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Sesshin Notes

Encouragement about taking our practice seriously

By Zoketsu Norman Fischer | Dec 07, 2004
Location: Mar de Jade
A few remarks on dokusan and the spirit of making effort in sesshin

 

On dokusan:

I think it would be better not to speak about what happens in dokusan (private meeting with the teacher), not that it’s a secret because there are no secrets. But if one reduces the experience that one has in dokusan to words and concepts to some extent you have destroyed the experience. It is better to keep the experience within yourself, a kind of treasure that keeps coming back to you in the future and inspires your practice. Its power comes not from the teacher’s great words of wisdom that you’ve never heard before, but from the investment of faith you make in the meeting. Dokusan is a moment of truly meeting yourself that can remain for you, in your life, as a source of wonder. So what a shame to reduce that experience to something like going to the dentist or talking to a friend. What I am talking about is for your benefit. Really and truly, there is a beautiful benefit in all of this, but it is up to you, no one is going to make you do anything or treat you like a child or as if you were in the army. Everyone here is free to practice in whatever way they see fit. I just don’t like to see people squandering a good possibility.

On making effort:

Also, keep in mind something else that is also very important. It’s clearly so in this retreat but it’s always so in life that your own actions have a strong influence on others. The way that you conduct yourself will affect other people, either inspiring them to be the best they can be, or encouraging them in the laziness that we all have inside of us. So when you consider how you are practicing in this retreat please think of these things. I am trusting that everyone will practice in the way that is best for them at this time, that our retreat will continue to be as it has been these last days a perfect retreat, each person in it practicing perfectly. I believe this is the best retreat that ever existed on the planet. Let’s continue with that spirit.