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Sanzen (参禅), aka nisshitsu (入室), means going to a Zen master for instruction. In the Rinzai school, it has the same meaning as dokusan, which is specifically a private interview between student and master,[1] often centering on the student's grasp of an assigned koan. If the master rings a bell to dismiss the student, this means the student's understanding is not right and that their work with the koan must continue. It is typically held twice a day in a monastery, though during a week-long sesshin sanzen may take place as often as four times in one day.[2][3][4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fischer-Schreiber 1989, pg. 306
  2. ^ Loori, 80
  3. ^ Suzuki, 105-106
  4. ^ Chadwick, 249
  5. ^ Omori, 145