IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT SESSHINS IN 2020
Some of the information about sesshins on this page is not applicable this year due to the pandemic and the fact that the Zen Center is closed. However, specific dates and the application link are correct. Despite the fact that sesshins will not be conducted in the usual way, the general spirit of sesshin remains the same—a period of increased and intensified zazen undertaken with the intention of silence throughout the day and attentively focusing on practice no matter what you are doing.
Teisho (Zen talks by the teacher) and dokusan or private instruction are essential elements of sesshin along with zazen and kinhin. In sesshin, this intensification of practice is accomplished with the support of others who are following the same schedule. Although this may be more difficult to do at home, with advanced planning, it is possible. It is up to each person to keep the spirit of sesshin as well as they can.
Before applying to sesshin, it is imperative that you consult with family members about your sesshin expectations. Don't wait until the last minute to do this. The success of your virtual sesshin depends upon good communication with those with whom you share living space.
Sortcuts to Having a Strong Sesshin,
by Sunyana Graef, Roshi
Going to sesshin is a bit like preparing oneself prior to taking a journey to a distant land. You need appropriate clothes, you need to know a few survival phrases, and you need to have passing familiarity with the culture. In the same way, when you come to sesshin, you need to dress correctly, you need to know a few terms, and you need to know what is expected of you. Read More . . .
The Jataka Tales Come to Vermont,
by Josh Kelman
This was not your ordinary sesshin. The schedule had three full time days and four more going to work each day. And in place of teisho, Rafe Martin told Jataka stories complete with background, commentary and discussion. The Jataka tales, stories of the Buddha’s past lives, opened up before us and we entered them. Read More . . .
In 2020 there will be 3 virtual sesshins in Vermont.
September 25-27 — 2-day sesshin
October 23-26 — 3-day Jataka sesshin
December 4-8 — 4-day Rohatsu sesshin