Saint-Laurent-du-Pape – Learn about the art of kyudo at the Zen center

Coming from Japanese culture, kyudo is both an art and a way of personal achievement, through the ritualized practice of archery.

Arriving at the Zen Center of the green cliff, there floats like a wind of serenity and calm. Located in Ardèche, the center extends over twenty hectares in the Eyrieux valley. It offers a great proximity to nature, which makes it a place conducive to inner work. It is in this meditation temple called zenko that 25 trainees took part in a one-week initiation course in kyudo (traditional Japanese archery) in a 120 m² dojo where certain principles must be respected, such as silence when practicing this art. Participants are first introduced to the art of straw bale shooting, the makiwara, for close shooting, before shooting at 28 meters on target (mato). They attend different ceremonial shootings every day.


Also called the Voie de l’Arc, it is open to everyone from adolescence, with no age limit. Its health benefits are exercised both physically and mentally. This art is expressed in traditional outfits, with a large bow of more than two meters with natural curves, all according to a slow and ceremonial rhythm, with the dignified and solemn attitude of archers with powerful releases in intense concentration. The course is supervised and taught by Jean-Louis Oriou, kyôshi 6e dan, and practiced in the dojo on a shooting space called shajô, where eight shooting phases (Hassetsu) prepare the archer to release his arrow. As a martial art, it comes from the history of the samurai who used it on the battlefields. “Shooting in kyudo must be true: it is not just about being skilful, the archer must sincerely offer his being in the expression of his shot, without intermediation, says Jean Louis Oriou. He must put his mind (attitude), his body (movements) and his bow (technique) in unison by seeking the greatest simplicity. The target is then neither target nor adversary. She becomes a true mirror of herself.” Kyudo, also called “standing zen”, is considered in Japan as one of the noblest martial arts. It aims for self-transcendence. Each year, courses are organized at the dojo in the center of the green cliff.


The temple is attached to the Japanese Myoshin-ji branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. Upon its official recognition by Japanese institutions, the establishment received its full name: Hekigan-zan Shobo-ji – Authentic Dharma Temple at Green Cliff Mountain. Taikan Jyoji is the founder of the Green Cliff Zen Center. In 1989, he received the title of Kaikyo-shi, that is to say founding master, from the Rinzai Zen authorities of Myoshin-ji. A prolific author, he published numerous books on Zen and Kyudo. He is also a regular guest on the program Sagesses Buddhists on France 2. The Green Cliff Center is made up of a dojo, a refectory, bedrooms and a zendo (way of Zen), a place of meditation where you can participate in different group sessions, such as the sesshin, an intensive practice of Zen in a group, the zazenkai, or a retreat reserved for people who have completed at least one sesshin session or a kyudo course at the center.

Practice :

Green Cliff Zen Center

Tel: 04 75 85 10 39.


We want to say thanks to the author of this article for this remarkable material

Saint-Laurent-du-Pape – Learn about the art of kyudo at the Zen center

You can view our social media pages here and other pages related to them here.