winter zen retreat meditation

A different kind of New Year's Eve: Zen meditation retreat at the Zen Temple of the Gendronnière.

Why not end the year with a Zen meditation retreat? Every year, many people choose to spend a different New Year's Eve, focused on calm and meditation. Tired of a kind of obligatory effervescence, these practitioners, of all ages and backgrounds, choose this period to experience a spiritual retreat... and start the year quietly!

Such a retreat, with New Year's Eve, is organized at the Buddhist temple of La Gendronnière. Open to all, beginners are especially welcome, with a personalized welcome and many explanations.


Three formulas are possible for this end of year

Full retirement - December 28 to January 1

Arrival on Thursday 27 December at the end of the day, departure on 1 January around 3pm.

The days start at 7am and include 4 meditation sessions per day as well as teachings, workshops, vegetarian meals taken in silence. All this in a concentrated and friendly atmosphere. On the evening of December 31, a festive meal and a dance evening, with the traditional 108 bells ceremony at midnight: each participant is invited to ring it and make a wish for the coming year. And the next day a traditional ceremony to celebrate the New Year!

Preparation + symposium - December 28 and 29

Arrival on Thursday 27 December in the late afternoon. During these 2 days of retreat, there will be 3 sessions of Zen meditation per day, as well as workshops on the theme "A dojo in the city" (see full description of the symposium below)

Retreat/sesshin + New Year's Eve - December 30 to January 1

Arrival on December 29th at the end of the day. Departure on January 1st around 3pm.

4 meditation sessions per day on December 30 and 31. A New Year's Eve evening with a good meal, the traditional ceremony of the 108 bells ringing, and a festive evening. And on January 1st, a meditation together to start the year, a Donation ceremony (New Year's Eve fuse) and Sayonara lunch.

Download the flyer Winter Retreat 2019

Daily Schedule

Zazen, méditation zenA day in a zen monastery revolves around zazen, seated meditation. Zazen is Buddha’s practice, through which he realized awakening 2 600 years ago. Every day, there are 3 or 4 zazen sessions, depending on the schedule. Zen meditation is done sitting on a zafu (meditation cushion); chairs are also available if needed.

A typical day also includes teachings, ceremonies, meals taken in silence and samu (community service). Time is also set aside for relaxation and socialising.



The winter session is a high point where the various sanghas meet to deepen the Buddha's Way and commit themselves with faith to the New Year. The leadership will be shared between AZI teachers, assisted by their disciples.

- Simone Jiko Wolf: Abbess of the temple of the gendronnière, responsible for administration and teaching.

- Emmanuel Ryugaku Risacher: tanto, in charge of the organization of the session.
Simone Jiko Wolf :

Begins practicing zazen at the Paris dojo with Master Taisen Deshimaru, from whom she receives the ordination as a nun. In 1982, after the death of her master, she founded the Zen Centre of La Chaux-de-Fonds and participated in the creation of many dojos and zazen groups in Switzerland.

In 2004, she received the Dharma transmission from Yuko Okamoto Roshi, a close friend of Master Deshimaru and Master Kodo Sawaki. She is a member of the spiritual council and committee of the International Zen Association. She disseminates her master's teachings mainly in Switzerland and at the Zen Temple of the Gendronnière.

Jiko Simone Wolf is currently working on the foundation of the Kosetsuji temple near La Chaux-de-Fonds where she resides and for which she is responsible for teaching.

Online registration HERE


SYMPOSIUM " A dojo in the city, today... and tomorrw ! "

Following the successful symposium in December 2017, we are organizing a new Sangha symposium during the winter sesshin 2018 to concretize several important action points mentioned last year. This conference will mainly consist of different workshops where concrete proposals will be developed.

4 thematic workshops

1) The dojo in the city for today and tomorrow: reflections and exchanges of ideas and concrete initiatives on the activities of a Zen dojo in relation to society.

2) Zen meditation and other types of meditation: personal development meditations, mindfullness, so-called "lay", "de-ritualized" meditations... What are our specificities? What can be changed? How can we get our message across to the world around us?

3) The practice of the bodhisattva in everyday life: practice in the dojo, in professional life and in family life.

4) Relations between the AZI and its dojos and zazen groups: reflections and concretizations of several projects including

    Colleges of members: possibility for temples, dojos and groups to become members as such of the AZI in order to actively participate in the decisions and orientations taken.
    Single contribution: study of the implementation of a single AZI contribution valid for all places of practice in Europe.

Programme of 28 December & 29 December

7am: morning zazen

10am - 12pm: first day: presentation of the AZI / Gendronnière project, implementation of the workshops - second day: workshops

14h30 - 16h : workshops

5pm & 8.30pm: zazen

To guarantee the success of the implementation of new projects, it is desirable that each dojo of the AZI be represented during this conference by its manager(s) or a person having delegation.

Download the flyer of symposium HERE.

Online registration HERE


For meditation

Dark, loose and comfortable clothes (black, brown, navy blue) and a meditation cushion (zafu).

For meals

Bowl, spoon, fork + approx. 40cm x 40cm cloth (to wrap the bowl) + smaller, 20cm x 20cm white cloth (to wipe the bowl), or oryoki set if you have one.

For daily life at the monastery

May we also remind you that as in all monasteries, we ask you to be modestly dressed.


Single top sheet and fitted sheet, pillowcase.

Sheets can be rented on-site (5 euros).

Forgot something ?

A shop is available on-site.