Sympoiesis #1:
Daily collective practices
15 Oct to 14 Nov 2021

Question: How can collective practices in everyday life nourish a way of being-withness in the world?


Sympoiesis #1 is the first in the series of month-long residencies that are a spiritual cooking-together of various ingredients: people, practices, workshops, art, community life and actual cooking. The ingredients are drawn by the opening of a space, a vacuum to be filled by people and practices too spiritual for politics, too “political” for the monasteries. The idea that life can be divorced from spirit is at the heart of our trouble. Let’s sit with this great trouble without giving into the narrowing impulse to “save the world.”

Residencies combine both an activating frame of collective practices with the space for you to continue your daily work – a key aspect is learning how we can integrate community and practice, collective and private, absolute and relative in our daily life. You can read more about Sympoiesis residencies here

Sympoiesis #1 /Conscious collective Practices

The experiment : for one month, a group of residents and guests (during retreats) will experience a way of living directly inspired by the daily practices of Zen temples. Each day will be punctuated by zazen, vegetable cutting, meal preparation, meals and deep listening circles. The idea here is to find the balance between the practices necessary to create a collective body that supports individual inspiration. During this month, two retreats will be offered: a formal Zen retreat and a retreat focused on food.

The exploration of the retreat is to experiment a collective codesign for our routine within a strong trust engagement that it is through the body collective movement that we can individually awake to new energy, thoughts and simply joy.

Conscious food : we will have a particular attention on how and what do we eat as a transformational experience. We will see how we can integrate zen temple food ( Shojin cuisine) to relate differently to food and the world in our secular life.

Key Information

  • Where? Life Itself Praxis Hub, Bergerac, France.
  • When? 15 Oct – 14 Nov 2021 
  • Who (is coming and can come)? system-thinkers, spiritual ecologists, bodhisattvas, change makers, symbiotic entrepreneurs, poets, painters, ecodharmists, all people ready to just be with what comes, good and bad. 
  • What will I do ? mostly your work but in a collective daily practices frame such as meditation , chop, cook and clean
  • How can I join? As a resident from 2 weeks to one month or as a retreat guest 
  • How much does it cost? approx €350-550 per month / per person for room plus €210 for food (€7/day). Couples can share rooms at a substantially reduced rate.
  • Donations : Besides accommodations and food , this residency will be on donations  , residents will be invited to donate for the overall of what they received and guests to the specific retreats which will be shared among facilitators. Donations practice  is directly linked to the buddhist  tradition  of the begging bowl where giver and receiver are part of the circularity of life. 

Apply for residency

( Registrations will close the 7th of October for this residency )



Here is an outline of the suggestive schedule during residency . It will be processed and adjusted among residents .During retreats  extra zazen will  be added.

  • (7h30 to 8h00 am  body awakening )
  • 8h00 to 8h30 am  meditation  (dynamic absorption = zazen) 
  • 9h30 to 10h30: samu (cleaning together + chopping together) 
  • Kitchen team cooking time
  • 13h00 lunch together 
  • 17h00 to 18h00: samu ( cooking) 
  • 19h00 diner
  • 21h00 to 21h30: zazen / circle
  • Monday morning : adjustment schedule and practices meeting
  • Friday evening deep listening circle  

Wednesdays and weekends are for private time/ retreats. Every Mondays we will adjust our design to the common needs of both the collective and personal.

This way people have a daily structure to center themselves and experience what is the effect of a community moving together along the day. During retreats Participants will experience more deeply the collective body of the world moving together within, the power of beingwithness via contemplation (zazen, food, cleaning etc) 

Apply for residency

Common principles 

We are a Lab of practices and want to experience the effect of the collective body on ourselves and how it feeds back the collective. In order to do that we believe basics have to be agreed on previously to the reunion. Those commitments are a mix of common sense behaviors when we live together and as a residency, specific requirements to giving back the fruits of your experience at the Praxis Hub.

  • to commit not to bring animal flesh products into the Hub in order to create a sanctuary and honor the sacrifice of all the lives taken for our food today
  • to commit to follow a daily collective schedule and community work
  • to commit to participate in retreats/workshops during residency
  • to commit to live no trace in kitchen , bathrooms , toilets after personal use 
  • to commit to put back zafu and zabutons in order manner after use 
  • to commit to not use alcohol during the week e in the Hub ( we can go outside), week ends are OK for party.
  • to commit to clean one’s room fully before departure
  • to commit to answer a questionnaire before entering the hub and write a feedback after the experience related to daily collective practices, food and facilitation.

Retreats during this residency

Tenzo retreat /21th-24th october 2021 

To participate to the Tenzo retreat please click

As the food is at the heart of both joy and pain of our world we will explore what does it mean to have enough, what is really nourishing us and as we will cook together we will learn the way of the Tenzo and how to compose  seasonal menus as  a way to “bewith” the world.

Valerie Dai Hatsu  has been practicing the shojin ryori ( zen cooking) in zen  monastic temples in Japan for 10 years  and  carries the enthusiasm to share it  in the secular world. More info on her website :

photo Prem Krishnamurthy

Tenzo retreat will start the 21st at 7 pm and finish the 24th at 3 pm

Zen formal retreat / 28th to 1st of november 2021

To participate to the zen formal retreat click

The bowl and the kesa in zen: how do they speak to us in those times of uncertainty? What can the 2 most symbolic transmission objects in the buddhist tradition offer us a way of “being with “ the trouble today?

We will also practice meals with  Oryoki ( 3 bowls) and link ourselves to the past and futur with our food.  

This retreat is for all seekers   to find in  universal zen tradition wisdom a  practice beneficial to  our time.

Formal retreat will start the 28th at 7 pm and finish the 1st at 3 pm.

Tenzo retreat will be  conducted by  Valerie Dai Hatsu 

Zen traditional retreat will be conducted by Valerie Dai Hatsu and Jean Nyojo Rat

Valerie Dai Hatsu Duvauchelle  is a guardian of the Zen tradition and practices the tenzo path . Member of the Collective Intelligence Cooperative ( MIC) , she offers to communities workshops of Work That reconnects and food practices coaching. she also explores the frontier of contemplation and activism through contemplative activism .She is the author of “Goût silencieux, la pratique zen de la nourriture” published by Actes sud.

Jean Nyojo Rat   is a Buddhist monk in the Zen tradition, a father of two and an active listener coach. He devotes himself to simple sitting, sewing the kesa and studying the teachings, practising their deployment in daily life.

They both belong to the order of Mountains and Clouds (Soto Zen)  conducted by Pierre Taigu Turlur. 

FAQs particular to this residency

Can I come for less than a month?

We will give preference to participants who can commit to a month for the purposes of allowing a real community of practice to emerge. For the people who can’t have the opportunity to stay all month we  offer  the possibility to receive people for 2 weeks or as guests during  the retreats.

Can you offer discounts?

Please contact us if your financial situation makes it difficult for you to attend. We do our best to ensure people are able to attend and maybe able to offer special support. However please remember that to still consider retreats donations participation in order to support the service of the  curator. 

How much will food cost?

We hope to maintain a 7 euros budget per resident  and per day , 8 euros during retreats for guests.

How will food  and cleaning be managed?

As it is  the heart of our experiment , food and cleaning will be deeply considered and  experienced   through the zen way actualized in collective intelligence ( daily care mandala). We will all be responsible for the quality of food and tidiness of the space and benefit from all the potential of this daily care practice.

What are the menus?

All food will be free of animal flesh and 95 percent organic. During retreats mostly will be gluten free  but with some such boulgour, cake spelt flour (to be discussed during the residency). Every meal will be balanced in proteins and raw veggies.Food will be prepared under the principles of shojin zen cuisine (cereal/mix beans – veg/ raw veg , with awareness of textures, colors and savors. During retreat breakfast will be a non gluten porridge + fruits + mix grains . 


The dynamic contemplation, an internal movement from the outside , a  practice of  porosity , a radical act of “ beingwithness”. We will sitt twice a day 4 days a week more in retreats. Beginners are welcome , people with physical difficulty will be able to sit on chairs or in the manner which is adjusted to their body. . The point is not to force anything but on the contrary to let the body mind recover its natural state of attentive relaxation.15 ( thin)Zabuton and zafu will be at your free  disposal in our dojo but feel free to bring your own .

At lunch and during formal retreat  we will us O ryoki  ( 3 bowls of the adjusted measure ) . Please bring your own if you have some. Also information will be sent to you in order to make  your own set. Possibly some sets  will be at disposal  to rent for the time of your residency/ retreats.

Do I need to bring something?

Please bring your Bed sheets and towel if you can .We can lend some if necessary that will clean before you leave. For the cooking , please bring 1 knife , 1 cutting board, 1 kitchen apron and 1 kitchen towel ( you can also find those around).

A zoom call will be organized one week before the start where we will arrange last details. 

Do I need to do anything to prepare?

This residency is  a community experience structured by practices . Just adjust to the thought, both in the happiness of experiencing community in such a strange  time and the enthusiasm for the things you don’t know that will happen . This is an exploration of fluidity so be ready to become water !  

What are the COVID-19 safety measures?

We cannot assure social distancing between participants, though, as of now, we will ask residents to carefully manage their distance from townspeople during the residency. We will be proceeding under the assumption that people will have either been vaccinated, become immune naturally and/or accept some risk of illness from other participants. 

Do you provide refunds?

We can provide a refund up until three weeks before your stay.

Do you provide a refund if I can’t travel for COVID?

In the event that there are travel warnings or you become ill, we can provide a 50 % refund, 100 per cent if we can find other people to replace your reservation. 

Can you accommodate my special accessibility, dietary or other requirements?

We provide simple vegan meals, most of which will be gluten free. If you have other specialised nutritional requirements, you will need to make some arrangements for these yourself. Please let us know and we will help as best we can. However this is a collective experiment and bear in mind that our private needs has to be measured according to the community ones. 

Can I leave and return within the same month booking?

We can accommodate people who must travel for other business. Please contact us to talk about it. We also have a 2 weeks option.