Today at the Village Zendo was a simple one-day meditation retreat. It's by far the largest we've had: 45 people sitting in our little zendo. Somehow we arranged the room to accommodate everyone, and lunch was served very efficiently.

The one-day retreat caps the week that includes Urban Sesshin and ends with my first dharma talk, concluding this winter's intensive practice period.

Our poor abbot Enkyo Roshi has the flu so her dharma talk was canceled. Instead we had a rare treat: mondo, spontaneous Zen dialogs between our teacher Joshin and the congregation. Some schools within Zen have public question-and-answer sessions between teachers and students quite often. For example, at the Austin Zen Center where I began practice, we had mondo once a month with the abbot, and it's clear from books like Mind of Clover, Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, and Cave of Tigers that regular mondo is common in Zen sanghas. I wish the Village Zendo did it more often.

In any case, we'll have a mondo tomorrow: Tomorrow I give my first dharma talk and the sangha will test me in a form of mondo called "dharma combat."