Opening period between the Spring camp, the Assumption sesshin and the 2014 summer camp.
At some time of their life, some people decide to get out of social life. Even for a short while, retiring before being of age, following the simple and natural rhythm of the Temple, of nature, of recollection, is an involving experience.
This may frighten . . . We wonder: will I be up to it? Am I fit for such a practice? And working outdoors, everybody knows it's hard, I'm not used to it . . . Will I hold on? And then, and then . . . But everybody knows that once you've dived into the authentic practice of monks and Buddhas, such questions vanish, light and energy rise from inside, the mind gets simple and the great breath or realization gets stronger. We then realize things as simple as necessary, useful for everybody . . . This is the simple, new, but relentlessly original Zen.
No need to be a seasoned craftsman, everybody can help by giving time and energy to help build a place dedicated to the spiritual practice of modern monks and nuns, and of future generations. Everybody knows something and can practice samu with a free mind, energy and concentration.
Follow instructions, advice and plans, help design them, propose new strategies and develop one's own projects: nothing is systematic or the project of a single individual. The sangha helps the realization of the whole and of everyone. It's fushin samu, the achievements of the altruistic mind.
How does it work in practice?
First, you do not enter a Temple as a public place. Before coming, you have to ask. Write a short letter to Master Kosen and to the guardian of the Temple to show your motivation or talk about your project. You can have a spiritual motivation or a "brick-and-mortar" project that could benefit anybody. Whether or not you have a precise project, it's only just polite to tell about it. It's also easier to guide you afterwards.
To come to the Temple between sesshins, there are a few simple rules: besides being in a good physical, social and psychic situation, you must know the Temple already and have attended retreats lead by Master Kosen in the Temple. You must also stay for a well-defined lapse of time, nobody being accepted permanently for the time being. Of course, you must follow rules and instructions without interfering with other people's practice and adapt to the daily life in the Temple. You must also have been authorized to come.
So, let's say I've been allowed to come, what next?
At the Temple, daily life is quite regular. Zazen at 7 h 30 AM, 8 AM or 9 AM depending on the planning, followed or preceded by breakfast (usually, gen-mai).
Then, you hear the daily planning at the meeting for the samu. Then, everybody goes to work, alone or in a team, before lunch. Everybody helps to cook, which is a great opportunity to learn. Coffee, tea, break, then everybody's back to work for the afternoon samu.
In the late afternoon, everybody finishes his work and puts his tools back in their place, then is free to have a walk, to rest and to have a light meal before the evening zazen, which usually takes place at 8 h 30 PM. Indeed, these are busy days and we are usually rather tired at sunset.
Over a week, there is of course time for leisure or other activities, such as Zen sewing or sport, for instance. There is also a leave that usually starts on Saturday late morning to Sunday evening. During this leave, everybody's free to dedicate himself to his own activities. Otherwise, activities are lead by the samu manager and the planning may change as required.
So, who is the samu manager?
The samu manager is the guardian of the Temple, who is responsible for the Temple when Master Kosen (who practices daily in his Montpellier dojo) is out, the monk Loïc Daoyi Kosho Vuillemin, disciple of Master Kosen and heir of his transmission. He lives with his family at the Temple since a few years, and knows well the premises and samu in the Kosen sangha. In coordination with Master Kosen, he sets up samu plannings and wrote this text. He also leads zazens and ceremonies in the Temple.
What you should know...
Participants have no access to the Internet other that the public 3G network (F-contact) to which they have to connect by themselves.
The climate is sometimes harsh: it is critical to bring warm clothes, sporstwear, waterproof shoes and an umbrella. You can bring your own tools if you can take care of them yourself.
You should bring working clothes.
Full board accommodation is provided for free, except during sesshins.
How can you start? Send us an email...