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.

More about the group

November – December 2021

Our Dharma sharing theme into early January 2022 is the Brahma Vihārās.

Aladdin Jones will offer a talk and meditative inquiry into the Brahma Vihara of Metta at the November zazenkai.

Bookings are now open for our 5 day non-residential retreat with Subhana Barzaghi Roshi in December.

December Non-Residential Retreat

Returning to the Marketplace with Open Hands

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

Saturday 4 December to Wednesday 8 December
8:45am to 5pm each day
CERES Learning Centre, Brunswick East

Bookings and Further Information

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.

Bookings and Further Information

Covid Safety at the December Sesshin

Full vaccination rates are expected to increase beyond 90% of all Victorians 12 years old and above around 24 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

November Zazenkai Talk and Meditative Inquiry

Throughout the Body Hands and Eyes.
Metta amidst our ordinary lives…

A talk and guided meditative inquiry with Aladdin Jones.

Saturday 27 November 10am to 12pm at CERES and online.

  • CERES sitters must be fully Covid vaccinated (or have valid exemption)
  • online sitters please join via the usual Saturday Zoom Zendo

Widening out to include a little more; reconnecting with friends, little ducks crossing the road, a shouting neighbour, the one who burnt the porridge (it’s all my fault) a sibling struggling with mental health or addictions – the stranger on the bus or the stressed waitress serving you after so many months, or even…the polies in an election year….and, how do we include that one having a go at this thing (one of the 10,000+) called life. How are we when we find ourselves in the thick of it all – do we breathe in a little more or breathe out a little more?

In this meditative inquiry into Metta practice, there is much ancient ground here to sit with and walk together: The Metta Sutra, Brahma Viharas, and various cases including from the Shoyo Roku / Book of Serenity, such as Case 54 ‘Yunyan’s Great Compassion’ and Case 15 ‘Yanshan Plants his Hoe’ and from The Gateless Barrier case 41, ‘Bodhidharma pacifies the mind’, and bringing it close in to your own ground of experience and what’s present for you?

Aladdin’s talk starts at 11am.

Those who are unable to attend the sit are welcome to come to the talk. Please aim to arrive at the Learning Centre or Zoom zendo 5 minutes before 11am.