In many Zen communities it is traditional to participate in a sesshin ( meditation retreat) called Rohatsu. This particular sesshin commemorates the Buddha’s enlightenment which is traditionally said to have occurred on the morning of the eighth day of the twelfth month. The sesshin usually runs from the first of December until the morning of the eighth. It is an intense and inspiring experience grounded on the fact that whatever realization/awakening transpired for the Buddha is available to each of us. Each day begins well before dawn and ends at nine in the evening.
Sakyamuni Buddha saw the morning star, and was enlightened, and he said, “I, and the great earth and beings, simultaneously achieve the Way.”*
Two sesshin participants immediately after finishing the eight day retreat in 2012.
Photographed at The Hazy Moon Zen Center, Los Angeles
Photography Copyright John Fritzlen
*The Record of Transmitting the Light, Zen Master Keizan’s Denkoroku
Translated by Francis H. Cook