Friends of Zen

2989 W. Spencer St
Appleton, WI  54914
Attn: Jun Po Denis Kelly, Rev. Dai En Hi Fu George Burch


Description of Organization

Founded in 1980 to provide a method to support the training of American Rinzai priests, Friends of Zen Inc. became Hollow Bones Zen in 2000, when Abbot Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi and Vice Abbot Di En Hi Fu George Burch established the Hollow Bones Rinzai Zen Order. Since 2000, Hollow Bones Zen has continued to offer meditation sessions and retreats offering Mondo Zen, a distinct style of American Zen, based on the teachings of Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi.

Grant(s) Awarded

In 2024, a Women in Buddhism grant in the amount of $9,500 was awarded to hold a four-day retreat with these topics:

• Current women leaders in Buddhism;
• History of the Hollow Bones Zen sangha and its interface with the Mankind Project
* We will also hold focused discussions to help each woman identify what organizational, cultural, practice, and personal issues are, subtly or explicitly, preventing her from realizing the leader within. This realization should empower women to bloom as leaders, a 2024 theme.

This retreat will be led by long-time Hollow Bones Zen women practitioners (one Roshi and senior priests) who have held women-led retreats since 2013 as a response to the strong patriarchy present in Zen. Also during the retreat, our journeys, inspirations, and aspirations as leaders in our community will be shared. Women will “see” what they can “be.”

In 2022, a grant in the amount of $8,000 was awarded to expand the Mondo Zen Facilitator Training for BIPOC by reaching into disadvantaged communities and offering an initial training program. This initial training opportunity includes the in-person four-day Mondo Zen Intensive followed by a 12-week continuation program online using the curriculum of the Five Practice Mirrors of Hollow Zen. Mondo Zen Facilitation offers an innovative 21st Century American approach to awakening. Developed by recently deceased Zen Master Jun Po Roshi Denis Kelly, Mondo Zen builds on traditional Chan/Zen Koan practice in a blended format of both traditional and 21st century koan practice. Mondo Zen Emotional Awareness Intervention Koans provide an endless opportunity to work with daily emotional triggers for personal and collective liberation.

In 2021, a COVID-19 Operational Grant of $5,000 was awarded to Friends of Zen to support bridge funding for operational assistance while they established their programs online.  The COVID-19 Impact: Prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, retreats attributed to more than half of their annual budget.  Friends of Zen found that the revenue from the on-line programs was lower than from the in-person retreats.  While certain costs were lowered once the retreats shifted to online, the operational expenses were not reduced accordingly.

In 2010, a supplement to the 2006 Academy Zendo Grant in the amount of $5,000 was awarded to Friends of Zen. 

In 2007, a grant in the amount of $300,000 was awarded to Friends of Zen to fund a training center for Zen Buddhist teachers and programs designed to inspire business leaders to incorporate Buddhist values and principles into their corporate cultures.

In 2006, a grant in the amount of $85,000 was awarded to Friends of Zen  to construct and furnish a Zendo on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado.