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Silent Zen Meditation Retreat (Sesshin)

Silent Zen Meditation Retreat (Sesshin)

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  • Mon 22 Jan ’18, 5:00pm


Steveley, Canterbury, Steveley, Canterbury, Ashburton District


All Ages



Sesshin is a week-long meditation intensive that is unique to the Zen tradition. In sesshin, we can experience the deep stillness that lies within each one of us.

Characterised by silence and deep introspection, sesshin is recommended to anyone who is sincerely interested in experiencing intensive Zen training and deepening their meditation practice. Sesshin is an unbroken stream of aware spiritual practice, with wake up each day before dawn to begin a schedule that includes 7 to 10 hours of zazen, chanting services, formal silent meals (oryoki) in the zendo (meditation hall), silent caretaking (e.g. preparing meals or cleaning), and talks by the teacher and senior students. Sesshin is an opportunity to receive personal guidance in private interviews (daisan) with the teacher, Hogen Sensei. During sesshin we draw from the tremendous strength and encouragement of practising together as a group.

Because the week-long sesshin is a very intensive retreat, those wishing to attend the full week should have prior experience in meditation. Those who have never participated in a sesshin or who are newer to Zen practice/meditation are encouraged to join in, however we recommend beginning on Friday for the weekend portion of the retreat. This is a great way to get a taste of sesshin and to develop your meditation practice. Sesshin may be joined at any stage during the week, as late as Friday evening.

‚ÄčIf you are a first-time sesshin participant, you will be interviewed by phone before the retreat. This is to help ensure that sesshin is a good fit for your personal circumstances. This is especially helpful as once you join sesshin, you are asked to stay until the conclusion of the retreat. The venue for this sesshin is Staveley Camp in Canterbury, about 90 minutes drive from Christchurch. Transport assistance to and from the retreat is available; this is included in the registration form. Accommodation and meals are included in the retreat fees. Accommodation is in shared, single sex dorm rooms of various sizes, all meals are vegetarian with special diets (i.e. gluten free) available. Please let us know your requirements on the registration form.

For those arriving for the start of sesshin, registration will be at 5pm, Monday, 22 Jan. There will be a light dinner served at 6pm. For those with less available time, or readiness to commit to a full week, you are welcome to join sesshin at any time, up until Friday night. To preserve the harmony of the retreat, participants are asked to stay until the conclusion of sesshin at Sunday lunchtime.

If you have questions about this retreat, please contact the Christchurch MRO Zen group at: christchurch@zen.org.nz

About the teacher: Hogen Sensei has been engaged in formal Zen practice since 1978, and was in residential training at Zen Mountain Monastery for 12 years as a lay student and senior monastic. He currently divides his time between living with his family in Pennsylvania on a farm and as a Zen teacher at the Zen Center of New York City. Hogen Sensei has visited New Zealand three times to offer talks, workshops and retreats.

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