Foundations of Zen Buddhism: 5-week Introductory course.

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This course explores the foundations of Zen practice in context with contemporary therapeutic and personal development mindfulness practices as well as other Buddhist traditions. The course also examines the core principles of Zen in relation to the process of awakening within a lay Buddhist and secular transpersonal perspective.

This program is ideal for newcomers to Zen or Buddhism in general and for those wishing to expand their knowledge-base of meditation beyond the therapeutic or personal development realm.

Course overview:

This program is designed for those wishing to explore the Zen practice path. We welcome everyone regardless of their religious affiliation or none. People from other Buddhist traditions wishing to learn more about Zen in general are also welcome to attend. 

The program consists of a series of lectures and practical applications that address the foundational aspects of Zen. 

Besides the foundational aspects of Zen, the Zen lectures also address the practical aspects of Zen and how the practice integrates in daily life.

Course Facilitator:

The lectures are taught by Arno Hess, a Brisbane based Zen Buddhist teacher and founder of Pathway Zen.

Arno is a dharma successor of Mervyn Lander Roshi in Australia and further certified as a Zen teacher by Yamada Ryoun Roshi, the Abbot of the Japanese based Sanbozen lineage. 

Arno is also a co-founder of Inside Mindfulness Inc. A Brisbane based non-profit organisation that facilitates mindfulness and emotional intelligence based rehabilitation programs in Queensland prisons.
He is a student of various meditation traditions and holds a Master’s degree in Applied Buddhist Studies. 

Course structure:

Lecture 1:  History, practices, therapeutic and Buddhist applications, 

Short survey of Zen’s history from India to China to Japan and Australia. Understanding and clarifying therapeutic versus Zen-Buddhist intentions, methods and applications. Introduction to sitting and walking meditation; postures, practices and rituals.


Practice period.

Lecture 2: The three aims of Zen 

This lecture discusses the concept of self, non-Self, and true-Self. We explore the mechanics of meditation in relation to concentration and mindfulness as well as the objectives of Zen practice within a Buddhist and transpersonal context. 


Practice period.

Lecture 3: The three training methods of Zen

This lecture discusses the role of concentration, ethics and wisdom as the three main training principles and practices of Buddhism’s Eightfold Path and their applications in Zen’s methods, including Koan introspection. 


Practice period.

Lecture 4: Practical applications, hindrances of meditation and antidotes

This lecture discusses the various goals and methods of meditation practices and links them to secular and Buddhist meditation traditions. The aim is to further clarify our personal meditation intentions. This lecture also touches on how to deal with distractions and hindrances. 


Practice period.

Lecture 5: The three pillars of Zen and the student-teacher relationship.

This lecture examines in detail the role of faith, doubt and determination as the three pillars of Zen. Further, this lecture discusses the role of the teacher in Zen and the one-on-one teaching methods of Koan introspection during private interviews (dokusan). 


Practice period.

Additional Information:

Arrival:                    Please arrive or log in 5 minutes prior to the start of the event.

RSVP:                      Please RSVP by filling in the details on the form below.

Fees:                        $60.00 suggested donation for the series of lectures or as one can afford. Please pay as you can.

Note for those attending lectures in Spring Hill.

Anyone missing an evening is able to obtain the missing lectures as a one-on-one teaching on another day or receive a copy of a recorded session. 

In regards to the Theosophical Society venue, there is plenty of free parking on Lilley Street as well as in a car park behind the Theosophical Society’s building. Car park entry is also via Lilley Street. The nearest train station is Roma Street and Central. An approximate 15-20 minutes uphill walk from the station. Please arrive 5 minutes early for a punctual 7pm start.