Zen and creativity

Zen and Creativity: Kesa Sewing, Qi Gong, Shiatsu, Essential oils and Calligraphy

New: A workshop on "Essential oils" 

Different courses take place during the year at the Ryumonji monastery (Alsace, France): calligraphy, shiatsu, Qi-Gong... An opportunity to discover a discipline in a monastic setting, in the heart of silence and Zen meditation.

The history of Zen through the centuries and countries has always shown a remarkable creativity. All the arts that stem directly from this practice of presence and unity in the moment, the art of flowers, calligraphy, painting, poetry or pottery for example, express creativity and spontaneity with the work as it is, without seeking to correct or transform it.

During these few days at Ryumonji, the participants will be able to express this presence in the moment with all its soothing and deeply inspiring qualities in every activity within the framework of monastery life. They will also learn the practice of zazen, the sitting meditation of the practice, guided by experienced monks and nuns.
Each day as a whole will then become for the participants the source of their creativity and unity with the world.


The next workshops will take place:

calendar and rates


pratical information


All the sutras (...), the whole universe and nature in its diversity, the mountains, the ocean, the trees and flowers, and even the stones, express the merits of the kesa. (...) But having direct contact with it, putting it on, studying it or sewing it are very rare occasions.

Master Eihei Dôgen, 13th century Japan. 
Shôbôgenzo, Kesa Kudoku 

One of the traditional practices of Soto Zen Buddhism is the sewing of the kesa, a garment identical to the one worn by Shakyamuni Buddha 2500 years ago. He had gathered pieces of cloth from various sources to form a long robe and cover his body. This tradition has been passed down from master to disciple through the ages in a spirit of simplicity and deep faith.

The kesa exists in a smaller version, the rakusu: worn on a daily basis, it reminds the practitioner of his or her commitment to the Zen path. 

During the sewing weekends, everybody has the possibility to learn the rules for assembling these garments, to discover a peaceful and concentrated form of work and to develop qualities of patience and perseverance. Each stitch like a grain of rice, the work like a rice field, and the teaching of the monks and nuns like the water irrigating the whole.
The necessary materials will be at your disposal: black cloth, needles, thread, silk, etc.

The sewing teachers during these retreats have deeply studied the sewing of the kesa. They have received this teaching from older monks and nuns who have guided them so that they can now pass it on themselves. 

More information is available under calendar and practical information.



With Stefan Reimon Müller-Hieke

During these weekends, participants practice the art of Qi Gong, while participating in traditional Zen monastic life. On the evening of arrival a workshop to discover zazen, the sitting meditation of the practice, is held. There are two scheduled meditation sessions per day as well as silent ceremonies and meals.

The QiGong exercises (Qi= Life Energy; Gong = exercises) offered in this course were developed centuries ago in China. They were designed to improve the energetic flow in the body and contribute to the maintenance of good health. Through simple physical movements, blockages and (muscle) tension are released and posture becomes more precise.

This workshop is for both beginners and people who already know QiGong and wish to have the possibility to practice for a few days in a quiet place.


Stefan Reimon Müller-Hieke, a Zen monk, has been practicing QiGong for about 20 years, under the guidance of various teachers.

He was trained as a QiGong teacher with the Shaolin monk Shi Xingui as well as with the disciples of the American Taoist master Bruce Frantzis.

Check out the website:

The dates and fees for the courses are available at calendar.


Chinese calligraphy workshops

With Jacques Kugen Foussadier

This workshop will introduce beginners to the art of the brush, learning the line, the first kanji and of course posture and breathing. For the more experienced, this will be an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of kanji and composition.

Please bring brushes, ink, inkwell and paper. For beginners materials will be available to borrow or for sale on site.

Jacques Kugen Foussadier was born in Paris on 8 December 1942. After seven years of study at the Beaux-Arts of Rouen and Paris, encouraged by his masters he turned to the Orient. In 1969, he began the long apprenticeship of brush, ink and rice paper with Master Ung-No Lee: calligraphy, this art of the line which reflects the state of mind and allows no regrets. There is only one way: concentration and tireless repetition that unify subject and object deep within oneself and thus allow to make the work spring forth as naturally as a spring.

Jacques Kugen Foussadier works in three modes of expression:

  • Calligraphy.
  • Indian ink painting.
  • Seal carving which he develops to create new compositions.

More information is available in the calendar and practical information sections.

atelier calligraphie temple zen de Ryumonji

Shiatsu workshop 

With Christine Marie Bottin 

Shiatsu ("finger pressure") is a manual technique of Japanese origin whose theoretical foundations are derived from traditional Chinese medicine. By acting on all the meridians, listening to the patient and his or her ailments, shiatsu harmonizes the circulation of Qi in the body, releases tensions or blockages and rebalances the main functions of the body.

The workshop is practice-oriented; you will learn the basic postures and gestures of shiatsu (the katas). It also includes sessions of do-in (self-massage and gentle stretching), the beneficial effects of which are felt both in everyday life and in the practice of zazen. Theoretical elements on Qi, meridians, Yin-Yang and Hara diagnosis will be discussed.


Intimately linked to Japan and its traditions, Christine Marie Bottin has studied Japanese and worked on traditional arts, transmission, artistic and craft practices and Buddhism. A disciple of Master Taisen Deshimaru, she began practicing zazen in 1978 and was ordained a nun in 1981. Since 2009, she has been studying and practicing shiatsu of the Iokai school taught by K. Sasaki (direct lineage of S. Masunaga).

More information is available under calendar and practical information.

stage shiatsu


Workshop 1: "Basics of essential oils"  

The use of essential oils for spiritual development and physical health is not a recent invention. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in many different cultures. They work on the body, mind, spirit and emotions. We are using this ancient knowledge and experiencing a renaissance in aromatherapy.

In this course you will learn:

  • What are essential oils, how are they obtained and how are they used?
  • How can I support my family and myself with natural essences and prepare us for the cold season?

Workshop 2: "Raindrop Technique® Seminar

The Raindrop Technique® was developed in the late 1980's by D Gary Young using his accumulated knowledge of essential oils with Lakota Indian energy techniques, as well as his knowledge of foot reflex points, the Vita Flex technique and the Effleurage technique. 


Would you like to learn this regenerative and balancing technique?

It is recommended for everyone who wants to take responsibility for and contribute to their own health. Masseurs, therapists, naturopaths but also lay people are welcome, no previous knowledge is required. Nadine will accompany you in this workshop, giving you the theoretical basis and practical exercises.

After these days of training, you will be able to use the Raindrop Technique® independently and pass on its profound effectiveness.

Nadine Neumann, a certified naturopath and aromatherapist, has many years of intensive work with natural essential oils behind her. The Raindrop Technique® trained instructor enjoys giving this regenerative treatment to help people regain their balance and well-being. In her practice, she trains and advises her team and peers in the use of highly effective essential oils.
Her credo is: "Ishin denshin - from heart to heart".

Workshop Les Huiles essentielles

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