Welcome to Buddhist Society
Buddhism is quite well known in the West today. All schools of Buddhism are based on the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, who lived in northern India about 2500 years ago. At the age of 33 he had an experience - a religious awakening, through which he saw what this universe is, how it works and how we human beings can live in harmony. From this experience came Shakyamuni Buddha's wisdom and compassion. From that time until his death at the age of 80 he strove to instill this insight into his followers.
Over time several distinct schools of Buddhism evolved, of which Zen is one that emphasizes zazen - sitting meditation.
Here is a famous description of Zen Buddhism:
Four Sacred Verses of Bodhidharma.
A special transmission outside the scriptures;,
Not depending upon words and letters;,
Directly pointing at the mind-heart of man;,
Seeing into one's nature and attaining Buddhahood.
These verses are easily understood except for "attaining Buddhahood". This can be translated as "realization of perfect enlightenment": an experience of the fact of primordial perfection of all and everything. There is nothing to attain, nothing to get. It is already here. Wake up! You are in the midst of the Kingdom of God.
Therefore zazen is simply sitting. There is nothing to strive for, nothing to gain. Mastering this state however, takes some adjustment and this is where Zen training comes in.
Rinzai Zen Buddhism is famous for using koans to awaken its students to the "special transmission outside the scriptures". Koans are dialogues or questions that are impossible to understand intellectually, but rather point to direct experiences.
Buddhist Society is a place where you can come for zen training.
Our practice is based on the Rinzai Zen School of Buddha Dharma.
Buddhist Society's members are people who gathered in order to move on with their personal development through training in the style brought to Denmark by Choan Roshi.
Buddhism in a nutshell: Buddhism is about: What is reality really? How does it function? And how can I learn to live in harmony with this, so that I can gain final and perfect peace of mind beyond any doubt, fear or confusion?
This is what our training and practice is about. Not theoretical (you don't get your stomach filled by reading recipes), but real training with this in mind.
Our place of practice is Havredal Zendo in the middle of Jutland.
Buddhist Society's ethical guidelines can be seen here.
In 1921 , the chief physician and psychiatrist in Viborg, Dr. Christian F. Melbye, inspired by Theosophical Buddhism, established the first Danish Buddhist association, Buddhist Society (- of Denmark), whose membership never exceeded 10 people. The association stopped with Melbye's death in 1953.
Melbye was the Danish representative of two influential international Buddhist organizations, the Bund für Buddhistische Leben and the Mahabodhi Society, and he personally communicated with Anagarika Dharmapala and D.T. Suzuki. He was an intellectual, and was concerned about how to convey what he acknowledged was too exotic for most of his contemporaries:
"Buddhism on Danish soil - yes, much could arouse one's hope that it had good prospects. And as we see the heath covered with heather in full bloom, we can also see the Buddha's exalted thoughts spread among a large number of people in the midst of our dry Danish spiritual land".
However, it was symptomatic that the handful of members of the Buddhist Society - apart from publishing a Buddhist journal (articles written by Melbye himself) - never met to actually practice Buddhism before the Buddhist Society's final dissolution in 1950. .
Buddhist Society has now re-emerged - and with the significant difference that we are actually a group of people who practice Buddhism. We will see if this means that "the sublime thoughts of the Buddha are spreading among a large number of people in the midst of our dry Danish spiritual land", but that is certainly our hope.
Buddhist Society is a religious community of Buddhists who practice under the leadership of Choan Bertelsen (Denko). Our 'style' is a further development of Rinzai Zen Buddhism.
Choan Bertelsen Roshi (formerly Denko John Mortensen), is one of the very few westerners to complete the Rinzai Zen Buddhist training and become a Zen Master.
He first became interested in Zen Buddhism in the late sixties in Denmark. He went to Ryutaku-Ji in Japan, where he met Soen Nakagawa Roshi, and later became a student of Soen Roshi's successor, Eido Shimano Roshi. Denko Roshi was ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk on July 4th 1980. Denko Roshi received Dharma Transmission (Inka) from Eido Roshi in 2002.
Choan Roshi ran his own temple in the United States, Pine Hill Zendo, for five years, has been President of Zen Studies Society in New York (startet for D. T. Suzuki in the fifties), as well as Vice Abbot of Dai Bosatsu Monastery in the Catskill Mountains of USA.
Choan Roshi is a member of AZTA, American Zen Teachers Association.
Choan Roshi now lives in Havredal Zendo in Jylland, Denmark.
Seishin Bunyen Osho was born april 1978 in Iran. At the age of 8 she was forced to flee Iran for Tyrkey with her family. Here she had, 9 years old, an awakening eperience which was the beginning of her intense seeking during the next 26 years. She wanted to be able to maintain the 'empty' eperience of her real being.
In 1990 the family moved to Denmark, where Seishin took an education as cand. merc. HRM. She lived a 'normal' life until she met Zen master Choan Bertelsen in 2015. Then she dropped her career and moved to Havredal Zendo in order to thoroughly study Rinzai Zen buddhismen.
On december 8, 2016 Seishin was ordained as monk. On october 8, 2021 Seishin was appointed Dharma Teacher and on april 15, 2023 she received the Dharma from Choan Roshi at a Dharma Transmissions ceremoni in Havredal Zendo. After more than a lifetime of struggle in order to understand the complicated mind of humans Seishin is now ready to give of her insight. We all look forward to experience her clear wisdom.
Most days there is a zazen meeting in Havredal Zendo and several times a week we conduct morning service.
The times are though not fixed so - contact us in advance.
Dokusan (only for active students) and/or consultation as needed can be arranged. Please let us know before we start zazen.
Besides, there are larger events several times per year. Further info here: her