Raw fish and Dream Teams

EC Blog Archive for February, 2008

Raw fish and Dream Teams

February 28th, 2008

Monday morning main activity in the EC was our great hall renovation: Walls were vacuum-cleaned, holes carefully filled, surfaces gently caressed and finally covered in 2-3 layers of original paint. All done by Beate’s “Dream Team” of happy, dilligent women. After work, the good people of Immenstadt went to visit the good people of Schwarzenberg on extension of a generous sushi invitation from Michaela and Gabi. The evening offered plenty of raw fish, stories, laughing and dancing. In recent days, Bernhard from Garmish has continued work on the hall bathroom, the road construction trucks slowly move ever further up the road and Patricia, Alex and Thorulf’s rooms are closer to perfection thanks to our “apartment hero”, Marco. At the present moment, the hall is soon ready for removal of foil and felt and another great working weekend is coming up. Our beloved Klara and Roman have had to stay in Czech Republic for at little while longer, but to our great joy, their beautiful faces joined in on Skype last night.

So a lot is going on inside and outside and we will have the perfect frames for our activity here for a very long time into the future. But as Lama Ole says; “In this company we sell only one product and that is human development”. And as work goes along, there is a continuing flow of human exchange and discovery. People meet, talk, feel each other and realise new things. All with great openness and as family and this all the time expands our minds and brings us even closer. For example Rafal finding great inspiration from hearing stories from Verena about her and Jürgen’s meditations in most of our European retreat centres, Beate reading the draft of An Ja’s book of her life story and getting to know another human being better, and our soon-to-be-parents of two babies Philip and Mirjana sharing their story of how it all happened and the joys (and rearrangement of bed room to fit in the new residents) of bringing new life into the EC.

All our Kagyus are truly connecting, touching and impressing each other here. We get closer to each other, constantly discovering new human qualities and great richness. Everyone contributes with deep power, wisdom and experience, and in this way, our international mosaic starts to work. This deep level of wild and meaningful human exchange – also on the secret level – is what will really secure our future together.

From Dust till Dawn

February 24th, 2008

This weekend the villa was a maze. Expexting a lot of dust this weekend we carefully covered eveything with thik felt sheets and plastic already on Thursday and Friday. Because in the main hall the walls were treated by the restauration team (others say it was painted) we closed the passage through it, and everybody had to enter the house through the basement door and the tiny spiral staircase. While Beate and her team made dust in the hall, Merete´s team was cleaning the sealed off dust-proof rooms with great love to detail even with toothbrushes (no joke).
But not enough: There was also work for the men. In the Lama flat a dry wall was taken out and in the basement the concrete floor slab was removed – or at least we started that, because it prooved itself to be quite solid. Helpers came from Graz, Sidney, and some places in Germany.
At the same time Patricia was preparing their room to move in with her husband Alex and their son Thorulf (3) in March.
So much for the Dust – after work everybody came together to share some good wine and stories untill dawn…

Yours EC Team

Once again, Sunday evening in the Europe Center was quiet after the always active, joyful and most valued weekly weekend invasion of friends from everywhere. At the evening house meeting, we made plans for our open-door-day for the neighbours on March 9th and we can reveal that there WILL be nice cake and classic music. Our beloved Rafal came back to us for some days until an upcoming teaching trip to Ireland and everyone was so happy to have this great guy (= Our Rude Pole”) home!

Discussing what to write in the next blog, we realized not much happened and decided to have a drinking party to have something to write about. In this happy manner, Wednesday evening quickly turned into an orgy of good local Southern German weiss beer, Czech techno and expressive dancing steps on the hall floor. The guys even brought up the big bucket of empty bottles from the basement to fill up the entire table to make it all look even more impressive and “happening”. This was one of very many happy evenings in the Europe Center where all is also not work.

The anticipated quiet coming weekend will not be so quiet after all: Tuesday Philip announced the coming of 4 cars from Innsbruck on top of the already planned cars from Hungary and Darmstadt + the “loose friends” being here. Several construction sites are planned in hall and basement of the villa. Caty left for an almost three week trip to Hong Kong, India and Kathmandu with such noticeable persons as Karmapa, Lama Ole and Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and we are sure she will follow the exciting new construction on her home closely from a distance. We miss her, her enormous effort for all of us and her wonderful laugh sounding through the hall, but we will take care of everything while she is gone and have naturally arranged a big bowl of roses on the table in the freshly vacuumed cleaned hall, just in her spirit :-)

Rafal and Merete are writing this blog (Rafal telling Merete his great, visionary ideas and insights of what to write, Merete typing, Merete writing what she wants to write anyway, Rafal writing “unplugged” in his nice little note book (which will once be published for the great benefit of all) complaining that he cannot get to the computer) in Rafal’s room. In the moment of writing, one by one, everyone is coming into the room… Lisa, Tamas, Sophia, Gerrit, Pavel, Bernhard… Apparently they sensed that this is where it is happening this evening and as we say goodbye for now, the classic music from Rafal’s computer (actually, we are COMPOSING this blog to Mozart), the formerly frozen Irish cream liqueur, now heated on Rafal’s “Kachelofen” (oven = a piece of furniture, for those of you who wonder what part of Rafal’s body we are (not) referring to) and the laughters are flowing in this lovely corner of our Europe Center…

Next blog with Rafal’s visions is (perhaps) coming up as soon as effect of Irish cream liqueur has taken off…

Goulash, Guys and Chain saws

February 16th, 2008

Thursday – the weekend wave starts rolling. First friends from Austria arrive and help us in the house. Friday evening we get delicious „Austrian Goulash“ and we are looking forward to our first „Hungarian Goulash“. Gerri already promised to cook some one day. Pavel from Czech is an alround talent. Not only is he a gifted craftsman, but he also can cook fantastically and takes wonderful pictures as well. See below. It is always a pleasure to make new friends and share life.

The main task for this weekend is forest work. Ten friends from Czech arrive on Friday to help in the forest together with the Austrians and some Germans. Trees had to be cut for the new wider road and the branches had to be cleared off the road and the meadows. Beate – our professional restaurator – works with helpers on the Gompa walls.

Yours EC – Team

On Monday the road construction started. The road up to our Europe Center is narrow and in bad condition. It has to be improved for the construction period and also for the summer course. We make a new gravel surface and improve the drainage system. Parts of the road will be wider so that two vehicles can meet and we build a new bridge at the waterfall. The old bridge there was too narrow for trucks or busses which have to pass for the upcoming events. The construction period will last about two weeks and the work is done by a company because they have the heavy machines and the experience.

Our so called museum has a new destiny for a while. The architects Gerrit from Kiel, Tomas from Budapest and Philip found a new home there to spend their days. It is good to be in the middle of the things happening and plan the next steps. Tomas is drawing the facades with great love to detail and Gerrit is helping to organize the setup for the summer course. Also our new office on the first floor was finished with new lamps and a new white desk top so that friends can work and meet together.

Every day we have visitors from the sangha from all over and also the locals are interested in the project as they had no chance in the last decades to see the place. On Tuesday Pavel from Czech Republic came and is helping us for the next two weeks. Welcome Pavel! On Monday Philips father Konrad tuned our two pianos in the house. We are looking forward to long nights piano sessions. Last night Merete invited everybody for a house warming to her lovely decorated room.

Yours EC Team

Two days ago had almost all recent residents an afternoon off. So, we took two cars and disappeared in the Bavaria. While enjoying the fast driving, we were exploring the surroundings and looking forward to see the aim of our trip – the famous crazy castle Neuschwanstein. The route plan showed us, that the castle is just 1,08 hour of driving from the EC. Unfortunately we did not manage the opening hours, but we saw all the monument from outside. Than our Lithuanian friends found 50 Euro, so we all strengthened our relationships by big cake feast in the closest restaurant.

On Friday have again arrived many friends for the working weekend. You can meet with everybody from the core team of the Summer course 2008, members of foundation or with our wood helpers from Czech, Hungary, Germany and Lithuania. In fact, Lithuanians named Stepas and Violeta are the most international couple here – coming from Vilnius, living in London, having American passport :)

Friday was also a day when Merete from Danmark moved in. Lovely lady came with opened warm heart and the huge van full of the furniture. The evening was a “moving party” for everybody. All people created a big human chain from the van to the room, transporting all the Merete′s things in the most funny and joyful Kagju style. Welcome home Merete!!!

EC team


Painting in the EC

February 7th, 2008

Our lama’s wish is to paint the whole house in the white colour. White is always nice, fresh, clean and fits to every furniture or equipment. But to paint a house which was built in Italian style in the beginning of the 20th century, is not an easy task. Every room needs an expert who knows which colour is possible to use, where to order it (a lot of the material needs to be ordered in Italy), how to use material which fits to a special type of textile on the walls and of course how to respect the rules of restauration, because the house is protected as a landmark. That’s why the painting here is an art. Our great painting magicians are called Beate and Heike:

For two weeks I am doing some painter work in the wonderful villa of the Europe center with a great view over lake and snow mountains. This precious and historical protected building makes me leaving behind some ordinary concepts of a painter and also because it is a Dharmaplace brings in some other dimensions.

Together with nice friends and in the power field of the Lama it is even a great pleasure to scratch away centimeter for centimeter almost 100 years old wallpaper with a makulatur of newspapers of same age. The same way as scratching away the veils from our mind!

Happily powdered by chalk dust from brushing the painted walls, we enjoy to clean this jewel of house for the benefit of all beings.

Welcome to join !

Heike (Ravensburg) and the EC team

Wojtek about EC

February 5th, 2008

On Monday Wojtek came to visit EC. He stayed there for two days…

Finally my karma became good enough and I have landed at our Europe Center. The amazing thing here is, that one can really feel the richness and potential of the place – the possibilities are visible everywhere – in the number of hectares we have, the beautiful view really taking the breath, fresh air and space around, the location itself, close to so many countries, the atmosphere of real friendship and easiness. One can see, that everyone is consciously caring for the international and relaxed character of EC – there is a strong feeling of being at home, at ones own place – the place to meditate, do something hopefully meaningful, take a rest and have some wine with Caty, Gerge, Clara, Roman and all the other friends – in big amounts, of course:)
Even as a natural optimist, one becomes even more optimistic after a short time spent here.
We are definitely „sentenced to success”, as some Polish buddhist say…

Wojtek Tracewski

I have never seen so many architects on one place in one time. They are everywhere!!! :)
In this snowy and typical winter day have arrived around 40 people a most of them are the whole day discussing the structure, buildings, construction and models of the whole EC. Just from time to time they have a coffee and tea break, but the rest of the time they are simply in the plans. And because we have been thinking about the way, how to improve our blog, we have decided to give a space to the others for expressing the impressions from the EC visit. So, the next paragraphs were written by Marianne and Kai:

Friday evening, the dinner table hosted more and more people from all over the place. Wonderful Lisa and her helpers created excellent food for guests and residents. Niclas, our permanent cook, will have to live up to this :)

Later, after meditation, when we were again packed like sardines, people shared good mood, met old and made new friends and developed working plans for the next days. 15 Architects for two and a half days worked together visualizing how the Europe Center will look like in future und figured out the way to work together effectively. Of course in the evenings we appreciated the outcome of the distinguished local breweries. Particularly strong Allgäuer Bockbier enjoyed much positive reception. Reliable sources reported that in the future we may even have regular beer supply from the Czech Republic.

Again friends from Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, and Poland were in the house and continued the work that was started or carried out last weekend outdoors and indoors. Cleaning the lofts, preparing and painting the walls in the basement, supporting the kitchen, house work, logging, barn cleaining and shovelling snow was on the agenda. In between lots of exchange of friendship, fun, experience and skills happened. In the office a band of girls, who can read and count both in German and English language, established a basis for the financial management of the Europe Center.

This Saturday three pretty blond girls, Silke, Beate und Kerstin, from Munich, the cosmopolitan city with a heart (Weltstadt mit Herz) in the farer vicinity of the Europe Center, came for creatively cutting and applying transparent protective lamination to the antic furniture we use in the dining room. Experience from former weekends proved that this is a very practical solution :)

This is a place for surplus and joy.

Sunday morning, after a day of thick grey clouds and tons of fresh snow, a blazing winter sun above the mountain range in the south amazed everybody. Therefore, in the afternoon many took off for a stroll at the shoreline of the lake down below the center. Perhaps, Caty figured, the wooden shack right at the lake that also belongs to us will be later used as a honey moon suite :) Then we checked out coffee and homemade cake served at the self service restaurant directly at the frozen lake. Sitting on the restaurant’s porch and enjoying the late afternoon sun, stories were exchanged and the laughing factor remained quite high until the sun set behind the mountain range.

EC team