" A particle of dust contains all the universe : a flower blooms, the world reveals itself." Zenrin Kushu
La Demeure sans Limites is a Sōtō Zen Buddhist Temple under the direction of Joshin Sensei and Jokei Sensei.
The principal activities are meditation (Za-zen), communal work (Samou), and taking meals shared together.
"Between the forest and the meadow, lies a place of retreat and meditation. To be more present within ones life, studying the teachings brought by the Buddha that are to be shared within the traditions of the Zen Buddhist temples of Japan, expanding in awareness. Having the occasion to taste the silence."
The founder of la Demeure sans Limites is Sensei Joshin Luce Bachoux. Under the direction of its founder, Master Moriyama, Joshin Sensei had spent many years at Zuigakuin Temple in the mountains of Japan. She was ordained in 1986 and received the Seal of Transmission in 1990.
In 1991, at the request of Master Moriyama, she opened and established la Demeures sans Limites where a number of years later she ordained her disciple Jokei Ni.
Since 2013 Joshin Sensei has lived full time in Paris where she continues to teach as well as run retreats in Auroil, Annecy and in other regions in and around France.
Jokei Sensei is now the teacher in charge of the temple.
The Original Practice
The practice of Buddhist monks rests primarily in meditation, what is called Zazen, sometimes refered to as ’seated meditation’. If one were to go to Asia or any other place in the world, this same practice would be found at the centre of all schools of Buddhism.
From the practice of Zazen grew the practice of doing manual work, that is, working with ones hands. By consciously developing and applying the practice to work there then naturally flows within the same spirit of Zen, the essence of which becomes embued with an awareness of harmony and balance both when sitting meditation and in living ones life.
The times of sitting Zazen are moments of awakening, of opening to the entire world beyond ourselves, beyond our ego. At these moments we return to our fundamental identity between myself and others, between myself and the exterior world. It consists of "rejecting the body and spirit", of "letting go" - terms used by Master Dogen.
These times when working within the ’material world’ consist, for example, of maintaining the temple, the gardens, the buildings- chopping wood, cooking, cleaning up and so forth. Also, doing manuel work is more effective when done is silence.
Truly, at the heart of things, there is no difference between sitting Zazen and being active as with both, when I let go, I become open to what is. The view becomes expansive.
But most of all, it is important to be precise, clearly recognising that all is being lived within the same framework. We need not imagine there are special moments set aside for meditation with other, more common times to work the land, do the dishes, cook, etc.
In our lifetimes there is nothing outside the path of realisation of ourselves. It is all one. It is each moment that is important for we are then able to listen within ourselves and in the same moment, to hear the exterior world.
How is the day spent at la Demeure sans Limites ?
At five in the morning the bell wakes us-not always pleasant.. But ... there is an awareness of total silence within the Zendo with the freshness of the first Zazen of the day and during our meditation the dawn breaks. Such harmony.
When our voices accompany the voices of others. We chant, we breathe and this coming together all create a moving ensemble.
After Samou as we approach the marvel of this new day, body and spirit also appear brand new.
Sit (Zazen). Again and again- going beyond the discomfort and pain....leaving us to grow in silence and in joy as the little cares, the small complaints diminish and disappear, opening more space to better breathe, for better view, for better life.
Working together at these activities we lose the conscious awareness of daily action.
Dance of wood, dance of service, in step with oneself and with others...
The sound of silence.
The taste of tea after work in the garden.
Taking a book and finding that we recognise the Dharma within its words.
Night- in the Zendo the lamp is lit and brings with it the yellow glow that is soothing to ones heart.
A Little Background History -
The temple of Zuigakuin established by Master Moriyama, opened in 1978 with the zendo opening in 1980.
Zuigakuin is a small temple consecrated for the practice as taught by Master Dogen (1200-1253 CE) Along with meditation (Zazen) and work (Samou) - the practice also includes Takahatsou, seeking alms, thereby reviving the Buddhist tradition of mendicant and poor monks- this and donations by visitors and students being the only source of income.
Few "creature comforts" - no electricity, no telephone, minimal heating etc but rich in Dharma and unusually, open to all : Japanese and foreigners, men and women- the sole requirement is the desire to Practice and to follow the ways of the Patriarchs.
A very simple, precious practice rarely seen in Japan, given by Master Moriyama to all his students.
"Vast spirit, joyous spirit, loving spirit- the attitude of the students of the Buddha.
Beyond the world in its desires and forms, we practice and we give ourselves over to it.
Through our practice there appears the practice of all Buddhas and the accompaning joys so that we can acheive the awakening of all being."
Moriyama Roshi The Spirit of the Way of Practicing.
4 Seasons at La Demeure sans Limites
Translation Gina Alberts