Introduction to Teisho: *Teisho (Zen Presentation/Talk) is an important part of sesshin and Zen Practice in general. Teisho, are many times based on koans; however, the true intention of the teacher is not to teach the koan, but to demonstrate the core experience behind the koan, both intimately and directly. Offering a teisho is somewhat different from offering a sermon in that there is no attempt to teach a specific theology or philosophy but, in contrast, a teisho is an attempt to radically reduce conceptual filtering and allow the listener to awaken directly. In return, the listener both realizes and experiences the truth of the koan without attachment to the words (expedients) or letter being used by the presenter. In many cases, listeners tend to maintain zazen posture during teisho in an attempt to minimize any distractions the attributes of the teacher’s form or presentation may cause. This is likened to a sea fan which gently extends itself outward, thus allowing the nourishment to pass through it unobstructed. Letting go of marks, judgments and even the approval of the message, are part of the experience of teisho. The way we listen to teisho many times reflect the way we listen to both ourselves and to the world around us.
*A teisho is a formal presentation of dharma by a Zen master, usually during a sesshin. A teisho may appear to be a lecture, but the master is not trying to convey concepts or knowledge. Instead, through the teisho the master presents his or her realization.