First of all, expectations* get us all into trouble.
Be prepared to put your expectations* aside.
Days at the Temple are ideal for beginners or those who are new to practice at Desert Zen Center.
These are formal retreats designed to provide the experience of Temple life, and space for us to dive deeply into the practice for one day. The 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. day includes an orientation, Zazen (sitting) and Kinhin (walking) meditation, a formal vegetarian lunch, a Dharma talk by Roshi, and an ending ceremony. Formal and intense, but of limited duration, being held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on one day, usually a Saturday.
Weekend Sesshin are formal meditation retreats, beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, and continuing through the end of lunch after Service on Sunday afternoon. Longer Sesshin may also be arranged.
The focus is on meditation (sitting, walking, working, eating… just being) in a formal group setting. Meditation sessions in the Zendo begin in the morning at 6 a.m. and there are chanting services during the day. Roshi gives Dharma talks and is available for Dokusan ( individual, formal interviews with the Master).
Teaching or Workshop Day at the Temple or Sesshin are slightly less formal, with lectures or workshop taking the place of several meditation periods.
What to do, to bring, to expect*:
Bring: Sleeping bag/bedding, towels & personal toiletries.
Dress: comfortable, loose clothing; layers are a good choice. You will need a jacket, work clothes, sturdy shoes, hat and gloves. Weather is unpredictable, hot to cold -and back again- in the same day.
Leave the world (e.g. cell phones, watches, and so forth) outside the Zendo door. Please do not bring these items to the Sesshin.
Formal, ample, vegetarian meals provided.
Advise in advance of dietary restrictions and, unless medically necessary, please do not bring snacks or treats.
DZC does not charge for retreats;
donations are most gratefully received.
*”You shouldn’t chase after the past or place expectations on the future. What is past is left behind. The future is as yet unreached. Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there.”
— Bhaddekaratta Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya of the Pali Canon)