Seigaku Kigen Oshō (Zen priest and abbot of BodhidharmaZendo Vienna) had been in Vienna for a few years when it was decided that the Zen Association should have its own place for retreats in addition to the “City Zendo” in Vienna.
The association’s board agreed to look for a suitable location. Many different houses were visited. Kigen Oshō had set the following four criteria for the search: close to Vienna, affordable, in a beautiful setting that would attract people and not in need of too much renovation work. It was Claudia Kiun Martini who discovered that the Gasthof Almfrieden on the Hohe was for sale. Kigen Oshō and members of the association’s board then visited the house in the south of Lower Austria. Kigen Oshō agreed to act as the founding osho of this place, as he can look back on many years of Zen training under Joshu Sasaki Rōshi at the Mount Baldy Zen Center in the mountains of California. After training as a monk, he was ordained as an Oshō (Zen priest) and led the Rinzai-ji Zen Temple in Los Angeles as vice-abbot for several years.
The beautifully situated location on the Hohe Wand met with great approval within the association, and so numerous people, both inside and outside the Sangha (the community of practitioners), donated to the purchase of the inn. And – miracle upon miracle – enough money was raised to buy the “Almfrieden”.But as wonderful as the new purchase was, we had only met three of the four criteria.The old house needed extensive renovations.
The renovation work began immediately after the purchase of the house in April 2016 – with great commitment from the Sangha.So many members of the association contributed that every single room in the building was renovated.After about two years, the most important renovation work was completed.Of course, further work is still being carried out today, but the basic shape had been created. For example, we put a lot of effort into installing a completely new heating system and redesigning the large terrace on the south-east side of the building.
The BergZendo is now open for our own practice and also for external seminars.From the very beginning, the place was also intended for guests from all over the world.
Our next project is a new, large Zendo (meditation room). We hope that the miracle will continue and that all the people reading this will participate.