Dharmapalooza 2009 - Day 1

I visited my mom in Salt Lake City for a couple of days this week before coming here to Boulder, Colorado. I’m here to attended “Dharmapalooza 2009,” having won a free ticket from the Buddhist Geeks during a giveaway on Twitter.

The event is a combination of a Zen site with Jun Po Roshi of Mondo Zen and the Hollow Bones Order with a concert by Stuart Davis. Given Davis’ connection with Zen, it makes a bit of sense and this is the fifth Dharmapalooza that he has organized.

Today, we did a short sit with Jun Po with some discussion on his approach to Zen and the meditation method that he wanted to use during the all day session tomorrow. He seems to be following an approach that embraces the somatic, body centered methods, as well as some of the “voices” therapeutic techniques. We’ll see how that works in practice. While his methods are outside the common ones that we find in Zen, I did get a sense that he is fairly serious and solid (he didn’t come off as terribly fringe) and I liked what I experienced of him. I did not previously realize that he was the “Mondo Zen” guy, who I had heard interviewed a while back on Buddhist Geeks (see part 1 and part 2).

After the sit, we all went out to dinner together at a nearby Himalayan restaurant. I got to finally meet Ryan and Vince of Buddhist Geeks (though Vince is doing it out on his own now) after all of these years of talking to them online. I also got a chance to talk to Stuart Davis for a bit. I told him about how before our last Zen retreat, those of us attending the retreat had sat down to watch his “Zen and the Zen of Zen” video, which led to many inappropriate jokes and thoughts during the retreat, itself. Stuart had the high point of hilarity of the evening when we all sat down as a group to sit. With a loud and fairly distinctive sound, he managed to rip his tight rocker jeans from thigh to crotch when he sat down on the cushion, which he freely announced to those who had missed it. He muttered some comments about calling it the “wormhole” when we were at dinner.

So far, a fun event. I’m looking forward to tomorrow though my back and neck are already aching at the thought of it. Jun Po is definitely of the school of Zen thought that says to suck up the pain of sitting and not move at all. We’ll see how that goes.