New Year spirituel retreat

New Year's Retreat 2020 & Symposium "La Gendronnière, what future?"

1. New Year's Retreat - December 28, 2019 to January 1, 2020
2. Symposium "La Gendronnière: a treasure for our sangha: what future? "December 28-29, 2019

1. A different kind of New Year's Eve: Zen meditation retreat

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 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 " La Gendronnière: a treasure for our sangha: what future?"  (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

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 teaching

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 person in charge of the teachings will be Gérard Chinrei Pilet assisted by the Zen masters of the AZI and their disciples.

Gérard Chinrei Pilet has been practicing zazen since his meeting with Master Deshimaru in 1969. He moved to Paris in 1974 to practice with his master, whose ordination as a monk he received in 1978. After the death of Master Deshimaru in 1982, he taught Dharma at the Paris Dojo until 2010. That year, he moved to the Ardèche and founded the Zen dojo in Annonay while continuing to lead practice sessions in France and Europe. He received the Dharma transmission from Yuko Okamoto Roshi.

The retreat will be translated into English.

Online registration HERE

2. SYMPOSIUM "La Gendronnière: a treasure for our sangha: what future? "

At the end of the year 2019 we shall be completing the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the great temple of the West by master Taisen Deshimaru . Whereas the Gendronnière is still the main gathering-place for the « Great Sangha », the events taking place there do not attract as many people as before, for many reasons, some easy to pinpoint, such as : other monasteries have been founded over the years, more and more sesshins and events are now organized all over Europe, people are travelling less and less, in particular for ecological reasons, etc.
Nevertheless, the Gendronnière is still the temple of reference, the « Mother Temple » of the whole AZI sangha and beyond, and the place where all the major events of European zen are held. And then, the fact that it is close to the Paris area with its 30 million inhabitants make it a place with a very promising future in the coming years.

These talks will be over two days : December 28 and 29 2019, during the preparation of the Winter Camp. Apart from plenary assemblies, there will be five workshops on the following topics :

1) Relations of other temples with the Gendronnière : Past, present and future. In what way are these places complementary and not « rivals », and how can we improve cooperation and share experience ?

2) Relations of the dojos with the Gendronnière : How can the Gendronnière serve as a reference for the dojos, what contribution can it make to them and how can the feedback from the dojos, their innovation, projects and experience help us in return ?
3) Reflexion on the innovation and projects to be put into practice so that the Gendronnière can offer its full potential to our society in a period when the climate crisis is worsening : symposiums, thematic retreats, permaculture projects.
4) Gendronnière and the Paris area : How can we get better known and open up to these 30 million and the pu- blic at large ? A widespread information and communication drive towards the Paris region will begin !
5) The members' colleges and the single AZI+ member- ship fee should
cement these two nice 2020 projects. How shall we put them into practice at the Annual General Meeting end April 2020 ?
Symposium will be translated in english.

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

2:30 pm - 4 pm : 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 flyer of symposium HERE.

Online registrations 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.


• Minors require parental authorisation.

• Membership of the association AZI for 2018 is compulsory : 45 euros (35 euros for those with limited budgets).

• Animals are not allowed.


tel. 02 54 44 04 86 or email

Temple zen de la Gendronnière

41120 Valaire (près de Blois)

Download the booklet for newcomers : HERE.