The structure of Rinzai retreats?

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Luke
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The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Luke » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:02 am

I was curious if anyone could describe to me the typical daily schedule of a Rinzai Zen retreat?

Is it similar to the daily schedule of the Soto Zen retreat I described in this thread of mine?
viewtopic.php?f=69&t=23853

And do Rinzai Zen Buddhists do oriyoki in their retreats?

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Meido
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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Meido » Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:09 am

The schedule you did appears familiar, though in comparison somewhat relaxed to my eyes in terms of number of hours spent in sitting practice and allowed for sleep. Which is not to knock it at all; a full monastic sesshin schedule (Soto or Rinzai) is something to work up to, and many places do offer retreats with different or shorter schedules to accommodate experience levels, older folks, etc.

There is a formal Rinzai meal practice not unlike oryoki, but that term is not used. The bowls/utensils are a bit different as well.

A typical sesshin day around here looks something like this:

4:30 Kaijo (wake up in the zendo)
4:45 Baito Sarei/Daza (group tea then sitting practice)
5:30 Dokusan (individual meetings with the teacher)
6:00 Choka (chanting)
6:30 Shodo (calligraphy practice)
7:15 Shukuza (morning meal)
8:00 Samu (physical work period)
9:00 Daza (sitting)
11:00 Saiza (mid-day meal)
12:00 Zuiza (free sitting)
1:00 Sarei/Daza (group tea then sitting)
2:30 Dokusan (individual meetings with the teacher)
3:00 Taiso (exercise period)
3:45 Kaiyoku (bath time)
4:30 Yakuseki (evening meal)
6:00 Daza (sitting)
6:30 Kentan/Daza (formal inspection of the zendo by the teacher and sitting)
7:30 Dokusan (individual meetings with the teacher)
8:00 Teisho (chanting, followed by formal lecture)
9:00 Daza (sitting)
10:00 Sarei/Kaichin/Yaza (group tea followed by formal "lights out", then solo sitting practice outside on the grounds until midnight)
12:00 Go to sleep.

Finally, congratulations on your first retreat!
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one's True Nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly (according to this understanding), in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

http://www.korinji.org
http://www.rinzaizen.org
http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org

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Wayfarer
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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Oct 07, 2016 9:42 am

Could I ask if Rinzai monks are generally expected to do with 4:30 hours for sleep? Or is that for short periods of time, like, during retreats?
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Meido
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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Meido » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:15 pm

Wayfarer wrote:Could I ask if Rinzai monks are generally expected to do with 4:30 hours for sleep? Or is that for short periods of time, like, during retreats?


When samadhi power deepens one can go with less sleep without problems. The monastery diet supports this as well and is worth examining.

The daily schedule during sesshin is more rigorous in terms of sitting practice, etc. but not really sleep.

It is different also to be living as an unsui for several years, compared to showing up for sesshin as a layperson living a normal work life. In a place like Tenryu-ji (where one of my teachers trained) the one-week monthly sesshin he described as rather rigorous, but it was bracketed by a week each of pre-sesshin and post-sesshin. The daily schedule for those weeks was, basically, sesshin. So essentially the unsui were living in this manner constantly for some years, and quickly learned to function well. Of course most entering a training monastery as unsui are in their 20's, so they have energy.

Here in the west though most folks showing up for a sesshin are not doing daily practice of that severity, and most places are not conducting training on the same level as a training monastery. That is why you will see modified schedules.

Our custom here is to offer several levels and lengths of retreat, from overnight zazenkai, to 4 day sesshin, to 7-8 day full sesshin. A beginner would not usually be permitted to attend the latter without first at least attending some of the former. It is also our custom to allow a less rigorous schedule, including more sleep, for folks above a certain age who need it. My feeling is that we must make these allowances, but must also maintain the more rigorous type of training for those interested and ready (this is why I have expressed that Korinji, the place we're building in WI, must function as a training monastery rather than a Zen center).

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one's True Nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly (according to this understanding), in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

http://www.korinji.org
http://www.rinzaizen.org
http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org

AlexMcLeod
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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby AlexMcLeod » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:26 pm

Meido wrote:When samadhi power manifests and deepens one can go with less sleep without problems. The monastery diet supports this as well and is worth examining.

If I might add, there are two main functions for sleep, both of which can be replaced completely. If you take care of rebalancing your body's energy, that takes care of one of the functions. Seated meditation takes care of the other. Either by themselves will drastically reduce your need for sleep.
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There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.

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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:00 pm

Meido wrote:My feeling is that we must make these allowances, but must also maintain the more rigorous type of training for those interested and ready (this is why I have expressed that Korinji, the place we're building in WI, must function as a training monastery rather than a Zen center).

~ Meido


Thank you Venerable. As I might have mentioned before, my son has married into a family that lives in Wisconsin, so I hope one day to be able to visit Korinji, and maybe even do one of the beginners' retreats. I don't think at this stage in life I'm up for the full regimen!

:namaste:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Meido
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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Meido » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:06 pm

Wayfarer wrote:As I might have mentioned before, my son has married into a family that lives in Wisconsin, so I hope one day to be able to visit Korinji, and maybe even do one of the beginners' retreats. I don't think at this stage in life I'm up for the full regimen!


Always welcome. We're on schedule to break ground for the final building - the living quarters - this spring. So if all goes well, by late next year we'll be there full time and beginning a normal schedule of training periods, retreats, etc. Certainly if you end up in WI any time, do drop me a line.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one's True Nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly (according to this understanding), in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

http://www.korinji.org
http://www.rinzaizen.org
http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org

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Luke
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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Luke » Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:58 am

Meido wrote:The schedule you did appears familiar, though in comparison somewhat relaxed to my eyes in terms of number of hours spent in sitting practice and allowed for sleep.

Yes, I can see now that it was much easier than the traditional Rinzai retreat schedule you listed below. My Zen group also does closed 7 and 10-day retreats, so it's possible that those have more intense daily schedules... but I am not ready for those quite yet.

Meido wrote:Finally, congratulations on your first retreat!

Thank you very much, Meido-roshi! :)

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Meido
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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Meido » Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:56 pm

Luke wrote:My Zen group also does closed 7 and 10-day retreats, so it's possible that those have more intense daily schedules... but I am not ready for those quite yet.


That's great!

RE being ready or not: my experience was that my first 3 retreats were intensive 7-day affairs. Had no idea what I had signed up for, and certainly was not ready at all in terms of being able to practice well and so on. Suffered a lot. But I was in my early 20s and healthy, so that was ok. Meanwhile the benefits turned out to immense, literally direction-changing.

So I get what you're saying, but in fact there are different kinds of ready. Since you've had the good fortune to encounter this path and have conceived a desire to practice it, you may have confidence that you are completely qualified for it. I'd say talk to your teacher and jump in to whatever you're permitted to attend. Opportunities are precious.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one's True Nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly (according to this understanding), in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

http://www.korinji.org
http://www.rinzaizen.org
http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org

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Luke
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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Luke » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:13 am

Meido wrote:So I get what you're saying, but in fact there are different kinds of ready. Since you've had the good fortune to encounter this path and have conceived a desire to practice it, you may have confidence that you are completely qualified for it. I'd say talk to your teacher and jump in to whatever you're permitted to attend. Opportunities are precious.
~ Meido

Yes, you are perhaps right, although the reality is that even if I felt "ready" tomorrow, it is rare that such a retreat exactly fits into one of my vacations during the year (except for summer). I guess in the worst case, I can do a lot of Zen this summer, now I that I have gained more confidence that this is the right path for me to follow.

And I wish you good luck with all your dharma activities back in the US, Meido-roshi! :) :namaste:

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Meido
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Re: The structure of Rinzai retreats?

Postby Meido » Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:15 pm

Luke wrote:I guess in the worst case, I can do a lot of Zen this summer, now I that I have gained more confidence that this is the right path for me to follow.


Sounds like much better than the worst case to me :twothumbsup:

Best wishes to you as well.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one's True Nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly (according to this understanding), in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

http://www.korinji.org
http://www.rinzaizen.org
http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org


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