A Four Day Sesshin Schedule
Sesshin schedules can vary somewhat, but the following schedule is typical. This is the schedule usually followed by the Clear Water Zen Center, Clearwater, Florida, for a short sesshin.
Arrive at the Zendo between 6:00 PM to 6:30 PM for sesshin orientation on a Wednesday evening for a Thursday to Sunday sesshin. Light snacks are available after 9:30 PM.
• 7:30 PM Sesshin formally opens with a tea ceremony, opening remarks by Sensei, and an incense ceremony
• 8:30 PM Zazen
• 9:30 PM Formal sitting ends
• 9:40 Yaza (Night sitting optional. We may sit anywhere anytime throughout the night or we may sleep)
Thursday - Saturday:
• 5:00 AM Wake-up bell
• 5:15 AM fast kinhin (a relatively fast-paced outdoors walk that follows a path through the Zendo grounds. The walk lasts about ten minutes. Wear comfortable shoes).
• 5:30 AM Daily Zendo opening ceremony and first sitting (facing the center of the Zendo)
• 5:55 AM Chanting service. The chants may include Affirming Faith In Mind, Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani, Kanzeon, and Return Of Merit.
• 6:20 AM Zazen and Dokusan
• 7:30 AM Formal breakfast. See the meal chants.
• 8:00 AM Work period. You will be given a work assignment. Jobs include sweeping uncarpeted areas, vacuuming carpets, washing dishes, cleaning toilets, washing windows, emptying trash cans, replacing towels, arranging zabutons (sitting cushions) and so on.
• 8:45 AM Rest period. Everyone is assigned a place to lie down and sleep or rest.
• 9:35 AM Ten minute bell (small hand bell) to indicate that the rest period ends in 10 minutes
• 9:40 AM Five minute bell (large, hanging bell) to indicate that zazen resumes in 5 minutes.
• 9:45 AM Zazen and Teisho. This includes three rounds of sitting. A Teisho (lecture) is delivered by Sensei during the second sitting. We may sit more casually during the Teisho as listening is the primary goal. Strong sitters may sit in a formal posture during Teisho if desired.
• 12:30 PM Lunch. This is an informal meal with no Meal Chants and no assigned seating at the table. People are free to lunch in any suitable location of their choice.
• 1:00 PM Rest period
• 1:25 PM Ten minute bell
• 1:30 PM Five minute bell
• 1:35 PM Zazen and Dokusan
• 3:30 PM Chanting service. Chants may include Master Hakuin's Chant in Praise of Zazen, Dai Hi Shin Dharani, The Heart of Perfect Wisdom, The Ancestral Line, and Return of Merit.
• 3:45 PM Exercise period. This is usually a yoga and Tai Chi-style, low impact exercise period that helps us stretch and relax for the rest of the day
• 4:40 PM Zazen
• 5:30 PM Formal dinner. See the Meal Chants
• 5:45 PM Rest period
• 7:05 PM Ten minute bell ending rest period
• 7:10 PM Five minute bell
• 7:15 PM Zazen and Dokusan
• 9:30 PM Formal sitting ends
• 9:40 PM Yaza
• 5:00-8:00 AM Same as Thursday-Saturday
• 8:00 AM Work period
• 8:25 AM Rest period
• 9:20 AM Ten minute bell ending rest period
• 9:25 AM Five minute bell
• 9:30 AM Zazen and Dokusan
• 11:30 AM Light lunch (informal)
• 12:00 PM Zazen and Dokusan
• 2:30 PM Closing ceremony