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Lotus In the Fire Sesshin: An Online Meditation Retreat

Monday, April 20, 2020 - 8:00 pm to Sunday, April 26, 2020 - 1:00 pm

We have often used the analogy of practicing in the midst of the city or daily life as a lotus in the flames. With the growing pandemic sweeping the globe — we are sitting in great uncertainty about what the future holds. This uncertainty can amplify our habitual coping strategies. Perhaps you find yourself more reactive, irritated, anxious, panicky, spacey or withdrawn. Dharma practice can help us remain present, aware and responsive during times of crisis.

Take 6 days to join us in this poignant sesshin in quarantine — familiarize yourself with the Mind that is always whole, free and awake.

It is our intention to offer the supportive structure to allow you to do a week long meditation retreat at home. You can participate to whatever degree your life allows. Consider the possibility to design your own retreat. Do a work/family sesshin. Take one day this week to join us for a day of retreat.

At Great Vow we will follow our usual sesshin rhythm. Doing zazen by yourself may be difficult. We are doing our best to develop a supportive, realistic and meaningful set of options to support you.  Please help us help you! We welcome any advice.

Why sesshin?  Sesshin is a time of concentrated investigation into the Nature of Mind - of Reality.  Sesshin has many aspects: the zazen stabilizes and helps calm the discursive mind; a calm mind allows the heart to open; a calm mind allows clear observation of life; a clear mind makes better choices; a clear mind is the foundation for becoming one with our deepest nature.  Sesshin is disciplined so that our ordinary habits do not take over.  It is rhythmic so that the work can continue to be refined day after day.

1. Make a ritual space, a sacred space for your zazen, chanting etc. (The elements of an altar traditionally represent the kind gifts of a bodhisattva : Light, good smells, nourishment, water, life {flowers etc.}
2. Decide to hold silence for specific portions of the day.  Be sure to tell your housemates/family what you are doing.
3. Reduce media use. Cell phones, news, social chat are all easy distractions.  We recommend turning them off.
4. Our sesshin schedule with chants is attached.
5. Decide baseline hours of zazen.  We recommend at least 4 hours per day.
6. If you cannot follow our schedule, then make your own and send a copy to Hogen  We will post so people here will know you are with them.
7. Keep a log of zazen hours.  Simply mark them on a calendar so you have visual positive feedback of your participation.
8. There will be both a streaming and a Zoom version of the zendo activity.
9. As a registered participant you will receive an email with a unique Zoom invite and password.  The Zoom meeting will be opened mornings and you may enter or leave at your discretion.
10. As a registered participant, use the link to join the Zoom meeting.  Your image and the images of other registrants will be projected on the zendo wall during zazen periods.
11. All talks and zendo comments will be broadcast through Zoom.  The live stream will basically be silent, only broadcasting the teisho.
12. Teisho, Dharma Talks, will be by multiple teachers. A schedule of who is speaking will be sent later.
13. Text for the talks will be: Guidepost for Silent Illumination by Hongzhi Zhengjue {page 80 of our Chant Book}.
14. As a registered participant, you will receive an email with invitation to an opening of sesshin meeting. This will be before the official opening in the zendo.
15. As a registered participant, each day there will be a group or individual check in with one of the teachers. * (We will endeavor to offer individual attention depending on our capacity).  SEE BELOW
16. We encourage you to chant with us during meals and in the zendo.  There are two formal meals, three services and a closing chant.
17. Our chant book is available online.  The page numbers announced in the zendo will correspond to it.
18. Lastly, we recommend you plan some regular work during this week.  Simple work like deep cleaning your home or gardening are ideas.

*Jogen will offer one-on-one check in.  Hogen will generally offer group sanzen.  If you have a preference, please let us know.

Workshop cost is Sliding Scale please donate what you can and know that your offering helps keep the Zen Community of Oregon afloat during this time of closure. Your contribution directly supports the teachers, monastics and the care for our places of practice.

Sliding Scale : $50 - $250


5:20 Wake- up bell
6:00 Zazen
7:30 Service
8:10 Breakfast

9:15 work practice
11:00 End Work
11:30 Zazen
12:50 Service
1:00 Lunch

3:00 Zazen and Teisho
5:20 Service
5:30 Dinner

7:00 Zazen
9:20 Formal Tea
10:00 Closing Rounds

Great Vow Zen Monastery
79640 Quincy-Mayger Road (Mail to: P.O. Box 188)
Clatskanie, Oregon 97016
Donations welcomed