September 1, 2012

2012 European sesshin recap

Our annual sesshin in Laufen, Germany - a charming Bavarian town on the Austrian border - wrapped up on August 26th.  20 participants from Germany, Switzerland and the USA sat together once again at the Kapuzinerhof, a restored 17th century Capuchin monastery right next to the medieval gate of Laufen's old town.

The sesshin is organized each year by Raymond Schroeder, Anselm Stahl and a cadre of other Zen students...many of whom are also practitioners of Zentherapy.  Zentherapy is a system of bodywork founded by the famous American bodyworker William "Dub" Leigh, a student of Ida Rolf and Moshe Feldenkrais.  He was also a student of Tenshin Tanouye Roshi, abbot of Chozen-ji...and it was this study which introduced him to the energetic dimensions of bodywork, leading to the founding of Zentheraphy.

One practical result of all this history is that most of the students at the European sesshin have already worked intensively with their bodies and breathing.  They know the important balance between pushing through hardship and releasing or relaxing, which is so crucial in Zen practice.  And having already worked to liberate natural body structures and pathways of energetic flow, they are well positioned to understand the embodiment which is the process Zen realization. 

This was our third annual sesshin and so a number of students are now butting their heads against the gate of koan practice.  The energy at sesshin was thus intense and lively.  Raymond anchored the tanto seat, while Anselm performed a combination of inji and shika duties.  Thomas Neumann served ably as the jikijitsu.  All the students pitched in with various other roles, serving tea, taking care of the zendo and so on.  Meido Roshi gave three teisho which are now posted on the RZC members page (with German translation).

Many thanks to our European members for working so hard to organize this event each year.  We look forward to possibly seeing some of them in Norway in February. 

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