Foundations of Zen Buddhism: 5-week Introductory course.

Note: This course is currently only held online

Dates: Wednesday evenings, starting 6th January, then every Wednesday evening until the 3rd of February 2021.

Times: 7pm sharp  until 8:30 pm. To register, please fill in form below.

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 newcomers to Zen and for those wishing to explore the Zen path. We welcome everyone regardless of their religious affiliation or none. People from other Buddhist traditions wishing to learn more about the Zen practice path are also welcome to attend. 

The program consists of a series of lectures and practical applications that address the basic and foundational aspects of Zen. The introduction to Zen lectures have been adapted from the original teachings of Dai’un Harada Roshi of Sanbozen. 

Besides the foundational aspects of Zen, the Zen lectures also address the practical aspects of Zen and how the practice aligns with 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 various meditation traditions and holds a Master’s degree in Applied Buddhist Studies. 

Course structure:

Lecture 1

Welcome and introductions.

Short survey of Zen history from India to China to Japan and Australia.

What is Zen? 

Introduction to sitting and walking meditation; postures, practices and rituals.

Establishing a personal practice routine.


Practice session.

Lecture 2

The three aims of Zen.

Understanding the objectives of Zen in contrast to the many therapeutic based meditation practices. This lecture discusses the psychological and transpersonal aspects of meditation.


Practice session.

Lecture 3

The three practice methods of Zen and their applications. This lecture explores the role of concentration, ethics and wisdom in Zen practice. 


Practice period.

Lecture 4

Practical aspects of meditation practice and how to deal with distractions and hindrances.

What are koans?  methodology and practice.


Practice period

Lecture 5 (combined with lecture 6 for online program)

The role of the teacher and the teacher student relationship.

Dokusan (one-on-one student-teacher interview) and its role in practice


Practice period

Lecture 6

The degrees of a practitioner’s aspirations.

The three pillars or essentials of Zen.

Where to from here? Wow does Pathway Zen function for its members – short overview.


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 or Samford.

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.