Some Allgäu quality time

EC Blog Archive for August, 2012

Some Allgäu quality time

August 31st, 2012

With hundreds of helpers on site already weeks before the course, and over 4000 course participants around for two weeks – it can sometimes be challenging to keep track of how one’s friends from the local sangha are doing – let alone spotting them regularly in the crowd.

So we took our chances to get back together again. At over 30 degrees Celsius, swimming or kayaking in the Alpsee Lake below the EC was the recommended daily refreshment after a working day of taking down the tents anyway. On top, we enjoyed two afternoons at a beautiful waterfall only twenty minutes away from Immenstadt – hiking and swimming together.

Another evening, we got together in the most typically Bavarian restaurant to be found in the area and took the opportunity to catch up with what has been going on in our friends’ lives during the last weeks over some tasty dumplings and a Bavarian Weissbeer. :)

What to say – it just gets more and more impressive from year to year, all this summer course building-up and dismantling…

This year, the stakes after the course were set extra high: shortly after the course, the EC road had to be completely closed for roadworks during daytime, each day – at least until christmas. Meaning no trucks would be able to go up and down during their business hours to take away the tents. They had to be taken down within little more than a week – by less than 100 helpers who gave what was probably the leftovers of their vacation time and money.

Way before the course started, there was a cleverly worked out and detailed plan how to speed up the dismantling, precisely scheduled hour by hour already for the last days of the course. However, the most clever plan only makes sense when there are actually people diligent enough to put it to practice – after weeks and months of already building up and running the course.

Oh, and despite the tight schedule – of course we still managed to celebrate together in the evenings – be it with a football match in what was the dining tent a day before, a jam session in the halfway-torn down kitchen tent or just chilling and dancing in the Baucafé.

In the name of all course participants – many thanks to all the diligent friends who stayed to help afterwards. You inspired us deeply.


Goodbye day

August 23rd, 2012

Two days after the official end of the Summer Course 2012, it was time to say goodbye for now to our Lamas.

H.H. 17th Karmapa departed for France in the morning after greeting everyone who came to wish him a good onward journey, with Lama Ole leading the way for him through the crowd. Lama Ole left for an excursion through the Austrian and Swiss alps on his motorbike accompanied by a few friends only hours later. Two days later, he exchanged his motorbike for a car to Munich airport, heading for courses in Slovakia and Ukraine.

We would like to thank Gyalwa Karmapa and Lama Ole in the name of all course participants for more than two unforgettable weeks of precious teachings. May we meet again very soon!

A day after the Rechungpa empowerment, HH 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje gave another initiation to the several thousand course participants – one into the first lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism – Marpa, the Translator (Marpa Lotsawa, 1012-1097).

The example of his life is of special interest to lay Buddhist practitioners around the globe in our modern times. Unlike the famous yogis of his time who meditated in the seclusion of mountain or forest retreats, he had a family, business, and a farm to take care of – and even made this part of his Buddhist practice. In his lifetime, he traveled from Tibet to India and back three times in order to transmit and translate the precious Buddhist teachings. At Marpa’s time Buddhism was brought from muslim-invaded India to the mountains of Tibet in order to preserve the teachings for posterity. Nowadays, these same timeless teachings are once again being transmitted and translated – this time from the East to the Western World.

Lay Buddhism is a widely spread form of living a modern Buddhist life in the West. The example of Marpa shows how beneficial one can be applying the motivation to benefit others and keeping the highest view in everyday life’s situations, while being an active member of society.

This year’s International Summer Course was crowned by a very special premiere: for the first time in the West, H.H. the 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje gave an initiation into Rechungpa (1084-1161; Rechung Dorje Dragpa), one of the two main students of Milarepa, the great yogi of Tibet.

An empowerment or initiation by a realized teacher introduces the Buddhist practicioner to a certain Buddha aspect, passes on his blessing and, if desired, empowers her to meditate on this Buddha and his enlightened qualities.

Rechungpa, together with Gampopa, was one of the two teachers of the 1st Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa, the founder of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. While Gampopa emphasized on the monastic tradition, Rechungpa passed on the transmission of powerful Diamond Way meditations as practiced by the Indian meditation masters and later by the yogis in the mountain and forest retreats of Tibet.

Guru Yoga is the essence meditation of Diamond Way Buddhism in the West. Every day, thousands of Buddhists around the world meditate on the enlightened qualities of their teacher (Tibetan: Lama, Sanskrit: Guru).

The Karmapa has been the highest teacher of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism for 1.000 years. However, he is not seen as a person, but as a mirror to our own inherent qualities. By identifying with these enlightened qualities of fearlessness, highest joy and active compassion or loving kindness in meditation, we can discover our inner richness and become able to benefit others more and more very quickly.

This year’s summer course saw two premieres that surely are going to inspire and deepen the meditation of many Buddhist practicioners: H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje taught about the practice of Guru Yoga and personally guided a 12-hour-meditation on his predecessor, the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.

This meditation on the 16th Karmapa is also offered in the Diamond Way Buddhist Centers around the world frequently and sometimes daily. It is also suitable for new visitors and taking part is of course free of any charge. For a Buddhist center near you, please visit

The “Meet & Connect” corner in the Summer course dining tent gives all Diamond Way Buddhist Centers and projects in the world the possibility to present their activities. They can present themselves with posters, flyers, video and photos  or they can take part in the “Meet & Eat” sessions.

Three years ago we started to establish Meet & Eat with the goal to share transmission on different levels. The idea is to give especially new people the opportunity to get to know the globetrotting lay buddhist teachers and center representatives. During the summer course we meet regularly during lunch and dinner, eating together and listening with a lot of fun in an open, family-like atmosphere to strengthen our friendship.

This year many centers introduced their projects: Karma Berchen Ling in Greece, “The Big Moskovsky” project of the Moscow center, and the new London Buddhist center – the Beaufoy Insititute. In addition we had guests from places for meditation retreats like Zagon in Romania, Karma Dechen Ling in Uruguay, and Kuchary in Poland, also friends from Innsbruck presented their upcoming statue exhibition. We also had talks about topics like “”Traveling with the Lama””, “”Book Retreats with Lama Ole Nydahl””, or “”Being Buddhists and parents at the same time””.

It is always a nice opportunity to get to know each other and share inspiration. So see you again latest next year, friends!

Another very special guest came to listen to the teachings of H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje and to share his own profound knowledge with thousands of students this year – Lama Jigme Rinpoche.

Rinpoche was born into the family of H.H. the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, as the brother of  Shamar Rinpoche. He received teachings from the 16th Karmapa, who left him there as his representative during his first visit in the West. Since then, Jigme Rinpoche has been guiding Karmapa’s seat in Europe, Dhagpo Kagyu Ling in France. Besides his organizational skills, he is highly respected as a Lama. Many have benefited from his deep knowledge, his understanding of western lifestyle, and his practical wisdom, warmth, and humor.

Giving explanations about the meditation practice of Guru Yoga, he also shared some of his many inspiring memories of the great 16th Karmapa – Lama Ole and Hannah Nydahl’s main teacher who asked them to spread the precious teachings of Diamond Way Buddhism in the West 40 years ago.

Pretty much all the pictures of the summer course you see here on the EC blog were taken by our international team of photographers.

For more than two weeks, they were constantly running up and down the hill and in and out of the tents in order to share as many impressions as possible from the course. Whenever they were not outside shooting, they were sitting in their improvised office space in the old barn to edit and sort out the pictures – or sleeping from time to time. ;-)

So here are some more beautiful mixed impressions they caught with their cameras, and a big “Thank you!” from all of us to Volen from Bulgaria, Hania from Poland/Italy, Matt from Australia, Ginger from Germany, Jana from Austria, Jan from the Czech Republic, Andrey and Dasha from Ukraine, Marek from Slovakia and Thule from Austria (



When H.H. Karmapa Thaye Dorje tells about his time as an adolescent, he points out that he was mainly surrounded by adults due to his position. He had missed an important part of experience, learning and socialization. That’s why he wanted to meet young people between the age of 16 and 30 on his tour through Europe, and because he will be more beneficial if he gets to know their views and needs.

Twice within one month he had conversations with both non-Buddhist teenagers and our own young generation at the EC. He patiently and honestly replied to all questions about his enlightenment, his memories of past lives and if he has ever regretted being in the role of Karmapa.

He explained that people in the West live in exceedingly fortunate times if one only has a look at the democracies, social systems, education, science and all the more our outer conditions. The inner values, however, increasingly do not keep pace with the outer conditions anymore. From Karmapa’s perspective the world is starting to shrink. Therefore, after having always gently responded to the young people’s attitudes and opinions, he directed them to what they can really rely on: all their inner qualities that they should improve in order to be prepared for upcoming outer negativities like the euro-crisis, breakdown of systems or the quick climate change with its subsequent catastrophes.

The way Karmapa showed his interest and he talked to the young people, straight from eye to eye and never from up to down, left a deep impression on them. One of the school teachers e.g. asked: “Where can I start to meditate?”, whereas most of the youths simply thought, Karmapa was “cool.”