Someone sent me a link to this very fine short film of a Sesshin held at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in New Mexico. I recommend that everyone have a look.
To the degree I can, I will be trying to recreate much of the same atmosphere, and sincerity, of that Sesshin in our own Rohatsu Sesshin of December 6 and 7. So, you can expect it to be quite like what is shown.
Of course, our retreat will be 2 days, not the 7 days of there (perhaps we will try a 7 day retreat next year!). That does not truly matter if one has dropped all thought of time. (And one can always choose to sit with the recorded sittings for 5 more times! )
A few differences in the film that folks may see are mostly due to the Bodhi Manda Zen Center being a Rinzai lineage (Treeleaf if Soto). Both are precisely the same but different.
So, for example, in Soto, we tend to sit Zazen facing the wall (except the leader of the sitting who needs to keep an eye on things, which is why I can usually face away from the wall on the sit-a-longs).
As well, in Rinzai, Kinhin tends to be a fast walk or even run, while we are slow. No matter, for both fast and slow go no where at all.
You may see folks hit with the Kyosaku stick. That is common to both Rinzai and Soto, but my lineage does not use the stick.
The people in the film are all engaged in Koan focused Zazen, and need to present their answer to the Koan to their teacher several times per day. We will also do interviews at least once per day, although sitting Shikantaza. The lessons are the same.
In fact, it is all about the same, except for the small differences. Same but different.
By the way, the old teacher in the film, Joshu Sawaki Roshi, is still going strong and actively teaching in California ... at age 101!