Our non-profit organization is based in a 19th century castle in the Sarthe countryside, on a 6ha plot of land near the Bercé forest, 20km south of Le Mans. The place is magnificent, very quiet and peaceful, ideal for meditation and rest, with many walks in the surrounding woods, on foot or by bike (we can lend you bicycles).
The community living here is composed of monks, nuns, lay practitioners of all ages and backgrounds. We organize weekly meditation retreats and many people come to stay to recharge their batteries or do volunteer work.
During your stay, you will be able to participate (at no extra cost) in the spiritual teachings and activities that take place in the evening, as well as in the 30-minute lunchtime meditations that we try to organize every day, and in the prayers sung with meditation in the late afternoon.
During your stay, you will have the opportunity to borrow a kit containing Buddhist books and an MP3 player with guided meditations.
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
Volunteers have the opportunity to discover and take part in spiritual activities and community life in the national mother centre of an international Buddhist tradition, which includes more than 1000 centres and annexes in 40 countries. The meditation centre houses a community of about 25 residents (monks, nuns and lay practitioners, of all ages and backgrounds).
During the volunteer stay, you will have the opportunity to participate in many spiritual activities (guided lunchtime meditation, evening teachings, prayers and meditation in the late afternoon). You will also be able to share and exchange with experienced practitioners and discover the beneficial effects of meditation practice.
By sharing the life of the community and participating in the smooth running of the centre, you will also have the opportunity to meet people from all over France and the world, united in the same approach, to discover the Buddhist way of life and experiencing how training our mind and benefiting others is the best way to live in harmony.
The assistance requested is varied and includes in particular cooking with residents and retreatants, cleaning (of common areas and preparation of rooms), gardening, maintenance, storage... It is also possible to participate in the renovation work of the castle or annex buildings depending on the projects in progress. Of course, we are always interested to know the specific skills you may be able to offer. All skills are welcome, don't hesitate to share your talents with us!
Although the work is not always arduous, you will need to be reasonably fit and active to participate in a volunteer trip, with missions lasting between 2 and 3 hours per half day (between 4 and 6 hours per day).
French mainly, but the different supervisors and the majority of the community speak English and some speak Spanish.
Dormitory - male or female
We are a Buddhist community and charity. To provide food for the people doing retreats and the community, everybody helps in the kitchen: residents, retreaters and volunteers. Everybody participates for an amount of 1 or 2 hours maximum, the leading cook always being a resident and the retreatants and volunteers only helping with cutting and peeling. The kitchen is the favourite place for the visitors, it is definitely where everybody can exchange on the teachings received and the buddhist way of life and also discovering how they can prepare healthy and delicious vegetarian meals, the recipies being shared with everybody.
In the surroundings of the centre, you can visit the city of Le Mans: Le Mans, labelled "City of Art and History", conceals in its heart a hidden jewel: the Cité Plantagenêt. Twenty hectares of paved alleys, inhabited by pan-de-bois houses and Renaissance hotels, sheltered by a Roman wall and overhung by a cathedral. Saint-Julien Cathedral, half Romanesque, half Gothic, is also one of the largest in France (134m long for a surface area of 5000m2).
Also, the national forest of Bercé is a beautiful place to go hiking. The fruit of several centuries of silviculture, the Bercé oaks have acquired a worldwide reputation for their exceptional quality. A former royal forest intended to supply the navy, this massif now produces oaks that are sought after for cooperage. Its forests make it one of the most beautiful forests in France.
To go to Le Mans, there is a local bus but you can also ask residents or other volunteers to drive you to the train station.
To preserve peace and harmony in the community, alcohol and drug use are not allowed on the entire property. Being a Buddhist centre, all meals are vegetarian (sometimes vegan) and meat consumption is not allowed throughout the property either.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours/day, 5 days/week maximum
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