Alpsee cruise on a buccaneer

EC Blog Archive for July, 2012

We were invited by the captains of the pirate ship frequently sailing by the EC to exchange information and to get into closer contact. Approximately 35 sangha members were divided into two groups during the first two hours: one group went on board, the other stayed ashore. 

On the one-hour cruise the captains told that they do their job without being paid. The boat itself is owned by the town of Immenstadt. The tourists often ask them about the Europe Center but the captains could not give any precise information so far. During the cruise on the lake we were able to give them more basic details about us, e.g. that we do not have a public café or a hotel – which is what people sometimes expect.

At the same time the second group received a guided tour through the recently built Alpseehaus near the harbour of Bühl. On the ground floor, the tourist information, a café, and a cheese-store have found their home, on the first floor there is an interactive, hands-on exhibition about the mountainous region with its geological, cultural and biological characteristics.

As the grand finale the barbeque party at the lake took place at the local sailing-club. Excellent food and drinks were enjoyed, interesting and open talks between the captains and Buddhists rounded off the day. As a result we can say: the Buddhists have found new friends who will come to the Europe Center for a return visit in fall and we are looking forward to it!

Taking a break from work at the desk, Lama Ole took a walk on the EC grounds this week, enjoying the sunshine with his students at around 30° and looking at the progress of the building-up. With all the infrastructure already standing, the activity is now taking place mainly inside the big tents.

After “hitchhiking” up the hill from the kitchen- and dining tents on a forklift, Lama Ole talked to his students building up the gompa tent about the changes that are happening here this year – for example the fresh and bright orange colored background of the stage and the complex light system that needs to be fixed securely under the tent’s roof.

Rounding off the tent tour, Lama Ole checked out the “smaller” big tents like the welcome and registration tents, the shuttle team’s office, and last but not least the brand new pirate ship in front of the child care tent!

Still powerful, still joyful – the past ten days saw a summer course build-up that was to impress with apparently unending diligence and strength.

Planning inside the houses or putting the plans into practice up on the hill – one felt like in a time lapse movie considering the record speed of the build-up. The team care made sure there were enough coffee breaks and refreshments in between, and the cafeteria is already running as well.

Within less than two weeks, just a few friends transformed half of the EC’s old barn into a beautiful place for meditation and meetings with the Lamas during the Summer Course.

They covered the walls and the “ceiling” with white fabric in between the old wooden roof bars. This contrast of materials together with warm light creates a warm and cosy atmosphere and the beautiful statue of Buddha “Loving Eyes”(Tibetan: Chenrezig) makes it a perfect place for meditation. The first international meeting with meditations is already taking place this weekend, right before the start of the summer course.

Of course, the barn will be transformed again in the next years. Then, the 1st floor of the existing barn will again take on the most noble function at the Europe Center – the gompa. With floor space of approx. 570 m2, there will be room to accommodate events with many hundreds of people.

Similarly, the large common kitchen in the lower ground floor with a 250 m2 dining room will make it possible for many more people to eat together comfortably. Along with the big gompa upstairs, these facilities will enable the EC to host large events year-round without renting or building additional tents, toilets, etc. This is not possible at the moment, especially in winter. The International Summer Course – with several thousands of participants – should then remain the only event requiring extra infrastructure. Want to know more about the construction plans? Your can find all the information on more.ec!

Touring Europe with Karmapa

July 25th, 2012

After 6 weeks of touring with H.H. Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje all across Europe, Caty came home for a few days and shared her impressions and experiences with the summer course build-up team after meditation. Here some major ideas of the evening.

”Gyalwa Karmapa recognizes the fruit of Lama Ole’s work. Diamond Way Buddhists are famous for organizing everything together in a joyful way, voluntarily.

Karmapa often expressed that he is happy about our centers in the West and that he wishes for the connections between East and West to be strengthened in the future, as Lama Ole’s principles of friendship and grass root networks really are working.

Karmapa was also very happy about what he saw at the Europe Center and could not believe the enormous development that has happened here since he visited the last time. He sees what we have achieved with our common power and idealism. He sees all these little details  and notices the love we put into this center – he was so full of praise…

On the very first day of his European Tour, Karmapa said: ‘Practice, practice, practice.’ Later he mentioned in each teaching: ‘Maintain your practice.’ An other time he said: ‘If you practice, we are getting synchronized. When we all practice, this is when space is uniting us.’ In the same way we have been practicing at the Europe Center right from the beginning – meditation every morning and evening. This creates our beautiful mandala.”

This time we lack the words a little bit – and maybe we also do not need many.

The past weekend was nothing but a shining example of the fourth of the 6 liberating actions or paramitas: joyful effort for the benefit of others. So we let the pictures speak for themselves how much action, friendship, and joy can be squeezed into one weekend.

Many, many thanks to everyone who came!

As the summer course draws near, preparation is well underway. Although the weekends with lots of diligent helpers give the biggest push towards getting ready for the course, there are a few heroes working throughout the week to make it possible.

Along with the construction of those outer conditions, we are beginning to prepare inwardly as well. At the recent courses we learned that Gyalwa Karmapa prefers to be asked direct and detailed questions focused on the topic, so we began preparing for his teachings about Guru Yoga during the summer course by collecting ideas and questions focused on the student-teacher relationship in Diamond Way Buddhism.

A brief lecture by John which focused on how our EC is a perfect place to gain an understanding of Guru Yoga in a daily living context. Guru Yoga is the inseparability from the teacher in Diamond Way Buddhism and is the profound power of the unbroken transmission of the Karma Kagyu Lineage.

Afterwards we gathered around the dining table and shared inspiring memories of recent teachings by Gyalwa Karmapa as well as experiences he has been sharing with us so far this summer. This way, some themes and questions for the summer course lectures began to emerge during the evening, and this preparation for the time with our Lamas in a few weeks will gradually gain form. This organic process will continue over the coming weeks, and all are welcome to take part, whether physically at the EC or not.

By now the EC is definitely in Summer Course mood!

Around 100 friends came last weekend to help, for example with drilling thousands of screws into the wooden bars of the future kitchen tent’s floor. The floor needs to be extremely stable despite the soft ground it is built on, in order to carry the heavy industrial kitchen equipment. The shower tents are up already, and so are the wooden staircases and walkways. They are one of the first things done each year to make it easier for the helpers to walk up and down the hills.

If you would like to come spontaneously to join the build-up fun during the next two weeks, don’t forget to bring your tent and please register via join@europe-center.org

Ladies and gentlemen, may we present our brand new dormitories…

After months of work, the Emerald and Sapphire dormitories in the basement of the EC villa give an idea of what the furnishing of the new EC building may look like. The dorms together provide space for 14 people – and lots of luggage.

To furnish rooms for the EC, Abel decided to move from Hong Kong to Allgäu. Being a boat designer, he knows exactly how to get the most out of a rather small room – and with lots of style as well.

So now instead of metal bunk beds for singles with tons of luggage all over the room, there are cosy cubicles with double beds and curtains. Our sangha Electricians Jörg and Piotr “enlightened” all the beds with reading lamps and power plugs for laptop or mobile phone charging. And in between and underneath the beds, there is still enough space to let suitcases and bags just disappear in the huge drawers on wheels.

Sooo, if you are a couple and you would like one of our new double beds, please just mention it when you register for your visit at the EC by email.

 

One of the reasons for building up the Europe Center is the wish to give our globe-travelling Lamas a place to come home to and retreat at in between meditation courses with thousands of students.

Therefore, we are very happy that  H.H. 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, the lineage holder of the centuries-old Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, stopped by the EC together with Lama Ole for a few quiet and private days during his European Summer Tour covering Spain, Lithuania, Hungary, the UK, Germany and France.

Gyalwa Karmapa met with a high school class from the nearby town of Kempten during his stay. He answered their smart questions about Buddhism and himself, being considered a living Buddha. Most of the two hours spent together though, Gyalwa Karmapa asked the students about their own life and values in order to learn more about young people’s ideas and concerns, as he does throughout his whole Europe Tour and even in an online Facebook poll for young people “The Wealth of Europe”.

Except for this, there was no official program scheduled and the Europe Center was closed to the public. However, the friends living and working at the EC to make Karmapa’s stay possible received an unexpected great gift. His Holiness guided a common meditation which focused on the development of compassion for all beings. Afterwards, he invited for a special “momos” dinner together with him and Lama Ole as a celebration of granting of the Building Permission for the new London Buddhist center at the Beaufoy Intitute which came during Karmapa’s stay in the EC. The production of “momos”, typical Tibetan dumplings, was guided by monks from Karmapa’s entourage and involved even the children from the EC Sangha.

One of the Lamas accompanying His Holiness, Tsultrim Namgyal, was already an assistant to the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. He kindly shared his memories of the two Karmapas with us on two consecutive evenings in the Diamond Room.

We would like to thank Gyalwa Karmapa and Lama Ole for their visit and are much looking forward to welcoming them back very soon – together with thousands of friends for the 5th International Summer Course at the Europe Center!