The Melbourne Zen Group is based in Brunswick East, Melbourne, Australia. Our meditation meetings, retreats and workshops are open to both members and non-members.

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Returning to the Marketplace with Open Hands

Five day non-residential sesshin with Roshi Subhana Barzaghi
and apprentice teacher Wayne Rankin

Saturday 2 December to Wednesday 8 December
8:45am to 5pm each day
CERES Learning Centre, Brunswick East

Bookings now open to MZG members only (see email).
Bookings open to non-members on 7 November.

Entering market with bare chest and bare feet.

Smeared with mud and ash, broad face beaming.

No display of magic powers.

Yet withered trees burst into bloom.

As we emerge from of our long winter of social restrictions, we make our way back, with some trepidation and excitement, to the marketplace once again.  Yet the ‘new normal’ we are stepping into is a changed world.  How will we respond to it?

On the 8th of December we celebrate Siddhartha Gautama’s enlightenment as he glimpsed the north star while seated on the ground beneath the Bodhi tree, the first dojo of our Buddhist tradition and Zen practice.  Moved by compassion for others, the Buddha then got up.

The tenth and final image of the famous Ox Herding Pictures is an expression of awakening and getting up. This image of entering the marketplace with open hands invites us to embody wisdom, compassion and generosity as our way of being in the world. The insight of the Buddha Way allows us to realise this truth in our everyday life; it is to live authentically with an open heart.

The flavor of the poem accompanying the picture is humble.  We enter the market with a bare chest and bare feet – an earthy image of being natural and authentic.  One of the beneficial effects of zazen is a lack of defensiveness and separateness.  Rigidity starts to soften, and then falls away.  There is a natural openness to everyone and everything we encounter.  Ordinary and holy have united; you walk your own sincere path alone, yet together, with every part of creation – joyously.

Covid Safety at the December Sesshin

Full vaccination rates are expected to increase beyond 90% of all Victorians 12 years old and above around the 24th November, after which very few public health restrictions will apply. However, sesshin places are limited, and we will follow all safety measures required by the government, CERES and MZG committee.  Measures will include a density limit and mask wearing to ensure adequate social distancing; good ventilation; hand sanitiser; and BYO lunch, cup and/or water bottle.  A smart phone check-in (or paper sign-in) will be required and participants will need to be fully vaccinated unless medically exempt.  If you have questions concerning this or any other sesshin matter, please contact the organisers, Colin or Peter, at mzgbooking@gmail.com