Autumn is here…

EC Blog Archive for September, 2011

Autumn is here…

September 30th, 2011

With Shamar Rinpoche, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, and Lama Ole teaching thousands of students in Southern Germany, Salzburg, Hamburg and Frankfurt during the last weeks, we had some unusually quiet days at the EC.

Those of us who stayed used the time to focus on meditation, work, spending quality time with friends and family and listening to the live streamings from the courses. The golden Allgäu autumn with still summer-like temperatures and lots of sunshine gave the perfect setting for that. Some brave ones are even still going for daily swims in the Alpsee lake! ;-)

Susan and Chris from Calgary in Canada gave us an insight on Diamond Way Buddhism in Canada,  sharing some inspiring photos and stories from past and present. They came to visit the EC, along with a dozen of other friends from different parts of the world after the Salzburg course.

Slowly the focus is shifting to getting the EC ready for winter. The first snow already fell on the neighbouring mountains – or was that the last snow of the past season? ;-) So we will shake and climb the apple trees in the yard, make our famous EC apple juice, and engage in some extensive fire wood chopping this weekend. Come and join if you like, all help is welcome to get our home winter-ready.

The more quiet times will be over again soon anyway. Coming up are the Transmission Weekend about the Kagyu Masters of the Mahamudra transmission lineage as well as the Nordic Country Weekend. If you would like to come for one of these events, please register here.

Lama Toensang at the EC

September 24th, 2011

This month we had the great honor of welcoming Lama Toensang from Montchardon. Originally from the region of Kham in eastern Tibet, Lama Toensang was born in 1934 into a family of lay Lamas. Drawn to spiritual practice already in his early years, he spent 8 years of his youth traveling the holy places of Tibet. With 17 he was ordained at the monastery of the Karmapa in Tsurphu. In 1959, he fled from the Chinese invasion and spent time in Rumtek, Karmapa's main monastery in India. After many years of retreat in Sonada, he became the spiritual director of Montchardon at the request of the 16th Karmapa in 1976. Through his tireless efforts and his exceptional personality, he built up a flourishing buddhist center, welcoming many visitors from all over Europe each year. The many international visitors are not the only similarity of Montchardon and the Europe Center. Both are lay buddhist centers of the Karma Kagyu lineage under the spiritual guidance of the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje. Besides being a highly respected master of buddhist teachings and meditation, Lama Toensang is also a very practical and active Lama. Therefore, he showed great interest in the technical infrastructure of the EC buildings and grounds - providing lots of useful advice from over 30 years of experience in building and running a big center with lots of visitors and events. Montchardon and the EC are both located high up in the mountains, surrounded by nature-protected grounds and forest. So just like Lama Ole here, it is not so unsusual to see Lama Toensang working in the forest or chopping wood. If you would like to see some pictures of the place and the 9 beautiful stupas there, please klick here. One day of his visit Lama Toensang spent at the nearby Buddhist Retreat Center Schwarzenberg, circumambulating the stupa together with everyone who came along. He was shown the retreat waggons and gave advice on how to ideally arrange the mantra stones in the beautiful garden. After two evenings of Dharma lectures about the function of the Lama in Tibetan Buddhism, he gave the first ever empowerment under the roofs of the Europe Center. Around 100 people from the region and as far away as Russia attended the initiation into Tibet's great yogi Milarepa. Lama Toensang kindly promised to fill one of the Buddha statues for our new gompa - not only because of that would we like to thank him and are we very much looking forward to hopefully welcoming him back at the EC soon! [gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="title"]

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28 degrees and bright sunshine provided the perfect setting for a very special occasion last Sunday. Or actually, two very special occasions!

Together with around 300 visitors from the Immenstadt region, we celebrated the founding of Gut Hochreute 100 years ago in 1911. The motto was “Past, Present and Future of Gut Hochreute”. In a special exhibition lots of pictures were shown from the times of the former owners,  the Martini and Herz families, as well as everyday items and rare documents from the last century in the precious Art Nouveau buildings which are today the Europe Center. If you would like to learn more about the history of this architectural jewel, please klick here.

It was also the yearly open house day of all Diamond Way Buddhist Centers in Bavaria – so guided tours of the historic exhibition and the villa were one option – another was listening to introductory talks and taking part in a short meditation. The visitors also had the opportunity to find out more about the plans of our future meditation hall and the new buildings north of the barn.

The atmosphere was relaxed and joyful. Amongst others, we enjoyed homemade cake and the Bavarian specialty Leberkässemmel in the garden, accompanied by live music from the equally traditional Bavarian brass band.

Thangka painting course with Dawa

September 15th, 2011

After he spent three weeks painting the two new pictures for the Villa’s yellow salon and opening the eyes of several Buddha statues, Thangka painting master Dawa from Nepal guided a course for those interested in learning the high art of thangka painting.

Thangka is a “scroll painting”; an ancient art form that primarily depicts images, such as Buddha aspects, or accomplished teachers from history. Tibetans are historically nomadic, and found it easy to transport artwork in a scroll form. A thangka is a complicated, composite three-dimensional object consisting of: a picture panel which is painted or embroidered, a textile mounting; and one or more of the following: a silk cover, leather corners, wooden dowels at the top and bottom and metal or wooden decorative knobs on the bottom dowel.

Dawa’s lecture about the different styles of thangka painting was the start of a whole week of diligent day and night practice in the villa’s dining room and winter garden, which were transformed into ateliers with a view for this purpose. The sky over Immenstadt provided some nice inspiration for the course – dramatic clouds and rainbows…

Below you can see some extracts of the precious paintings work in Karma Gadhri style that Dawa created on the walls of the meditation hall in Karma Guen, Spain.

Dawa was asked by H.H. Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje to teach his students in the West – so we would like to thank him for coming to the Europe Center in order to do this – and hope to welcome him again here very soon!

Back to… every day different!

September 1st, 2011

After the 4th International Summer course with thousands of people on site – back to normal. Whatever that means at the Europe Center… here’s just a few of the things that have been going on during the last two weeks.

We were quite busy dismantling the course with the help of a lot of friends from Poland, Austria, Russia and many more countries (in fact, we were so busy that we forgot to take pictures! ;-) ). Many, many thanks to everyone who stayed to help!

Conça, her daughter Ananda, and Joachim served us the most delicious brazilian sweet specialties, told about Diamond Way Buddhism in Brazil, and afterwards even taught us how to dance the samba!

As part of the moreEC action, Cristina and Henkjan hosted a hilarious quiz night in the baucafé to raise money for the new EC building, and our South-North-American power couple Yomaira and Jeremiah spent days and nights planning the upcoming moreEC action in the Americas.

And last but not least, René and his beautiful bride Romana tied the knot officially at the EC – accompanied by rainbows. The villa’s yellow salon is an official wedding room of the city of Immenstadt for any couple that would like to get married in this beautiful place. Best wishes to the newlyweds from the EC team!


EC villa’s yellow room now shines even more than before – thanks to two new paintings by renowned thangka painter Dawa, Urken Lama from Kathmandu, Nepal.

For the last weeks, our winter-garden, the beautiful ground floor room overviewing the lake, became Dawa’s atelier. According to the wishes of H.H. 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, Dawa painted two pictures with the auspicious motives of a dragon and a peacock for the oval frames above the doors connecting the yellow salon with the two neighboring rooms.

Dawa is a master of the Karma Gadri style of Tibetan art. He lives with his wife and daughters in Rumtek, Sikkim (India) and is a close student of 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje. The Karmapa asked him to teach this style to students of Diamond Way Buddhism after finishing the project of painting the walls of the large meditation hall in Karma Guen, Spain.

Dawa also “opened” the eyes of several Buddha statues, like the one of Buddha Maitreya visible on the pictures. During the following week, Dawa will host the first thangka painting course at the Europe Center and we are honored to have him here as our guest for even some more days.