| Center for Growth
VAEKSTCENTERET (Center for Growth) is an open, modern, lay monastery and a training center for meditation, based on the assumption that all major religions share a common spiritual core. This approach aims to share a contemporary spiritual training that people can understand and use without having to compromise their common sense.
The fundamental values of Vaekstcenteret are: a belief in democratic principles, acceptance of our Christian cultural foundation, equal opportunities for men and women, and a basic scientific attitude towards inquiry.
On this site, we share some of the RESOURCES, practices and perspectives that have been developed by Jes Bertelsen, the founder of Vaekstcenteret. Since 1982 they have been part of the spiritual and existential training at the CENTER.
| Practices and Inspiration
This section contains the perspectives and basic exercises taught at Vaekstcenteret. You will also find a model for the pedagogical strategy – the Pentagon model – and a list of Jes Bertelsen’s writings.
| Daily life at the Center
Vaekstcenteret occupies a large traditional whitewashed farm in the village of Noerre Snede, Denmark. It was founded in 1982 by Jes Bertelsen, and is a place of residence, an educational center, as well as a place of intensive training of meditation.
The Centre is maintained and lead by the members of the center community – approximately 100 adults and children. Most members of the community have jobs outside the centre and are living at the centre to take part existentially in the task it is to train compassion and awareness, the foundation of meditation, benefiting from the presence of an authentic spiritual teacher.
A wooden dome arches over the meditation hall at the heart of Vaekstcenteret, since the beginning holding the space for the communities daily meditation sessions, as well as for the many people who regularly visit, come for training programs or otherwise feel connected to the place. Every day since 1982, again and again, all year round, for hours people have meditated here in Store Sal (the big hall).
Vaekstcenteret is organized as a foundation that conducts workshops and training programs. The daily management is in the hands of an executive committee representing the resident community under the leadership of the formal board of the foundation.
The income of Vaekstcenteret primarily stems from workshops and training programs, rental income, a bookshop and donations.
Teachings and training programs
Vaekstcenteret has a core staff of teachers supplemented by guest teachers, who each semester offers a variety of workshops and programs in self-development, mindfulness and retreats – the basic work of meditation. The self-development programs embedded with a spiritual perspective, could be seen as a modern version of the basic schooling known from all classical spiritual traditions. These fundamental training deals with bodily awareness, personal maturing and self-knowledge for the benefit of both one’s personal and work life and for society in general.
The more advanced spiritual training is taken care of by Jes Bertelsen. His Tibetan teacher, Tulku Urgyen, in 1989 authorized him to teach Dzogchen (an advanced form of meditation) from a western perspective and for westerners. Tulku Urgyen acknowledged Vaekstcenteret’s basic schooling as valid preparation for the actual meditative praxis.
In Jes Bertelsen' teachings and on the basis of his own training and experience, the pedagogic build on a synthesis of eastern and western spiritual knowledge and practices, integrating modern psychological and philosophical thinking as one of the prerequisites.
Jes Bertelsen on What is Dzogchen?
| Founder and pedagogic leader
Jes Bertelsen holds a doctorate degree in the History of Ideas from Aarhus University, where he taught from 1970 until 1982 and held a tenured position. His authorship includes 24 books, from Kategori og afgørelse – Strukturer i Kierkegaards tænkning from 1972, to Dejlig er jorden from 2017.
When, at the end of 1982, Jes Bertelsen left Aarhus University, he did so to establish the contemplative community of Vaekstcenteret, where people could engage in existential training, teachings and meditation. Jes Bertelsen’s work is focused on the development of a pedagogy aimed to support unfolding the spiritual and empathic potentials in human beings, in a secular way.
In 1989, during a visit to Nepal he met the Tibetan Rinpoche Tulku Urgyen. This marked the beginning of an intensive learning process that has stimulated interest in the practice of deeper meditation for resident members of the community of the Vaekstcenter as well as among students in general.