Dharma Light is the meaning of
Hoko Karnegis' dharma name (法光). This site features her dharma work and publications related to baika, traditional Soto Zen practice, and communications and organization development for Western sanghas.
Hoko has had several magazine articles published
(like this one in Tricycle and this one in Lion's Roar), and contributed chapters to Temple Ground Press' books Seeds of Virtue, Seeds of Change and The Eightfold Path. She is one of the authors of Milwaukee Zen Center: 30 Years of Reflections, and she also produces Ancient Way, an online journal of traditional Soto Zen practice.
She was interviewed and photographed for this article in Greater Milwaukee Magazine, and interviewed for this article in Spirituality and Health Magazine.
Activity Reports for Sotoshu
In January, 2016 Hoko was named vice-abbot and successor at Sanshin Zen Community in Bloomington, IN. She previously served as communications director at Hokyoji Zen Practice Community in southern Minnesota from October, 2013 to August, 2016.
From 2011 to 2013 she was the interim practice director at Milwaukee Zen Center, leading the center while it continued its work on clerical succession at the retirement of Tonen O'Connor. She also served as an adjunct instructor at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, WI, where she taught Eastern Religious Traditions in the classroom and online.
Hoko took lay precepts in 1998 at Minnesota Zen Center, where she held a variety of practice and administrative roles. A few years later she became one of the organizers of an annual zazenkai at Kogetsu-an in Shiga-ken, Japan. In 2005 she was ordained as a novice by Shohaku Okumura, and she completed her shuso hossen that same year at Kogetsu-an. She received dharma transmission in September, 2012 and completed zuise at Eiheiji and Sojiji in November of that year.
She has spent time in several training temples in Japan, including Shogoji (Kumamoto) for the 2008 and 2011 Kokusai Angos and Toshoji Senmon Sodo (Okayama) for seven months of basic training. She is recognized by Sotoshu as nito kyoushi (second-rank teacher) and as a practitioner of baika, a type of Japanese Buddhist hymn created by Sotoshu in 1952. In September, 2014, she received a four-year appointment from Sotoshu as kokusai fukyoushi, or international teacher.
Her secular career as a professional communicator was largely spent in the nonprofit and public sectors, where she did video production, multimedia, writing and editing, photography, publication design, training and coaching for presenters, strategic planning, and many other types of communications projects. She has a B.A. in Speech Communication/Broadcast from the University of Minnesota, and in 2009 completed an interdisciplinary master’s degree there with a thesis on organizing and and leading the American sangha.
Her practice includes serving as a resource to a variety of sanghas and practitioners for organization development, communications, and strategic planning. Until leaving the US for Toshoji, she served as one of Hokyoji Zen Practice Community’s original board members, drafting articles of incorporation, bylaws, and other organizing and governance documents and serving as its secretary. She has also served on the boards of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and the Cedar Rapids Zen Center. On the other side of the table, she has provided staff support to the boards of secular nonprofits, government agencies and Sanshin Zen Community as well as Hokyoji.