Interim Practice Director
Hoko Karnegis arrived September, 2011 for a two-year residency while MZC continues its work on clerical succession. She 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 clergy and as a participant in the denomination's activities related to baika, a type of Japanese Buddhist hymn created by Sotoshu in 1952.
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, 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 developing 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 had several articles published in Tricycle and Buddhadharma magazines.
Hoko's article The Taste of Thusness in Buddhadharma
Hoko's article Buddhism by Numbers in Tricycle
Resident Priest Emerita
In September, 2011, Tonen O’Connor stepped down as MZC's Resident Priest, having served in that role since 2001. She received ordination from Tozen Akiyama in 1994, dharma transmission in 1999 and in 2000 performed the ceremony of zuise at Eiheiji and Sojiji, head temples of the Soto school in Japan. She trained in Japan at Shogoji, Hosshinji and Hokyoji, and holds the rank of nitokyoshi within the Japanese Soto system as well as a four-year assignment as kokusaifukyoshi.
For over thirteen years she has worked extensively with inmates within the Wisconsin correctional system, served on the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Religious Practices Advisory Committee and gave a presentation on this work at a conference in Tokyo in 2008. Tonen is currently chair of the Milwaukee Association for Interfaith Relations, is past President of the Board of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association and, with Zuiko Redding of the Cedar Rapids Zen Center, is co-founder of the Great Sky Sesshin, held annually for six years at Hokyoji Zen Practice Community in Minnesota.
Prior to entering the Zen world, Rev. O’Connor had a 40-year career in the professional theater and was managing director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater from 1974-1995. Tonen ;holds a Bachelor's degree with high honors from Swarthmore College and an M.A. From Tufts University. She has two sons, four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and lives happily with two splendid cats.
Tonen's bio at Sweeping Zen
Tonen's article Do You Understand Your Job?
Tonen's profile, A Life Filled With Life, in the Swarthmore Bulletin
Tonen on the March for Burma in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal