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Umi No Nami Dan Rotnem


Dan was introduced to zazen and Japanese culture at age 5 through martial arts, but it wasn’t for another 25 years before he formally studied Zen. In the intervening duration, he was a practicing Lutheran who attended a Catholic (Jesuit) high school, where he discovered Daoism in the philosophy section of the library. By the time he got to college he was deep into Asian philosophy and martial arts. 

After getting his BA and MA in Chinese Language and Culture from The Ohio State University, he began a career in international business, moving to China on a one-way ticket. After dabbling in multiple start-ups related to international education, he left that world behind to focus on teaching his own martial arts curriculum full time.  

About then, driven by a perfect storm of personal crises — on the verge of a second divorce, mired in toxic family of origin dynamics, depressed with suicidal ideation — Dan found “The Heart of Zen”. Deeply moved, he travelled from Ohio to Wisconsin to receive Mondo Zen Facilitation from Jun Po and experienced a radical transformation. Which was fortunate, because shortly after there came an onset of Functional Neurological Disorder (the diagnosis of which was a remarkable journey.) His experience with meditation and conscious embodiment was essential to his unlikely recovery. 

In 2019, Dan received ordination into the Hollow Bones Zen Order and became known as Umi no Nami, or Umi for short. Since then, he has devoted himself to his passion of studying and sharing the dharma. Currently, he serves the Hollow Bones community in various roles with the intention to support strong practices leading to unreasonable joy and true freedom. When he’s not being a dharma nerd, his time is well occupied by his wife, three kids, and two old dogs.