Zen Open Circle Events

Upcoming special events: 

Zen Open Circle Spring Sesshin (7 Day) @ Cloud Mountain
Oct 7 – Oct 14 all-day

Dates: 7-14 October 2017
Location: Cloud Mountain, Berry (South of Sydney)
Teacher: Roshi Susan Murphy 
Closing date for registrations: 1 October 2017
Click here to REGISTER 


‘I went out following the scented grasses,
and came back following the fallen flowers.’
‘That is Spring mind itself.’

Join us for our classical seven-day Spring Sesshin with Roshi Susan Murphy

Spring at Cloud Mountain is the season of falling citrus blossoms, morning mists, a thousand birds, occasional wombats, many frogs…and Sesshin.

Sesshin is the offer of deep immersion in the Dharma in a setting of silence, zazen and silent work practice, with periods of open sitting and walking in the afternoon, opportunities for Dokusan (personal interviews with the teacher), and Teisho (Dharma talks) in the evening.

Spring Mind is the willingness to settle deeply and clarify heart and mind, allowing sorrows and joys to mature into human wisdom and compassion. It’s the intimacy of not-knowing, not-forcing — just opening to the natural radiance of being more fully here.

Roshi Susan will be assisted by Apprentice Teacher Kirk Fisher from Melbourne Zen Group at this Sesshin, which will also include the beautiful Ceremony of Jukai (Taking the Precepts) for several people.

Spring Sesshin typically fills early. Don’t delay if it’s your intention to attend. Click here to REGISTER 

Please note:
1. Spring Sesshin usually fills early, so don’t delay your registration if it is your intention to attend.
2. If visiting from interstate please book your return flights no earlier than 5pm on the final day of the retreat. It sometimes happens that there can be delays on the train line from Berry to Sydney due to trackwork.
3. For insurance reasons it is necessary to be a member of the Zen Open Circle in order to attend this retreat. Please register for the retreat using this form and our Membership Officer will contact you shortly with information about your membership renewal.


Full time attendance (Saturday to Saturday): $490 + dana*
Full time concession: $400 + dana*
Part time: $80 per day + dana*
Part time concession: $65 per day + dana*

What does the Sesshin fee include?
Zen Open Circle is a not-for-profit organization. Apart from sesshin, our teacher Roshi Susan Murphy receives no payment at all for the generous time she devotes to teaching. Your Sesshin fee includes a contribution towards sesshin costs such as food, accommodation, consumables, insurance etc, with surplus funds from fees, if any, being put toward general ZOC revenue (from which Sesshin scholarships are drawn).

What is ‘dana’?
Dana is the practice of generosity and is central to the life and sustainability of our community. With dana we celebrate the many ways in which we benefit from the great gift of existence and help to support each other’s work. As Roshi Susan does not receive formal payments for her teaching, it is customary that we offer dana in the form of money at the end of each retreat. This money helps to make possible the ongoing gift of Roshi’s teachings and is an acknowledgement of the special relationship between teacher and student. These offerings come from the heart and remain anonymous in nature.


Sydney Practice Days

Monthly Sydney practice days include meditation, a talk by Roshi Susan Murphy, discussion and a shared lunch. All comers very welcome.

Photo from ZOC 2015 Sesshin


Traditional seven day Zen retreats and shorter gatherings, held throughout the year at our Cloud Mountain Zendo, are a chance to develop and deepen practice

Photo from ZOC 2015 Sesshin

Zen Corners

Zen Corners, our member driven gatherings and projects, include study groups, sittings at members’ homes, social action, arts days, or shared rituals.

Photo from ZOC 2015 Sesshin

Beginning Zen

Our Beginning Zen courses, held several times a year and our introductory online modules offer a starting point for people new to Zen

The important thing that we do in each other’s company is discover more profoundly who we really are…And of course by that very fact we open up the same possibility for those whose company we share. We are here to learn to shine our spirit.  Like every sentient being, we are star stuff – so why not live up to that?

Roshi Susan Murphy

An Australian Zen Community

The Zen Open Circle began 15 years ago as a group meeting on a Sydney Verandah. Since then ZOC has grown into a diverse community with members across Australia.

We are a community that comes together to explore Zen practice under the guidance of Roshi Susan Murphy. We hold regular sitting days, annual retreats, and offer beginning zen courses.

Zen Open Circle invites you to join us at one of our upcoming events.


“The teisho of the actual body is the harbour and weir, where human eyes gather… This is the most important thing in the world.” Dogen

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that every place we walk, sit down, drink, eat breathe and sleep within this continent Australia is not a ‘thing’ but country – a lived mystery of the sentient kinship that creates every detail of place, held in mind and tended by the tens of thousands of generations of people who walk before and with us.  We just accept our indebtedness to them, past, present and future, with respect and gratitude for this 60,000-year deep tap-root in time and refined awareness.



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