Integral Zen has its foundation in Mondo Zen, an impressive re-interpretation and modernization of the traditional Renzai Zen koan practice that comes from ancient China and Japan. Junpo Dennis Kelly Roshi, the Abbot of the Hollow Bones, has devoted his life to interpreting and bringing this powerful practice to the modern west. He's done an amazing job - check it out!
My current teacher, Doshin Michael Nelson Roshi, the Abbot of Integral Zen, is a linage holder in the Hollow Bones tradition. Doshin overlays the comprehensive map of Ken Wilber's Integral theory along with an understanding of shadow and trauma work and attachment theory onto the solid foundation of Mondo Zen. He has created a truly transformative practice particularly well suited to the complexity of the western mind our often chaotic lifestyle. Doshin offers week-long Integral Zen retreats in the U.S. as well as Great Britain and Europe and is available for consultation and teaching over the internet. Doshin is a very clear, intelligent teacher who devotes his life to the evolution of the Dharma. I encourage you to follow any leading you may feel to reach out and connect with him and/or to attend one of his retreats.
Here's a recent article from Doshin: "Updating The Dharma"
Not so long ago, a Zen Master in a Korean Lineage posed a koan to an Integral Zen Master:
Korean ZM, “Why were you born?”
Integral ZM, “To update the Dharma.”
Much has happened since the last time the Dharma, the Buddhist teachings, was updated: the renaissance, the age of enlightenment, the industrial revolution, the beginning of the Age of Science and the explosion of scientific knowledge, the exponential advancement of technology, radio, splitting the atom, TV, the Internet, Google, Facebook, Developmental, Depth, Transpersonal and Cognitive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Neuroscience and Integral Theory, to just briefly skim the surface.
There is general agreement among Buddhists and scholars that Buddhism has already gone through three major updates since the Buddha, though there is not general agreement on where exactly to draw the lines between these three Turnings of the Buddhist Wheel.
However, it seems obvious since so much has happened in the last 700 or so years, that it is time for a Fourth Turning of the Wheel. There is a lot to integrate in order for the Dharma Teachings to be relevant in the 21st Century.
To begin with, the modern rational beliefs of materialistic science have dismissed most of the ancient wisdom teachings regarding absolute truth as not rational. Then the aperspectival madness of postmodern pluralistic beliefs has argued that any understanding of absolute truth to a belief that all truth is relative: “the truth is there is no truth.”
We need a new articulation of the Two Truths Doctrine of Zen Buddhism, that there is both an absolute AND a relative truth. This new articulation requires an integration of ancient wisdom and modern knowledge. The first requirement is deep insight into and articulated understanding of absolute truth – that which never changes. Second, it requires a broad over-standing, a complete metaview -a usable map of all human experience- that includes a clear articulation of the relative truths – those things which are always changing.
The most significant articulation of the relative truths is the integral perspective of the evolution of human consciousness itself, representing an integration of ancient wisdom and leading edge scientific knowledge.
For the Dharma to be relevant today, we must look at enlightenment differently. In the past Waking Up, deepening insight into the nature of the absolute, was enough to consider someone as being enlightened. This is no longer enough in the 21st century.
We must still Wake Up, by cultivating deep insight into the nature of the absolute, AND we must also continue to Grow Up, by evolving our relative conscious views and values. In addition, we must also Clean Up, by looking deep into the darkness within, illuminating and integrating disowned subpersonalities, as well as healing old traumas, insecure attachment issues and ignorance of karma. Finally, we must Show Up, by bringing our deepening insight of the absolute, our evolving relative values and views and our integrated shadows and healed wounds into all dimensions and quadrants of our lives.
We must deeply commit to following a path of Awakening for the benefit of all beings.
Integrating Zen™ is one such path that has been upgraded for the 21st Century, and this is what we are Up To at the Integrating Zen Center.
~ Doshin Roshi
To get a taste of these powerful practices and a sense of the teachers who developed them, I invite you to view the short videos linked below. Also, on their websites, you'll find some excellent descriptions and resources for deepening your understanding and appreciation of both Mondo Zen and Integral Zen. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what must a video be worth? Enjoy!
A Video interview with Junpo (15 min)