Throughout his lifetime, Teja Bell has been a committed practitioner of the Dharma and the Dao, integrating qigong, martial arts and healing energy practices.
He is a lifelong practitioner and teacher of Aikido (6th degree black belt) and of Chinese Internal Arts with a special emphasis on the healing and restorative aspects of qigong and meditation.
Roshi Teja Fudo Myoo Bell is a recognized Zen Master from the Rinzai Shu, or Rinzai Zen lineage. As a qigong and dharma teacher he teaches and leads retreats and trainings internationally and is a regular visiting teacher on residential retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, where he has taught over 140 retreats since 1999 with many teachers in the Vipassana Insight Meditation tradition, including Jack Kornfield and Robert Hall. He leads annual in-depth study and teacher-training programs and teaches ongoing classes, daylongs, and retreats.
Teja is also a musician and recording artist. For more information and access to his recordings and performances, go to www.tejabell.com.
In his youth, Teja Bell began bridging the traditions of Buddhism and the qigong and yogic practices of Taoism in 1965 by studying martial arts (Judo and Kung Fu) with Tatsumo Makami. Later, his studies included yoga, meditation and Theosophy. In 1971 Teja began his Aikido training parallel with earning black belt ranking in Tae Kwon Do Karate with In Mok Kim – 9th degree.
In 1975 he expanded his training to include Yang style Taijiquan and qigong taught by Li Leita, a lineage master in the “Yang” style. He also studied many Neigong systems and the esoteric martial art and meditation system known as “Liu He Ba Fa”. Concurrent with his Taoist qigong and martial arts training, Teja has trained across the three major Buddhist traditions: Theravadin, Mahayana Zen, and Tibetan Vajrayana. As early as 1969, he began reading Zen texts and visiting spiritual teachers and centers. Upon meeting Rinzai Zen Lineage Master Roshi Junpo Denis Kelly of the Hollow Bones Zen Order, and after four years of intense training with Roshi Junpo he was ordained as a Zen priest. Years later Roshi Doshin conferred the mantle of transmission of Zen Master to Teja as the 85th patriarch of Zen in Rinzai lineage.
Taking refuge and practicing Ngöndro and study in the Vajrayana traditions as well, Teja has had the opportunity to take teachings and empowerments from some of the great meditation teachers in the Tibetan lineages – Gelugpa, Nyingma and Kagyü, including advanced retreats in Trekchö and Tögyal, Madhyamika, Pöwa, Tsa Lung, Chöd, dream yoga, Mahamudra and Dzogchen and other forms of Bön and Vajrayana Buddhist practices and teachings with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
As an Aikido student of renown teachers such as Robert Nadeau Shihan, Frank McGouirk Sensei, Frank Doran Shihan, Terry Dobson Sensei and many others, he created advanced training programs for students preparing for black belt level examinations, and created and taught children’s aikido programs that have been used internationally. He also created and implemented a low impact form of aikido that he calls “Reduced Impact Aikido.” This allows individuals to learn and embody the principles of Aikido and apply these embodied skills in leadership and personal life, without the rigor of high-falls and other stressful aspects of martial training that may be a barrier to entry for some students.
Teja continues to study, practice and teach qigong, healing arts and martial arts with a few select teachers. He teaches classes, daylongs and retreats in qigong, dharma and meditation, Zen, Aikido and non-dual integrative process and embodied leadership.
Teja is committed to the lifelong pursuit and mastery of these evolving teachings and disciplines, and to the ethical and empowering communication and transmission of their essential qualities, for universal benefit.