Daiyuzenji and Korinji's summer sesshin concluded this past Sunday, turning out to be a wonderful training period.
Our usual summer sesshin is longer and takes place at a rented facility in Wisconsin. This time circumstances required us to make a last minute change, and so a shorter event at Daiyuzenji was conducted. Daiyuzenji really consists of only one large practice space, along with bathrooms and a small tatami-floored room for sanzen. And so all the activities of sesshin - zazen, dokusan, okyo, teisho, meals, samu, internal training and calligraphy practice, and even sleep at night - all essentially took place in the same room. This made for a very concentrated practice experience. It also meant that there was no "down-time": any temptations to relax for a few minutes or quietly chat someplace that might have arisen were impossible to indulge.
Though we've conducted sesshin at Daiyuzenji before, they'd been done less formally...really just long zazenkai. This was our first attempt to conduct a full sesshin in such a limited facility. It proved to be remarkably smooth. Even meal preparation worked very well: breakfast and teas were easily prepared on-site, while our tenzo cooked lunch and dinner at her nearby home and ferried it over when needed.
And finally, the shorter-than-usual schedule attracted a number of beginners to sesshin that might normally not have attended. New trainees, unfamiliar with the sesshin experience and forms, always help to keep the other trainees undistracted and on their toes.
The end result was a powerful and greatly concentrated few days of practice. Thank you to all who made it possible and to those who took up sesshin roles: our jikijitsu was Matt Wever; the role of shika was performed by Glenn Murray from Atlanta; Enmei Hunter served as inji for Miller Roshi and Moore Roshi, who both gave teisho; McCarthy Roshi was our tenzo.