Sesshin, touching the mind

Grand cloche

Ses: to touch, to unite
Shin: heart, mind

Sesshin means, then, to touch directly, to become intimate with the Mind, with original Mind, with the Buddha-nature that exists in all of us, but which is often concealed by troublesome thinking and emotions. These obfuscations are the fruit of long-term conditioning.

Awakening ourselves to the real nature of our body-mind, uncovered when our ignorance dissipates, is the core of all spiritual practice.

During retreats (sesshins), we can experience everyday Zen teaching through the four types of action: walking, standing, sitting and lying down. This means that all things are Zen practice.

During a sesshin, every act is the continuation of zazen. Beyond our personal consciousness, we follow the day’s program, focused on each act indicated by the sounds, living each moment fully.

This is how body and mind rediscover true peace. It is the return to the original state, the realization of true freedom.


Evelyn Reiko de Smedt.