This will be a Zen Practice sesshin devoted to the sewing and repairing of kesas and rakusus to be led by Zen Nun Françoise Kosen Laurent

There will also be Japanese Calligraphy workshops offered at this sesshin


Rakusus are garments which are presented to people when they receive Bodhisattva ordination (also known as jukai or receiving the precepts) as well as monk or nun ordination (a rakusu is a 5-band kesa worn around the neck).  Additionally, monks and nuns are presented with a 7 band kesa  at their ordination.  In our tradition, we usually make these garments ourselves.

On Friday and Saturday there will be zazen before breakfast and after supper with 2 periods of sewing in between. On Sunday we will have a half day of zazen, lunch and then samu before going home.

Japanese Calligraphy / Shodo

During this sesshin we will also be offering workshops on Japanese calligraphy.  The workshops, which are aimed at those with little or no previous experience, will be led by John Callaghan, who has practised shodo (the way of writing) with his teacher, Keiko Harada, since 1997.  Early booking is recommended as space is limited. All equipment and materials will be provided.

Please note:  Participants must only follow one activity during the weekend.  Please state whether you will be sewing or doing calligraphy.


Thursday, 21st September at about 6pm to eat at about 8pm


Sunday 24th September after lunch and cleanup (around 2:30 or 3:00 pm – please plan on staying long enough to fully participate with samu/cleanup)


Bilberry Hill Centre, Rose Hill, Birmingham, B45 8RT

The Bilberry Hill Centre is located on the outskirts of Birmingham, within walking distance of the delightful 500 acre Lickey Hills country park.  Being close (but not too close) to Britain’s central city makes it easily accessible for everyone.  There is a variety of accommodation at the centre, including some single rooms.

How to get there: The nearest train stations are Barnt Green and Longbridge.  Bus number 63 leaves every 15 to 30 minutes from Birmingham city centre stopping at Rednal, Local taxis are Roundabout Cars 0121 453 1313 and Gold’n’Black Taxis 0121 453 4949.


Friends of IZAUK Members:   Recommended – £130 / low waged  – £105 / unwaged – £85

Non-members:  Recommended – £145 / low waged – £120 / unwaged – £95

If you send a £25 deposit (or the full payment) with your booking slip before 14th September, you will receive a £5 discount. Deposits are not normally refundable.

Friends of IZAUK Members can apply for help from the bursary fund for financial assistance in attending – contact Peter at


Everything you need for zazen and your personal needs.  Also bring your sewing things if you have any.  If you are repairing a kesa/rakusu try to bring thread of the colour already used and if there is a tear, matching cloth.  thread, needles and cloth will be available to buy.  If you are bringing your own cloth (100% cotton) to make a rakusu or kesa for ordination, please bring black, unless told otherwise by the godo who is ordaining you.  It’s best if you wash the cloth before hand.

For more information:

If you have any questions, please contact Ged Welford on 07969 282 243  or email him on

To Register:

Please complete a booking slip and post it to Ged Welford at: Ged Welford, 6 Herald Way, Bicester, Oxon OX26 4SF along with a cheque for your deposit or payment

OR Complete the following web-registration and pay your deposit or full payment using PayPal