A cobra!

EC Blog Archive for April, 2008

A cobra!

April 29th, 2008

The architect contest for the Europe Center gompa was initiated in Kassel 2007 and 13 different suggestions came in from countries as different as Poland, Guatemala, Austria, South Africa, England and Germany. A working group of five architects defined the needs and wishes for the new gompa along with Lama Ole and Caty. Four projects were invited to work further on their projects after the first round. Now, last Saturday in the Europe Center was the big day when the over-all winner of the contest would be found. In front of a jury of Lama Ole, Caty, Woitek Kossowski, Ronald Knaack and Philip Leube, the for remaining groups from Hamburg, Buxtehude, Middle Germany (Team Mitte) and Dornbirn in Austria each presented their visions of the new construction with drawings, models, and slides in the living room of the lama flat. All suggestions contained many great elements, but the jury’s choice fell on the remarkable construction from the Team Mitte group. Lama Ole called the architecture of this specific gompa spectacular and timeless and said several times that the shape reminds him of a cobra. The Team Mitte group consisting of Michael from Braunschweig, Gerrit from Kiel/Immenstadt and Till from Hannover had stayed at the EC for several weeks as preparation, meditated on the hills for the best inspiration and worked intensively day and in the end also night and they had good reason to celebrate. On Sunday, all architects from the four groups worked together in the best possible spirit to find the best solutions for all the areas of the Europe Center and the final plan for the whole area will contain elements from all four projects. Even Lama Ole contributed to the plans with his idea of a café at the entrance to greet all our guests

After five days of rain, the sun shone again and outside the work on the garage roof continued and after the contest with the help of Ole with a big hammer in his hand. On the big meadows behind the houses Andre and Dieter began making flatter plateaus for our big tents for the summer course and Lama Ole enjoyed a ride in one of the big machines Monday afternoon. A lot of gravel was also moved on the hills to the Europe Center to secure the road.

During the weekend, our happy bar was moved outside into the garage and there is less noise in front of the dormitories in the evening. For the weekend, we had groups of Dutch, Austrians, Swiss and Slovakian friends. Altogether we counted 12 nationalities. Eugene and Lara from Colorada left us today after five wonderful days.

Work to restore the damaged corner of the big dining room on the ground floor of the villa began Monday.


April 26th, 2008

“.. and it is BLISSFUL.”

April 24th, 2008

Lama Ole came at five o`clock in the afternoon from Warsaw (Poland). It was also nice to see how quick our Lama was on the roof to fix the batons with the nail pistol.

The work on the roof started during the weekend and after declining one part of the skippers came hard rain. Our specialists hurried up to make it waterproof with professional cover material.

Our strong friends from Hungary prepared the ground in front of the barn which will be our tool house in the future.

The local company is building a big water cistern on the second grassland upstairs which will probably be finished for the international summer course.

And also the local campany prepared the street and….

Our lovely German painter and restorator Beate moved into a house in Immenstadt and a lot of friends came to help for the good neighbourship – welcome Beate.

After all these good impressions our Lama came down to meditate with us and also gave us teachings about the three kind of emptiness.

The beauty of our center also shown from above. For this purpose, photos and film clips were made from an open gyrocopter, a flying device similar to a helicopter. The Bavarian white-blue sky created a great atmosphere for the photo and film shots. Wonderful reflexes of the sunlight and mirror pictures of the mountains and clouds in the “Alpsee” emphasized our beautiful place. As Konrad and Paul approached the Europe Center in the air, all residents and helpers waved to the pilot and the cameraman. Second cameraman was Wolfgang from Schwarzenberg. A film about the Europe Center is presently created, in which these clips are part of it. Enjoy already now the new perspectives of the Europe Center with these photos.

Konrad (the pilot)

Breaking the ground

April 16th, 2008

With an average weekly weather forecast of approximately two days of snow, two days of rain, two days of sun and one day of all we were all wishing for sunshine on Friday the 18. of April. This was the day of the “ground breaking ceremony” in the Europe Center. The purpose of the day was to thank the Mayor and the local people of Immenstadt who have all helped us a lot in the process of getting and moving into the Europe Center. We also wished to confirm our good collaboration until now and for the future and mark the beginning of our construction phase. For this we had invited Mayor Bischof of Immenstadt and his wife, several local officials and the local Protestant priest. Just as our wishes for the Europe Center have been fulfilled to an extent we could not even have dreamed of, our wish for a magnificent day was fulfilled too: The sun shone on us all as we gathered in the garden. This was the most radiant spring days so far. Phillip, Mayor Bischof and Lama Ole all gave speeches before they and Caty planted an apple tree as a symbol of growth and fruitful development. During planting, everyone threw fine pieces of amber into the hole. Afterwards, there was wonderful coffee buffet in front of our house with all of famous Copenhagen cook Johanne’s amazing homemade cakes. Everyone was chatting happily, Lama Ole told the locals about Buddhism and signed several of his books for them. Over everything a huge green and white flag of Immenstadt was blowing in the wind from the attic window. The event was mentioned in the local newspaper.

After this beautiful and civilised afternoon, Lama Ole once again got a chain saw into his hands and more trees fell. The purpose was both to give a greater view and to give access to the enormous digger that has moved from the road to our back yard. This to the great shock of all who likes a green lawn and not a crater in the backyard! But now we have good new pipes deep in the ground and the grass will grow again one day.

For the weekend, Lama Ole and Caty went to a course in Warsaw that attracted more than 2,500 people. Meanwhile, construction work went on at home in the EC. The main site was the roof over the new dormitory and building cafe. Tiles were taken off and cleaned and the whole construction is being improved. A forecast of rain gave some extra work for our already hard-working men who spend several hours in the late and dark Sunday evening covering all the holes in the roof with plastic. In the forest, Jürgen and his wood crew planted 7000 out of 8000 (!) new trees. So even if Ole knocks over a few trees, we also give some back. Inside the house, the regular cleaning schedule was followed as usual, so we always have a sparkling house even in the middle of a construction site. Nicklas and his team served everyone wonderful meals from the “Absolut kitchen” (must be experienced). Our wonderful home fairy Gurli made everything even more beautiful and brought our office organisation to new levels. And we even managed another karaoke night where Brigi offered ear plugs to everyone sensitive to the gathered choir of rough construction worker voices.

Our more permanent construction workers have now arranged themselves in caravans around the house. Particularly Andre and Dieter have made a cosy construction with a roof between the caravans where people meet for a nice time after a hard working day. Home sweet home everywhere…

At the end of another great weekend we send a great thank you to our neighbour center Schwarzenberg for hosting our guests and helping so much to make it all possible!

The daily programme begins with the breakfast from 7:45 to 8:30 am and the common meditation on the 16th Karmapa is at 8:30 am. Since that moment the jobs and activities have been distributed: some people go to the wood, some are working with diggers, some are helping in the house or kitchen, some groups are joining the meetings or work in the offices of architects and IT teams. In fact, everybody can find some activity which he or she likes or some time for meditation or entertainment with friends. At 1 pm there is a really good lunch always prepared in the basement, where we all eat together. And in the afternoon the work continues until the sound of gong which announces a dinner time. Coffee and cakes are always prepared for us. Some days are now very special for everybody, because Ole came down from his book retreat and helps us with cutting down the trees. Such a day is then much more interesting and the daily common meditation at 8 pm is a nice rounding of the whole day.

Construction site

April 7th, 2008

The cranes, tough guys, mud, snow, rain, mud, snow, rain – that was our last construction weekend. A couple of days ago, we started to work on the big changes and constructions, which will give us a space for creating a new infrastructure for the Summer course 2008. There were around 80 people nicely guided by our construction leaders – Achim from Germany and Alexander from Wienna. All the workers got up at 7,30, meditated together at 8 o´clock and started to work around 9. There were many „working stations“ – some people were working with wood, some were digging the ground with cranes, some were reconstructing the tool rooms. The first aims are to fix the dormitory for people, to make a new tool room and a cafe for workers. We have already managed to put down the silos, create a new parking place for cars outside the house yard, to make the road to the house wider and also to fix the crucial point of the way – the little bridge close to the waterfall.

Very interesting questions have appeared in the recent time. Should we create any „national“ rooms in the EC? Should we have a Polish room, Czech room, Swedish room, Russian room or should we rather live together with no national „borders“? And what does it mean to live here or have a room here?

Those questions were answered by Lama Ole today:

Being here I had to rethink my idea of giving every nationality a
room. It simply doesn’t work. Actually it´s to be international and
not national that one goes here. So to make rooms for the countries
would be counterproductive and also we speak everywhere English.
Sometimes I’m a bit unpractical and I was not aware of those national
divisions in Europe which it is the goal of the center to overcome.
All have same conditions. No country has a special room, the residents are chosen and here for their function and not for their nationality.

Wish you all the best,

yours always Ole

Lama Ole welcome home

April 1st, 2008

Our big dream came true during this Sunday evening. After first three months of moving in, working, preparating, and bonding our friendship and connections, Lama Ole has arrived to spend the closed book retreat in the EC. He will be working undisturbed on the book called “Death and rebirth”, but before he starts, there was a chance to do some really man work – cutting down the trees. You can read about it in the short report from our Czech tree boys one paragraph bellow. Today is also a day when our Hannah passed away one year ago. Lama Ole will guide the White Tara meditation streamed worldwide from EC gompa at eight o’clock in the evening. You are all welcomed to join…

The young Czech boys impressions:
Yesterday was a tree cutting day in Europe center. Lama Ole arrived on Sunday night and we started to remove big row of spruce trees and trees that blocked beautiful view on the lake. Ole was cutting trees whole day like a locomotive, as he described functioning of his body and mind himself. Big piles of branches were burned and whole place is now more open. Atmosphere is so friendly here! People from whole Europe are working together in team and everybody is happy from such a big thing which is happening here. Lama was so happy about the place, it is first time he really can stay here longer.