During Rohatsu we celebrate the awakening of Shakyamuni Buddha, dedicating our energies to the wholehearted practice of zazen, the seated posture of openness, warmth and insight. In retreat, we follow the Buddha’s footsteps in service to realizing the truth directly for ourselves. As Rohatsu is the most powerful and revered retreat among Buddhists, we join countless others all over the world taking the Buddha’s seat under the bodhi tree of presence and inquiry. Dharma talks by Mushin and Seido will follow the Buddha’s life from birth to death and unfold how his life relates to our own in the 21st Century.
Covid19 has given us an opportunity this year to hold our first local Rohatsu on Zoom as a collaboration between Empty Field Zen West and Sangha Jewel Zen Center. The sesshin includes all Zen forms — meditation, chanting, dharma talks, mindful work, exercise, and eating as well as practice support from the teachers. Participants are expected to keep the schedule at home, to create a dedicated meditation space, and to practice silence as much as possible. We recognize for those with family and housemates, there may need to be some practical adjustments. Each day balances online presence with offline exercises and activities.
Retreat begins Monday night at 7 p.m. and goes until mid-morning on Sunday. We encourage everyone who is able to attend the entire retreat. For those with unavoidable commitments, it is possible to register for individual days as long as you can begin at 6:30 a.m. and stay until closing at 9 p.m. Any further requests for modifications can be taken up with your respective sangha’s teacher.
Sample Rohatsu Schedule (This will change as we get closer to the event)
6-7:30 a.m. Zazen [begin online]
7:30-8 Service [online]
8-9 Breakfast [begin online]
9-10:30 Samu [Begin online]
10:30-Noon Zazen [begin online]
Noon Lunch & Rest [begin online]
1:30 – 3 p.m. Zazen or Exercise [begin online]
3:30 – 4:00 Daisan Breakout Groups [online]
4:00-5:30 Zazen [on own]
5:30-7:00 Dinner [begin online]
7:00-9:00 Zazen [Includes Dharma talk]
Yaza [additional optional sitting]