In-person Sesshin in September

September 13 – 18 with Ryushin Paul Haller

We’re delighted to announce that for the first time in three years, Paul Haller is planning a trip back to Northern Ireland. We’ve booked the Tobar Mhuire retreat centre, pictured above, 25 miles from Belfast (find more info here). It will be approximately £475 for the full five days and £250 for the weekend only, in shared rooms (single rooms may be available, depending on numbers, for an extra £15 per night). The rooms are lovely, all en-suite, and the chef is rubbing his hands in glee at the prospect of five days of vegetarian or vegan cooking.

We’ve already had many inquiries and rooms are filling up quickly, so please let us know by email if you’re interested in joining us for this precious opportunity.

How to Sit With Us Online

To join our Zoom zendo, click here

(ID 7630773412, password zendo)

We sit for an hour every morning

We start at 7 am Monday to Friday (all times are GMT)

We start at 10 am Saturday and Sunday

Good to arrive a few minutes early

Your sound will be automatically muted when you arrive

There are three bells to begin

There will be two bells after 25 minutes, followed by a “clack” to begin kinhin, or walking meditation

After 10 minutes of kinhin there will be another “clack” to sit down again, followed by three bells for the second period

We end with one bell, followed by the robe chant, which will be on your screen if you want to join in

The person who is doing the bells will read a line or two from Suzuki Roshi

Most of us set up a cushion and a mat in front of the laptop or phone, but with the screen turned away so we’re not looking directly at it – you can experiment with the set-up that works for you

On Friday mornings we have a weekly check-in at 8 am that lasts about 40 minutes – we each talk about how our practice has been and what’s going on for us

On Saturday mornings at 11 am we have an hour-long study group that’s currently reading The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo

A Tribute to Thay

The forgetful mind, in need of guidance,
Is often lonely, until it finds –
a voice, which calms the waves of doubt.

Your past, enveloped by war and sorrow –
transformed and made joyous by your presence.
Exiled from home, you found home everywhere.

Through your teaching, spoken or written,
liberation’s path became clearer –
especially to those who grew around a different light.

And so, life to me is like a guiding poem,
read through your voice, it makes The Way clearer:
just as a lotus cannot grow without mud,
then awakening cannot come without suffering.

by Evan Clarke of the Black Mountain Zen Centre sangha, January 2022