Sesshin: Meditation Retreat
Sunday July 18 to Saturday July 24, 2021
We warmly invite you to this full-immersion residential Zen meditation retreat, set amid the beauty of St Arnaud, just over an hour's drive from Nelson, New Zealand. This retreat is supported by teachings from Shugen Roshi, the abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery.
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. We 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 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 via Zoom) 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, we will arrange an interview by phone before confirming your attendance. This is to help ensure that sesshin is a good fit for your personal circumstances. Once you join sesshin, you are asked to stay until the conclusion of the retreat (after lunch on Saturday). It is possible to join the retreat while it is in progress, up until Thursday evening. Doing just part of the full retreat is recommended for those who are new to the sesshin format.
Our teacher, Shugen Roshi, is unable to attend the sesshin in person owing to Covid 19 restrictions, and so will be offering teachings via Zoom. This includes one-on-one interviews with each student, as well as talks and a question-and-answer session.
For people who are unable to attend the retreat in person, we will be livestreaming daily dharma talks, and parts of the zazen schedule. Those who register to attend online will be provided with the week's liturgy, sesshin guidelines, schedules, Zoom meeting numbers etc. The extent of your participation is up to you, and engagement is by donation. If you would like to discuss online participation, please email Gensei at firstname.lastname@example.org
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. This year, because of Covid restrictions, he will join us via Zoom.
• 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.