28/5/18 About lessons

We would like to inform you that our Center will be closed on Monday 28th of May.

Thank you,

Zen Center Athens

13/5/18 Zen Day

We would like to inform you that the Zen Day on Sunday, May 13, 2018, will be different.

At 11:00-11:30 there will be an introduction to Zen followed by Zazen at 11:30-12:00.
Then an introduction to Aikido at 12:05-12:20, followed by practice in this Art at 12:25-13:00.
Lastly, at 13:05-14:00 there will be time for questions-discussion.

After 14:00, the Zen Day will resume with the usual program.

Attached further below are the next chapters (2-25 & 2-26) from the 2nd book Shōbōgenzō-zuimonki, which will be the subject of discussion at the end of Zen Day.

We kindly insist that you have arrived at our Center strictly by 11.00.

The lunch break takes place at Zen Center and in silence.
You are welcome to bring your own food.

Alternatively, we can arrange a meal that includes rice with vegetables and you should inform us in time by sending an email to: [email protected]
The cost of the meal is 5€.

*Proposed donation: 10€

20/5/18 Vanda Scaravelli inspired yoga

Sunday May 20th
10:30 – 13:30
Zen Center Athens
Limpona 2

Stay a beginner!
Learn and stay forever a beginner.
Because when you know, everything is over.
Stay a beginner and follow the bodys’ intelligence
that teaches you moment by moment.
Leave all recipes behind and continue to learn!

I’m more interested in how all the qualities enrich what I’m doing instead of how they help me do the position.”
Diane Long

What is this way of exercise?
It is a gradual release and linking of the limbs with the spine, the periphery with the center.
Power translates into freedom, gravity to lightness and space to breath.

Who is it for:

Teachers and students of yoga.
Those who are studying movement and release by standards that no longer serve.
Those who are in search of a more intelligent way of exercising.

Alexandra Sotiropoulou has been practicing yoga since 1996 and has been teaching since 2003. She has been studying with Diane Long since 2008 and has been encouraged by her to convey this particular way of practicing. Years of experience and practice bring her a little closer to understanding that “one thing i know, i know nothing”.
Intelligence derives from this understanding without negating the fact that systematic exercise also brings the desired results. Where we turn our attention to and therefore where we are headed makes all the difference.

Participation fee: 30 euros

Contact us for participation and information.

Alexandra Sotiropoulou & Thodoris Chiotis
Karaiskaki 16, Alimos 17455
Athens, Greece
+30 6938690884


Information About lessons

We would like to inform you that our Center will be closed on Tuesday 1st of May 2018.

From Wednesday 2/5, lessons will resume as normal.

Thank you.

A weekend seminar with Bernd Bender, Akazienzendo Berlin The Heart Sutra — Spiritual Transformation and Everyday Life

25-27, May, 2018

The seminar is open to everyone – no prior meditation experience or knowledge of Buddhist teachings is required. Bernd will speak in English with Greek translation.

The Heart Sutra contains the central teachings of Zen.

To put it in a nutshell, the Heart Sutra teaches connectedness. Given the times we live in, completely realizing our deep connection with others and all things is, it seems, of utmost importance. Globalization has turned the world into one “global community,” showing us that everything is connected – with everything. Yet on both the level of the individual and that of societies, the experience of connectedness is increasingly met with fear and rejection, for example in the form of populist politics designed to stop “otherness” from entering what is perceived to be “our” own. Thus, we face enormous problems — climate change, an ever-widening gap between the very poor and the very rich, huge numbers of migrants — and there seem to be no workable solutions in sight.

In view of its teachings on wisdom and compassion, the Heart Sutra is of great relevance here. It shows us that we create suffering for ourselves and others as long as we only perceive the world from a viewpoint of “me” and “they,” and then act on this view. The liberating vision of the Heart Sutra lies in the insight that this kind of dualistic perception is not representative of objective truth, but is a function of the human mind. Moreover, since it is a function of consciousness, it can be changed. As human beings we can develop from an ordinary state of a strong dualistic conditioning to a realization of our inborn “unity nature,” our connectedness with all phenomena, or, to be more precise, the connectedness of all phenomena per se.

The Heart Sutra is thus a very concise, practical introduction to the Buddhist path; it takes us from our present stage of strong dualistic identification to an open, fluid and creative awareness of the unity nature of all existence. To follow this path is to embark on a journey of discovery: it takes us deeper and deeper into our experience, from gross dualistic perceptions of ourselves and others to what Zen calls “mirror wisdom,” an inborn intelligence that directly sees the connectedness of all things.

The Sutra invites us “not to fixate reality,” neither in relation to ourselves nor to others; this is expressed in the “no,” which occurs many times in the text. When it says “no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind,” it is important to understand that the Sutra is not teaching that phenomena do not exist at all, but that they exist as connected, inter-related events. Understanding that nothing exists in and of itself but only relationally is completely essential to our personal development. As long as we fixate phenomena in their apparent separateness, suffering in the form of fear, stress, feelings of inadequacy and deficiency will arise. Insight into our unity nature, however, will result in the experience of completeness, joy and fulfillment. This insight will also make us into more compassionate beings, because it allows us to see directly what the many expressions of human suffering are based on, namely the feeling that we are separate from our innermost nature.

Bernd will express his understanding of the Heart Sutra — thus initiating a dialogue with participants about the meaning of the text and how to apply it to modern life.

During the weekend we will go through the Sutra to gain a greater appreciation of it. In addition, Zen offers many practices for embodying wisdom and compassion, and we will engage in some of them, starting the deep transformational process that makes it possible to evolve from our entangled dualistic experience to an embodied insight into the unity nature of all of life.


Bernd Bender has practised Zen since 1987. He went to California in 1994 to continue his studies at San Francisco Zen Center. He received Dharma Transmission (authorisation to teach) from Dairyu Michael Wenger and is a lineage holder of Soto-Zen. In 2012 he moved to Berlin, where he offers Zen practice, teaches courses in meditation and Buddhist thought, translates, lectures, and accompanies people on their spiritual paths.

Bernd studied literature and philosophy in Frankfurt and Berkeley.


Program and Cost:

Friday evening 20:00 – 22:00: Introduction into Zen-meditation: free

Saturday & Sunday 11:00 – 18:00: Zazen, dharma talks: 40€ both days or 25€ / day

Location: Zen Center Athens, Limpona 2 & Vasilikis, 10560 Athens

Scholarships for reduced course fees are available from Zen Center Athens. In this case, please write to us (please inbox)

Please register by sending an email to: [email protected]