Why build a Zen temple in Europe?
For many years we have been carrying this project in our hearts and minds, waiting for the right time and right place to appear in its material form. That started in 2004, when we discovered this wonderful place in the Pilis Mountains. Land purchase began in 2005, construction commenced in 2006, and we held our first 90-day retreat in the temple in 2008. 2009 has seen the construction of a new Zen Hall and auxiliary buildings, as well as the second long retreat originating from the Korean Zen tradition, adapted to western style by our School's founding teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn.
Why go into such effort and build a temple from scratch? The main reasons are the following:
- We have a growing number of European Sunims in our School, who would return from their monastic training in Asia, but they do not have a place to practice and live in Europe.
- There are people who want to become monks and nuns, but there is no monastic training place for them before they go to continue their training in Korea.
- We need a permanent place for our 90-day winter retreats with an ever increasing number of participants.
- Last, but not least - we truly need a rural place, in the middle of nature, which servers as a refuge for all practitioners who wish to live or stay for a while with a practicing community.
Hopes and aspirations
Though we had our vision in mind what the temple should look like, we have always responded to what has appeared in front of us from the very beginning. Though there always was an original idea of the future grounds and buildings, the temple project is funded and carried out by all those volunteers who see the true value of the three precious jewels - the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. To some, it may seem naive to trust that what we dream about will manifest, but the real events from the inception of the project have shown otherwise. We have faced tremendous difficulties in all areas, but with consistent practicing and closely working together we have been able to overcome them. These difficulties have become genuine training for us. Our adversaries have become our true teachers. We have never been disappointed, only realized how much karma we have to work off to build the temple inside as well as on the outside.
The temple layout will provide enough space for several types of activities, including retreats, solo-retreats, workshops, public talks, relaxation, individual studies and many, many more.
The following buildings will be built for the temple purposes:
- Buddha Hall
- Green House and extensive vegetable and herbal garden
- Bell and Drum Tower
- Sauna with bath house
- Solo-retreat huts
Since we are based in the very heart of nature, we are very well aware of what we are doing to it. That is why we are continuously trying to protect our environment by using only ecological household products, re-using the kitchen waste in the garden, using nature-friendly materials, alternative energy, respecting all living beings on the temple grounds and surroundings. All this became a natural part of our every-day mindfulness and compassion practice.