The following is from a 1993 television programme, ‘The Awakened Self’—an interview with Harada Sekkei, abbot of Hosshinji Training Monastery by Shiratori Motoo, a former NHK-TV presenter.
Mr Shiratori: Excuse me for disturbing you during the middle of sesshin.
Harada Roshi: Thank you for coming.
S: Sesshin is a time when people concentrate on zazen. This is an important thing in Zen, isn’t it?
Roshi: Yes. Going back for quite a long time, sesshin is an important activity which has been strictly practised in Zen temples. Although it may sound a bit strange to say, sesshin is very effective or fruitful for a person’s zazen. It’s definitely a way of expanding a person’s state of mind.
S: You follow quite a strict schedule during sesshin, don’t you?
Roshi: We get up at 4:00 am and until 9:00 pm spend most of our time in the zendo. We, of course, sleep in the zendo, as well as eat there, too.
S: You really pack it in, don’t you?
Roshi: Yes. But not only within the zendo, in the individual rooms or while drinking tea after meals as well. These activities must all be Zen. Zen is walking, sitting, standing, and lying down; in other words, all of our everyday activities. My request is that especially during sesshin everyone concentrates on each activity. (more…)