GUIDELINES FOR SESSHIN
ONE HEART SANGHA
PLEASE HELP US MAINTAIN AN ATMOSPHERE OF QUIET ATTENTIVENESS AND SILENCE THROUGHOUT OUR RETREAT.
Some practical and respectful ways to support the atmosphere of quiet for all of us are:
· Avoid all unnecessary talking, and then in a quiet tone, away from the group or others. Bow to speak to the Head Monk, or Teacher when you need to ask a question
· Open and close doors and chairs quietly. Avoid conversations, keep eyes lowered to make the most of this opportunity to practice deeply.
· Turn off cell phone or tablets in the zendo/common space; if needed, use away from the group
· Keep the zendo and common areas neat and clean, free from distraction and clutter; store your personal items neatly and out of the way. Line up your shoes against the wall.
· Our zendo is co-located with our dining area. Put used cups and dining items away, or store neatly away from the sitting area.
PLEASE CARE FOR THE WELL-BEING OF THE SANGHA GATHERED HERE BY SUPPORTING THE STRONG SITTING OF ALL.
Some practical ways of supporting our sitting in sesshin are:
· Be on your cushion 5 minutes ahead of each period of sitting. Bow as you enter the zendo defined space, and once reaching your place, bow to your place of sitting and then the cushion/chair across from you.
· Once you have found your position, sit strong, alert yet relaxed. If it is necessary to change positions, do so as quietly and quickly as possible. Keep your body still so the mind can find stillness.
· Use the restroom between sitting periods at the beginning of kinhin and return to your place in the kinhin line as quickly as possible.
· There is no need to make a bow to your cushion when you go to, or return from, interview.
PLEASE CARE FOR YOUR OWN WELL-BEING AND ATTENTIVE PRESENCE DURING THE SESSHIN
Some practical ways of doing this are:
· Prepare yourself mentally for sesshin, as it is challenging. It is normal to have physical discomfort, have the urge to stop, or have thoughts and emotions that swing wildly. Use this opportunity to study the self. Sesshin can open up our innate wisdom and compassion.
· Vow to follow the schedule and stay with your direct experience. We are here to support you so talk to the teacher or head monk if you are having a difficult time.
· Avoid reading and writing except that which is related to your practice or assigned work. It is a good practice to avoid checking email, texts and social media.
· Get sufficient exercise and rest throughout the sesshin. Take a walk, stretch.
· Take no “break” from sesshin; let every activity, including eating, walking, showering, and cleaning up, be part of your practice. Keep your room neat and clean.
· Pay attention to the nudge to sit at times other than our scheduled times; this is a rare opportunity.
· Sesshin is a wonderful opportunity to deepen our practice and to realize the Way. Sesshin guidelines have been handed down through centuries and are meant to help us make the most of this opportunity to practice together, to respect our practice. Let’s do our best.