Rohatsu sesshin and what else happened here

10 Dec
The altar, from my seat in the zendo

The altar, from my seat in the zendo

As I do every year, I joined the annual commemoration of Buddha’s enlightenment, Rohatsu sesshin, by sitting seven days of zazen December 1-8. Unlike most years, I sat alone in the zendo at the farm.

Although my tradition does not include work periods, many do – usually a couple hours. Mine ranged from two hours to maybe eight.2014-12-04 13.46.58 I did not choose the timing of any of these events. I did accept it, with the thought that delay would be unworkable.

During that time, three masons (Eric M, Patrick, Jacob) built a masonry heater that will become primary heat for the house.

2014-12-04 16.28.04

An excavator (Eric B) and two others (Joe, the general contractor, and Justin) used giant machinery and small shovels to expose the 2014-12-06 Justin at foundationfoundation for massive insulation.


Eric started piling rock in the eroded land bridge area at the creek.
It should be finished tomorrow. I had given up, imagined the land would wash away and then the bridge. But now it looks like this (way below), utterly secure:

2014-12-09 erosion safe

For a few days my job was to get fires going to soften up the frozen crust for digging. Then I’d go back inside and sit. Later, I had to watch what was happening at the creek, even though he didn’t need help.
Sunday was the last day. After all the workers left, I finished sesshin by sitting late into the night. With gratitude. On the 8th – Buddha’s enlightenment day – I offered a nontraditional service: a memorial for people killed by police and in other ways, then blessings to those needing healing and those doing various kinds of good. I was disturbed by the fact that at least five names were added in the seven days of retreat. Fully engaged in the scenery of life, I guess, in spite of my commitment to waking up.

With three hours of sleep, I then attempted to function all day, went early to bed and slept in today, and here I am catching up.

Still to come: the insulation gets installed. And a lot more work, heading for a passive solar house in which wood is the backup. There will be fundraising. my next task, to be done while traveling to see my teacher and my family.

There will be some writing that comes out of the retreat part of this time, probably in a few days. Until then, joy and blessings to you.


One Response to “Rohatsu sesshin and what else happened here”

  1. Myo-O December 15, 2014 at 3:22 am #

    Thank you Shodo for your missive. I enjoyed it. I spent Rohatsu in bed. Still catching up. Blessings, Myo-O


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