There are many ways to connect with Zen Open Circle. Here's a sense of what happens across our year:
Taking Part in the Gathering
Taking Part in the Gathering has been happening as a regular digital dojo space for shared practice, long before COVID-19 forced us all into our rooms and onto Zoom. It's offered in three terms of six sessions each, gathering on the second and fourth Sunday afternoon of each month, from 4-5.30pm. We sit zazen, ahead of a dharma talk, followed by open inquiry. The talks may build on each other, pursuing a theme that feels strongly pertinent to the moment we're in. There are three terms of six sessions each. If you're looking to really deepen your practice and explore the most demanding issues of the day in the light of the dharma, this is the gathering for you.
Autumn Sesshin follows traditional sesshin form but with creative elements of Zen such as writing, art, calligraphy and music drawn into some of the afternoons. Attendance is full time and may be face-to-face, hybrid, or entirely online, depending on the state of pandemic.
Through the Winter months
The Dawn Dojo is the commitment we make to sit every day - in the early morning if possible - for a period of108 winter days. It convenes in your own home, but we meet up twice a month at dawn online, in harmony with the moon. Full Moon mornings include an encouragement talk from one of our teachers, and New Moon mornings host one of our sangha members describing how they came to Zen practice, and how that sits in their lives. Intimate, daring and lovely, the Dawn Dojo!
Spring Sesshin s always a traditional seven-day Zen retreat. When face-to-face, it takes place at Cloud Mountain, our residential dojo near Berry, in Kangaroo Valley, NSW. Spring Sesshin is the real mainspring of serious Zen practice each year, and the place where close bonds of community are forged. It may include a celebration of people taking the precepts in the ceremony of Refuge, called Jukai. Spring mood itself, at a very deep level of practice in a very alive and beautiful setting of rainforest, parrots, frogs and each other, sitting with the rich silence as close friends of the Way.
Across the Summer months
The annual Big Summer Sit is a time of practice we hold open, and free, to the wider community. Each participant is asked to seriously pledge to sit every day over the summer for at least 15-25 minutes, embracing 'the silly season' and the lovely ease of summer with equally poised attentiveness. We open a discussion thread to see how it's going, and arrange regular online talks from our teachers to support everyone through their serious undertaking.
Every now and then we offer a dedicated Study event, often based around a sutra or text that resonates with the time we're in. In the past, just for example, we've explored the Vimalakirti Sutra, and Tyson Yunkaporta's Sand Talk. The special study event may span a single weekend (Saturday and Sunday), or take place across a series of fortnightly meet-ups.
Join us, you are welcome here!
If you subscribe to our Newsletter (go to Contact, above) you'll be in the loop for ways to join all such events across the year. And you'll also find more detail about what's coming up and when, next, in What's On.