Naikan (Japanese: 内観, lit. “inside looking” or “introspection”) is a structured method of self-reflection developed by Yoshimoto Ishin(1916-1988) a business man and devout Jodo Shinshu Buddhist who, as a young man, had engaged in an ascetic 'contrition' (mishirabe) practice involving sensory deprivation through dwelling in a dark cave without food, water or sleep. Wishing to make such introspection available to others he developed Naikan as a less difficult method which he first introduced to young people who had been incarcerated for committing crime and social disturbances. Later the practice was introduced to the general public. Naikan practitioners claim that Naikan helps people understand themselves and their relationships.

Naikan practice is based on three questions:

  • What have I received from (person x)?
  • What have I given to (person x)?
  • What troubles and difficulties have I caused to (person x)?


As part of Resilients, we have organised a Naikan retreat at FoAM. Our teacher was Helga Hartl of the Naikanhaus (, assisted by Christina Stadlbauer:

Naikan is a method of intensive self-reflection that can lead to more inner freedom and joy. A week of Naikan allows you to examine your view on life by observing your inner world, calmly, in a completely safe space. The silence and withdrawal enable a deep, meditative and emotionally intense experience, by which self-perception can be re-calibrated and a fresh view on our life story can take place.

  • resilients/naikan.txt
  • Last modified: 2017-01-24 11:48
  • by nik