The Three Treasures in the Bonn Zen Centre

The Three Treasures in the Bonn Zen Centre

An interview of the editorial team of the Newsletter ABZE with Patrick Damschen, head of the Bonn since 6 years

ABZE-NL : Could you present the dojo in few words ?

Patrick : The dojo San Bo exists since 1994. It is in the of Soto Zen lineage and above all in line with the International Zen Association (AZI) as well as the European Zen Buddhist Association (ABZE) which gathers the disciples of Master Roland Yuno Rech. However some practitioners from other lineages or other zen traditions are also members, the common practice of zazen is put at the forefront.
bonn1Part of the Sangha tends the community garden, where you can find a beehive since the beginning of May 2012. It is practised in the spirit of non-violent communication, according to Rosenberg.

ABZE-NL : How is it going with your extension projects ?

Patrick : Since the first of November 2011, we have been renting a new place adjoining the dojo. From then on, during many hours of voluntary work, some dojo members and friends of the Sangha have refurbished both the old and the new rooms in order to enlarge the zen center.

ABZE-NL : What is the benefit of this extension ?

Patrick : There is more space now for the Sangha and we have the possibility to organize conferences and workshops for the Buddhist teachers, as well as other happenings and activities complying with the goals of the Zen Dojo association of Bonn. It is planned for instance, to extend the current programme of yoga, and to host a group of people training in non- violent communication.
On top of four weekly zazen, several programmes are proposed during lunchtime. They give the opportunity to neighbours and clerks from offices and shops in the area, to spend their lunch break in a different way, « casting the anchor » and getting back to the essential. On Monday there is a table d’hôte based on donations. Different people from the neighbourhood get together to eat and talk. Taiji and Qigong take place on Tuesday, silent meditation on Wednesday, yoga and relaxation on Thursday.

bonn4ABZE-NL : What contacts do you have with the other dojos of the region ?

Patrick : Actually, the Dojo San Bo keeps close relationships with the other dojos of the area. Many members of our Sangha take part in the zazen days or sesshins they organize. Our dojo organizes, once or twice a year, a zazen day or two-days sesshins lead by external teachers. A week of practice has been taking place regularly for several years at the beginning of December on the occasion of the awakening of Buddha. During this period members of the Sangha do zazen twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, while during the day they attend to their usual activities. In the morning we eat together the genmaï that is served in turns by the monks, the nuns and non-ordained people.

bonn2ABZE-NL : A query on Google « 3 Schätze und Bonn » (The Three Treasures and Bonn) first displays a shop. Is it connected with the dojo ?

Patrick : Further, since the 2nd of June we have in our new premises a shop with goods for meditation and yoga, it is called « Three Treasures » and I am the manager. « Three Treasures » aims at meeting people’s wishes to have a sounder and more conscious way of living and who are searching for a meaning and genuine relationships.
Both on the spot and via the web, « Three Treasures » provide products for a good practice of meditation and yoga as zafus, zafutons, bells, buddha, incense, books, yoga mats, tea and accessories.

ABZE-NL : the « Monk’s kitchen » is also part of the “Three Treasures”. Please tell us more about it.

bonn3Patrick : Once a month, on average, we get together around topics as food and community. Practitioners of the zen dojo, neighbours, friends meet and enjoy the atmosphere of the boutique, sharing their stories and a good meal. For instance, Chadaphorn « Chida » Cheunjai, North American, born Thaî, paid us a visit at the end of September on the occasion of the « Dinner with foreign friends ». And so Chida shared with us extraordinary stories from her country, but especially her excellent cooking skills. It turned to be a fantastic evening, an harmonious friendly gathering of people who didn’t know each other at first. In November it was up to Karin Schuller to introduce us with the art of the Ayurvedic cuisine, during a friendly and relaxed evening, flavoured with the whole range of tastes (salty, sour, sweet, bitter, astringent). We couldn’t host all the interested people, thus we will offer again an Ayurvedic evening in 2013.

Infos et contact :

San Bo Dojo | 3 schätze

Heerstr. 167

53111 Bonn

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