Rohatsu at Tahoma Schedule

The post outlines what we will be engaging in at Tahoma Zen Monastery for the week of January 12th through the 19th. We encourage anyone interested in taking part in any of this to contact us (see the contact page). Part time attendance is perfectly acceptable and drop-in opportunities are available in the mornings, evenings and during the dharma talks. More details below.

General Overview

Rohatsu is an eight day sesshin that is thought of as one continuous day. This is in commemoration of the Buddha’s vow to sit under the Bodhi tree until awakening. In honoring this event we will engage in activities for a full eight days from Sunday the 12th through Sunday the 19th. We will sound the Han in the morning of the 12th and not sound it again until the Bodhi Ceremony on the 19th. From the 12th to the 15th we will follow our normal monastery schedule (which can be found here) but will have readings from Hakuin Ekaku Zenji’s Rohatsu Exhortations.  

At 5pm on January 15th, we will offer an option orientation for the kosesshin. There will be information useful for all attendees but would be of particular value for first timers and those who will be staying at the monastery. There will be a light meal available at this time as well.  

We will begin the kosesshin, on the 16th at 4:50am and this will continue throughout the day until around 9pm. There will be a complete schedule posted around campus and individual copies will be handed out at orientation and then made available in the kitchen. On Saturday the 18th the evening will continue until 11pm or so. Sunday the 19th we will start at 3:50am with the Bodhi Day ceremony. There will then be an informal breakfast in the kitchen and a period of cleanup. This will conclude the Rohatsu Observance but we will as alway have zazenkai at 8pm followed by an informal tea. I would encourage everyone who can to stay for this.

Rohatsu Observance Week Schedule

January 12th
4:50am – Regular morning Choka and Zazen with reading from the Rohatsu Exhortations
January 13th
6:20pm – Regular Evening Zazen with reading from the Rohatsu Exhortations
January 14th
4:50am- Regular morning Choka and Zazen
6:20pm- Regular Evening Zazen with reading from the Rohatsu Exhortations
January 15th  
4:50am – Regular morning Choka and Zazen
6:20pm – Regular Evening Zazen with reading from the Rohatsu Exhortations

Rohatsu Observance Kosesshin
January 16th  
Rohatsu Observance day 1 – 4:50am to 9:00pm
January 17th
Rohatsu Observance day 2 – 4:50am to 9:30pm
January 18th
 Rohatsu Observance day 3 – 4:50am to 11:00pm
January 19th  
Rohatsu Observance day 4 -3:50am Bodhi Ceremony Breakfast and cleanup

During the kosesshin drop-in opportunities for zazen are available from:
4:50am to 7am – morning sutras and zazen with kinhin at the hour
1:50pm to 4pm – dharma talk and zazen with kinhin at the hour
5:20 to 8:30 – three periods of zazen with kinhin at the half hour

Dharma Talk Study Material

There will be a Dharma Talk every day during the kosesshin during the 2pm to 4pm block. This is open for people to drop in if they wish. If you would like to do so, you should be seating in the zendo by 1:50. You can then leave during the 2pm Kinhin or remain for the next period of zazen until 4pm

During this retreat we are going to work with Chan Master Sheng Yen’s Shattering the Great Doubt. We are going to be working through the Ch’an approach to zazen and several other practices leading up to the Huatoa (Jp: wato) practice that is the core of this book. There will be daily talks oriented around these practices as well as an overview of the Ch’an approach with historical material describing and advocating for these practices. There will also be times where new techniques are introduced and Q&A periods for deeper investigation into our personal practice.  

Each evening we will read from Hakuin Zenji’s Rohatsu Exhortations. We will be using the Eido Shimano translation published by the Zen Studies Society. This can be purchased here:  ZSS Books.

It is not necessary to have a copy of either of these books for the retreat. If however you would like to have a copy for personal study this is encouraged. During sesshin one typically only engages in reading material related to their practices (koans for instance) or teisho.  These texts will be considered appropriate to read during this sesshin during the breaks or before the Dharma Talks.

Kosesshin Schedule

4:50amSeated in Zendo; Gosei
5:00amChoka (Sutras)
5:40amZazen; Kinhin
6:05amZazen; Zazen
Breakfast Cleanup
Nitten Soji (temple cleaning)
8:30amSamu (Clappers; meet at deck)
10:00amSamu ends (Clappers)
10:20am Seated in Zendo; Gosei
10:30amZazen; Zazen; Kinhin; Zazen;
Kitchen Cleanup
1:50pmSeated in Zendo; Gosei
2:00pmDharma Talk; Zazen; Kinhin; Zazen; Zazen
4:00pmSupper (optional, informal)
5:20pmSeated in Zendo; Gosei
5:30pmUninterrupted Zazen; Kinhin;
6:30pmZazen; Zazen; Kinhin;
7:30pm Zazen; Zazen;
8:30pmKaichin in kitchen
Yaza (unstructured zazen)

On day 2, there will be another round of kinhin and zazen until around 9:30.
On day 3 there will be two more rounds of kinhin and zazen until around 11.
Day 4 begins at 3:50 seated on the cushion for choka.
Detailed schedule will be posted around the monastery.