What is Sesshin?

Sesshin is an extended meditation that includes sitting meditation, walking meditation, chanting, oryoki (a formal, meditative way of eating), Dharma talks by the sesshin leader and a meditative work period. Also included during specified times throughout the sesshin, are opportunities for Dokusan (private meeting with the sesshin leader). Dharma Field hosts two-day, three-day and five-day sesshins.

Sesshin literally means “collecting the mind.” During sesshin, or at any time in our daily lives, turning our full attention to the activity of the moment is to collect the mind. This means when it’s time to eat, just eat, and when it’s time to sit, just sit. Usually when we do a given activity, our attention is elsewhere. The quiet environment and simplified schedule of sesshin is conducive to mindfulness and concentration.

Sesshin is an opportunity to cultivate concentration and awareness. It is an opportunity to step back and slow down from our usual busy lives, to engage with full attention, whatever it is that we are doing.

Participants are required to stay for the entire duration of the sesshin. Those who spend nights at home are encouraged not to interact with friends or family members while away from Dharma Field.