the rigorous monastic form, relying on a strength I hadn’t known I had allowed me to stay awake with the discomfort. Hour after relentless hour, observing sensations and the narratives they triggered.

As joriki grows, we can increasingly see through beliefs, sensations, and emotions as they arise and fall away, and choose not to rely on them for our full understanding of reality. Cultivating joriki allows us to rely on pure, selfless awareness, as we awaken and respond to reality just as it is (continued next column)

Knit, purl

During the no-time of emptiness
while her daughter swims in the hollow bones of Dai Bosatsu,
a mother is hospitalised with pneumonia and congestive heart failure,
so far away, despite the scent of Oneness.

And in that same far hometown a storm rages,
the likes of which unknown.
Tearing concrete sea walls like the skin of a peach.
In England, a great nephew is born and a nephew is helped to a psych ward by
Police after his space walk takes him too far from Earth and he misses the last bus home.

A precious four-legged friend has her surgery staples out and joins the tribe of Burches on Gabapentin.

Beetroot is cloaked in weeds and pigeons chip lettuces to the ground.
Ewes lose their lambs and their wool in one terrible slice.
Irises bloom.
A husband lends his drums to a touring band that supports the Rolling Stones and the Who.
Have a bang on this, he says, thrilled.

I, the tenderly glimpsed not-two of the dreamer, mind none of this
but I heart it and
I body it
over and over
even as I
none of it.

Back again in the thicker karma of the dream
crafted from human choice,
I gather this precious yarn in my arms and knit with love and conversation.
Celebrating, sympathizing,
casting purls and pulling weeds.

Sacred laughter rings in the halls of our love as dogs dance,
minds and lungs start to mend and
the earth feeds new babies, sad sheep and hungry beets.

And the drum of the mother's heart beats on
as skype calls stretch to fold more daughters
into the blue bowl of a hospital room.

I notice in this bundle of threads, a knot of Hifu's Teisho
but I can't untangle it from him staying soft and hard and now that I'm laughing again
there are Vicara's pants
and Choan's regret about falling for the flower of pain
and missing the root.

~ ShinKu Deb Burch



July 15-21, 2013 - 6-Day Mondo Zen Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi in Griswold, Iowa.

September 14-20 - 6-Day Silent Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in California.

November 9-16 - 7-Day Mondo Zen Teacher Training in Loveland, Colorado, led by Doshin Roshi. 
Pre-requisite:  You are required to have attended a regular Mondo retreat. See the website regarding exceptions.

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

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. 

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

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

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.

A Poem

For years and years
I try so hard
To do the work.
At last I see.
The work does me.

Daiden Dan Pecaut


Opening this door
Brothers, sisters and cousins
Our family grows

Mixing traditions
This Rinzai Zen and Tantra
Old wolf on the prowl 

~ Gangyo Larry Gagler


Anjo Shishin Lizzy Williams and Dazu Kodo Justin Park were ordained as novice priests at Dai Bosatsu on June 21, 2013. 

... Joriki (cont.)

During my first decade or so of meditating, I strove to “fix” my “brokenness”; since coming to Zen, though, I’ve been practicing recognizing our incorruptible true nature.

So I (intellectually) knew not to mistake the arising shadow states for reality. As I let myself be still with intense discomfort, my awareness was penetrated by the beauty of steam rising after rain, of monks chanting, and a black bear skulking. The shadows and stagnation proved not to be separate from Zen mind, after all.

Relying on joriki doesn’t mean reifying the ego mind, amplifying the delusion that our finite selves have enduring, independent substance. Rather, it involves recognizing the emptiness of the ego process, and harnessing it to bring full attention right to the edges of its relative power, yielding to realization of our essential nature.

I had thought I understood this. But in the middle of sesshin, I watched an old reactive habit erupt in super-slow-mo. Watching nuances unfold, I saw my habit of weaving emotional intensity into a web of identity, clutching silken strands in tight fists.

Though never having really seen my drama queen reactivity before, I clearly recognized that she’d been around a long time. That I enacted her when replaying an old trauma. When desperate not to face the pain alone, and unconsciously flailing for someone to save me. Ugh - such angst in trying to hold an ego identity together!

Seeing the reactivity and its source in such heightened clarity, I related to myself with fresh compassion. Rather than shaming myself (at last!), I simply inquired, “Is the trauma happening now? (No). Is there more healing or grieving to be done now? (No). Do I need someone to see and love me in this pain, now? (Yes—myself).” So I stayed. Open. Clear. Compassionate. Ordinary. 

For the rest of sesshin, with compassion and clarity, I held the practice form, simply remaining completely present in ongoing meditation, and in service to the sangha: simply opening doors and windows, filling water bowls on altars, playing the mokugyo.

When facing doubts and demons, I chose to extricate myself from my favorite delusions, relying instead on this practice.

But cultivating joriki isn’t about disconnecting from others. It means firmly pulling ourselves out of the pits we dig, so that we can be of active, compassionate service to others. And it includes relying with discernment on teachers and teachings to light our way, to hold up clear mirrors.

(Deep bows to the priest who shared her chocolate, the priest who transmitted gentleness and strength in the Inji hub, and the roshi who, to my fleeting chagrin, agreed a spade was a spade). 

Engaging the joriki, we embody, we are awake - on the cushion in glimpses, and, increasingly, in our mundane lives. Gradually, we become neurologically able to fully experience this unmediated moment, no longer ensnared by the narratives our brains spin.


And THEN we get to make the paradoxically difficult choice to accept our freedom: to choose conscious, compassionate response over the repetitive manufacturing of suffering.

At the end of sesshin, when I typically would contract in despair and self-pity, I stayed open. When the tug to shut down just began to creep in, I shifted my attention to pure, selfless awareness; despair dissolved and beauty revealed itself.

This wasn’t conceptually invoking my will to stay present, but a spontaneous response. It expresses the choice to perceive and respond compassionately to reality. But it also reveals how ongoing, disciplined practice changes our neurology, allowing us to see beyond our delusions and to cease creating suffering.

At last - gratefully - I not only see the choice point of my suffering, but have the strength to choose freedom. To pry my attention off of my pitiful “deficiency,” so that I actually perceive and relish what is sumptuously here.

In deep gratitude for the dharma, and this awakening community. May all beings transcend neuroses, and be of benefit to the world.

~ Eisho


Mondo Zen's Mission from our Sutra Book

You're receiving this newsletter because you've subscribed on
Not interested anymore? Unsubscribe. Having trouble viewing this email? View in your browser.

©2013 Mondo Zen - All Rights Reserved.