The new old furniture

EC Blog Archive for May, 2013

The new old furniture

May 30th, 2013

Why would we blog about furniture? After all we are Buddhists and not collectors of antique furniture. What does the Europe Center have to do with furniture and what is it all about anyway?

On the one hand it is about friendship, internationality, about connections. It is a melting pot of all our condensed center experience and it is a place where friends from different cultures meet and learn from each other. On the other hand the Europe Center is a beautiful more than 100 year old building. Every little last detail in the house was given great attention while designing and building it. We keep alive the awareness and the care that the original architect put into this house. We make it our everyday awareness training and thus into living Buddhism. The care that was put into the planning itself clearly shows in the way the rooms on the ground floor are designed: the architect’s original idea was to connect the different rooms by repeating colors and picking up design elements.

In the early days of the EC the yellow room was the place for transmission and long nights with many friends but after many decades of use the yellow furniture was finally due for restoration.

After years of searching we found very skilled craftsmen to restore the furniture in the traditional way it was done a hundred years ago. As it is under monumental protection they used original materials like horse hair and shellac finish. It was a blessing to find Max in Graz for the restoration of the wood and Hendrik in Kiel for the upholstery, using fabric from a sangha friend in Munich. On top even friends from Budapest helped out with the transport.

Today, the new fabric is shiny grey in color and is of modern make. In this way we pick up the original design idea with a modern twist. We are very thankful to Hendrik and Max for all the countless hours of work and we will hopefully use the furniture for another hundred years.

First steps

May 23rd, 2013

After years of fundraising, planning, talking, and preparing the place, the first steps of construction started a few days ago.

Together with some friends we were happy to do the first part of the renovation of the old barn ourselves: dismantling the tool-shop between the barn and the gatehouse. After we finished this, the construction company took over. At this very moment, they are dismanteling the barn. All day long, tiles have been sliding down the over 1500 square meter roof and the wooden planks surrounding the upper floor of the barn have been taken down as well.

Our recent Transmission weekend was a family affair on many levels.

Firstly, the topic was about the second generation of Diamond Way Buddhists (the few now in their 20s & 30s and the ever growing baby boom), their experience of growing up in Western Buddhist families and their parents experience of how to manage one’s Dharma and family life successfully. Secondly, as we had more parents and children than usual staying at the EC and participating in the sessions, there was a playful family feeling about the place.

Over weekend we had a very inspiring talk on Compassion & the 6 Liberating Actions, we meditated together, had working groups, and  questions & answers with parents, children and those who have lived & worked in centers for many years.


Another reason to celebrate, another very important step taken on our way to the new EC building!

After days, weeks, and even years of working on the plans, Caty, Gergö and the architects on behalf of the foundation gave the building company the green light for starting the construction today. All the formalities were agreed on and sealed by handshake and a toast with the construction manager and his team afterwards.

“Let us make the big wish that the project will benefit many, many people and that it will be a step on the way to enlightenment!” (Caty)

The road is being fixed this week, the heavy construction trucks will be able to go up and down – the way for the transformation of the old barn into our future gompa, kitchen and dining hall is clear and the kick-off only days away now. We could not be more excited and will keep you updated!


Update: [ECTV] short movie about the event:


Once again the team running the Summer Course came together to prepare this year’s event. Even though the individual teams work together constantly throughout year to make the next course even more enjoyable for everybody, it is very important to meet with the whole team in one place, for a weekend. Such a meeting serves the purpose of addressing issues that concern more than one team, e.g. planning the individual team budgets for the upcoming course. It is also a chance for new people to join the different teams and help run the course. Last but not least: The more we know each other and the better friends we become, the better we can run the course. So we therefore, also use the time to get to know each other better.
This year is the 20th anniversary of our yearly Summer Courses, which started 20 years ago in Kassel. After a short movie about the course in ’93, Gerhard shared some words of inspiration, as to why we organize a course and what it means for us and for the people who attend courses like this one. I am at a loss to repeat what he said, but it was incredibly inspiring for everybody and made us all look forward to sharing that inspiration with all of you at the summer course.


[ECTV] Groundbreaking

May 9th, 2013

On April 8 Lama Ole Nydahl and the mayor of Immenstadt officially broke ground here at the EC, kicking off our construction project to create space for more meditation, more activity, and more friends!