Demonstrating Awakening in the World

Yes, we must awaken. It’s a prerequisite, not the point or the “end” of our journey. What does awakening look like? How does it move through the world? Is it something that we know, or is it who we are? Is it who we are when we’re cloistered on a retreat, or is it who we are when day-to-day life is kicking us in the teeth?

In Hollow Bones Zen, how we live our life is the greatest measure of our practice. How do we relate to the challenges of navigating relationships? The messiness of being householders in the 21st century? The hard questions around what to eat and how to spend our time and money? This being awake, 24/7 is the point. Not some meditative experience or belief structure, but to see through our “selves” moment-by-moment and manifest compassionate wisdom.

When Jun Po went to Dai Bosatsu, he was already aware of his passion to include yoga, sacred stewardship, and psychotherapy as essential additions to the deep meditative practice of Rinzai Zen. The strength of the direct, sudden awakening must be balanced by the day-to-day cultivation of such insight into our relative perspectives. Without this, the practice is incomplete and, ultimately, does not provide the promised liberation from suffering. While many schools of Zen, Buddhism, and Yoga have found solutions to this quandary, Hollow Bones Zen does not follow any of them exclusively. Instead, we simply take up whatever is found to be skillful in supporting the cultivation of the five practice mirrors: sacred stewardship, philosophical reorientation, emotional maturity & integrity, conscious embodiment, and genuine insight.

Hollow Bones Zen recognizes that teachers in our lineage caused harm. We recognize the
fundamental humanity of these teachers and cherish the gifts we have received
without ignoring what we find to be limitations and unskillful behavior. The shadow states of individual teachers and our organization’s collective past have been instrumental in shaping our present dharma–our unwavering commitment to enlightening all of our shadow states. We have instated public policies for ethics and have multiple avenues for members to communicate concerns to leadership to ensure healthy relationships in our sangha.

As Hafiz reminds us:

It is always a danger
To aspirants
On the

When they begin
To believe and

As if the ten thousand idiots
Who so long ruled
And lived

Have all packed their bags
And skipped town

Hollow Bones Zen offers a heart-centered practice that values compassionate presence and grace while recognizing that no human is above the laws of karma.

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, It does not matter
If you’ve broken
Your vow a thousand times.
Still, come, and yet again come!

Zen is, at its very core, the resolution of all paradoxes through transcendent wisdom. The nature of this wisdom is one of compassionate inquiry–the excitement and joy in the journey of awakening. The way this dharma manifests in life differs for everyone, according to their specific situation. Fierce and gentle, hard and soft, passive and active–all polarities in their time and place as a remarkable interplay of life. . Embracing Great Faith, Great Doubt, Great Determination, and Great Passion, we Affirm Life. As a tantric awakening, we accept and surrender to all being, exactly as it is. This framework shows us that the very highest form of our work is simply the act of practicing together – a living expression of the dharma unfolding. Buddha, dharma, sangha is alive today through each person’s commitment to Steward this Way.