Founded in 1980 by Master Deshimaru, La Gendronnière Zen Temple remains the head temple, and meeting place for all the different teachers and sanghas who are a part of the International Zen Association (AZI – Association Zen Internationale – in French).
The is located on 80 hectares (nearly 200 acres) of land near the towns of Valaire and Candé sur Beuvron, ten kilometers south west of Blois in France’s Loire Valley. The heart of the temple is a large dojo, or meditation hall, built by members of the sangha, where many people (hundreds) can gather to practice zazen and ceremonies during the regular sesshins held at La Gendronnière. Additionally, there is another dojo for smaller gatherings and for the daily practice of residents of the temple.
An old manor house – the imposing ‘chateau’ – and outbuildings have been converted into accommodation for visitors and residents. There is also a large refectory block with a modern kitchen and two floors of extra accommodation.
This large accommodation capacity allows for the large number of people who attend the summer and winter sessions, for the many sesshins that are scheduled year-round, for the various spiritual conferences , and for the major commemorations that gather practitioners of Soto Zen from across Europe and Japan.
A walled vegetable garden provides organic vegetables and a nearby field produces wheat for oven-baked bread which is baked onsite. The forest produces wood for heating. All this allows for a certain amount of autonomy regarding energy and good quality, natural food. Above all, La Gendronnière allows us to practice samu regularly, that is, community work-practice, the practice of meditation in action, and living Zen in daily life.
The Gendronnière temple is a place for deepening ones Soto Zen practice; it is a place where teachers and practitioners can meet, talk, and discuss; it brings a diverse range of people together fulfilling its role to be open to the world as an expression of the Way.
All year round, the residents at the temple live and practice gyoji (continuous practice) : zazen practice, rituals, and doing the daily activities necessary for temple life. They maintain the buildings and the property, and work in the vegetable garden. They also prepare the temple to accommodate large Zen sessions that bring the sangha together many times a year.
You can stay at the temple outside of sessions – for a weekend, or a week or longer – simply contributing towards expenses. Or you can stay as a ‘guest’, following the temple timetable in a more flexible way. Contact the head of the temple, Hugues Naas, at the Gendronnière’s reception on 33 (0)2 54 44 04 86.
Schedule of a typical day:
6:30 am: zazen, ceremony
8:30 am: genmai (traditional breakfast)
10:00 am to 12:00 pm: samu (work around the temple)
12:30 pm: lunch
2:45 pm to 5:45 pm: samu
6:30 pm: zazen
8:00 pm: dinner
IZAUK would like to encourage the support of our parent organisation, the AZI and our Head Temple, La Gendronnière. There are several ways you can do that:
Join the AZI
By becoming a member of the International Zen Association, you are supporting its vocation, which is the dissemination and advancement of the practice of Sôtô Zen Buddhism, established by Taisen Deshimaru. You are also showing your support for the practice of the Buddha-Way.
In addition, you will be able stay at La Gendronnière Zen temple and participate in a variety of retreats organized by the AZI at any time during the year. Your membership must be up to date for all visits to the temple.
You will receive AZI publications: the newsletter Sangha (three issues) and the annual magazine ZEN.
You will have membership access on the Association’s Internet site (in progress) for all news reserved for our members.
(Membership fees are per calendar year) You can join the AZI and pay for a yearly membership in one of two ways .
- Through THIS website, up to 14th of February each year, we will accept membership payments for the AZI (at a reduced cost), along with your IZAUK membership
- If it’s after the 14th of February, you can join the AZI directly through them – Follow this Link to go to their website for more information
Donate Directly to the AZI Gendronnière – Offer Financial Dana
The practice of giving is is one of the paramitas – the perfections of wisdom – and is the traditional way for a monastery or temple to support itself, that is, through the generous donations of lay supporters. There are two ways you can give to the AZI:
- Go directly to the AZI website and donate via their PayPal link – offering what ever financial help you can
- Donate to the AZI / Gendronnière though us, IZAUK – By collecting donations for our parent organisation directly, we can support their efforts as they support ours, adding to the contributions through UK Gift Aid.