Zen Center Athens
Zen Center was born as an idea from the personal desire of Constantinos Sgoumpopoulos for a center to exist in Greece that will host, teach and share the great tradition of ZEN and the philosophy of martial arts for anyone interested in deepening in them. «After a long personal history that started from a deep study of the art of Tae Kwon Do and followed by ZEN, I decided that I would like to see in Greece the possibility to practice a tradition that is still alive, and concerns today’s man and which is not at all dogmatic. Although ZEN is an offshoot of Buddhism, it is not necessary that it should be practiced as a religion while at the same time it is not a doctrine. It is essentially a practice that can transform every person. Thus, anyone who has the need and is ready to know it, is not required any longer to go as far as China and Japan”.
Zen Center, through the arts and practices that it hosts, aims both to achieve better health and wellbeing and also developing human virtues such as self-esteem, mutual respect, courage, compassion, honesty, fairness, shaping in this way characters capable of living together in harmony and in a creative way with their fellowmen. To achieve these goals persistence is required and disciplined exercise in a pleasant environment.
The company is a non-profit organization and its purposes are charitable and cultural. The main and ruling objective is the teaching of eastern philosophy practices (meditation, martial arts, yoga), which concern all dimensions of human life and influence the development of the individual through the development of self-awareness and self-discipline. There is the belief that the development of the spirit through physical activity, culture of philosophical knowledge and meditation creates most accomplished people mentally and spiritually and more ready to act with responsibility and creatively within society. Particularly important is the contribution of experienced teachers of any lifestyle art, which is a precious thing, rare for someone to find. Another thing that is considered important is the development of bonds, the spread of the spirit of solidarity and cultivation of relationships between members, friends of the company, with other similar organizations as well as with educational, spiritual and cultural associations.
The long-term objective concerns eventually the spiritual and cultural development of society, seeking the restoration of love and brotherhood among people regardless of gender, nationality, religion and social class.
DO NOT FORGET: Zen Center is not a profit organization, but a place for search. The members, trainees and guests are practicing thanks to their interest in and love of traditional arts and the practice in these is not an open forum for discussion. The teacher teaches, the trainee is practicing, discovering and learning the Road, Do. Nothing more, nothing less.
The symbol of the Center, Ensō, means in Japanese “cycle” and constitutes a concept which is strongly associated to ZEN. Ensō is one of the most ordinary objects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a digit. It symbolizes the absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe and the vacuum – by itself it can symbolize the Japanese aesthetics itself. As an “expression of the moment” it is often considered as a form of minimal expressionist art.