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Toronto Zen Centre

A Buddhist Community


Toronto Zen Centre

Jataka Tale Working Person Sesshin


“Stories are among our oldest, most powerful, most mysterious tools. Through mere sounds on the air or squiggles on a page, they give us what no other technology can – ourselves.” – Sensei Rafe Martin

From March 24 — 31, a 7-day Working Person sesshin will take place at the Centre. This is a special sesshin for us, as Sensei Rafe Martin, noted Zen Buddhist storyteller and teacher, will be joining us again this year and will give a daily teisho on the Jataka Tales.

In the past, Roshi Henderson has written the following:

Rafe and Roshi Sensei Rafe Martin is an expert Story Teller and Author, who has explored the Jataka tales and Zen practice for the better part of 40 years. He has graciously accepted to come to the sesshin and both introduce us to the deep teachings contained in these stories as well as comment on their pertinence to us today.

Jataka tales are the stories of the Buddha's former lives, and have been vehicles for the teachings for over two thousand years. We will have a chance to ask Sensei Rafe questions (during the first two full days) as well as listen to his trenchant commentary on these profound stories. This is an aspect of Buddhism that is taken for granted in the East but rarely encountered here in North America. It is indeed a unique opportunity!

This type of sesshin offers a special opportunity for practice. First of all and most obvious you do not need to use your holiday time in order to come. More importantly though the discipline of sesshin being folded into your daily life practice can have a powerful and lasting effect on the way you conduct your practice outside of sesshin.

The format of this sesshin differs from the standard full-time format. The weekend is full-time, but from Monday to Friday the only structured hours are early morning and evening. During the day people may leave to go to work or pursue other activities (such as writing, art, childcare, etc.).

Sesshin fees: There is an additional $70 flat fee for attending this sesshin to cover the guest teacher’s honorarium.

Very Important

If you wish to apply for this sesshin, please review the following files carefully. Applications must include all required information, and be in by the deadline of March 3. Note that this is a very popular style of practice at the Centre and applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Thank you!