«Mind Only» 23-25 June 2017

“Mind Only” — a Zen Study Retreat, June 23-25, 2017

In English with Greek translation

Buddha Shakyamuni, Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Huineng and Dogen are the great historical teachers of Soto-Zen. All of them expressed the Zen teaching in a different way, and yet each one of them expressed it completely, with the compassionate aim of liberating suffering beings.

In Zen there is a tradition of study retreats; in Japanese they are called genzo-e.

We will dedicate this first genzo-e at Zen Center Athens to the study of Vasubandhu.

Vasubandhu, who lived in India in the 5th century, declared that all things are “Mind Only”. We will try to understand his teachings through one of his most influential texts: “30 Verses on Mind Only”. We will also discuss how to creatively apply these teachings in daily life in order to liberate ourselves and others from being trapped in negative thoughts and emotions.

In addition we will look at later Zen texts – koans and Dogen’s writing to see how deeply Vasubandhu has influenced Zen.

The retreat will include 2 study periods a day and about 4 periods of meditation.

No prior knowledge of Buddhism is required, but please bring a willingness to examine your experience in an open way.

Recommended reading: Ben Connelly, Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara.

The text of the thirty verses can be accessed here »


June 23, 8pm: Introduction into Zen meditation and Vasubandhu’s teaching.

June 24, 11am-6pm: Retreat

June 25, 11am-6pm: Retreat


Friday: Free entrance

Saturday & Sunday: 40€ for both days or 25€ for one day

Bernd Bender has practised Zen since 1987. He went to California in 1994 to continue his practise at the San Francisco Zen Center. There he acquired the Lay Dharma Entrustment (authority to teach) in 2010.
In 2012 he moved to Berlin and founded Akazienzendo, a place for the contemporary expression of Zen (www.akazienzendo.de/en). Since 2014 he also teaches at the Zen Center in Athens (http://www.zencenterathens.com/). Alongside teaching at Zen Center Athens, Bernd will conduct training seminars for those interested in practising with him on a regular basis.
If you are able, financially support Zen practise in Athens. If your funds are limited, please feel free to come and share your interest and effort.