Zen Buddhist Association
One Drop Group within Zen Buddhist Association Denmark
Place: Center for Alexanderteknik, Sankt Knuds Vej 50, baghuset, 1.sal., 1903 Frederiksberg C.
Time: first Wednesdays of each month sitting from 18:25 to 21:00 in four periods of 30 minutes. Tea afterwards and talk. Please arrive 10 minutes before start. If instruction is required please phone in advance.
Contacts: Tim Pallis, +45 3537 0437 or Michael Gensatsu Osterwald-Lenum, +45 4031 8389 (please text first to coordinate time to talk!). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Buddhist Mission in Copenhagen
As interest in consciousness awoke in the late sixties some young people traveled to Japan and Korea to learn how to practice Zen. When they returned to the West the first Zen groups were started. There, they meet weekly to participate in the shared practice of zazen and liturgy, that they had learned in the Zen temples of Kobori, of Kusan, of Kapleau, of Shimano, and of Suzuki, to name some of the more prominent.
The Zen Buddhist Association (ZBA) of Copenhagen was founded during the Fall of 1985. The initiative was taken by those who already practiced zazen on their own. They decided to meet in a private home, at the apartment of Lars Lassoe-Larsen, each Wednesday for zazen. PeterFonnesbech, Lars Lassoe-Larsen, Henrik Hjort Sorensen (HHS), Tommy Doetsu Rasmussen (TR), Dorrit Wagner, Niels Holger Wulff and Tim Taigu Pallis (TP) were present at the inaugural meeting.
Members of ZBA had since the mid-eighties been aware of Sōgen-ji as a monastery, where Westerners, without the knowledge of the Japanese language but with some experience in zazen and a serious commitment, could train under one of the best Japanese Rinzai Zen teachers in the world. Some had even visited Sogenji briefly and were able to testify on the sincerity of practice at Sogenji. These experiences were spread, and discussed, during tea after zazen. Chisan and TP were acquainted during TP's early years in Kyoto in the 1970'ies. Claus Norstrom (CN) and TR, both regulars at the ZBA, invited Harada Rōshi to Denmark during their stay at Sōgen-ji in the Spring of 1992, before they went on a study tour to the classic Zen temples in China. TR and CN had both prior experience from Sogenji, as TR had spent one year there 1989-90, and CN, 1990-1991. TR's daughter, Mia Rasmussen, was on and off in Sōgen-ji between 1991 and 1995.
The ZBA's journal Weeds No 1 was first published in 1991. The editor was TR and the layout and illustrations were done by HHS. Weeds is today an e-magazine for Zen. It's purpose is to disseminate knowledge of Zen Buddhist practice and tradition for Danish readers, with articles mostly in Danish. Webmaster and executive editor is now Michael Gensatsu Osterwald-Lenum.
Over the following years the major source of inspiration on Zen practice in Denmark therefore became the Zen Master Shōdō Harada Roshi from Sōgenji in Okayama, Japan.
This year (2013) marks the 20'th anniversary of Harada Rōshi's first sesshin in Europe. This three-day sesshin took place in early May in Asserbo in Northern Zealand, Denmark. The European branch of the One Drop Zendo tree was forming, helping to disseminate the dharma in Europe.
During the Roshi's first visit two public events were organized over the following days. One lecture "The practice of everyday life" took place at the community center in Blaagaards Square. The second "Zen and calligraphy" took place in the National Museum banquet hall, where Harada Rōshi for the first time performed a live demonstration of shodō. The plentiful calligraphies brought from Japan or produced during the visit were later the same month presented at a shodō exhibition at the Copenhagen premises of IBM, organized by Shalom Stern, of IBM's Art Society, and CN. Harada Rōshi has made it his life work to educate and train Westerners in Zen practice. He has visited Denmark every three years since 1993 to guide and supervise each participant through a week of intensive zazen practice and give daily lectures on a classic Zen Buddhist text.
Over the years the members of ZBA who have trained with the Roshi have formed an ODZ-faction within the ZBA. Some left the ZBA to start new groups or join others: the Tuesday-group, the Kregme-group, the Odense-group. Group membership aside there has been a strong tradition of members of the different groups coming together in the osesshin organizing group when sesshins in Denmark were planned, and organized.