After half a century since Taisen Deshimaru came to Europe, the Zen seed has been finally planted in the Balkan region.
At the beginning of this month Gorsko Kosovo, a small village in the Central-North part of Bulgaria, hosted the first Balkan Zen sesshin. It all started in Bucharest, on the 26th of Febuary, with a Zen conference called Zen, The Interior Revolution, followed by a Zen Ten sesshin led by Master Yvon Myoken Bec.
The sesshin started in Bucharest with monks coming from various cities, like Budapest, Szombathely, Zagreb, Brasov, Iasi and Bistrita Nasaud. It went on for a couple of days and then moved to Gorsko Kosovo where Zen practitioners and beginners joined from all over Bulgaria.
Like in any other sesshins the kusen teachings and the oryoki introductions were part of the great picture. Also the afternoon mondo made this Balkan retreat an unforgettable experience, at least for the newcomers which were eased by the weighting bagful of questions.
So, there were four days of Zen and mild samu practice in a fresh mountain environment, with rather cold evenings and hot noons. Given these wonderful Balkan days one could state that the Ānāpānasati (Sanskrit for mindfulness of breathing) or the contemplationem respiratus (Latin for breathing contemplation) experienced during the Zen practice followed the natural night and day succession, with short-cold breathe in’s and long-warm breathe out’s.