Jun 042013

This week I will teach Zazen, Hitsuzendo and Aikiken at a three-and-half days Sesshin at Benediktushof Holzkirchen. The final round of preparation has moments when I slightly envy my colleagues who do “just Zen”: all you need to bring to a Zen-Sesshin is your tooth-brush and maybe some fresh underwear …

My preparations started weeks ago when I searched for a source to order some suitable but not too expensive bokken (wooden swords). You can spend above 100 Euro for one, or below 20 … (the below 20 are not bad at all I found).

Next is preparing a schedule: when to sit, when to practise calligraphy, when with the sword? What is a good sequence of exercises for the various participants, not boring for the young but not too demanding for the elder ones? When to have breaks?

Then Hitsuzendo: brushes, ink, suzuris, paper-weights, water-jar, canvas to protect the wooden floor from the ink and last but not least hundreds of opened newspapers to write upon have to be prepared. How much do we need? 50 kg of newspaper is what I usually bring for 10 students and three days …

Finally comes filling my car with all the things … nothing must be left behind. Once my former teacher forgot his brushes in my car when he headed to the next seminar: a big disappointment for his students (which could be partially cured by a very expensive express delivery service). Once I brought all the material for the Sesshin but forgot all my private things at home (including toothbrush) …

I guess when I get older I will teach “just Zen” … fingers crossed I leave nothing behind this week!

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