Posted by: madhyama | June 11, 2010

Six-six before; Six-six after. Our May sesshin

In the first week of May this year, our little meditation group did its first lengthy meditation retreat.  A member volunteered her home as a zendo and her services as tenzo (head cook).   We meditated 16 hours a day for 3 1/2 days.  The traditional Zen meditation retreat (sesshin) is more like 7 days but we are a lay group and this shorter time frame works better.  For me this marks the first time that I have done an extended meditation retreat outside the specialized environment of a Zen community.  Lengthy meditations are potent interludes and one of the surprising things from this May sesshin experience is that some people found it difficult to return to their normal rhythm and pace of life because the abrupt changes from the zendo to the everyday world were enervating.  I certainly noticed that the post sesshin period was quite different than what I was used to.  In community there really is minimal transition required simply because the normal pace of life in community is many times slower than a normative lay pace of life.  I had not anticipated how important this decompression factor could be.   Part of the time gap in adding new posts to this blog is involved with the need to transition back to even my rather easy, normal pace of life.

Anyhow I plan to post more frequently for the next little while.  Below please find the talk I gave on the evening before our first full day.  I gave a lecture each day and each lecture includes questions from the participants.  Sometimes the questions are difficult to hear, our recording equipment being rather primitive, but my hope is that the question will be discernible from the response.  This introductory talk is about 37 and a half minutes in length. 

Our little sesshin was very well received by everybody who could attend.  All the reports have been positive in that people felt they had investigated their Selves very deeply and had both learned and restored things about themselves.

Let me add another talk to this blogpost.  Following is a QW Sunday talk from January 2010.  This is a much shorter recording, using once again that rhetoric around the meticulous/scrupulous dyadic narrative.

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