This retreat has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Registrations are now open for the Open Sky Sesshin, which will replace the usual Nelson-run sesshin held at Rotoiti Lodge each July. Our teacher, Shugen Roshi, is unable to attend the sesshin in person owing to Covid 19 restrictions, but will be offering teachings via Zoom.
Because of the Covid restrictions on international travel, we will offer an Open Sky Sesshin, which will be available for participants, either online or in person. Participants are encouraged to join the sesshin schedule to whatever extent works for best for you. An Open Sky Sesshin offers a lot of flexibility and encourages as much participation as there is interest.
There will be a core of six or so practitioners that will commit to maintaining the usual Sesshin schedule for the six days of the sesshin.
Those who commit to attend online will be provided with the week's liturgy, sesshin guidelines, schedules, Zoom meeting numbers etc. No one will be monitoring or checking on your participation; that is completely up to you.
The schedule for Sesshin is listed here to help you to work out a realistic level of commitment for you.
For those who register to be in residence at the Nelson Zendo, please note that you are committing to attend the full sesshin to provide a solid core of practice for those coming and going. Cost for the residential component is $350. Some billets in Nelson homes will also be available if needed.
Shugen Roshi will be with us via Zoom on the first evening of Sesshin, 12th July, to offer opening remarks. He will be offering two dharma discourses during the week at 11:15 a.m. There will also be talks by Zen elders and our senior student, Gwitha Kaido Nash. Shugen Roshi will also offer a mondo on the final morning of sesshin.
Dokusan, formal face-to-face teaching with the teacher, will be offered via Zoom, with a priority given to those who are completing the whole sesshin. Online participants will be asked to indicate on their registration form whether or not they would like to enrol for an online dokusan with Shugen Roshi.
We encourage you to take advantage of these offerings in the ways that you can according to your own personal circumstances.
If you would like to discuss any of this, please email Kaido Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone or text Kaido on 0211218133
The residential sesshin
Characterised by silence and deep introspection, sesshin is recommended to anyone who is sincerely interested in experiencing intensive Zen training and deepening their meditation practice. Sesshin is an unbroken stream of aware spiritual practice, with wake up each day before dawn to begin a schedule that includes 7 to 10 hours of zazen, chanting services, formal silent meals (oryoki) in the zendo (meditation hall), silent caretaking (e.g. preparing meals or cleaning), and talks by the teacher and senior students. Sesshin is an opportunity to receive personal guidance in private interviews (dokusan) with the teacher, Shugen Roshi. During sesshin we draw from the tremendous strength and encouragement of practising together as a group.
Because the week-long sesshin is a very intensive retreat, those wishing to attend the full week should have prior experience in meditation. If you are a first-time sesshin retreatant planning to participate in the whole retreat, whether online or residentially, you will be interviewed by phone before the organisers confirm your attendance. This is to help ensure that sesshin is a good fit for your personal circumstances. For the resident practitioners of the sesshin, once you join sesshin, you are asked to stay until the conclusion of the retreat (after lunch on Saturday).
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order, abbot and resident teacher of Zen Mountain Monastery, and abbot of the Zen Center of New York City. Shugen has been in full-time residential zen training since 1986; he received dharma transmission from Daido Roshi in 1997. He has visited New Zealand to lead Zen Buddhist retreats and workshops for many years, and currently offers a programme in Nelson each July.
• warm sleeping bag, pillow, (earplugs optional)
• woollen hat and gloves
• outdoor clothing and footwear for outside work practice
• loose-fitting clothing for meditation, dark or muted in colour. Shirts should cover the shoulders (e.g. T-shirt and shirts). Please wear long trousers rather than shorts.
Please note that Lake Rotoiti is in a sub-alpine region and does get very cold, especially overnight. Bring plenty of extra layers to ensure you are warm enough for indoor and outdoor work.