Individual Meetings

Individual face-to-face teaching is one of the most powerful tools of the Zen tradition, and anyone who comes to the Henry David Thoreau Zen Sangha is encouraged to take advantage of them. These private meetings are called dokusan (pronounced “doke-san”) or simply “interviews.” The purpose of dokusan is to address the Great Matter, the matter of life and death, and of liberation amid our suffering.

These are opportunities to make a personal connection with one of the teachers, to bring your Zen practice into the realm of the interpersonal, or to ask any question you like about anything to do with Zen:

  • your practice on or off your cushion
  • bringing the teachings into your life
  • the Precepts of skillful action
  • the liturgy, especially anything that resonates with you, or confuses you or provokes you
  • working with koans
  • considering coming to a retreat
  • anything you are struggling with spiritually

The teachers in Living Vow Zen regard the interpersonal aspect of teaching to be exceptionally important.

Check the schedule for details about when interviews are offered.

A note about confidentiality: Teachers generally maintain confidentiality about matters raised in dokusan. While confidentiality is the basis of mutual trust between student and teacher, for the well-being of individuals and of the sangha, there are times when teachers may choose to consult each other about matters raised in dokusan. Rarely, teachers may also need to discuss practice related issues with practice leaders, or to inform others if it may prevent harm. Such consultations are never done lightly, and only as much information is shared as is needed to address the issue.