“Most worthwhile things take a long time” - on Zen in Australia

These are huge and transformative changes for people ... people become deeper in their life, more intimate with reality ... much more deeply connected in.

An interview with Ross Bolleter, Roshi

Ross Bolleter Roshi is spiritual leader and teacher of the Diamond Sangha Zen Buddhist lineage in Australia and New Zealand. He lives in Western Australia.


A wonderful interview from May 2018. With thanks to the Buddhist Council of Western Australia.

Editor’s Note: it is a personal blessing to find this interview, as Ross participated in our wedding (that is, the wedding of Catherine and Warren). Ross kindly flew out from WA and gifted us with a spontaneous “sermon” - an improvisation on the accordion, while leaning against a tree in a small park where the ceremony took place. As a composer he is known for his performances on decaying, ruined pianos (see below).

Here is Ross Bolleter speaking on Zen in Australia:

The Buddhist Council of WA is proud to share this video interview as part of the it Vesak 2018 celebrations. More information about the Zen Group of WA can be found on their website. Video produced by Boon Tan, Jake Mitra and Tanita Fernando.

And … Listen to a composition by Ross Bolleter for six ruined pianos:

Secret Sandhills for six ruined pianos (to the memory of Timmy Payungka Tjapangati (c. 1940 -- 2000)) Timmy Tjapangati's created his painting Secret Sandhills in the oppressive, desolate and poverty-stricken conditions of the government settlement at Papunya, 250 miles west of Alice Springs, in Central Australia in 1972.

Spiritual Pirates

Here’s a bracing article by Corey Ichigen Hess about the wildness and intensity of Zen training. With thanks. Read the full article on his website.

... what I found was a group of wild rebellious spiritual athletes ... they had a brightness, a sturdiness, an unmistakable freedom ...


- by Corey Ichigen Hess [published at ZenEmbododiment.com]

There seems to be a feeling among some practitioners who have never lived in a monastery or Zen center, that it is some kind of cloistered, strange place, where socially awkward people go to be alone and get away from society. That society is one thing and the temple is separate. I thought this as well before I met a couple of folks who had lived in the Monastery I lived in in Japan.

What I found instead was a group of wild rebellious spiritual athletes, like some band of bald skinny pirates, chasing after the meaning of life with zest and swag and samugi. And the most badass pirate of them all, the most intense, the most extreme, the wildest, was the Roshi, like some transparent Alpha Dog Captain Hook. Being in the monastery is like being in the spiritual major leagues or the Zen biker graduate school, with exceptional people pushing life to the limits. It is like an oven turned up all the way. It is a bunch of determined heroes, men and women, with a problem with authority, only bowing down to the Roshi because of his obvious energetic dominance. His huge sublime state of mind. He walks in the temple and everyone sits up straight, not because of an idea, but because his energy changed the cells in our bodies.

We went there because we saw a huge vessel, human potential at its ultimate expression. We saw someone who would never be fazed by our incredible intensity, our rogue spirits, our inner turmoil. He could take anything we gave him, and show us just how badass one could be. He showed us that our struggles could be transformed to really help people.

And the folks who trained there, they had a brightness, a sturdiness, an unmistakable freedom we wanted. They had been through the shit there, so that every day is a good day, no matter the circumstance. Sitting a billion hours, in the cold of winter, or being swarmed by mosquitos for days, clothes molding on our bodies. Year upon year of training, like Jedi knights.

And being forged in that oven of essence, we saw that the way to truly help society is to find a light within ourselves which can never burn out. Deepening the vow to save all sentient beings, over and over, deeper and deeper…

Continue reading the article here : https://zenembodiment.com/2018/04/30/spiritual-pirates/

- with thanks to Corey Ichigen Hess and Zenembodiment.com. (Leave comments for the author on his website).

Corey Hess offers manual body therapy sessions and internal process work. He is located near Seattle, and can be contacted here.

Further thanks to Reinhard Jung.