Rohatsu 2020: Fieldnotes

Rohatsu (the eighth day of the last month of the year): the annual 8 day observance leading up to honoring the Buddha waking up. This year, on-line. A Zoom event. I somehow thought the business I worked for would be closed through December, not just the last 2 weeks in November. So it felt correct to finish off this year (so to speak) accessing a container to simply sit and observe.

The day before Rohatsu was to begin, we were called back to work. One of the many beautiful things of these types of programs being held on Zoom is that everything is recorded. And so it felt completely alright to stay in the retreat and practice as much as I was able and as best as I could.

Zoom in the zendo

The first evening Roshi encouraged all the nearly 300 participating to do the best we could. Show up as much as possible and “carry the field” we’ve created wherever we need to be. Speaking specifically to anyone who had children, a four legged needing a walk, the many who are continuing to work from home.

The first full day of the sesshin and my first day back to work after 2 weeks off, “carrying the field” proved an enormous support. Getting back into the swing of things. Adjusting to all the COVID protocols in place: wearing a mask for the entire shift, airing out the area I work in between clients, screening clients for out of state travel and quarantining rules. Speaking with co-workers and feeling and hearing the fear in their voices. I was able to recall Rossi’s words through the day and was able to bring each situation and conversation and felt emotion all into the field. I had brought the retreat into my work day and I was so grateful.

Thursday, the second full day and able to participate as I’m now at home until next Monday. It’s night now and beginning to have more of a felt sense of settling in and being present to all that is.


Fill yourself
with the Dharma.

When you
are as
as the
full moon-
burst open.

Make the dark night shine.**

**the first free women: poems of the early buddhist nuns
by Matty Weingast

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