Sesshin v1

Sesshin literally means, “to touch the heart mind.” It is a time put aside from our daily lives to substantially deepen our Zen practice, by participating in a meditation intensive at a residential retreat.

Sesshin is held once a year, over a four day period in November, in a quiet setting in Lower Plenty, Melbourne.

Sesshin is conducted in silence with no eye contact or social greetings, to allow participants to deepen their meditation practice in an atmosphere free from social expectations or demands.

There is a dharma talk given each day, and Daisan (personal interviews with the teacher) are available.

Mindful movement instruction (such as the Alexander Technique, Tai Chi, Yoga, or extended walking meditation) is included, to balance the long periods of sitting meditation. There is also a longer outside walk in the early morning each day, led through the bush at a brisk pace.

During the retreat, all participants are also involved in samu (mindful communal work). This may involve cooking, cleaning, gardening or other maintenance work.

All meals are vegetarian and are prepared by Sesshin participants.

Sesshin is a communal practice, with all participants expected to maintain the full schedule (except for reasons of sickness). Whilst full time attendance is the norm, provision is made for a limited number of part timers. Part time practice may be appropriate for people who have not experienced a full meditation intensive before, which provides a gradual way of becoming acclimatized to this more intensive practice.

For questions about suitability to attend a sesshin, please see the article by Geoff Dawson: Mental Health and Intensive Meditation Retreats. Or Contact Us to discuss suitability.

Sesshin Schedule

5.30 am Tea
5.35 am Zazen
6.30 am Outside Walking
7.00 am Zazen
8.00 am Breakfast
8.50 am Work Meeting
9.00 am Samu (Work Practice)
10.00 am Morning Tea
10.30 am Sutras
10.50 am Zazen
11.30 am Dharma Talk
12.00 pm Zazen
1.00 pm Lunch
1.30 pm Break
3.00 pm Zazen
4.00 pm Mindful Movement (Yoga, Bowing Practice, Alexander Technique, Tai Chi, Individual Walking)
4.20 pm Zazen
5.30 pm Supper
7.00 pm Zazen
8.55 pm Evening Ceremony
9.00 pm End