Student Writings

Contributions from Ordinary Mind Zen students

Contribution by Anja

When my grandmother died, she had a cellar full of old nails, pieces of string, tools she hadn’t used in years, old clothes, shoes, crockery and books. Having lived through two world wars and the depression, she did not like to throw anything away. Her flat upstairs was neat and tidy, but downstairs in the cellar was a different story. Hers was an era before ‘planned obsolescence’, where she used the same record player and radio she’d bought as a young mother after the war, right until her death. She valued her possessions and looked after them, treating everything with care and respect so it could last as long as possible. Yet she also had a cellar full of rusty nails she’d never use, old clothes which could have gone to someone else – all these possessions stored below, just in case.
Our mind is often the same.
Click here to read the full contribution
2019 Four-Day Sesshin
Not a silent spring
It’s a symphony of songs
Blest Sesshin and yet
Penny Wagstaff (Nov 2019)

In the Dojo
Feeling the vibrations
Of the Tibetan bowl ringing
All sitting still and quiet
A moment of silence
Then the magpies song.
Michelle Morris (Nov 2019)

Morning walks
Surrounded by soft mist.
Tiny water droplets glisten,
Spiders web is made visible.
We stand watching the two horses
So present in their horseness
They see us
The expression in the grey one’s eyes
Touches me deeply
Michelle Morris (Nov 2019)

Dharma talks
Geoff’s talks
Provoking, humorous, inspiring
Planting seeds in our minds and hearts
Michelle Morris (Nov 2019)

Trees, grass, dirt and earth: ancient wisdom and modern insights
Contribution by Penny
Just sitting is the essential Zen way to realising our connection with all things, but like many I find spending time in nature is also important to help me remain balanced when faced with personal challenges… I am grateful for the inspiration of ancient Indigenous wisdom.
Link to Penny’s contribution.


The Three A’s
Contribution by Tom

Zen groups often begin their sutra service with the Purification verse… As I say this short verse to myself while sitting on my cushion most mornings, I have begun to translate these ‘poisons’ into language I relate to more comfortably, using the mnemonic ‘The Three A’s’.
Click here to read the contribution from Tom

Extraordinary Mind
Contribution by Richard
Over the last month I’ve been experimenting with night photography and image processing, with a recent attempt in my backyard resulting in the photo below… This is a photo of the galactic core. It is the centre of our Milky Way galaxy in which we live.
Click here to read the contribution.

Alone on My Zafu
Contribution by Adrien
Adrien reflects on the experience of attending his first sesshin – including his own drawings! You can enjoy his contribution here

No Way
Contribution by Tom

Tom shares with us a reflection on No Way. You can read it here

Beginning Mind- Taking Refuge in The Buddha
Contribution by Tom

Tom shares with us a reflection on Beginning Mind – Taking Refuge in the Buddha. You can read it here