BOOKS

Mzansi Zen (Jacana) published in 2016

StoepZen BookMzansi Zen is an affectionate, challenging and witty blend of stories, commentaries and poems about life in present-day South Africa. These are threaded through a day in an actual Zen retreat and are accompanied by wonderful photos and original drawings.

The author’s familiar and authoritative Zen style inspires us into taking up this life with both hands, calling us into an intimacy that is already beneath our feet.

Read it. It will change your mind and open your heart.

 

Zen Dust (Jacana) published in 2012

StoepZen BookIn this follow-up to his much loved Stoep Zen, Antony takes a trip down the lesser known back roads of the Karoo, from Kimberley to Colesberg, finding divinity in the dust and a Buddha in every pothole.
We are all of us on our way home. And, as Osler’s journey teaches us, as long as our eyes and hearts are open we belong wherever we go. In this way, however far we travel, our true home is always where we are.
With gentle wisdom and deep compassion, Osler connects with the people he meets along the way and shares their stories, past and present, as well as his own personal history and insights. The road is sprinkled with his special brand of poetry and interwoven with a fresh telling of the tale of Gotama, the man who would become Buddha.
Whether on familiar terrain or new territory, Antony never loses his sense of wonder. And he doesn’t shy away from the conundrums of a country in flux. Instead, he delights in the ordinary and infuses it with grace. Each encounter is a gift and his generosity in sharing will become a treasure on every bookshelf.

 

Stoep Zen (Jacana) published 2008

StoepZen BookLao Tsu meets Oom Schalk Lourens in this delightful meditation on what it means to practice Zen in a changing South Africa.
Antony Osler contemplates life as it passes by the stoep of his Karoo farm, sharing anecdotes and conversations, poetic images and indelible characters, watching the seasons, the people and his country as everything changes - sometimes radically - just so.
South Africa has experienced one of the most riveting, frightening and inspiring political revolutions in history. How, Osler asks himself, do we dance with this? How do we reach down through swirling emotions into quieter space where we can see a little further, love a little deeper, laugh a little louder?
‘I lift my eyes to Loskop and fear no evil. But if I don’t watch my step, I will fall into an aardvarkgat.’
Zen practice is to find the heart of each moment. Osler’s book is as full of heart as it is of wisdom; his musings on humility, acceptance, reconciliation and love are gentle - and often humorous - reminders of what it is to be human.

 

Mzansi Zen, Zen Dust and Stoep Zen can be ordered from good book stores, on-line book sellers, and from Emoyeni, Bodhi Khaya and the Buddhist Retreat Centre. All three books have been reprinted.

Signed copies can be ordered directly from Margie at Poplar Grove.

 

DHARMA TALKS

23rd April 2016 – First talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2016

PlayAntony, Osho talks about the beginning of a retreat, and Linji, the founder of the Rinzai school of Zen.

 

24th April 2016 – Second talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2016
PlayAntony, Osho talks about retreat etiquette, and tells stories from the Rinzai Roku, the Record of Rinzai, exploring the understanding of practice.

 

25th April 2016 – Third talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2016
PlayAntony, Osho talks about group practice, and a koan from the collection 'Entangling Vines', Luo Pu's Offering.

 

26th April 2016 – Fourth Talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2016
PlayIn the context of giving Bodhisattva precepts, Antony, Osho talks about the 10th precept, Not to slander the Three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

 

27th April 2016 – Fifth talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2016
PlayAntony, Osho continues his talk on the tenth precept, and life as a koan.

 

28th April 2016 – Sixth talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2016
PlayAntony, Osho talks about the Bodhisattva precepts and his lineage.

 


 

31st December 2016 – First talk of the New Year retreat 2016/17
PlayOpening the retreat, Antony, Osho talks about models of Zen practice.

 

1st January 2017 – Second talk of the New Year retreat 2016/17
PlayAntony, Osho talks about the territory of practice, where koans are at home.

 

2nd January 2017 – Third talk of the New Year retreat 2016/17
PlayAntony, Osho talks about koan practice and how to embody the teachings.

 

3rd January 2017 – Fourth talk of the New Year retreat 2016/17
PlayAntony, Osho talks about living beyond opinion and attachment.

 

4th January 2017 – Fifth talk of the New Year retreat 2016/17
PlayAntony, Osho talks about sitting meditation.

 

5th January 2017 – Sixth talk of the New Year retreat 2016/17
PlayAntony, Osho talks about taking precepts, and answers a question about how his practice has evolved over more than 40 years.

 

6th January 2017 – Seventh talk of the New Year retreat 2016/17
PlayAntony, Osho talks about embarking on the way of practice.

 


 

9th April 2017 – First talk of the Easter retreat 2017
PlayAntony, Osho opens the Easter Retreat 2017 with the koan of Baizhang's Gate of Essential Nature.

 

10th April 2017 – Second talk of the Easter retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about where to find our lives.

 

 

11th April 2017 – Third talk of the Easter retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about giving suffering a context and the koan of Baizhang's new paddy.

 

12th April 2017 – Fourth talk of the Easter retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about getting under the carpet of our lives.

 

13th April 2017 – Fifth talk of the Easter retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about Buddhist teachings and the ways they function.

 

14th April 2017 – Sixth talk of the Easter retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about the dynamic for the relief of suffering.

 


 

23rd April – First talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho opens the Freedom Day retreat 2017 with a little history lesson on Buddhism and the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

 

24th April – Second talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about the root of suffering, the self-referring mode of functioning.

 

25th April – Third talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about the fearlessness of going beyond right and wrong.

 

26th April – Fourth talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about koans in retreats and in life outside.

 

27th April – Fifth talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about Freedom Day, retreat events and how to meditate on a train.

 

28th April – Sixth talk of the Freedom Day retreat 2017
PlayAntony Osho talks about a dead snake on the road, interconnectedness and intimacy.

 



Writings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITINGS

Practice Note
In Zen practice we are always bringing forth ourselves, with all the complicatedness that the self brings. We come filled with excitement, anxiety, doubt, hope, determination - the prospect of the end of suffering and frustration is irresistible. We cross our legs and take up a posture that is clear and balanced. Grounded. We breathe. We feel our body from the inside. The self that we brought with us begins to fray at the edges, it begins to change, it even disappears, and then it comes back again. It is part of us. It is not the enemy. Suffering leads us to practice. And when we practice, our pain and discomfort soften. The self stops talking so much, it stops being so darn insistent. Then there is an opening for great clarity to appear - the carpet is green, the windows are open. But this does not remove our discontent once and for all, leaving us in a solid state of continuous happiness; the process is more like stepping beyond both our discontent and our clarity into a broader field, a field that contains them both. We realize that we are made up of both suffering and the end of suffering. Both of these are naturally us. With this understanding we can move from one to the other unhindered. That is a tangible kind of freedom.

Part of our reaction to suffering is to try to escape it. We apply effort. It is often said that the sixth segment of the classic Buddhist Eightfold Path - ‘right effort’ - is the crucial pivot on the path. From a certain perspective that is indeed the case. So, what is right effort – This much? That much? Too much? Too little? Enough? Not-enough? Trying to find the balance in our effort involves an endless measuring and an endless self-commentary. All of this is the activity of the anxious, determined, ambitious self. At some point, we give up the struggle to find and sustain the right kind of effort. And then simplicity appears. The floor, walls and windows appear. And great gratitude. We live in what the late Michael Stone called a monastery without walls. From within this kind of unbounded commitment, our intimacy with others appears as naturally as the sun rising over the koppie, and our response to our own life and the life of others is genuine and uncontrived – it is, as the koan says, as natural as feeling for our pillow in the middle of the night.