Dokusan/Daisan: Face to Face Teachings with a Teacher
The teacher-student relationship is considered to be one of the most vital aspects of our practice. These personal interactions have been valued and emphasized since the time of the Buddha. They are essential for a teacher to see where a student is in his or her practice. Dokusan is a meeting between a fully transmitted teacher (Sensei or Roshi) and a student. Daisan is a meeting between an Assistant Teacher (Hoshi) and a student. These are meant to be brief and to the point encounters, 5 to 10 minutes. It is not a time for visiting or doing psychotherapy. It is an opportunity to discuss your meditation practice, work with a koan, or simply be with the teacher. An interview is a time to present one’s understanding. It is the teacher’s responsibility to validate that understanding, or offer guidance towards a more complete perspective. It’s common to get stuck in a certain place along the spiritual path. A skilled teacher can recognize where you might be stuck, and give you a gentle nudge in the right direction.
There is a right to a reasonable sense of confidentiality regarding what is said in dokusan. However, it is common practice that senior Dharma teachers may consult with each other and hold confidentialities among them. Personal and identifying details that are irrelevant to practice are not shared.