Teachers & Priests
Dazu Kodo Justin Park
Dazu grew up as a devout Christian. In his mid 20’s, he served as a university chaplain, pastor, and contemplative social activist. This chapter came to crux when he began to more deeply question the gap between his religious belief systems and his own direct fundamental experience. At seemingly great risk to what he had set out as his life’s mission, he began to ask: “What if the beliefs I hold dear are not congruent with reality…blocking my ability to be more fundamentally free and more fully alive?” Then, the more difficult questions began to emerge: “Am I WILLING to be wrong… to not know? Am I willing to remain squarely here, refusing to chase after phantasms and mirages…refusing to look away from my own fundamental doubt?” These koans rattled Dazu to the core.
He began practicing Zen in 2004, and during the years that followed explored everything he could from both the Eastern and Western traditions including Integral Theory and Practice, initiation with Mankind Project, and formal initiation and teacher training in Tantra Hatha Yoga with Yogiraj Yogarupa Rod Stryker (founder of Parayoga).
In 2008, Dazu heard about the tribe of Hollow Bones and the integral path of Mondo Zen. Dazu reached out… head on fire, looking for a pail of water. During the Summer of 2009, he and his wife Kathryn had the opportunity to participate in the Mondo process with Junpo Roshi at the Wild Goose Zendo. In this short encounter, the fire was stoked even hotter, enabling this to burn more clearly…giving this more purposeful direction (wake up…clean up…grow up…show up!).
A door of insight had quietly opened for Dazu, and he took the advice given to many aspirants on the Path: “Test, experiment, be sure you are ready before you fully commit to a path.” After years of relentless searching and questioning, Dazu found himself sitting down again and again into vast ordinary roaring silence and knew he was on this Path. In May 2012, Dazu took his seat within the Hollow Bones community and received Jukai in Leadville, Colorado. In June 2013, Dazu received Precept Vows, becoming ordained as a priest at the Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji monastery.
Dazu has been married to his lifelong Dharma partner Kathryn since 2000 and is the father of two Bodhisattvas, Jeremiah and Selah. Dazu attended Gordon College with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Prescott College with a Master’s degree in Sustainability Education, and is currently a PhD Candidate in Adult Learning and Development at Lesley University (researching the intersections between mindfulness, cognitive development, emotional intelligence, and leadership). He is the co-founder of the Emergent Zen sangha in Portland, Maine, and Emergent Leadership (a coaching and consulting firm serving conscious leaders). Dazu is learning the gift one can give oneself by opening to natural joy as this passionate commitment chooses to more deeply enter the fray of life and play in This Grand Ordinary Game.