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This weekend overnight sesshin is ideal for beginners who want to deepen their ongoing practice. It is also recommended for more experienced practitioners who are unable to attend the longer retreats. Grab the opportunity to spend time away from distractions and wholeheartedly engage instead in Zen practice sessions to allow deep and valuable insights to emerge.
For this retreat, you will stay at the Baguio Zen Center for one night. Typical accommodation is individual rooms with shared bathroom facilities. For the duration of the retreat, couples are accommodated separately. The retreat locations are all non-smoking and alcohol-free.
Sesshin is a time of intensive meditation practice and is psychologically and emotionally demanding. Sleep is reduced and physical discomfort is a challenge that all participants will face and should be expected. If you sense that the stress of focused, silent sitting meditation for eight to 10 hours a day is not a healthy or appropriate endeavor for you at this time. Please honor your wisdom.
Sesshin are held in silence. After opening remarks on the first night, you will enter silence and maintain it until a closing circle on the final day. During sesshin, you meditate together with a group between eight to ten hours per day. Sitting meditation is usually in blocks of three 25-minute periods, with a five-minute walking meditation. You may shift your sitting position if necessary. There is no expectation or pressure that you have to sit cross-legged on the floor if this is not comfortable for you. Meditation supplies shall be provided (chairs, benches, and cushions), but you are welcome to bring your own.
Characterized by silence and deep introspection, sesshin is recommended to anyone who is sincerely interested in experiencing intensive Zen training. First-time participants will be given an orientation to a Zen retreat, receive personal guidance in private interviews with the teacher, draw from the tremendous strength of people practicing together, and experience the deep stillness that lies within yourself. Once sesshin begins, you will immerse yourself in the rigorous practice of self-awakening.
Silence is a powerful tool to go deeper into personal practice, foster peace, simplicity, and direct presence; and it can help understand human lives more clearly. At Baguio Zen Center, they do sesshin as a group as the support that each person gives to the others is vital for a strong sesshin.
Participants can sign up for all or parts of the retreat and will find a supportive and caring community for developing their individual meditation practices.
Learning to practice zazen is akin to learning a musical instrument. People have greater or lesser natural ability, but the thing that makes the difference is practice. In the sphere of practice, regularity is more important than quantity. If you want to taste the fruits of Zen rather than just read or think about them, consider establishing a daily practice.
New students make a traditional commitment called “Sixty Days of Building the Foundation.” This is a commitment you make to yourself. You undertake to practice either 25 or 30 minutes a day, every day for sixty days. You mark off on a calendar each day of practice and if you miss a day, you start again at day one.
Not only does this build a habit of practice which will stand you in good stead, but it also gives you a sense of where your zazen is leading you. Everyone has warmer and cooler days, but over one hundred continuous days you get a sense of the general trajectory of your work.
The retreat schedules will typically begin early and carry on into the evening. You are asked to participate fully and whole-heartedly with all activities. Every activity can be adapted in the case of physical difficulties. Please observe silence as much as possible during the retreat and speak only when necessary (for example when you have to clarify the scope of work or need an extra blanket or something unexpected has cropped up). This helps you to keep awareness and focus as much as possible. Be mindful and offer your help to others unobtrusively. Remember that if you chat, you may destroy your own and others’ chances of deep insights.
Mornings usually begin at 4:50 a.m. and end around 9:00 p.m. There is a morning work period and a few breaks throughout the day. The daily schedule may include a morning dharma talk (teisho) from the teacher which revolves around the sesshin theme. It also includes formal tea in the afternoon.
The morning work period that lasts roughly 30 minutes. During this period, participants engage in simple work practice, such as cleaning, or gardening. There are scheduled breaks after meals. Siesta is obligatory.
This retreat will be held at Baguio Zen Center. It is located at the ICM House of Prayer in Baguio City, Philippines.
Meals are formal and held in silence. The food is lacto-ovo vegetarian.
Please book your flight to arrive at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL). At present, there are no direct commercial flights flying in and out of Baguio, but there numerous bus trips that leave at all hours from different terminals in Manila.
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