An important event in the calendar of a Zen Center is sesshin, which could be loosely translated as "retreat". At the Montreal Zen Center we have a sesshin every month except for July and August. Sesshins are periods of intense practice. Three features of a sesshin are chanting, dokusan and teisho.

Teisho is another Japanese word that we continue to use for want of an appropriate English equivalent. Translators often use "sermon" but insofar as sermons often have a moral exhortion as their basis, the term is quite unsuitable. "Talk" is too casual because a teisho is an intense, lively presentation. "Lecture" suggests conveying information of one kind or another, and although information is sometimes conveyed, this is incidental to the purpose of the teisho, which is a heart-to-heart communion.

At Montreal, following the tradition established at the Rochester Zen Center, a teisho may have as its basis some text of a master, and Albert Low often uses Nisargadatta's 'I Am That' for this purpose, or a koan. Normally texts are read and commented on durling the first half of the sesshin, and koans during the second half. Unfortunately, when a teisho is transcribed, its life is lost. A teisho, particularly a teisho on koans, is meant to arouse the mind that seeks the way. Someone likened it to striking sparks off the hara.

(the above is a an edited version of a passage in Albert Low's book To Know Yourself)

Two examples of teishos:

#994 Vimalakirti's Gate of Nonduality
by Albert Low (teacher-director)

#1036 Nisargadatta
by Albert Low (teacher-director)

The best way to experience a teisho is, of course, to hear it as it is given during sesshin. However, since we all do not have the opportunity of going to every sesshin in order for more people to hear the teishos given by Albert Low, the teishos have been recorded.

If you are a member there are two ways of obtaining a recorded teisho.

Order a teisho on cd

To order, just send a note to or leave your request on paper at the zendo. Due to the rising costs, CDs picked up at the Center are now $8.00 each and if mailing is necessary please add $1.00 for the envelope and postage cost as shown on the envelope. Payments should be made directly to the Montreal Zen Center and identified as "CD teishos".

Download an iTeisho from this site for Members

Members of the Montreal Zen Center can download mp3 files of teishos (iTeishos) directly from the website. Recorded teishos are available for the most recent years. Members will need to contact to receive a user name and password. An iTeisho is $5.00. For complete instructions on downloading teishos in mp3 format please click on iTeishos in the navigation bar or click on Boddhidarma.

Please note: the two teishos above are free examples of what is available.

Download an iTeisho from this site for the Public

New for the Public! 10 iTeishos are available for download by clicking on the flowers to your right. (link coming soon)

Please note: the two teishos above are free examples of what is available.

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