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.




Retreat Dharma Talks:

Play03 May 2019

Play05 April 2019

Play04 April 2019

Play03 April 2019

Play02 April 2019

Play01 April 2019

Play31 March 2019



















Practice Note
People often come to the farm at Poplar Grove burdened by complaints – the family they live with, the country they live in, the politicians they live under, the climate, economy, roads, electricity, children, careers, health…... It is difficult not to be affected by their sighs. Around the dinner table we all end up feeling sad. Maybe that is enough. Being sad together.

But there is also more to it. When we look at this through the window of our Zen practice, we begin to see something interesting and important – the patterns of attachment in our mind. In our zazen – our meditation - we see the relentless parade of thoughts – the memories, plans, ideas, opinions, arguments, justifications, judgements, likes and dislikes, or just an endless habitual blabbering. We see the strength of our emotions – desire (the old girlfriend, the new house, promotion, enlightenment), aversion (the old husband, the new president, the sniffer on the cushion next to me, me), confusion (why did I marry him, how do I become nicer, what am I doing here?).

We remember that in the Buddhist tradition both thoughts and emotion are mind (shin), and we see how our thinking and emotions build on each other, with the thoughts feeding emotion and emotions lending vigour to the thoughts. We are thought addicts. We believe what we think. We are justified in what we feel. We begin to see how we filter our experience through what we think and feel, and we see how our attachment to our mental activity acts as a screen between us and the world, between me and the other. And, if we pay close attention, we realize that this is how we build our idea of who we are and what the world is, this is the builder of our house. Then, inevitably, we begin to regard thinking as a problem, so we look for a solution, trying to stop our thoughts and emotions, searching for a way out. Or we may try to have nicer thoughts that allow us to feel better. That succeeds for a while but not for long. For thinking that thinking is a problem is just more thinking.

We need to go deeper. Zen practice is not about fixing anything. Zen is about freedom. Freedom from thought. Freedom from the absence of thought. It is about freedom within thought, the freedom to use our thinking naturally and clearly. It is about going beyond thinking and not-thinking into this all-inclusive life, into the space where the self that is built up with the bricks of attachment begins to leak. There is space between the thoughts, space between our feelings. We find ourselves in a vital unified space that contains self and other. From there we can step into this world with our arms swinging, greeting the Buddha in each person, in each blade of grass, in politicians and petrol attendants. From here we can engage with our life strongly and fearlessly. And, when we see this, our aspiration to find life in our practice is renewed endlessly.

Antony Dae Chong,
Osho, Spring 2019