[This document can be acquired from a sub-directory coombspapers via anonymous
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[Last updated: 30 March 1992]
This document describes organizational details of sesshin (a Zen meditation
retreat) as practiced by members of the Sydney Zen Center of the Diamond Sangha
SCHEDULE FOR TRADITIONAL SEVEN-DAY SESSHIN DETAILING
LEADERS' ROLES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
TIME LEADER ACTION
4.00 A.M. JIKI Rings bell to wake up everybody. (Jiki
has map of people/tents)
4.l5 A.M. JIKI Rings bell x l - all stand up.
"Spread out for exercise"
4.20 A.M. JIKI Clap x l and form kinhin line. Kinhin
should last for 5 minutes.
Clap x l when approaching own zafu.
JIKI Leads silent bow.
'Sit facing in for tea.' Open
Servers enter dojo on own initiative
and serve tea. When servers leave,
INO Inkin x l Bow, drink, wrap cups.
INO Inkin x l (Don't wait for slow ones)
Bow, return cups behind zabutons.
TANTO Lights incense, picks up kyosaku, bows
to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, then
stands with stick down showing
JIKI Clap x l just as Tanto puts stick down,
ready to walk.
TANTO Stick down, calligraphy facing into
dojo, Tanto walks once around
dojo; stick up return to starting
point, again bow to Sangha,
Dharma, Buddha and replaces stick
JIKI As soon as Tanto bows to Buddha, Jiki
hits 3 bells for beginning of
Everybody should be in dojo by now.
If anybody is missing from their
place, Tanto should go get them.
4.53 A.M. TANTO Lights second candle, breaks one piece
of (hears Roshi coming) incense
in half, puts one on either side
of incense holder, lit (waiting
incense). Takes out stick of
long incense for teacher.
4.55 A.M. TEACHER Enters dojo for Kentan. Tanto lights
incense and hands to teacher.
JIKI On teacher's final bow at exit, Jiki
picks up striker, waits until
teacher out of the dojo, then hits
bells for end of period.
Kinhin then zazen for three periods
6.20 A.M. COOK Hits han x 3.
SERVERS Exit to kitchen, to prepare trays.
6.30 A.M. HEADSERVER Accelerando on umpan.
JIKI Be ready with inkin and hit as soon as
Everyone rises with bowls.
JIKI Hits inkin x l to bow with bowls. Sit.
INO Leads meal ceremony as per cards.
During meal, if anything slows
down, Ino says, "Pass fruit salad
INO & JIKI At very end of meal sutras, Ino hits
inkin x l and Jiki hits clapper
x l twice. (Important to do this
JIKI Hits inkin x l, we bow with wrapped
bowls, tidy cushions then Jiki
hits final inkin.
7.l5 A.M. SANGHA Samu.
LEADERS Leaders meeting with teacher.
8.00 A.M. SANGHA Tea and bikkies on verandah.
8.20 A.M. JIKI Hits han as per instructions.
8.30 A.M. INO Hits inkin after last hit on han for
three bows. Sit facing in for
JIKI Hands out sutra books briskly. Down-
stairs leader does likewise.
INO Lead morning sutras (no "Song of Zazen")
and include "Dedication for
morning at sesshin". If it is
necessary to announce page number,
don't wait to start.
At end of sutra service, Great Vows,
then 3 bows.
JIKI Collects sutra books, then leads kinhin.
9-ll.30 A.M. ALL Zazen for five periods. Probably outside
kinhin around l0 a.m (check Roshi).
ll.20 A.M. COOK Hits han x 3. Servers leave dojo.
Brings in lunch offering for altar.
ll.30 A.M. HEADSERVER Accelerando on umpan.
JIKI Hits inkin straightaway, all rise.
INO Meal sutras as per card.
At end of meal, Ino hits inkin x l,
JIKI Jiki hits clapper x l, repeat, then stand
Jiki hits inkin, bow with bowls,
tidy up cushions, then Jiki hits
NOON SANGHA Rest period. (Removal of offering)
l.00 P.M. SANGHA Tea on verandah
l.20 P.M. JIKI Hits han.
1.30 P.M. JIKI Hits clappers once then 3 bells to start
l.55 P.M. JIKI Hits bell x l "Prepare for Teisho".
Goes straight out and hits han x l
as signal to teacher.
JISHA Sees everything is ready: Roshi's mat,
water, tape-recorder, en route to
the chestnut tree
TANTO Lights stick for Jisha to take to
JISHA Walks towards Tanto who is holding
incense on thumbs, gasshos and
takes incense in same manner,
leaves dojo without bowing at
exit and goes to teacher's
quarters, carries his papers.
JIKI Hits drum 3 times.
INO "Please stand". Hits clappers, with
five second intervals, first loud,
then soft, ending on a loud clap
when teacher reaches dojo entrance.
JISHA Bows to teacher, follows him in,
bow to altar, places papers at
teacher's place, goes straight to
altar. Teacher bows, Jisha hands
him incense, and as teacher bows
on placing incense...
INO Hits inkin for 3 bows, then standing
bow to altar, then when teacher in
place, Ino hits inkin x l to bow
to each other, then all sit
When teacher's hands to gassho, Ino
starts "On opening the Dharma" on
big bell. Dharma talk follows.
At end of talk, teacher's hands to
gassho, Ino starts "Great Vows"
then 3 bows. At final bow to
altar, teacher leaves.
JISHA Picks up notes and follows Roshi.
INO Hits inkin when Jisha/teacher gone.
All return to dojo.
JIKI Claps for kinhin as usual. Four
periods of zazen follow, with
dokusan starting around 3.05 pm.
4.30 P.M. JIKI Hits bell x l and says, "Prepare for
reading" then hands out books.
INO Announces page number, hits bell,
"Shodoka", starts reading.
JIKI Wait five minutes after reading to
collect books. (Make sure there
is time for kinhin before evening
4.50 P.M. COOK Hits han x 3. Servers exit dojo.
Cook enters dojo with offering.
5.00 P.M. HEADSERVER Acceleranda on umpan/han.
JIKI Hits inkin x l at end of accelerando.
All stand with bowls. Jiki hits
inkin and all bow, sit.
INO Leads silent bow to unwrap bowls.
SERVERS Enter dojo after bow. (No bells)
INO Bow to start offering, and when
servers have left dojo, clap x l
to eat. Clap x l for seconds.
SERVERS Bring in tea. All wash bowls.
INO Bow to pass offering jug along.
Wrap bowls. Ino hits inkin x l,
JIKI clap x l, repeat, stand, inkin x l, bow
tidy cushions, inkin x l, bow.
5.30 P.M. ALL Rest period.
6.20 P.M. JIKI Hits han.
6.30 P.M. JIKI Rings inkin x 3 - no clapper.
Normal zazen, dokusan until last
JIKI Judges when last kinhin will be by
checking dokusan line - should
begin 8.30 - 8.35 P.M. At end of
kinhin, says, "Sit facing in."
8.40 P.M. TANTO Holding kyosaku up for first round of
dojo, and down for second, Tanto
JIKI Clap x l as Tanto holds stick up to
start walking, and when Tanto does
final bow to Buddha, Jiki hits
bell x 3 to signal start of zazen
JISHA At end of interviews, Jisha rings last
TANTO Lights incense and candle.
TEACHER Comes in and bows to altar.
INO Have inkin ready in hand to hit as
teacher is at bottom of bow, then
accelerando for 3 bows. Sit
JIKI Hands out sutra books.
INO Lead evening service, Song of Zazen,
Evening Dedication, Great Vows -
no accelerando at end of this.
JIKI & JISHA Leave dojo at end of second round of
Vows for closing ceremony. (see
notes for details)
INO At last hit of closing ceremony, inkin
x l, then three bows.
TEACHER Final words for the night. Leaves.
INO Hits inkin x l, all bow, tidy up.
JIKI Hits inkin x l, bow at waist, leave.
end of file
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