Cheering on the Alpsee runners

EC Blog Archive for July, 2013

Every year a run around the the Great Alpsee lake is organized by a sports club in Immenstadt. This year the route was changed and the organizers asked us if they could send their runners up to the EC and across our grounds.

We happily accepted and decided to make a sunday morning event out of this – in the middle of the hottest phase of the Summer course build-up. We simply moved the breakfast from our terrace to the Summer Course Welcome Area and turned the breakfast into a cheerleading event. Every single runner coming up the hill got a refreshing shower (with a rainbow even!) and a big cheer. It was great to see their faces lighting up, seeing all of us supporting them. It was great fun for everybody involved and we are looking forward to them returning for another run next year!

The meditation tent is standing, the kitchen tent, the childcare tent, the welcome tent and the dining tent are up, the shower tents are up and running… to name just a few.

But despite the “outer shells” of the tents having been built up by many voluntary helpers from e.g. Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Western Europe and Russia within the last two weeks – there is still lots of work to be done in order to finish in time for the 20th International Summer Course from 5-18 August. So now the work is happening inside the tents, building up all the needed infrastructure.

20 years experience of building up the summer course show in many ways and make things run impressively smoothly – even with the huge construction site in the middle of everything, bringing new challenges this year. However, the thing that impresses most is definitely to see with how much constant joy so much physically challenging work can be done… best we let the pictures speak for themselves!

If you would like to come for the course, you can find all needed information and registration on the course webpage: Looking forward to seeing you here soon! :)

It’s summer – it’s Alpsee lake cruising time again!

On invitation of our friends, the captains of the schooner taking tourists (and locals as well!) across the Great Alpsee Lake below the EC grounds invited the EC team to set sails with them again, as we did last year. After a warm welcome by our hosts Claudius and Ottmar, some of us went for  a round of Minigolf, some went for a guided tour of a well-known local painter’s exhibition, and the majority of course took the opportunity to enjoy the view of our Europe Center from the lake.

Since the construction site is well-visible from the ship and many people taking a turn on the ship are interested in the details of the new building, we gave the captains some additional information – e.g. that the barn, which has temporarily been reduced to the ground walls, will be built-up again in accordance with the monument protection, or that the summer course plateau’s terraces are being reshaped in the way  suggested by the city of Immenstadt.

Soon the captains are going to return the visit at the EC, we are looking forward to having them up here on the hill with us again!

The “Yellow Salon” on the ground floor of the Europe Center Villa also serves as an official wedding location for the city of Immenstadt. If couples want to tie the knot in a beautiful and festive surrounding, this Art Noveau room is one of the most fitting locations in Immenstadt.

Mirja, a doctor in Blaichach, was one of the first Buddhists who ever moved to Immenstadt – actually even a year before the Europe Center aka Gut Hochreute was found. One can imagine how happy she was when Gut Hochreute was purchased to be built up as the Europe Center connecting the over 630 Diamond Way Buddhist Centers worldwide, and she has been taking part in the activities at the center ever since. Michael is a physiotherapist and one of the several Hamburgers who exchanged there Northern german home for Allgäu (and have not been regretting it until today!). Together with their little son Malte they live in a beautiful farmhouse in Knottenried, close to the EC. With another addition to the young family well underway, the two decided to make their love official – in the place they met at and have been an active part of together for years now.

After the official ceremony and signing the legal documents with the lady from the civil registry office in the yellow room, Pit Weigelt guided a festive ceremony in the meditation room, pointing out the meaning and value  of a partnership in Buddhism, much to the interest and entertainment of everyone present – buddhist or non-buddhist.

The whole EC team would like to wish Mirja and Michael all the best for their family future in Allgäu and thank them for being such an inspiring part of the Europe Center activities!

If you would like to get married at the Europe Center, please contact the civil registry office of Immenstadt. You do not need to be Buddhist to get married here – but you should definitely be in love! :)

Yes, we can! Statue fillers from Austria to Australia met for the annual International Statue Filling Weekend in order to finish the filling of the big Diamond Mind statue in the EC villa’s meditation room.

The preparations for filling the statue have been underway for a year already. Friends from around the world brought mantra rolls, semi-precious stones and other preciosities like rose petals, dried herbs, and lot of joyful effort to finally make it happen.

Starting on Friday with a session of questions and answers with four experienced statue fillers, statue fillers and helpers were busy with rolling the last mantras, preparing the life tree and making the final arrangements over the weekend. As the highlight, friends from all around Immenstadt gathered to take part in the filling of the lotus flower the Diamond Mind statue sits on. And they did it in best style: with lots of joy and, as we always do, patiently standing in a long line! Now the statue is sitting in its place again, ready to get blessed by our Lamas during the Summer course. We think that it is even smiling a bit more than before… ;-)

Why do we fill statues?
Statue filling is an ancient discipline with its own special transmissions and knowledge.

Buddhist statues work as a mirror for the enlightened qualities inherent in all sentient beings. As representations of the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha, statues enrich the space around them on a profound energetic level. While the outer form of the statue represents the enlightened body of the Buddha, the mantra rolls and precious materials filling the statue represent his speech. Finally, the blessing by a Buddhist master represents the mind aspect, bringing the statue to perfection and making it a precious object of meditation.

Joyful effort in the summer heat!

More than 200 Diamond Way Buddhist volunteers come to the Europe Center for the weekend to help prepare for the International Summer Course at the Europe Center.

How our annual classical concert – the Summer Matinee – started out as a cultural event for the local guests from Immenstadt and the surrounding area, and turned out to be a weekend of special moments and friendship…

To avoid the unpredictable Allgaeu weather we moved the matinee into the rooms of our beautiful mansion this year. A red carpet, elegant chairs and a grand piano transformed our familiar areas, where the friends usually come together to eat and meet, into a classical music hall.

Around 200 guests could then enjoy almost unknown treasures from Rossini, Thalberg, Massenet and Saint-Saëns, played by Stefan Irmer on the grand piano. Although Sibylle Wolf’s beautiful voice was missing this year, one got lost in the delicate sound of the piano and Stefan’s charming commentary, so no expectations were disappointed in the end.

To round off the event, most of the guests used the chance to go on one of the last guided tours of this year’s statue exhibition, and later enjoyed the reappearing sun and excellent Danish cakes on the beautifully arranged Bau Café terrace.

And behind the scenes…?

Whilst a lot of helpful friends were busy rearranging furniture, cleaning and decorating the public rooms of the EC, at the same time a cake-miracle happened from the hands of our Danish cake-wonder-women in the basement.

Johanne, Birthe and Brigitte appeared on Friday evening and turned the kitchen into a place of great interest to everybody. Not only were they creating delicious and beautiful cakes for the matinee, on top they fed hungry helpers with cake deserts, integrated the sangha’s “sweet tooth” into the baking process and managed to turn kitchen cleaning on Saturday evening into a great party… Thank you for sharing your joy and surplus with us, Ladies!