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Last week I attended a sessin at Upaya Zen Center led by Roshi Norman Fischer. Sessin means “a gathering of heart and mind.” That is also a definition of meditation which is what we did from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Much of that time we were on our cushions “just sitting.” But there was also work practice — cleaning toilets, sweeping the pathways, working in the garden, mopping the temple on hands and knees — and there were oriyoki three-bowl-meals, eaten in silence on the cushion. These activities are also times of gathering heart and mind together. The rules of sessin are no talking, no writing, no reading, no eye contact. There is a lot of bowing and single file walking. It is totally formal, totally beautiful, (almost) totally difficult. On the last day I thought, “Whew! I made it,” and at the same time, “I never want it to end.” Read more after the jump.