One Drop Zendo Budapest, Hungary

Place: 1061 Budapest Király u. 28. II/40.

Time: Monday/Friday: 7.00 - 8.30 am, 5.30 - 7.00 pm, Saturday: 8.00 - 10.30 am, 5.30 - 7.00 pm, Sunday: 5.30 - 7.00 pm

Weekend sesshin: Last Saturday of the month. 

Email: onedropzendo@gmail.com,  Web: zazen.hu / onedropzen.hu


TheHungarian Onedropzendo was founded in 2000 by Taikyo (IstvánSzaladják), Attila Halász (Tokusho), Zsuzsa Vincze, Tamás Király,Imre Varga, Norbert Podhorszky and Adrián Tavaszi.

Themembers of the group started to practice in the group of Marika(Mária Marghescu). She was a disciple of Willigis Jaeger, aBenedictine monk. Willigis, in the spirit of the SecondVatican Council,spent a long time practicing Zen in Japan, and upon returning toGermany, introduced Zen practice in the monastery where he was abbot.Since Marika was his disciple, the group also followed his line.Later, during a trip to Japan around 1992, Marika visited Sogenjiwith the help of famous tea-ceremony master Ueda-san, where, in asesshin, she got to know the Roshi and invited him to Hungary. Thefirst Hungarian sesshin took place in Dobogókő in the summer of1995. The sesshin was organized by Marika, and only few Hungarianstook part in it, the majority of the participants were foreigners,mainly Germans.

Themembers of the group participated in their first European sesshinwith the Roshi in 1996, then four of them also participated in thesesshin organized the following year in Switzerland, while yetanother sesshin came in 1998 in Dobogókő under the organization ofMarika. This latter sesshin was the first one that I took part in. Iwill never forget how Genyu, arriving from Poland, taking part in hisfirst-ever sesshin with the Roshi, broke into tears astonished by oneof the lectures of the Roshi. My other very personal memory was whenI entered my first ever sanzen with the Roshi – naturally makingmistakes in all formalities – I had the feeling that the wholeuniverse is sitting in front of me, and that I have arrived, and I donot have to go anywhere else and that there is no other place to goto anyways.

Atthe sesshin in Dobogókő there were already much more – aroundtwenty – Hungarians, while the number of foreigners was about ten.After the sesshin, we continued the practice at Marika's zendo, andfrom then on, the group was connected to two masters.

Marikawas without doubt the disciple of Willigis, but the members of thegroup did not really decide whom they belong to. After a while, someof us thought that we need to decide which way we are going. TheWilligis-line had a slight taste of Christianity, which we could alsocall a more Europeanized Zen school. In their center in Würzburg,for example, they were practicing yoga, chi-kung, etc.. It was calledChristian Zen in those days. The sanzens (face-to-face meetings withthe master) were a little more “psychologized” than those withthe Roshi. The retreats during the weekends also often went into amore intellectual direction, there was much talking. We, thefounders, however, wanted to step on the harder and more traditionalway of the Roshi, which included more practice. Around this time, theRoshi also invited some of our young members to Sogenji.

Sowe wanted to follow the Roshi's line, and with this, we decided tofollow the more traditional and practice-oriented Japanese way. Ofcourse, the question still remained whether the Roshi would acceptus. We only had one argument: the commitment towards, and trust inthe practice, and our enthusiasm. We really wanted to practice,nothing else. The separation did not go without getting hurt, humandifficulties also came up, but finally, the sangha led by Marikadivided into two. With the separation, we also made Marika stand at across-roads. No doubt remained that we wanted to carry on the line ofthe Roshi, but it also became clear, that she preferred the teachingof Willigis Jaeger.

Thishappened in 2000; so, we founded the Hungarian Onedropzendo in 2000,although at that time we did not yet use this name. We simplyregarded ourselves as practitioners who consider the Roshi theirmaster.

Thenew place where we started to practice was a Tibetan center calledShambala. We rented the Dharma-hall there, twice a week. At thattime, there were only 5 or 6 of us. We put out a small flyer on thewall in Shambala, but hardly anyone signed up for practicing. Ofcourse, some people would drop by, but stopped practicing after acouple of times.

Sowe were practicing in Shambala for some years. But, as time passedby, also some of the founders went abroad, to the United States andGermany.

Eventually,I wrote to the Roshi and asked him to send a monk, or somebody elsewith considerable experience to Hungary, if possible, because Ithought this would surely do good to the group, and the practicewould deepen a lot. The background to this is that during a sesshinin Hungary in 2001, I received my name, and thus officially becamedisciple of the Roshi. With this, the connection between the Roshiand our group deepened, and this entitled me to write to him later.We offered that – with the help of a rich entrepreneur friend ofmine – we rent a flat for the guest monk and take care of her/hissustenance. However, the Roshi did not reply to this letter for oneyear. Afterwards, I sent him another letter, and then he sentSozui-san, who arrived and moved into a flat which we rented for hernear the Southern Railway Station, Budapest.

Zui-sanhad a really difficult time, in a foreign environment, withoutspeaking the language. Without her energy, persistent work andsensibility, the Hungarian group could not have developed. She laiddown the foundations, and we bought the basic equipment with her:cushions, materials, dishes etc. And because we were paying for thesethings that had to be bought – Attila (Tokusho) and me –,sometimes I was tearing my hair that we still need this and that,too, because we were not really well-to-do in those days, either.Zui-san was working a lot; the daily two sittings also started duringher presence and with her help. Unfortunately, this first flat wasnot really suitable for practicing. It is difficult to tell, why, butpeople did not like to go there.

Then,around 2005-2006 if I am not mistaken, with the help of theabove-mentioned entrepreneur friend of mine, we managed to move intoa bigger flat in Pest's Hajós street. Also a one-day workshop tookplace in Budapest in 2006. Zui-san stayed in Budapest until about oneyear after we moved to Hajós street. At that time we felt that weourselves have to solve the problems and cannot avoid that themembers of the group make efforts for the group itself; we felt thatwe have to take more responsibility, and that we cannot expect fromZui-san to do what we need to do, and therefore, we wanted to step onour own way.

Whenwe ourselves took responsibility people started to come, and all theefforts that we put into the sangha, starting from Marika andcontinuing with Zui-san, finally began to bear fruit. We put a lot ofenergy into the group. I myself was in the zendo every day. For abouthalf a year, I got up at 4 am and came to Hajós street to sit from 6am to 9 am every weekday, and I was sitting in the evenings, too.Then, for years, I was present in the zendo every single day. Andsomething began to move. We created the homepage and the email-list,we started to write and talk. We organized a weeklyjikijitsu-schedule, monthly weekend sesshins, Rohatsu and New Yearretreats. It was also around this time that we introduced casualtea-drinking after sittings. And our efforts started to bringresults. Currently, the number of regular practicers – sitting atleast once a week – is about 40-50. An additional 20-30 people sitless regularly. Finally, on the mailing list there are around 150-160people: this is a wider circle we keep in touch with, but they do notall necessarily come to sit.

Iam convinced that Zen has to be adapted to any particular environmentwithout losing its essence. That is what happened when Zen wastransmitted to China and later to Japan. And this is going to happenin Hungary, Europe and America.

Forus, here in Hungary, Zen could be like fresh air or clear water. Ourperspective puts a lot of weight on us: the sensation of beingdisconnected, special, incompatible and mistreated. We are moreloaded with these than Europe. This is, of course, an outcome of ourhistory. To set ourselves free from that heaviness and grayness, fromthis envy and (in a certain sense) arrogance, from this perspectiveof blaming others, Zen is of great importance. It teaches us to liveand work together, and to esteem each other's virtues. It teachesus that we have to drag ourselves out of destruction by grabbing ourown hair. Out of spiritual decay, and out of the destructiverelationship with our environment, too. It teaches us to cooperate,and to live up to our full potential. In vain is a nation talented ifits members cannot live to their potential because they are unable tocooperate and to share what they have. We have to get rid of ourfalse myths. It would be crucial to face ourselves and be sincere toourselves, to see our sins, including our historical sins, and beable to work through them. A path like Zen can help a lot with that.It teaches us to be disciplined and perseverant. It shows us the wayfrom a national identity to the experience of the universal. We doneed it.

Ourpractice is like an nuclear bomb. In the beginning, there is just atiny minority radiating. But later, there is a possibility of achain-reaction being started, penetrating the whole society. So,there is a possibility of it, and there is also a chance. This iswhat I believe in.


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