The practice of silence is an essential element of spiritual retreats in Zen. It promotes the calming of the mind. It is a silence of words, but also of the eyes, and of gestures so that the senses find a functioning marked by simplicity.
To practice silence at Ryumonji Buddhist Monastery, various possibilities are offered:
Retreats in complete silence
These take place several times a year for 8 days, 4 days or 3 days. After half a day of partial silence, full silence sets in.
You can find the next dates in our calendar section.
The names of these retreats are:
- Gotan-e Sesshin from 7 to 10 April.
- Sesshin in silence from September 1 to 3.
- Rohatsu sesshin from December 3 to 9.
Meditation retreats, sesshin
During the retreats (sesshin) held every two weeks at the monastery, practitioners can enjoy long stretches of silence. The silence is partial, but meals are silent, samu is silent, and so is the period between 5:30 and 9:00 in the morning.
This is a good opportunity to enter the silence step by step, to tame it.
The list of sesshins is available on our calendar.
Daily life at the monastery
Outside of the sesshin periods, a monastic life punctuated by meditation and daily activities takes place at the monastery. We call these periods "daily life retreats". They are open to all. The days of arrival are generally Mondays and Fridays around 5:30 p.m.
In this daily life, a large part is left to silence: meals, meditation, activities for the community (cooking, gardening, cleaning...).
VIDEO - the benefits of silence - BFM TV 2017 (FRENCH)