Zen Center Athens is a non-profit public benefit organization, dedicated to the practical teaching of the ancient Way of Zen and the martial arts that carry its spirit. The main purpose of Zen Center Athens is to offer to the people in Athens a chance to discover and learn about this 2600-year-old practice that remains active today and even seems more important than ever before. The practice of zazen is beyond dogmas and is therefore particularly suitable for people in our time. We follow the Soto Zen tradition, as established and recorded by its Japanese founder Dogen Zenji during the 13th century. The core of Zen is zazen, the sitting meditation or “just sitting“. It is a practice that gradually transforms the practitioner, leading her into discovering the original self by removing all the masks that have been put in place during the course of a lifetime.
Our main objective is to teach and promote ancient practices such as meditation, martial arts and yoga, and to focus on the cultivation of self-awareness, self-discipline, and the development of the spirit through physical exercise and meditation.
Essentially important and valuable is the contribution of our experienced teachers in each art. When teaching these arts, the master safely guides the student towards optimum health and heartiness, while at the same time focuses on the development of spiritual virtues, which might be hard to find in our time but seem rather crucial and much needed. Therefore, the teacher or sensei guides the practitioners in achieving the appropriate bodily posture and movement so that they can develop self-respect, mutual respect, vigor, honesty, fair judgment and compassion.
Zen Center Athens is a space for the spiritual exploration of the Way. Our members, practitioners and visitors learn to live in the present through either their dedication to the traditional martial arts or their zazen practice. Our main emphasis is placed on the practitioners’ personal experience that is gained through practical training and not through theories or doctrines. The teacher teaches and the student practices, learns and discovers the Way or the Do; nothing less, nothing more.
By practicing the Way, one is working towards one’s mental and spiritual fulfillment that renders one capable of harmoniously and creatively interacting with other beings. This is the most fundamental goal of Zen Center Athens, to contribute to the spiritual development of our entire society. To be sure, Zen, in itself and through practice, promotes peace and reconciliation initially within ourselves and subsequently within our social relationships, and can thus contribute decisively to the restitution of love and brotherhood among people, regardless of their gender, national, religious and social status.