A sesshin (接心, 摂心, 攝心), literally "gathering the mind", is a period of intensive meditation (zazen) in a Zen monastery.While the daily routine in the monastery requires the monks to meditate several hours a day, during a sesshin they devote themselves almost exclusively to zazen practice. The numerous 30-50 minute long meditation periods are interleaved with short rest breaks, meals, and sometimes, short periods of work (Japanese: "samu") all performed with the same mindfulness; nightly sleep is kept to a minimum, 7 hours or less. During the sesshin period, the intense meditation is occasionally interrupted by the master giving public talks (teisho) and individual direction in private meetings (which may be called "dokusan", "daisan", or "sanzen") with a Zen Master.

In modern Buddhist practice in Japan and the West, sesshins are often attended by lay students, and are typically 1, 3, 5, or 7 days in length. Seven day sesshins are held several times a year at many Zen Centers, especially in commemoration of the Buddha's awakening to "annuttara samyak sambodhi". At this Rohatsu sesshin, the practitioners typically strive to quiet the mind's chatter to the point of either Stopping thought, samadhi, kensho, or satori.

A typical sesshin day

A sesshin schedule in the West will typically allow for about nine periods of zazen per day, 30-40 minutes each, with five minute periods of walking meditation (kinhin) between zazen periods. Traditional sesshins are more intensive with meditations lasting 30-60 minutes each with an absence of any rest or work breaks and sleep limited to less than 5 hours per day.

Meals are taken in a formal meditation ritual of oryoki. Work periods in westernized sesshin are allowed and comprise 2-3 hours of the day, usually in gardening, cooking, or cleaning. The sesshin schedule typically allows for 4-7 hours of sleep per night, though practitioners occasionally will spend much of the next-to-last night of a 5 day or 7 day sesshin in zazen. This is called yaza and is much revered as a particularly effective time to meditate when the thinking mind and ego lack the energy to derail practice.

It has been reported that at least 3 days of sesshin are usually required for the practitioner to 'settle down' in the sesshin routine to the point where the mind becomes quiet enough for the deeper types of meditation and samadhi to begin.

Psychological aspects of sesshin

Some people unfamiliar with the process have reported becoming disoriented and fearful of incurring psychological damage during sesshin. Some Zen centers do not allow novices to attend long sesshins without much prior experience and screening by the practice leaders. Sesshin can lead to deep experiences of awakening that may at times be somewhat traumatic, akin to a 'spiritual emergency' or kundalini symptoms.

While this may seem daunting at first, a person that sits in zazen regularly should not have a real issue with sesshin. It is up to the centers staff to determine eligibility. A good way to start is to attend a one day or two day sesshin. Generally regarded as the toughest part, a two day sesshin will test the practitioner.

A heightened sense may arise during a sesshin. Sometimes practitioners report that food has incredible flavor and colors become more vivid and pronounced.

ocial aspects of sesshin

There is no talking during sesshin. Silence is observed so that each student may both concentrate on his experience and not influence other's experience.

At the end of the sesshin there is usually a meal when students are allowed to talk to others for the first time since arriving.

ee also

*Buddhist terms and concepts

Further reading

* The book "Three Pillars of Zen" by Philip Kapleau (ISBN 0-385-26093-8) contains several first-person accounts of Rinzai sesshin experiences.

External links

* [ Traditional Zen Sesshin at the Dai Bossatsu Monastery]
* [ Diary of a lay student in Sesshin]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sesshin — Une sesshin (接心 / 摂心 / 攝心, sesshin?), littéralement « rassembler l esprit » est une période intensive de méditation zazen dans un monastère zen. Alors que la routine quotidienne du monastère zen demande aux moines de méditer plusieurs… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sesshin — El Sesshin es una práctica de Meditación Budista Zen Contenido 1 Contexto 2 Características 3 Entrenamiento 4 El karma en el sesshin …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sesshin — Ein Sesshin (chinesisch 接心 jiē xīn, W. G. Chieh Hsin; jap. 接心) ist eine Periode unterschiedlicher Länge mit konzentrierter Zen Meditation. Es findet in einem Zen Kloster oder Trainings Zentrum statt, wobei bedeutend intensiver Zazen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sesshin — El SESSHIN ES UNA PRÁCTICA DE MEDITACIÓN La meditación es una práctica común y propiciada en todas las escuelas del Budismo. Proporciona una poderosa herramienta para observar aspectos de nosotros mismos que de otra manera resultaría… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • sesshin — {{#}}{{LM S46246}}{{〓}} {{[}}sesshin{{]}} {{■}}(jap.){{□}} {{《}}▍ s.m.{{》}} Período temporal dedicado a la práctica budista del zazen. {{★}}{{\}}PRONUNCIACIÓN:{{/}} [sesín]. {{★}}{{\}}ORTOGRAFÍA:{{/}} Por ser un extranjerismo debe escribirse con… …   Diccionario de uso del español actual con sinónimos y antónimos

  • sesshin — /ˈsɛʃən/ (say seshuhn) noun a Zen Buddhism retreat for intensive training in meditation. {Japanese: to touch the heart mind} …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Vocabulaire et concepts du bouddhisme — La plus grande partie du vocabulaire et des concepts du bouddhisme est difficilement traduisible en français, sans perdre le sens et la portée des termes originaux. Cet article liste quelques concepts bouddhiques parmi les plus importants, une… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rochester Zen Center — Infobox Buddhist temple name = Rochester Zen Center img size = img capt = landscape = yes denomination = Soto/Rinzai founded = 1966 closed = founder = Philip Kapleau teacher = director = roshi = abbot = Bodhin Kjolhede priest = rinpoche =… …   Wikipedia

  • Chapin Mill — Buddhist Retreat Center is the 135 acre (0.55 km2) Buddhist Retreat center of the Rochester Zen Center located at 8603 Seven Springs Rd, Batavia, NY, between Buffalo, NY and Rochester, NY. Ralph Chapin, a member and friend of the Center… …   Wikipedia

  • Koudela — Genro Seiun, Osho (* 22. November 1924 in Wien (eigentlich Herbert Koudela)) ist Zen Priester, Lehrer und Leiter des von ihm begründeten Bodhidharma Zendo in Wien. Die Zeit von 1948 bis 1979 verbrachte er im Ausland, überwiegend in den USA. 1979… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”