Reasons to travel and celebrate, Part 3: Visiting our soon-to-be Europe Center Stupa in Switzerland

EC Blog Archive for May, 2014

As you might know already, the EC is soon going to have its own stupa, thanks to the generous Sangha of Bern/Switzerland. To be perfectly prepared for our stupa’s transport and installation at the Europe Center later this year, some of us went to the beautiful retreat center in Amden, where it is stored at the moment.

A stupa is a vivid monument to the enlightened mind, a Buddhist monument for peace, prosperity, harmony of the world and an ideal place to learn, reflect, and meditate. According to the Buddhist teachings there are eight different types of Tibetan Stupas. Each of them represents an event of Buddha Shakyamuni’s life story. The Enlightenment Stupa (tib.: Chang Chub Chorten) symbolizes the achievement of Buddha’s enlightenment, the nature of a fully awakened mind.

Our future EC stupa was inaugurated by Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche. Since the beautiful new Buddhist Center in Bern did not come with a place outside where the stupa could be, the Berners gave it as a generous gift to the Europe Center. The stupa will be inaugurated by Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche after the Summer course.

Situated in breathtaking scenery above the bright turquoise Walensee lake, surrounded by the Swiss mountains rising up to 4000 meters, the Buddhist Retreat Center Amden provides perfect conditions for meditation retreats. The few hours we had in Amden we definitely made the most of. We spent the time talking to the Swiss friends experienced with installing and maintaining a stupa similar to ours, cleaning and measuring the parts of the stupa, being shown around the place by our friendly hosts and meditating together in the beautiful gompa.

If you would like to find out more about Amden, please visit their website.

Just before the Europe Center’s event action heats up again with the statue filling weekend, six weekends of statue exhibition and the Classical Music Summer Matinee coming our way soon, we enjoyed a perfect spring weekend outside.

After some spring cleaning to get the EC Villa ready for summer, we made the most of over 20 degrees and bright sunshine, playing with the kids, taking time for a chat with friends and enjoying meditation and meals outside.

Country weekends already have a more than four years old tradition at the Europe Center. The idea is to bring people together on weekends which are organized by Buddhist friends from a single or several countries.

On this extra-long weekend of four days run by Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Greece and Hungary, more than 50 people took over many functions at the EC. The whole weekend had a cozy family-like atmosphere, at the same time bringing the typical Balkan-like spontaneity and power to the Europe Center.

The main focus was on the meditation and the teachings. The Diamond Way teachers of our countries gave lectures sharing their memories and some of the “old dogs” shared stories from the early times of Diamond Way on the Balkan.

The afternoon activities were divided up into different workshops: Serbian coffee-fortune telling, Bulgarian folkdances, Hungarian medieval fighting in full armor and Transylvanian survival training.
For the breaks, we also offered a library of books from the Balkan in English, movies and poems from Greece and Serbia.

Of course one of the most important places of our activity was the kitchen, where all kinds of delicious national dishes were prepared by all of us. This activity reached its peak with the Saturday dinner which really deserved its fantasy name „gala dinner”.

We finished the weekend with a nice party and promised to each other that we will come together again for such a multicultural weekend, deepening our friendships even further.

– The Balkan EC team –