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Dokusan Bell

Dokusan is a Japanese word that means "going alone to a respected one". In the Rinzai school, and, to a lesser extent in the Sōtō school, dokusan is a private meeting between Zen student and teacher. A chance for the student to present his/her understanding, ask questions about practice, discuss difficulties, or reveal who they are at that moment. A powerful, transformative, at times uncomfortable, space.

Image above is from the dokusan room in the Empty Hand Zen Center. Lower left is the little bell used to call the student to dokusan - or to signal that the interview is over. Sometimes the space between these two rings can be quite brief. [NOTE: The wooden stick, or kotsu, with the inscription "May All Beings Awake" was given to Susan Postal by her teacher, Darlene Cohen, as part of her dharma transmission in the Sōtō lineage of Shunryu Suzuki].

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