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 under the direction of Sensei Lawson Sachter and senior student Ken Rosen.

Opening night:

Arrive at the Zendo between 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for sesshin orientation on a Wednesday evening for a Thursday to Sunday sesshin. Light snacks are available after 9:30 p.m.

• 7:30 p.m. Sesshin formally opens with a tea ceremony, opening remarks by Sensei, and an incense ceremony

8:30 p.m. Zazen 

9:30 p.m. Formal sitting ends

9:40 p.m. Yaza (Night sitting optional. We may sit anywhere anytime throughout the night or we may sleep)

Thursday – Saturday: • 5:00 a.m. Wake-up bell

5:15 a.m. 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 a.m. Daily Zendo opening ceremony and first sitting (facing the center of the Zendo)

5:55 a.m. Chanting service. The chants may include Affirming Faith In Mind, Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani, Kanzeon, and Return Of Merit.

6:20 a.m. Zazen and Dokusan

7:30 a.m. Formal breakfast. See the meal chants

8:00 a.m. Work period. We receive 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 a.m. Rest period. Everyone is assigned a place to lie down and sleep or rest.

9:35 a.m. Ten minute bell (small hand bell) indicating that the rest period ends in 10 minutes

9:40 a.m. Five minute bell (large, hanging bell) indicating that zazen resumes in 5 minutes.

9:45 a.m. 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 p.m. 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 p.m. Rest period 

1:25 p.m. Ten minute bell 

1:30 p.m. Five minute bell 

1:35 p.m. Zazen and Dokusan 

3:30 p.m. This is a yoga and Tai Chi style, low impact exercise period that helps us stretch and relax for the rest of the day. A lengthy kinhin concludes the exercise period.  

4:40 p.m. Zazen 

5:30 p.m. Formal dinner. See the Meal Chants 

5:45 p.m. Rest period 

7:05 p.m. Ten minute bell ending rest period 

7:10 p.m. Five minute bell 

7:15 p.m. Zazen and Dokusan 

9:30 p.m. Formal sitting ends 

9:40 p.m. Yaza begins

Sunday: 5:00-8:00 a.m. Same as Thursday-Saturday 

8:00 a.m. Work period 

8:25 a.m. Rest period 

9:20 a.m. Ten minute bell ending rest period 

9:25 a.m. Five minute bell 

9:30 a.m. Zazen and Dokusan 

11:30 a.m. Light lunch (informal) 

12:00 p.m. Zazen and Dokusan 

2:30 p.m. Closing ceremony

 

How To Practice Zen