The Dunedin Zen Group

Welcome to the web page of the Dunedin Zen Group. The DZG is committed to supporting Zen practice and training in Dunedin, and in NZ/Aoteaora.

We now sit weekly at the Quaker Meeting House at 15 Park Street Dunedin each Thursday evening. Sitting begins at 7pm, so please arrive earlier. If this is your first time please email to arrange an orientation to meditation practice before we begin at 7pm.

As a Sangha we also gather together remotely through Zoom at the moment once per month on a Wednesday evening for zazen and dharma sharing. If you’d like to join with us please email the address below and ask to be included on our monthly Wednesday evening zoom gathering. You’ll then receive a link invitation to the gathering.

For regular students we also have Dokusan available through Zoom or by phone every two weeks.


The group is a part of the Diamond Sangha, and we are fortunate to have Glenn Wallis Roshi available as a Zen teacher to guide and support practice. While we practice in the Diamond Sangha Zen lineage, everyone is welcome and we regularly have friends from other traditions sit and practice with us.

Shitou Xiqian ‘Accord on Investigating Diversity and Wholeness’

The Accord is attributed to Shitou Xiqian who lived in Tang Dynasty China from 700-790 AD. He was an 8th generation Chinese Ch’an or Zen ancestor and his teaching and dharma heirs spawned the Caodong or Soto school of Zen. Three of the five major ‘houses’ of Ch’an pass through Shitou. The other two passing through Shitou’s contemporary Mazu.

In the Accord Shitou sets out his apprehension of the inherent unity of all things through the complementarity and interplay of wholeness and diversity. Language uses expression to delineate idea, and Shitou uses Wholeness and Diversity to show the territory of where language doesn’t reach, as Dongshan puts it, “baa baa waa waa.”

Shitou Xiqian Accord on Investigating Diversity and Wholeness the text.

The talks are all mp3 recordings except the 7th Talk which is a word doc.

1st Talk on the Accord

2nd Talk on the Accord

3rd Talk on the Accord

4th Talk on the Accord

5th Talk on the Accord

6th Talk on the Accord

7th Talk on the Accord

8th Talk on the Accord

9th Talk on the Accord

10th Talk on the Accord

This set of talks is inspired by a fresh translation of Shitou’s work by Ross Bolleter and Peter Wong.

A deep bow of gratitude in your direction.

2021 Sesshin 1 – 8 October

This year our residential Sesshin is being held earlier than previous years: from Friday 1st of October through to Friday 8th of October. Once more we do sesshin on the wonderful Kamau Taurua, Quarantine Island in the Otago Harbour. For those wanting a taste of Sesshin without signing up for the full week of practice there is a weekend option that finishes Sunday afternoon on the 3rd.

Sesshin is lead by Glenn Wallis Roshi.

Click here to see registration and information forms to download for Sesshin.

For background information on the Island go to

COVID-19: The Sesshin organizers will be monitoring the situation and will follow all governmental recommendations. Please note that the restrictions imposed by management of the spread of COVID-19 will determine whether Sesshin is able to take place.  It is envisaged that Sesshin will take place under level 1 or 2.

The organisers look forward to seeing you on Sesshin and to practising together the Dharma of current moment sitting as one.

with a bow.

2019 Spring Sesshin Teisho and Talks

Our 2019 Spring Sesshin was rich and nourishing and the largest in numbers we’ve had since Ross Bolleter Roshi used to teach here. The weather was generous with warmth and breezes and the bird life and island presence live and ever perfect for practicing the Way.


Teisho during Sesshin:

Wumenkuan Case 1 Zhaozhou’s Dog

Hekiganroku Case 9 Zhaouzhous Four Gates

Hekiganroku Case 4 Deshan Holds His Bundle

Hekiganroku Case 3 Mazu Unwell

Hekiganroku Case 83 Yunmen’s An Old Buddha and a Pillar


Encouragement Talk during Sesshin:

Shikantaza talk

Intimacy and Time talk

Living Present Moment

This is a link to a recorded talk given by Glenn Wallis Roshi at the Dunedin Public Library Thursday March 14.

The theme is our experience of the current, the freedom of Zen practice. The essence of the talk is that when we live fully right now there is fundamentally no one left or required to be separate from the current moment, and when there is no one required to be, then we are at our most free and at our most authentic, as the person we are. When we are able to fully immerse in the current, what is already arisen as this present, now, we begin to recognise that we are are not isolate and separate. That separation is the perception we take on for social reality, but that inherently we are each other, the whole vast un-bordered moment of our life.

Just as you are


The indelible way of Zen is ‘just as you are’. This is not always comforting though as all too often ‘just as I am’ is not so satisfactory to me, and perhaps also not for others either.

In the phrase ‘just as you are’, just points to keeping solely to that matter, not wandering off to other considerations. Not journeying into ideas, conjectures, memories, fantasies that are not you’re ‘here, now’. It is said that if you are a hairs breadth off, you miss it by the distance between heaven and earth. The space between the imagined and the real, the distance of a life.

But this is awkward, for whatever we bring in, think about, recall, conjecture, becomes our current experience, our current as we are.

This whole matter of ‘just as you are’, is a practice matter; so looking at zazen practice, at some point in our meditation, from being settled, we get distracted. We hear a sound, register recognition, follow up with reflection, perhaps some innocuous comment, then we’re fully in there with proliferation about it. Even proliferation about being distracted and then commentary judging all of that.

At such a point, at that moment that full follow up on the single sound became our ‘just as you are.’ Awkward. We manufactured a position from our own centricity, that’s what thinking is. But there is no room for rationalizing here, no matter the acuity of logic. It is a matter of practice, of learning how to let things be as they are, fully and unremittingly. Even though we practice in a way that cleaves to as fully as possible, the sole object of meditation.

Zen practice isn’t about exclusivity, isn’t about creating or manufacturing some purity of being. We don’t wait until some mythical time to be perfect for practice, that’s not what practice is. Practice is doing, not preparing to be better at. It is about what is already current. Our ‘now’ if you like. That is why it can be described as an awareness practice, although for most people awareness is being able to notice more and more. In Zen there is no ‘noticing’, instead there is ‘intimacy’. Noticing implies someone to notice, intimacy implies no one to be watching, just that very thing fully itself. Just a single breath breathing, not even air breathing, just this breath moment.

This just as you are, really isn’t you, truly isn’t even about you. It is about everything else. It is about everything, and that is about you. In his Genjokoan, Dogen writes, “To carry yourself forward and experience the myriad things is delusion. That myriad things step forward and experience themselves is awakening.” Your awakening. In Shitou’s ‘Taking Part in the Gathering’, he simply says, “Don’t limit to your own small story.”

Aitken Roshi said to his students, “You are alright, to the very bottom.” And you are. Alright, right the way through, all the way.

We would like to accept ourselves like this, and have others accept us like this too, but what about when we don’t feel ok, when we don’t like, don’t approve of who we see when we look back at ourselves?

When it’s this way it is because our view is too narrow. We focus on tightly on our little me that we sought, unsuccessfully, to represent in such a better light than what we see our self as. But this too is really ok. Not nice, but fundamentally ok.

In Zen practice we learn to allow what is, and find the intimacy of the current, the life of immediately so. Now.

This isn’t something far off or conjured up, or that we convince ourselves of, but the very loves and vicissitudes of our days and nights. The beautiful intricate morass and joy of our organic heritage.

In Zen practice we learn to trust. Classically this is called faith. Faith in being able to trust, to fully allow things as they are this moment, self included, whatever that is. Whether we think we know or not is not so important. What is important is what has already arisen as the current.

It does feel easier to do this when we don’t manufacture positions, ideas about who we are or who another is. When we manufacture and self narrate, we’ve already created someone to be at the center of our story. But on the plus side, that’s all that’s been done. Creation of an impression, an idea.

Telling ourselves about who we are, what we want, like, don’t like, hope for, need, have to be free of, all of that as well as the narrations of our thoughts about other people and things; All this gives us the impression of being valid and solid in ourselves.

And that is important. We need to be solid as personalities, as social creatures, to see and feel ourselves part of our social, physical, mental emotional environments.

But this isn’t being free. The first principle of Buddhism is often said to be complete freedom. Freedom from entanglements of view and position, freedom from attachments, freedom from self and other.

When there is no one to be, we are free. When there is no need to uphold being ourselves, we are at that moment at our most authentic, and most alive.

Yet this will no doubt seem like a world away from ‘just as you are’. If that’s the case, you, have yet to include what is current, what is already immediately so. Trees, carpet, warmth of the day.

We usually hold the model of what we are to be here I am, having experiences, seeing hearing, feeling, thinking and so on. But in Zen we look to a much more intimate position, experiencing directly the matter rather than through a perspective of separate position. We relinquish our position for complete embodiment of the current. When speaking, just that speech, when listening, just that hearing, when feeling just that matter arising as feeling. At such a moment when completely allowing what is, we are fully just that matter.

But if I am that very talking, seeing, hearing, feeling, not just something that is happening to, then equally it is the same for the things seen, heard, felt, thought, known. Trees, carpet, warmth of the day, all contribute, collude, in this experience, which is also the experience of me.

However, there is no actor at the center, no me, no you, just everything else. The center is the sky, the words on the page, the carpet, the achy back, and that unsatisfactory thinking as well. So what will you do?

Cleave to the intimacy of the current just as you are, and find out through and through the vast unboundedness of it all. After all it has no where to go and no one else to be, beyond each and every person, animal, thing, and not thing… you.

© Glenn Wallis 2019