Bullriding for the EC

EC Blog Archive for May, 2011

Bullriding for the EC

May 28th, 2011

The creativity of our Hamburg friends knows no limits. Going through a construction phase in their center themselves, they gathered to celebrate the completion of their new kitchen in a spectacular way, last Saturday – by bull riding! But not only that, they used the occasion also for supporting the Europe Center. Not waiting for the new “More EC” fundraising campaign to start officially in the summer, they collected all the profit from the event as a donation for the upcoming EC expansion project.

Meditation in retreat, running and building up a retreat place were the main topics of last week’s 8th EC Transmission Weekend. Besides meditating together a lot, experienced friends running retreat places e.g. in Spain, Austria, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Switzerland and Lithuania, shared their experiences and gave advice on how to do a mediation retreat or run a retreat place.

Buddhist meditation shows the mind to the practitioner. It reduces the influence of habits,  expectations, as well as  solidified patterns. A retreat of a few days or weeks tremendously amplifies such results by creating more distance to everyday life. The lack of distraction by daily necessities leads to a deeper and more fluid experience of calmness of mind and insight. Due to the view in Diamond Way Buddhism, shorter retreats and daily life blend together excellently and have beneficial effects on each other. Diamond Way retreat centers enable modern people having family and profession; the combination of activity and meditation. The local friends who uphold the retreat centers are well experienced and skilled people in meditation and have a profound understanding of Buddha’s teachings.

If you would like to know more about the different kinds of retreat, here’s more info: diamondway-buddhism.org.

To give everyone a better idea what’s keeping us busy at the Europe Center everyday, we are going to introduce some of our ongoing long term projects and teams!

With the professional supervision of our resident restorator Beate, Leonie and Max are refurnishing the outer windows and window frames of the monument protected art noveau villa. They were originally painted with oil-based paint, but later a different kind of paint was put on top. This second layer is causing the first one to chip off bit by bit. Therefore all the wooden frames now need thorough treatment: after carefully scratching off the old layers of paint, the wooden parts are being restored – rotten parts are exchanged and cuts and cracks are glued. Afterwards the wood is painted again with oil paint as it was done originally.

When you come to visit the EC, you are very welcome to learn how to do this and join the window-painting task force! ;-) Just ask Beate, who has been taking care of beautifully restoring and preserving our buildings ever since Gut Hochreute became the Europe Center.

The Europe Center’s dharma shop got a new home last weekend…

Our shop team moved it from the vitrines and cupboards in the “yellow salon” to another one of the villa’s most stunning rooms – the wintergarden overviewing the Alpsee lake. There is now much more space and light to check out and admire at all the beautiful statues, books, malas, ghaos, thangkas and other shop items.

We hope you will come to enjoy your own shopping spree with a view soon! ;-)

EC Team Weekend

May 9th, 2011

With all the development, activity and events going on at the EC all year around, it’s great to sometimes just take the chance for our local sangha members and EC residents to get to know each other better and therefore become even stronger as a sangha. Normally being quite busy with running and supporting the Europe Center from day to day, we all liked the idea of spending a whole weekend together again.

Jesper kicked off the EC team weekend with a lecture about the sangha. The EC sangha consists of many friends coming from different cultural backgrounds with different levels of experience. Learning from “old rabbits” like Jesper and Charlotte living here and sharing decades of experience of how to build up and run a buddhist center AND have lots of fun doing it as well, is very precious and important to us.

On Saturday the rope climbing forest and the mountain huts on the other side of the lake saw an invasion of 50 buddhists. Balancing and dangling between ropes and hopping from one tree to another up to 15m above the ground was both a physical challenge and a great opportunity to observe one’s mind and how it functions in a rather extreme situation like this. No big surprise that lots of us happily went for the most difficult of 13 levels pretty quickly. Applying buddhist teachings to one’s everyday life and meditation do bring about fearlessness sooner or later! And pushing oneself “out of the comfort zone” has rarely ever been so much fun to us. ;-)

After recovering from this challenge by barbequeing and chilling in perfect summer evening weather, Ronald introduced us to the brandnew plans for the new EC building. In this phase of the planning it is very important to bring our EC team’s experience of daily challenges and needs of residents and guests and the technical knowledge of the architects together, in order to build a building that will really be fitting for whichever need comes up in every day, even more busy than now EC life in the future.

Sunday brought the next challenge – a tour of 15 (!!!!) flats inhibited by Sangha members in Immenstadt. We walked from flat to flat – causing quite a stirr on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon in Immenstadt. Somehow we managed to squeeze into all of the flats, being warmly welcomed by the inhabitants with lots of tasty snacks, delicious cake and drinks. Besides admiring the interior design skills of many sangha members, everyone enjoyed just cuddling up together on the sofas and chatting in the kitchens or on the balconies with amazing views of the mountains and finally celebrating a really memorable EC team weekend with a spontaneous party in Anne and Achim’s flat.

Thanks to everyone who made this weekend happen with their organisational talent and hospitality – probably we all felt our friendship growing over just those two days!

Last night Maike Brill and Anthony Smith from Canberra, Australia, gave a wonderful example of how entertaining fundraising for the new building of the Europe Center can be – and certainly will be this year!

The two artists are currently touring Germany – it was Maike’s own idea to “stop by” on their way and give a concert in Immenstadt for the benefit of the EC. The “Barock Keller” was the perfect location to enjoy their special blend of classic cabaret, Portuguese fado, German songs of the 30s and contemporary masterpieces. The audience was visibly overwhelmed by Maike’s passionate, intelligent and totally uninhibited singing of songs by artists from Marlene Dietrich to Tom Waits.

If you would like to organize a concert event with Maike and Anthony in your town for the benefit of the EC — please send a mail to join@europe-center.org.

And soon…. it’s YOUR turn! There surely won’t be any boundaries for your creativity in fundraising for the new gompa and living space. We are looking for your ideas! MORE EC ! ;-)

Spring Cleaning!

May 2nd, 2011

Thanks to the Ulm and Stuttgart sanghas’ activity last weekend, the Europe Center is shining even more now! Maybe also a little bit extra-inspired by Pit’s lecture on Bodhisattva activities on Friday night, they pretty much proved all those concepts about Germans being the most thorough cleaners on the planet to be quite true. ;-) No lamp was too high up, no window too far out(side) and no spiderweb too invisible to be spotted immediately by their eagle eyes!

However, they still had enough energy to chat and party the night away in the Baucafé, together with the EC sangha, Bernward, Holm and the Bavarian press group working in the Diamond Room Gompa over the weekend.

If anyone ever thought cleaning was boring – everyone present at the EC last weekend now knows one thing for sure: it can also be a whole lot of FUN!!!!! :)