Dear zen friend
1) November sesshin: from 11/10 to 11/14
December sesshin: from 12/08 to 12/10
Year end sesshin: from 12/27 to 12/31
2) Almost all foliage has fallen. It looks a quarter less than usual. Less productivity of leaves is possible for this year.
3) September sesshin took place under low temperature. Rain added misery to chill air. I was sad and uncomfortable wondering when to start stove heating.
During October sesshin It was fine for five days. For two days air was hot like summer. Sitting is hard for both in cold and hot temperature.
On the fifth day it was hot and humid in the morning. We were supposed to be exhausted. After noon time, suddenly I had a feeling of doing perfect zazen, desired to have five more days of sitting. It was very comfortable.
At the end of the session, everyone looked happy. One participant said ‘This sesshin was one of the best.’ I was pleased all practitioners ended October sesshin with comfort.
Uchiyama Roshi said that the enlightenment depends on temperature and humidity. He is right. Comfortable sesshin is not necessarily a good one.The comfort may be a product of air and vapor.
At the same time I have to say that we should have nice and comfortable sesshin for hundreds of times. 10 years of practice means 120 sesshins. If most of them were nice ones, a practitioner would become confident on zazen. Those who have confidence on zazen are likely to understand what Shakyamuni said.
Comfortable sesshin is a gate for the mystery of zen.