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Thread: Jinho's Newby Retreat Suggestions -Part 1

  1. #1

    Jinho's Newby Retreat Suggestions -Part 1

    Hi All,

    After reading Eika's post I am inspired to detail a few suggestions regarding to going to a new zen center for a retreat.

    IF I HAVE POSTED THIS BEFORE, PLEASE FORGIVE ME (and skip to more interesting topics).

    The great thing about retreats is that everything is planned out and organized by others, all one literally needs to do is follow along. I have been to retreats at several different places, often it being my first time there, adn they are all the same - zazen, kinhin, zazen, chanting service, breakfast, break, samu, etc. The order might be slightly different, but again, you just follow what everybody else is doing, and it all happens. That being said, there are a few suggestions I have. But I think the most important thing (and usually the hardest) is to be kind to self, not beating self up if I don't bow at the right time or other little things. Firstplease know that no one there is thinking "what an idiot, doesn't everyone know that it is three bows after the Heart Sutra, not four!" Try to give yourself the kindness you naturally give everyone else. That said, bows are usually done singly or in threes.

    - First (to me most important) find out who you go to if you have a question or a problem. This will not be the teacher (as one might expect) but rather a senior student who is in charge for that particular retreat. Often called the Shusso. And when they someone says, "oh it's Jinho for this retreat" restrain the urge to strangle and quietly ask "um, how do I know who Jinho is?" The second issue is how to communicate with this person. Some places wish you to write notes and give it to the person, so as to better maintain silence. Otherwise (please note the routine) go to the Shusso, do a small standing gassho bow (this indicates to the Shusso that you need their attention) ask your question very quietly (possibly sort of whisper it half way to their ear or something), receive your answer, do another small standing gassho bow (as a way of saying thank you and goodbye) and leave. Before asking a question, take a minute to think if you really need to ask the question or maybe it can wait or get resolved later.

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  2. #2

    Re: Jinho's Newby Retreat Suggestions -Part 1

    Jinho, thank you. This can be helpful. Yet, do you think everybody needs to be explained everything beforehand? Don t you think that all the adventure and surprises and sometimes the lack of understanding are part and parcel of the experience? Do you know what life has got in store for you? Don t you think that not knowing what to expect is very important for our tradition is also about pulling the rug of safety, comfort and cosy whatever under our feet? Just a thought, but thank you anyway for the good work and the compassion.

    Gassho


    Taigu

  3. #3

    Re: Jinho's Newby Retreat Suggestions -Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Jinho, thank you. This can be helpful. Yet, do you think everybody needs to be explained everything beforehand? Don t you think that all the adventure and surprises and sometimes the lack of understanding are part and parcel of the experience? Do you know what life has got in store for you? Don t you think that not knowing what to expect is very important for our tradition is also about pulling the rug of safetry, comfort and cosy whatever under our feet? Just a thought, but thank you anyway for the good work and the compassion.

    Gassho


    Taigu
    I think that most people need less stress, and I only mention some things so one can concentrate on the mindfulness of every moment instead of trying to plan how to take care of basic needs. Of course, new people will still be watching/following everyone else, I just wanted to point out a few things so people could avoid certain pitfalls.Maybe your life is very safe, my life is very unsafe. Personally I don't need more unsafe. Anyway, doing a retreat will still be a very new and different experience even if someone has found out how to coordinate getting a shower.


    gassho,
    rowan

  4. #4

    Re: Jinho's Newby Retreat Suggestions -Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Jinho, thank you. This can be helpful. Yet, do you think everybody needs to be explained everything beforehand? Don t you think that all the adventure and surprises and sometimes the lack of understanding are part and parcel of the experience? Do you know what life has got in store for you? Don t you think that not knowing what to expect is very important for our tradition is also about pulling the rug of safetry, comfort and cosy whatever under our feet? Just a thought, but thank you anyway for the good work and the compassion.

    Gassho


    Taigu

    Hey! Where did you get a rug?! I want a Rug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    yours,
    rowan

  5. #5

    Re: Jinho's Newby Retreat Suggestions -Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinho
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Jinho, thank you. This can be helpful. Yet, do you think everybody needs to be explained everything beforehand? Don t you think that all the adventure and surprises and sometimes the lack of understanding are part and parcel of the experience? Do you know what life has got in store for you? Don t you think that not knowing what to expect is very important for our tradition is also about pulling the rug of safetry, comfort and cosy whatever under our feet? Just a thought, but thank you anyway for the good work and the compassion.

    Gassho


    Taigu

    Hey! Where did you get a rug?! I want a Rug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    yours,
    rowan
    I know, I know, at the "Letting It All Go" Rug Store.


    gassho,
    jinho

  6. #6

    Re: Jinho's Newby Retreat Suggestions -Part 1

    Jinho,

    Thank you for your wonderful guidance. I think that I will somehow move these over to our FAQ and keep them as a permanent reference for anyone attending a retreat.

    I agree with Taigu that having the rug periodically pulled out from underfoot, and being open to the surprise and unpredictability of it all, is a VITAL part of retreats (you know, we cannot ever do these practices perfectly ... just perfectly imperfectly ... and being 'at one' with our blunders, momentary confusions and little embarrassments is part of the 'lesson'), I agree that that will happen anyway, though ... despite the best instructions (you can explain a lot of this in words, but until you try it! :shock: ) ... so that experience of "going with the crazy flow" will not be lost (even after 25 years of attending retreats, I am still a "Zen Klutz". Just last week, I was getting up from the Zafu in my robes, somehow stepped on my long sleeve and nearly ripped it right off!)

    Anyway, I think we will keep this around here as a permanent reference for folks attending a Retreat for the first time.

    Deep bows, Jundo

  7. #7

    Re: Jinho's Newby Retreat Suggestions -Part 1

    I was getting up from the Zafu in my robes, somehow stepped on my long sleeve and nearly ripped it right off!)
    :lol:

  8. #8

    Re: Jinho's Newby Retreat Suggestions -Part 1

    Jinho, are you really a rug freak? Thank you anyway for your kindness and guidance.
    Jundo, yeah happened to me too, also falling flat...very gracious!

    gassho


    Taigu

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