Wood splitting tradition

EC Blog Archive for March, 2011

Wood splitting tradition

March 25th, 2011

Following a 100-year-old tradition of the Gut Hochreute (which is now the Europe Center), we had again the chance to process our own freshly cut wood. The team — Jürgen, Holger, Torsten, Michael, Alfons, Bea, Anja, Thies, Lotar & Berndt to name a few — has used a special wood-splitting machine to prepare quality firewood that we can use later for heating or even selling. The firewood is then placed in a newly built storage to dry properly.

To our great pleasure, the weather has substantially changed in the last days and hopefully left winter definitely behind us. Although, knowing the local proverb: “never trust a spring in Allgäu”, don’t take it as a malfunction if you see snowing on our live webcam soon again :). Until then we’ll be enjoying the sunny, beautiful days…

Last weekend we had a great pleasure to host our precious international traveling teachers, so-called TTs. After the last meeting, they decided to have a even more time together so their weekend started already on Thursday evening. The purpose of the meeting was mainly to get to know each other better, to discuss the challenges in their work and the future.

The TTs also prepared a bunch of questions for the Lama, who video-called them for a session of question and answers from Australia. The rest of us at the EC also enjoyed a lot — especially the long evenings with their stories from traveling around the world. Even for the widely international EC standards, it is not an everyday treat to have teachers from South America, North America, Russia & Europe — altogether from 15 different countries — at one table. And they were not even in a hurry to teach somewhere as usual!

Some of the traveling teachers stayed few days longer at the EC so we used the opportunity for dharma – Wojtek Tracewski, who is a TT for the longest time from Polish TTs, gave an energetic lecture before leaving for his Swiss tour which was a perfect ending of the event. Thank everyone for a wonderful weekend!

Modern communication technology knows no distances. The International Travelling Teachers’ meeting at the EC kicked of on Friday with a 90 minute conference call to Lama Ole, who is currently touring Australia. After this “meeting”, the present travelling teachers as well as the Europe Center team were happy to be the first ones congratulating the Lama on his 70th birthday – from the EC Diamond Room straight to Australia’s Gold Coast. ;-)

To follow Lama Ole on his way through Australia and New Zealand and to see more pictures of his birthday, please have a look at his flickr page and at the live tour page!

We would like to thank Lama Ole for his tireless and ever inspiring work for the benefit of all – and wish him many, many happy returns!!!

Last Tuesday we had the pleasure to listen to a lecture by Steven James. He gave us an inspiring teaching on the topic “Wisdom and Compassion”. We agreed beforehand to have a short talk to allow more time for mediation. In keeping with the wishes of the XVII Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje and Lama Olewe did the Loving Eyes (Tib. Chenrezig) meditation, a practice for the development of compassion, and dedicated the merit to the people of Japan.

The EC never sleeps, even when the EC team is gone. While our team was gone off to Schwarzenberg, the Brühl sangha took over the EC and continued with their project to turn the rough-looking Diamond Room into a beautiful gompa. Enjoy their report and pictures from the weekend!

From our Brühl reporter:

On a cold thursday morning our Brühl sangha left their lovely hometown to head to the EC to finish a project that started in October 2010. Regardless of the annual carnival and the charming Rhineland tradition of “bützen” — you are being kissed by strangers in costumes on the street — we decided that building and meditation might possibly be of more benefit.

As soon as we arrived the whole EC team left… we felt a bit like “Kevin being home alone” but after having successfully checked the kitchen storage to make sure we would survive we relaxed… and got started. Over the weekend, we finished the refurbishing of the Diamond room – all walls are snow-white now all the way to the rooftop, emphasizing the original wooden-beam structure holding the roof. Our people did an astonishing job balancing on narrow wooden boards to reach to the very top, with this training they could now easily join any circus :).

One of the friends is working with a pro-designer and he used his experience to do a great job on the stairway. The ladies also sowed a white curtain to hide the shelves with meditation cushions and other material at the back of the room. As an add-on, we also finished covering the pipes at the basement of the villa.

Thank you, EC, so very much for having us and giving us the opportunity to be of help! We enjoyed it greatly and already have the next project on our mind: how about a slide from up the hill down to the lake? ;o)

Your Brühlers

The EC Team weekend happens 2-3 times a year – we spend time together and try get to know each other better in a relaxed atmosphere. This time the “Schwarzenbergers”, our neighbouring sangha, invited us to their wonderful place and offered dharma teachings, their creativity concerning outdoor events and their precious time. There were meditations, personal stories, a Dharma-triathlon, free time, a lecture by Karola Schneider, amazing food, great DJs – all best ingredients for an enjoyable weekend which brought the group even closer together. We enjoyed it a lot!

Over the last weeks we enjoyed lots of spontaneous talks on different Buddhist topics. Only to mention a few friends – our “resident” international traveling teachers Charlotte, Cristina, Maike and Pit, plus Steve from London, Honza from the Czech Republic, Peter from Liverpool, Maxi and Gerhard from Austria, Wojtek from Poland, Egle from Lithuania, Gerd from Northern Germany and Karola from our neighbouring center in Schwarzenberg.

Some of them Lama Ole already asked decades ago to travel and teach Diamond Way Buddhism on an international level – in order to support his efforts of making Buddhist teachings available in the modern Western world. So what exactly makes a traveling teacher a traveling teacher?

Lama Ole Nydahl: “Our traveling teachers are asked to teach because of their life experience, Buddhist understanding, and completely keeping their bonds. They represent Buddha’s three ways in a transparent manner. Outwardly, they harm beings as little as possible. Inwardly, they enjoy working for others. They have compassion, and enough understanding of emptiness to see things as inspiring, dreamlike and in a broad context. This stability must not falter in the face of their own upcoming difficulties. They must always be willing to risk their skin for the benefit of others. Secretly, they should have a firm conviction and some experience that space equals joy, and therefore radiate this confidence into the world.” (taken from Buddhism Today, Vol.4, 1998)

We think they are doing precisely that and would like to thank all of them for sharing their time and knowledge and inspiring us deeply!

Looking back, we were quite lucky with the amount of snow we had for our first skiing weekend in February – shortly before there most almost no snow, and afterwards the white magic melted away again as well. It has been a very mild winter in Allgäu this year. Since we all had a wonderful time both inside and outside, we will certainly have another Skiing & Meditation Weekend next year – we only have to decide on the date and which of the hundreds of beautiful slopes surrounding the EC we want to ski or board down!

Our skiing traveling teachers Maxi and Gerhard from Graz in Austria shared inspiring stories of how they started the first western Diamond Way Buddhist center in 1972. After studying Buddhism in the Himalayas, Lama Ole Nydahl for the first time gave people in the West buddhist refuge – the entry into the buddhist path. Ever since then, many high Lamas and Rinpoches visited Graz, a stupa was built – and over 600 centers were founded worldwide until today.