Meeting with the Teacher: Sanzen
In our practice, meeting privately with a teacher is called “sanzen,” meaning “Zen with” or “Zen together.” Though not required, regular sanzen is pivotal for those who wish to take up this path. Sometimes it is hard to know what to say, or to find words for what is happening for you in practice. This is natural and not a problem. The purpose is to come as you are. Being mindful through the whole process of considering your questions and experience, meeting face to face, and then noticing what follows this experience, is all sanzen.
The best way to go to sanzen is simply to look into your heart, to present your practice to the teacher and trust the process. How are you practicing? What is most alive for you? What do you notice? What are your obstacles, your insights? Through the practice of sanzen, we learn to distill what’s most important to us, to find encouragement and support, to test out our insights, and open up to new points of view.