Michael HoKai Österle

Hokai was born in 1963, is married and father of a son. He has been shooting with a bow ever since he was 20 years old. It was another 10 years until he also started discovering meditation for himself. His parents were the first to teach him Zen. Together with his father he practiced Koan, he his connected to his mother by cheerfulness.


At the end of the nineties he met Kobun Chino and is still inspired by his wonderful laughter. HoKai became student of Vanja Palmers and Reb TenShin Anderson. Vanja ordained him in 2004 as Zen priest and four years later he also received from Reb Tokudo. These days HoKai teaches Zen – in the lineages of Kobun Chino Roshi. It is a matter of the heart for him to have a cheerful and calm mind despite all the seriousness.

He studied political studies and ethnology and was trained as a health care worker. He worked many years in Hamburg as facility manager of the Geronto psychiatry – until he moved to Bavaria in 2008. That’s where he leads the Zen Dojo ‘FreiRaum’ (engl. open space) in Waidhofen, accompanies Sesshin and supports Dharma work in ‘Felsentor’ (engl. rock gate) and his parent’s in their ‘Altbäckersmühle’ (engl. old baker’s mill). He is deeply grateful for being able to dedicate his life to Dharma.


He’s starting to suspect more and more what Ryokan could have meant when he said about himself:
»With torn pants and a shirt is too short, that is how I’m trying to walk straight.«

»The bow taught me the moment.«


Vanja Palmers mit HoKai Österle
Vanja Palmers and HoKai
Kobun Chino Roshi
Houn Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi
HoKai and his parents:

GenKi Ellen and KyuSei Kurt Österle

»With daring hope and the most beautiful dreams I accepted the robe of Buddha. But now: it is snowing, the bright flame of my desire has faded through cold winds; and deeply ashamed I continue to carry it«



Zen dojo Freiraum

The events take place at their respective locations. You can find the Zen dojo ‘FreiRaum’ in St.-Wendelin-Str. 4, 86579 Waidhofen, Germany.

HoKai Österle mit Reb TenShin Anderson
Reb TenShin Anderson and HoKai
KyuSei GenKi Vanja Palmers
KyuSei Kurt Österle, GenKi Ellen

and Vanja Palmers