Hanamatsuri Sesshin 2015

On March 31st – April 4th we held our five-day Hanamatsuri retreat (Buddha’s birthday). We had some fine folks joining us for these five days of practice including Seido Clark, Joyce Gadiot, Myoren Yasukawa, Gento Krieger, Genshin Anderson, Shinkai Navarre, Craig Paup, Jodo Candy, Lisa Hubler as full-time and Maggie Keen, Susan Crosier Julianna Raye, Pierre Jauretche, Dianne Lawrence, Jim Davis, Paul Humphries, and Alex Piner as part-time.


Here is a Sesshin Report from Jodo John Candy:


Hi Everybody,


Here’s a little report on the Hanamatsuri sesshin at Rinzai-ji which finished with the ceremony last Sunday.


There were 11 people most of the time.  14 people were there one day. 18 people participated during the week. It went really well. Seriousness of purpose, good effort,


 a loving heart, self negation and group samadhi all led to the uncovering of buddha nature.  How wonderful!  The best medicine!


Seido and Shinkai were jiki and joko and switched places on the change of day. Genshin was shoji, Jodo was densu, Myoren was tenzo.  Gento was shika, sho-shoji and shoden.
Craig, Lisa, Joyce, Maggie, and Jim were the steady backbone.  We also saw Susan and Paul, Juliani, Mary, Diane, Alex and Pierre.  Dokan and Sohan were there for the ceremony.


The schedule was from 5 am to 9 pm. and included teisho daily preceded by shitami zazen.  The teisho was recorded teisho of Roshi and the text was from Rinzai.  On days 1 and 3 there were optional private talks with an Osho- either Gento or Seido on different days.  On days 2 and 4 there was an optional dharma discussion group which shared group study of a text by Roshi. I think everybody participated in both the interviews and the text study.  The procedures were formal throughout and interactions were harmonious.


In the evenings there was gyodo and a short dharma talk.  Through the week the zendo was steady and quiet.  Kinhin was attentive and unbroken. On the 4th of April just before entering the zendo at 5am the lunar eclipse was full in a clear sky!  During the week the new Rinzai-ji cats greeted everyone and occasionally made their way quietly into the zendo.  The tenzo manifested new recipes she learned recently on her visit to Ithaca Zen Center. Delicious.  The birds sang beautifully every morning, the courtyard was it’s gracious self and the waters in the buddha fountain were still and quiet. One afternoon late in the week, a raven on the roof above the zendo gave a short and intent teisho. Was he repeating the Shka’s admonition, ‘attention!, attention!’?  Everyday the attention was there, unified and integrated in choka and banka, zazen and kinhin, silent meals. The harmony, peace and insight was evident.


The Hanamatsuri ceremony went really well and was one of the sweetest I’ve experienced.


 Thanks Rinzai-ji for keeping up the good work and thanks to everyone for their effort.
…all the best, Jodo


Here’s a short poem from Han Shan to conclude:


If you want a place to rest your body,
Cold Mountain is good for long preservation.
A subtle breeze blows in the dense pine;
Heard from close by, the sound is even finer,
Underneath the trees is a greying man
Furiously reading Taoist books.
Ten years I couldn’t return–
Now I’ve forgotten the road whence I came.