Two words: Wonderful! Wonderful!
And for now just a couple quick observations, a complaint, and an exhortation.
First, the Chapin Mill facility is the finest for sesshin that I’ve seen, including in Japan. It was designed with this specific function in mind and it just flows. Even though there were ~65 people, for example, I didn’t ever have to wait to pee – not to be underestimated in profound significance when practicing the Way.
Second, I was surprised and impressed with how intelligently Roshi Kapleau adapted Soto Zen form. Attention to detail and spirit were strikingly available throughout the sesshin day. And night.
All the basic principles were there in how we moved together but simplified and focused. The liturgy, for example, is based on the three services all done within the traditional Soto morning service but tweaked in length (shortened), spread through two services instead of one, and with some substitutions (e.g., instead of the “Universal Gateway,” “Affirming Faith in Mind”).
Bodhin’s talks seemed to flow from and heartfully express his long intimacy with this style of practice and were steady, smart, on-point and with occasional flashes of summer lightning.
Now the complaint – no coffee. At least you could warn a brother! Maybe I missed that one in the rules. After the headache wound down, though, I enjoyed being decaffeinated. Really. And then asked the person giving me a ride to the airport to detour to the nearest coffee shop so that I could reboot the manic neural network.
And as for the exhortation, well, here’s another fine practice center, a mature practice community (with a good group of youngsters too – a few who not only run to dokusan but also run back to the zendo afterwards), and an excellent teacher. If you’re still thinking that you might want to get serious about your practice, enough already. Stop thinking about it and do it. Click here.