In between the years…

EC Blog Archive for December, 2013

In between the years…

December 28th, 2013

The days between christmas and New Year’s Eve at the EC were mainly about meeting up with families and friends and enjoying activities one never seems to have quite enough time for.

So we meditated a lot and spent the evenings watching Lama Ole’s lectures at the New Year’s course in Vienna via live streaming together. More or less around the clock, the gompa was so full that we decided to heat the Diamond Room as well and meditated in two places.

Meanwhile upstairs in the villa, our painters practiced line art drawings of Buddha forms. Right next to them, the diligent team of seamstresses worked joyfully on the 400 meditation cushions for our new EC gompa, which is to be inaugurated next Summer Course!

Christmas at the EC

December 26th, 2013

Christmas evening started very early in the grocery markets in Immenstadt and later on continued in the EC kitchen, where we prepared a lavish Turkey dinner together.

In the meantime, long tables were set up and nicely decorated in the Villa hall and the dining room.  After meditation, we enjoyed the rich and tasty christmas dinner. For dessert, our chef Sonia and her kitchen team served home-made Italian Tiramisu.

Later on in the beautifully decorated Baucafe, we laughed a lot during the “pub quiz” and played “Wichteln”, with everyone randomly exchanging surprise presents, and most of all simply enjoyed each other’s company!



Decorating the christmas tree

December 23rd, 2013

Shortly before christmas, it was time to find a nice christmas tree for the Villa. Jürgen ventured out into our EC forest and cut a lovely one. Building its base in the villa hall, he disappeared almost completely underneath the tree, while the kids were eagerly standing around waiting for their turn to decorate it!

You might ask yourself why Buddhists, and even an international Buddhist center, have a christmas tree…

A defining characteristic of Buddhism is that it’s not a dogmatic religion or way of life. Part of its very essence is the wish for everyone to be happy. Most Buddhists in the West come from a Christian background, and Buddhism and Christianity share common humanistic values concerning the wish for freedom and happiness for all beings. A christmas tree is a cultural symbol. No matter if in India, Tibet or now in the West, the way Buddhism was practiced has always reflected the culture to a certain degree, but its essence is always the same.

So this is in short why we love our annual christmas tree decorating afternoon with the kids and enjoying the tree afterwards: it brings kids and adults together for some joyful activity, and inspires happiness and positive impressions in the minds of those who see the beautifully lit and decorated tree. It is a symbol of fertility and immortality and its green color signifies hope and peace. So happy holiday season to you!

After three wonderful days with lots of activity together, Lama Ole and his team left for his hometown of Copenhagen and the New Year’s Course in Vienna.

Everyone present gathered in the entrance and court yard of the EC to wave goodbye. Waiting for Lama Ole to leave is always a nice spontaneous sangha meeting with lots of lively chats amongst old and new friends braving the cold.

See you again soon and bon voyage, Lama Ole!

Maybe you already know that the EC sangha members living in and around Immenstadt collected money to buy a set of 16 statues of the Karmapa incarnations for the EC gompa? And maybe you also know that we managed to collect the money, thanks to the generosity of many.

But do you also know there was another Sangha collecting money to buy the set? This Sangha was from Bern in Switzerland. They would have had to wait for a year until a second set will be readily manufactured. But as we know as Buddhists, everything changes and plays around all the time. And it turned out that this very Bern Sangha is going to give a very, very generous gift to the Europe Center next spring: a stupa filled by Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche!

Deeply thankful for this present, the EC team decided that the first set of the 16 Karmapas should be the “Thank you!” to the Berners a few months ago. The EC gompa will then be graced with the set of 16 Karmapa statues which is currently being manufactured a bit later. During Lama Ole’s book retreat, 25 friends from Switzerland came to bring the Karmapas home to Bern. In a festive ceremony in the EC gompa, Lama Ole blessed each statue before Caty handed them over to their new owners, who were beaming with joy, as is easy to see on the pictures.

Again, we would like to thank the Berners for their generous present and friendship – and of course we are going to inaugurate the EC’s first stupa together with them next year!

On the last of Lama Ole’s project days at the EC he gave a lecture, telling stories about the history of Diamond Way Buddhism, answering questions, and giving blessing after the lecture.

Via live streaming, friends around the globe were able to watch and listen. Even though the room was quite packed, everyone happily cuddled up and squeezed in the available corners.

Before the project days at the EC, Lama Ole Nydahl was touring the Americas from Chicago to Argentina. He was accompanied by Tomek Lehnert and students traveling along to join the Mahamudra meditation course and many public lectures. So of course we took the opportunity and asked Tomek to give a tour report – and Lama Ole joined spontaneously.

Telling stories and showing pictures and videos, they took us on a virtual journey covering cities such as Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, San Diego, and San Francisco. During Lama Ole’s trip to Colorado, he had a chance to visit the newly purchased retreat land, Dakini Ranch, with over 300 acres and beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains. From the deep snow of the Rockies, they took us to the top of a volcano in Hawaii – and then to Latin America.

The President of Uruguay, José Mujica, received Lama Ole Nydahl and a group of friends from the Montevideo Diamond Way Buddhist Center in his office. In a significant and warm one-hour meeting President Mujica welcomed the activity of Lama Ole and the Diamond Way centers in Uruguay.

On invitation, the small tour group also had the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking glacial landscape of Patagonia in Argentina, in between lectures in Porto Alegre/Brazil, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires.

During his project days at the EC , Lama Ole Nydahl was interviewed via live streaming. He answered questions for an online seminar organized by one of the biggest publishing houses in Russia, which is also publishing Lama Ole’s book Buddha and Love.

Such online seminars are organized for the most popular authors. This way, readers can ask questions to the author. The most popular authors gathered for such a webinar around 700 attendees. Lama Ole’s first webinar was close to that record with 650 people listening and asking questions. Because of this big success, Lama Ole was already invited for the next “webinar”, which will again take place at the EC.

“Buddha and Love” is not the only book by Lama Ole published in Russian until today – there are five of them and ebooks are going to follow soon.
Check out “Buddha and Love” in Russian here.
Check out other Buddhist books by Lama Ole Nydahl in Russian here.

Welcome home, Lama Ole!

December 20th, 2013

After a long tour through North and South America, Lama Ole Nydahl arrived at the EC for a few project days and many people came to give him a very warm welcome. And of course he still took the time to greet and bless everyone present. Welcome home!

Why would the villa be full of folding tables? Why would over one hundred friends be sitting around those tables, pens in hand?

In what has become an annual Europe Center tradition, Lama Ole Nydahl, Tomek Lehnert and Caty Hartung joined friends from all over the world to sign the EC New Years cards. Starting with Lama Ole, 800 cards were passed from friend to friend, until everyone had signed every card.

These cards will be sent out to the more than 640 Diamond Way Buddhist Centers in 44 countries around the world, as well as to H.H. 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, Shamar Rinpoche, and many more friends in the East and West.