Learning to Trust the Wisdom – Shunya Lynn Hyer

Shunya Prajna Lynn Hyer was ordained as a Hollow Bones priest in 2015. She has worked tirelessly with recently deceased Vimala John Nemick Roshi to spread the dharma through the Green Bay Zen Center. She continues to provide leadership for her sangha as well as a priest at Hollow Bones Zen. We caught up with her recently after completing an one day retreat in Green Bay.

Why is Buddhism Important to you?

Shunya Lynn Hyer

I came to the practice when I felt my life was out of my control. Looking back, I see how my language clearly mirrored my conditioned confusion. First, who or what was I allowing to control my life and second, what “I”, what “control” ever existed? Facing my compulsive need to control life and somehow circumvent uncertainty is my ongoing emotional koan. Zazen practice has given me a steadiness, a stillness where I continue to feel the chaos, the need to control the outcome but allows me space to observe without judgement, breath deeply in compassion and summon the confidence to allow whatever is needed to flow. Buddhism is teaching me to live and love trusting the wisdom of the universe.

How did you come to Mondo Zen and why?

I observed Jun Po Roshi demonstrating the process at Bay Area Yoga Center in 2009. It was fascinating and I wanted to know more. March 2010, I signed up for an 8-day silent Mondo Zen sesshin. I found a teacher and friend there as well as my seat.

What are you learning from the sangha?

Humility! Individually and collectively, there is so much creativity and dedication to the practice and the sangha. We take Dharma and our fun very seriously whether we are sitting or Zen bowling. The members are all in.

How do you see Hollow Bones growing over the next few years?

In my view it will be essential we outreach to a younger, diverse population. The core of Buddhist teaching, informed by Mondo Zen, supported by the Precepts is rock solid. Care must be taken to parse out what is foundational from what no longer serves in the current context and is cultural debris of the Zen tradition.

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