4-5:30PM, 2nd & 4th Sundays, from March 10|
ZOC Zoom Dojo
Taking Part in the Gathering, term 1, 2024
Without leaving the Buddha world, walk in the demon world. 4-5:30PM Sundays - March 10 & 24, April 14 &28, May 12th*TBD
time & place
4-5:30PM, 2nd & 4th Sundays, from March 10
ZOC Zoom Dojo
At a global level, and more immediately Australian one too, 2023 was a year riven with deeply and shockingly disturbing currents and events. I know many of us are looking into 2024 with some sense of trepidation too, as the word continues to burn through its opportunities to turn things around.
And at (exactly) the same time, the wondrous nature of this ‘ordinary’ world, this earth, this manifestation called ‘universe’, continues to pour out a fundamental goodness that is beyond judgment. You may be surprised to hear it called ‘emptiness’. Vast and seamless, nothing left out of it. We touch it in the least guarded moments of our zazen – or let it reach through to touch and confirm our own deep belonging to its provenance.
Some call it ‘the Buddha world’ – awake. How are we to work for the good, in the Buddha fields of our lives?
So this year, we’re planning to look in the direction of Xuedou’s injunction, playfully (and with deep seriousness) offered up in a line of verse in the Blue Cliff Record:
Without leaving the Buddha world, walk in the demon world.
The line looks back at us with the kind of force of Barry Lopez’s powerful words, from one of his last pieces of writing (“Love in a Time of Terror”), just before his death:
In this moment, is it still possible to face the gathering darkness, and say to the physical Earth, and to all its creatures, including ourselves, fiercely and without embarrassment, I love you, and to embrace fearlessly the burning world?
I’d add to it the koan we walked our way into in the final session of last year – also the words of someone close to death, in this case, Mary Oliver. A fragment from one of her last poems:
Tell about it.
So -- this marks out the dynamic space of inquiry and practice across the next months, and more… together looking at the many ways and skilful means with which we might “turn things while turning with things’, as Dogen puts it in his “Instructions for the Cook”. Such a naturally tender process it is, ranging from the most intimate dimensions of our lives, and reaching right through to the great questions of our times. For who can fully keep them apart?
Kynan will be sharing this process with me, and leading a number of the meetings when I can’t be there. Dogen called “the actual body’ - the one we bring alive with the mind of practice - “the harbour and the weir, where human eyes gather”.
And so I hope you will be sharing the process with us too, on second and fourth Sundays of March, April and May. We need your human eyes in the gathering!
Plus - Silent Sits, and Day of Practice
As you know by now, these timeless evening online opportunities now interleave with the regular weekly Silent Sits, with some open group sharing afterwards, led by our Practice Leader, Deborah Chadwick -- happening at the same 4-5.30pm time, on first and third Sundays of the month, falling between the Taking Part afternoons. One weave of sangha relations.
Also, take note that each term of practice will culminate with a separately scheduled full Day of Practice led by Kynan and I -- a deep dive into the waters of zazen, Sutras, dokusan, and Teisho.
Roshi Susan murphy.
Please note to join this gathering, you must be a member of Zen Open Circle, https://www.zenopencircle.org.au/member-fees
- Ticket type
Sliding Scale $80-$160
Sliding Scale from $80-$160. Offered according to your means. Your generous support of the teaching is deeply appreciated.$