Life at Daishugyo follows the same schedule as a classic Soto Zen temple, with Zazen practice at the heart of the daily rhythm. This practice of concentrating on the here and now permeates all daily activities.
The day starts with Zazen followed by a ceremony and a traditional breakfast eaten in bowls (oryoki). After this comes samu, which means work for the community. After the midday meal, there is a rest period before starting samu again in the afternoon. The day finishes with Zazen, following the evening meal. This schedule can vary according to circumstances.
The activities at the Perche Zen centre are diverse, whether it is maintenance of the building and surrounding areas or cooking and cleaning, we also take care of the vegetable garden, deal with administration etc. In addition, there are plans for a range of building work in order to renovate the old farm structures at the centre.
You can come the Perche Zen centre to practice Zazen and also to stay for a longer time so as to participate in temple life.
Time spent at the Perche Zen centre is not only the occasion to become intimate with oneself, free from one’s usual daily difficulties, but also the opportunity to deepen spiritual practice.
Staying at the centre:
It is possible to stay at the centre all year round for different lengths of time and to follow daily practice. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to organize your stay.
* Short stay: 15 Euros/day
* Long stay (after 1 month): 300 Euros/month
Occasionally, we organize building work with qualified artisans with whom we cooperate in order to learn different renovation techniques.
Projects and building work
The buildings which make up the Perche Zen centre, Daishugyo, date back to the 16th century in some cases. The architecture of this farm is typical of the region. The limestone walls are built with clay and finished in whitewash. The woodwork is oak, chestnut and poplar and covered with flat roof tiles. The flooring and ceilings are insulated with straw and clay and dressed with earthen tiles.
In order to obtain modern comfort and a healthy environment, the building work will be done respecting traditional know how and also using modern methods, such as ecological construction. The advice from local eco-builders has helped with the choice of techniques and materials. Certain specialized work will be carried out by artisans whilst the majority of our projects will be done independently thanks to the help of the Sangha.
A reed bed behind the farm will allow us to treat wastewater (washing up, showers, toilets). It will be made up of various ponds in which living bacteria will “digest” the waste and clean the water.
Deadline for this project: May 2017
Estimated cost: 10 600 Euros
* The dojo
The building at the far end of the farm will become the dojo. It has been fitted with a wooden structure which will support the ceiling. An opening has been created in order to give more space and create an entrance to the dojo.
-The ceiling: Environmentally friendly panels will be installed and painted with a non-toxic mineral paint. The ceiling will be insulated with hemp or cellulose.
-Floors: The flooring will be elevated and insulated and composed of fermacell panels covered with wooden parquet.
-Walls: They will protected with a mix of clay and hemp for insulation. This is a mix that allows the walls to breathe.
-Dressing rooms: The flooring will be laid using the old farmhouse floor tiles for the entrance and the rest using clay and hemp. A staircase will be installed in this space so as to have access to the upper floor. Here, the walls will also be covered with a hemp-earth mix.
-Windows: A large bay window and other windows with triple glazing will be installed in the openings.
Anticipated completion date for this project: June 2017
Estimated cost: 27000 Euros
* Updating the electrical system
The entire electrical installation needs to be redone.
Anticipated completion date for this project: June 2017
Estimated cost: 5000 Euros
The old buildings, in order to be modernized, must free from damp. So it is important to redo the drains. The buildings will be surrounded by underground pipes which will filter away any excess moisture in the earth. The water from these drains will also be channeled towards the river at the bottom of the field.
Anticipated completion date for this project: October 2017
Estimated cost: 5300 Euros
The stable at the centre of the main building will serve as a dormitory, with individual rooms on the ground floor and a large space upstairs. Toilets and showers will also be installed along with a stairway to the upper floor.
Anticipated completion date for this project: June 2018
Estimated cost: 18700 Euros
* Dining Room
The buildings nearest the main entrance will become the dining room. We will need to knock down two walls in order to create a large enough space in order to seat at least thirty people.
Anticipated completion date for this project: June 2019
Estimated cost: 15300 Euros
* Creation of a garden and orchard
Work in progress
* Vegetable Garden
At the Bas Gage, surrounded by hornbeam hedges and adorned with ancient and twisted pear trees, prolific raspberry plants and abundant berry bushes, the old farm garden lay quiet, peacefully awaiting the time to awaken…
The first task was to install fencing all the way around the garden so as to protect the plants. Later, trimming the trees and hedges allowed in a little more light – this was done following the recommendations of Jean-Pierre Yver, previous owner of the farm and soon to become good friend and garden guide.
Next on the agenda was to prepare the earth for planting. This was done using a handful of permaculture techniques. Add to these a good dose of legwork “à la grelinette”, a dash of elbow grease and the soil was ready to serve. Another important element, especially in this damp and windy Northern climate, was the construction of greenhouses. The first one was built using acacia wood brought from the Dordogne region and has provided a home for the tomato plants during the summer. The other greenhouse, a large tent structure, promises to produce vegetables during the winter.
In the garden, carrots, cucumbers and courgettes, beetroot, lettuce and flowers coexist in harmony beneath the vast and varied skies of the Perche.
So, onward and make way for the next season of vegetables!