About The Order
Rinzai Zen School
Hollow Bones is an American Rinzai Zen School. This school provides a clear, open channel for awakening our body, mind, and spirit. This school is specifically tailored for contemporary Western culture. It is Zen stripped bare and separated from its Japanese cultural identity. It is Zen investigated, understood, and practiced deeply. It is a pragmatic, non-sectarian spiritual discipline and way of life that awakens us and transforms our lives. From this perspective to consider Zen a religion is to miss the point.
A Hollow Bones practitioner experiences a deeper, clearer insight into the real nature of our minds. As insight develops, the student becomes aware of a deep emptiness within mind that is always present. Within this emptiness, consciousness, thoughts, emotions, and sensations - all activities of mind - are arising and passing away like clouds drifting across this empty sky. Ego confusion arises because we attach to the misguided belief that our ego's dualistic point of view is all that we are.
We have learned from our parents and culture to believe this confusion. From this basic ignorance, we unconsciously believe that this conceptual "me," this "figment of divine imagination" is a permanent separate self rather than a temporary perspective, a momentary reference point within the interplay of self-reflecting mind. As our mind becomes more clear and stable, we realize we are also this deeper purity and not just the "thinking that thinks it’s a thinker.”
What is Mondo Zen?
Mondo Zen™ is based on Japanese and Chinese Zen, 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. Relying only on direct personal experience - as taught by the Buddha himself - it does not allow mythic constructs to complicate its philosophical orientation. This includes ideas such as reincarnation, soul as personality, bardo realms, past lives, a creator deity, or other faith-based beliefs. It is important that in our practice of Mondo Zen™ we consciously choose to set aside all such ideas at least until we have experienced, tested and evaluated for ourselves a simpler and stronger way of knowing.
Why is this important?
Because those beliefs and concepts force our immediate experience into a container of pre-defined understanding, robbing us of the experience of deeper insight. By letting go of our attachment to our beliefs and mythologies, at least while we are actively doing this practice, we remove a barrier to insight caused by our attachment to those views. Leave old concepts at the door with your hat and shoes—you can always pick them up again on the way out, if they still fit!
Our Mondo Zen™ protocol is designed to accomplish the first step upon this ancient, updated and renewed path of awakening, a transmission of Correct Understanding. The Koan questions asked in our dialog can be confusing because they are designed to deconstruct your current philosophy, creating a new philosophical understanding and awakening you into Clear Deep Heart/Mind. With this two-fold understanding - experiential and philosophical - we will experience the openness and fearless stability within our ordinary mind. We will acquire new language: language that will allow us to recognize, realize, and maintain awareness of Clear Deep Heart/Mind.
At this point, it is important to recognize that the Mondo Zen™ process is a full heart-mind collaboration between “student” and “teacher.” In particular, the facilitator will first ensure that they are and remain deeply grounded and present in Clear Deep Heart/Mind. A vital function of the facilitator is to hold the integrity of the container, keep everyone from getting lost in chatter or concepts, and strongly on track. From deep heart mind, facilitators invite the participant to join them and remain in this state of clarity throughout the dialogue.
Our hope is that you will enjoy a profound, integrative experience that will change your life in ways you want, starting right now! Our primary intentions for this session are
First, correct understanding of the nature of mind, putting you in control of your internal experience,
Second, a taste of the actual liberating experience of no-self,
An opportunity to practice with plenty of support and feedback as both belief and experience evolve, and finally,
Suggestions to help you carry the practice back home, build it into your own life in ways that expand and enrich, and then share it with others.
Let us now take our first step together!
Hollow Bones Zen began in 1999 in response to a request from the Mankind Project to create a complimentary training and practice structure that embodies Zen Buddhist teachings. The early retreats were made available to men who had participated in the Mankind Project and in 2002 expanded to include women through co-ed retreats and workshops. The Hollow Bones Zen Retreat is a modern American Zen meditation retreat. Its root and form are adopted from the Japanese Samurai Rinzai Zen Tradition. The language used is English, and all of the practices are articulated and clearly understood.
In this school of Zen, it is essential that you awaken now, and there is a fierce insistence that you do. Meditating, sitting quietly is not enough. You must awaken! You must become free! You must answer the question, "Who Are you" from the depth of realization, not speculation.
Mondo Zen is the latest incarnation of The Hollow Bones Order. Retreats are currently conducted in Amsterdam, Colorado, California, and Wisconsin
A Channel for The Spirit
Hollow Bones is not gender specific. We have begun within a men's organization and now offer this to women. In true Zen we are standing deeper than gender. Men and women face the identical truth - awakening is not a matter of male or female. The practice, training and realization is the same for both men and women.
Hollow Bones is pure Zen understanding, practice and insight. Hollow Bones is Zen taken out of its oriental cultural context, stripped bare and when investigated becomes not a faith-based religion, but a non-sectarian, pragmatic philosophy, a technology leading to true spiritual insight and freedom.
It is a view and practice that is profoundly deep and spiritual, and at the same time, most practical and ordinary. As the Zen saying goes, "Before awakening - chopping wood and carrying water, after awakening - chopping wood and carrying water."
The Hollow Bones Retreat, now called Mondo Zen Retreat, is a modern American Zen meditation retreat. Its root and form are adopted from the Japanese Samurai Rinzai Zen Tradition. The language used is English, and all of the practices are articulated and clearly understood. The direct and demanding style of Rinzai Zen is a perfect match for the energy and style of the New Warrior Brothers. In this school of Zen, it is essential that you awaken now, and there is a fierce insistence that you do. Meditating, sitting quietly is not enough. You must awaken! You must become free! You must answer the question, "Who Are You" from the depth of realization, not speculation.