Participating in the group energy and intense concentration of a sesshin is the best way to discover the life and atmosphere at the Falaise Verte Zen Centre. You can deepen this experience by coming to the Centre for a retreat.
Retreats are open to people who have participated in at least one sesshin or Kyūdō seminar at the Centre.
In the morning and at the end of the day.
Organised sessions in the morning and evening. You can use the zendō for individual zazen sittings during the day.
Samu, manuel work, is zazen in action. It provides an opportunity to “live in the present moment, in the here and now”.
Samu contains the Sanskrit notion of seva, which means to perform an act of selfless service.
Taking part in samu is to make a contribution to the life and development of the place, without which practice wouldn’t be possible.
Vegetarian meals are prepared in turn by residents and those on retreat and are eaten in silence.
Individual zazen under the moonlight at the end of the day.
Prolong your stay
It is possible to commit to staying for a year by becoming a resident of the Falaise Verte Zen Centre.
Becoming a resident of the Centre is to commit to practising Zen full time for a year and learning to execute each act in daily life according to the well-known expression regularly taught and drawn in calligraphy by Zen masters: “Ordinary mind is the Way”.
Prerequisites and state of mind
The qualities required for residency are:
- Motivation: if the reason for wanting to take up residency is that you are fleeing the current circumstances of you life or as a last resort, there’s a strong likelihood that the residency will not last. Residency at the Falaise Verte Zen Centre is not an offer of accommodation in exchange for a few hours of samu in order to pursue your own private affairs in or outside the Centre. On the contrary, if you take up residency, you should be armed with an iron will to radically break with your past habits and to devote yourself entirely to Zen practice and to being present full time at the Centre.
- Discipline: all practice implies a degree of discipline, but Zen aims to establish concentration in every instant in our daily lives. Discipline, for the resident, doesn’t just consist in “participating” in zazen sessions and in samu, but rather in devoting themselves entirely to Zen practice at all times: when preparing meals, cleaning, and in their interactions with other temporary and permanent residents and visitors to the Falaise Verte Zen Centre.
- Endurance: a year is a long time! And the resident will witness the passing of the seasons, from icy winter when things are quiet at the Centre, to the hot summer when the Centre is bustling with activity. This is an opportunity and a unique experience, but only if it’s seen through to the end… And it’s almost certain that during their stay, the resident’s resolution and patience will be put to the test.
- Challenging the self: Zen practice implies personal growth and upheavals that are at the heart of the practice. But no significant change takes place calmly. In deepening one’s practice in contact with others, it’s necessary to be ready to question one’s certainties and all that one has accumulated since birth.
The daily schedule of residents is based on the activities in progress at the Centre: sesshins, daily life outside sesshins, welcoming groups to the Centre and free time during rest days. Thus, over the weeks, the resident’s practice will deepen through:
- spontaneity: voluntarily removing oneself from the sollicitations of urban life, observing the rules of communal life and adopting a schedule that frees the mind allows one to devote oneself entirely to Zen practice
- responsibility: fully engaged in communal life in a place of absolute respect of oneself and others, the resident can take measure of the prevalence of the group over the individual and the consequences of their actions on the lives of others
- presence: progressively freed from any judgements on the interest or gratification of one activity in relation to another, the resident will be able to train themselves to “become one with what one does at the moment one does it” in order to get into innate and direct contact with the present moment
Residency is open to people who have already participated in at least one sesshin at the Falaise Verte Zen Centre.
Admission requires a letter of motivation.
When they arrive, the resident must provide proof that they have adequate health insurance to cover the duration of their stay.