Sesshin

Sesshin at Great Tree – Cultivating the Lotus

Cultivating the flower of wisdom and compassion requires us to reach deep into muddy waters.  In order to see clearly to the root of all things we must also access the stillness that will allow the mud to settle and the those waters to clear.

A sesshin (Japanese for “collecting the heart-mind”) is an intensive meditation retreat.  A sesshin typically lasts from two to seven days. During sesshin,  most of the time is devoted to meditation, and distraction is reduced.   Participants are asked keep silence , as much as possible, throughout the sesshin and to maintain a meditative focus throughout.  We follow a semi-monastic schedule during sesshin based on Soto traditions dating back to the time of Dogen Zenji, the founder of this school of Zen.

The schedule includes:DogenP2

  • Zazen (sitting meditation)
  • Kinhin (walking meditation)
  • Mindful work in the kitchen, building or grounds
  • Participants are asked to share kitchen duties, cooking or clean-up
  • Dokusan (private interview with the teacher).

Basic Schedule for Sesshins

Please arrive by 4pm. We ask that everyone begin together.  The schedule begins at 5pm with orientation and instruction, followed by a light meal and tea at around 6pm.   Subsequent days begin at 6am and end at 9:30pm.   The sesshin ends at noon  on the last day.  If you plan to arrive early or extend your stay beyond  the scheduled event,  contact us  to confirm that space available.  Those who are unable to attend the full retreat must speak with the abbess before registering.

2016-2017 Sesshin –  Register at Book Online

* Please note changes

February 3-5Nehan Sesshin - The Dharma Is Eternal, the Last Teaching of the Buddha Led by Rev. Chimyo Atkinson*. This sesshin commemorates the death and Nirvana of the Shakyamuni Buddha.
March 31-April 2The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts Led by Rev. Teijo Munnich*. How do we avoid causing suffering for ourselves and other beings?
May 5-9Finding the Middle Way: the First Teaching of the Buddha Led by Rev. Teijo Munnich. The way to freedom through the practice of the Middle Way
June 2-7Emptiness and Don't Know Led by Rev. Teijo Munnich. What is meant by "emptiness" and how is this teaching relevant in the 21st century?
June 30-July 24th of July Sesshin Led by Rev. Chimyo Atkinson.
October 6-8Beginner's Mind Sesshin Led by Meredith Myuon McIntosh and Rev. Teijo Munnich. Zen practice and Alexander Technique
November 4- 9Led by Rev. Chimyo Atkinson
December 1-7Rohatsu Sesshin - Buddha's Enlightenment: What Did the Buddha Awaken To? Led by Rev. Teijo Munnich. Buddha's Enlightenment is traditionally celebrated on December 8th. In the Zen tradition Rohatsu, a 7-day meditation retreat leads up to this important date.
December 28-31New Year's Sesshin Led by Rev. Teijo Munnich. Close out the year with a few days of quiet reflection.

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