Seven-day Meditation Retreats (Sesshins)
Seven-day meditation retreats are considered particularly significant — they are seen as a form of initiation into Chan practice. Why exactly is the tradition of Chan based on this timeframe? Because that’s how long a lunar phase lasts, meaning that a seven-day meditation retreat aligns us with the larger rhythms of our natural environment. Over the course of seven days we can bring the mind into a state of continuous focus or one-pointedness. Such a depth of focus opens the door to seeing one’s own nature and provides the transformative experience navigated by the practice of Chan. The seven-day retreats apply advanced Chan meditation methods such as Silent Illumination or mochao, and huatou. They are called intensive because they correspond to monastic retreats in terms of rhythm. Life during a meditation retreat is marked by utter simplicity, living in the reality of the present moment in a harmonious and practice-stimulating atmosphere.
Meditation retreats on Hartovski Vrh are particularly inspiring — the location is supporting us in every way possible. The internal structure of the retreat is the result of a long tradition. It is designed as a set of favorable conditions — place, group, teacher, rhythm, and methods — that aid our noblest endeavors. We leave our daily lives behind for an entire week and immerse ourselves into the simple rhythm of sitting, exercising, lectures, working, and resting.
The external reductive simplification of life to just a few activities starts to slowly reflect in the internal simplification, which in turn reveals a significantly different quality of life.