Vanja Palmers

Vanja PalmersVanja was at the SFZC and in the Bay Area for ten years. Ordained as a priest by Richard Baker and a dharma heir of Kobun Chino.


Vanja has founded a practice center in Austria and one in the Alps above lake Lucern named Felsentor. There's a zendo in his home in Luzern with beautiful Japanese woodwork by Hiroshi Sakaguchi.

A Place to Center in Austria by Vanja about the Ecumenical House of Silence he and Brother David Steindl-rast founded there. PDF from Winter 1997 Wind Bell.

Cuke Podcast with Vanja 🔊

Felsentor web site

Descending the Mountain: A tender film exploring psilocybin and the nature of consciousness (featuring Vanja).

An invite to the 2004 opening of the Felsentor zendo built by Paul Disco, a beautiful building.

A brief post on a visit to Felsentor in 2016 by Richard Baker and me DC.


Vanja Palmers and Brad Miller founded Buddhists Concerned for Animals years ago at Tassajara. Vanja has been involved with animal rights issues in Switzerland and Austria on a serious scale funding legal action that got all the way to the Swiss supreme court for example. Katrinka and I have visited with his rescue pigs at his place down mountain from Felsentor, the retreat he founded in the Alps above Lake Luzern. profile of Vanja Palmers (also copied below)

David Schneider reports on the opening of a stupa for Kobun Vanja with photos.

August 1, 2002 - An appeal from Vanja for support for Kobun's family.

from the Ahimsa page on cuke

Vanja Palmers (1948- )

Zen Priest Hans Vanja Palmers, Dharma Heir of Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi (1938-2002) of the Japanese Soto school, is an animal rights activist for over 30 years.

Together with his friend Brad Miller in 1980 Palmers started Buddhist Concerned for Animals, BCA, while living at Tassajara, a Zen Buddhist monastery in California. They sent to all Buddhist centers in the US Peter Singers' Animal Liberation and Kapleau Roshi's To Cherish All Life. Over the next two years, Palmers and Miller produced about a dozen BCA newsletters. Later they changed BCA to HFA (Humane Farming Associaton) in order to reach a wider audience. Within the field of animal protection the HFA is very active on various levels and has now almost 200,000 members. Back in Europe, Palmers started Alle Wesen, Buddhismus und Tierschutz ('All Sentient Beings, Buddhism and Animal Protection'), an initiative in German which is inactive at the moment.

In 1989 together with the Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast, he founded Puregg, Haus der Stille ('House of the Silence') in Austria.

Amongst other initiatives, Vanja Palmers is the co-founder of the animal rights and meditation center Felsentor ('Rock Gate'). Felsentor is a small Zen-Buddhist inspired community which finds guidance in the meditative and contemplative traditions of all religions. In addition to organizing workshops and seminars, the community is in the process of establishing a center for animal rights with an animal sanctuary. During the summer months the community runs a small vegetarian restaurant. 

• Homepage Felsentor
• Vanja Palmers'Facebook Page with links to more backgrounds, including videos
• Humane Farming Association 
• Homepage Haus der Stille (German) 
• Grunzmobil (German) 
• Alle Wesen (German)

Vanja on a great gong at his place near Felsentor above Lake Lucern. - video recorded by DC when Zentatsu Baker and I visited with him in July 2016.

Burning Man cardboard zendo designed and built by Paul Disco and funded by Vanja who also helped get it all put together - check out the report and photos.