Remembering Shamar Rinpoche

EC Blog Archive for July, 2014

Remembering Shamar Rinpoche

July 31st, 2014

For one day during the course build-up, our focus shifted to Kathmandu in Nepal. After 49 days of mourning, our precious teacher the 14th Shamarpa, Mipam Chökyi Lodrö (1952 – 2014), was cremated in the presence of tens of thousands of his students from around the world.

We stayed at the EC to prepare the Summer Course. However, in our hearts we were there at the cremation ceremony guided by H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje and many other high Lamas of all main traditions of Tibetan Buddhism who came to say goodbye to Rinpoche. Connected to all Diamond Way Centers worldwide via live-streaming, Lama Ole Nydahl guided a 16 hour meditation on Amitabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light and we meditated all through the night while the cremation was going on in Kathmandu.

Rinpoche will be dearly missed by the international Europe Center sangha. We were lucky enough to receive Mahamudra teachings from the highly realized second highest ranking Lama in the Karma Kagyu lineage when he visited the Europe Center and other international meditation courses time and again. Director of the Diamond Way Buddhist Foundation Caty Hartung found touching words to say goodbye to her teacher, you can read the complete letter on Shamar Rinpoche’s Official Website: For a report and photo impressions of the cremation ceremony, please visit

Even after his passing, Shamar Rinpoche made the Karma Kagyu lineage stronger and more united, thus preparing a bright future for what he lived for: the lineage and his spiritual son and successor Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje. Gyalwa Karmapa will in turn now recognize his successor, the 15th Shamarpa. May this happen soon and without obstacles.

Our diligent summer course helpers at the EC last week could not have been happier about a completely unexpected surprise: For the first time after his successful neck surgery, Lama Ole Nydahl came to visit the EC – for a very special occasion based on ancient Buddhist teachings and transmission.

On behalf of Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, who is going to inaugurate the stupa in August, Lame Ole placed a treasure vase (Tibetan: “bumpa”) into the foundation of the stupa, assisted by our little girls from the Immenstadt sangha. Only the evening before, our carpenters quickly built a rock-solid staircase to make the 1,80 meters deep foundation hole securely accessible.

The minute Lama Ole arrived and started to talk about the history of the stupa and his dear teacher who built and consecrated it for the first time, the late Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, the sun we had not seen at all during days of pouring rain finally came out – and stayed.

Everyone present was deeply touched and happy to see Lama Ole in such good health after the surgery – and we cannot wait to welcome him back home for the International Summer Course!

As part of the construction of the new EC stupa, Lama Ole Nydahl took a break from his recovery to visit for a day and place the bumpa, a vase filled with blessed objects.

Lama Ole made efficient use of the few hours he spent at the EC. After placing the stupa’s bumpa, he went straight to our soon to be inaugurated new gompa to check out the construction progress and especially the wooden floor.

It was Lama Ole’s wish that the carpentry for the massive oak wood would be carried out by a team from the Braunschweig Buddhist Center together with the EC’s carpentry team. When Lama Ole saw the new floor for his flat at the Braunschweig center some time ago, he was so impressed with the beautiful woodwork that he suggested for the Braunschweigers to share their knowledge and skills and take care of the EC gompa floor. And so of course they did!

The Lama did not come empty-handed, but well-prepared to thank the Braunschweig-EC-Carpentry team: imported straight from Switzerland, everyone was presented with a Swiss Army cap as a thank you.

After three weeks of intense work, our future gompa’s oak floor is already pointing out quite clearly that the quality of crafts coming together for the beautiful building is truly a class of its own.

According to Lama Ole’s wish, the voluntary carpentry team from Braunschweig, Schwarzenberg and the EC neatly arranged a total of 47 massive oak trees which are now, plank by plank, arranged on the gompa floor in the exact order they were cut in. So one can actually see the patterns of the wood slightly changing from plank to plank. Even the knotholes and cracks were turned into pieces of art: carefully prepared and filled with epoxy resin, they now almost seem to resemble lakes within the beautiful wooden “landscape”.

Many helpers from around the world were crawling on the floor for days. They happily helped with filling the drilling wholes with nearly 10,000 little wooden plugs, carefully choosing each one according to its pattern to make it fit perfectly to the pattern of the plank.

Finally, after beveling, polishing and oiling the wood for days, the carpentry team went to a mountain hut to celebrate our new gompa floor in appropriate Allgäu style. Thank you for the impressive work, friends. This beautiful floor surely is going to last at least a hundred years!

Getting out of bed very early and standing in the pouring rain for hours was not a problem during the last building-up week at all:

asked by the event organizers if we could set up a refreshment station for the participants of the yearly AlpseeRun, we happily cheered them on and got a lot of smiles and thank-you’s in return. Congratulations to all participants, they showed great sportsmanship and impressed us a lot!

3rd Building-Up Weekend

July 20th, 2014

We have to admit there is one day during the summer course building-up phase that might be our favorite day. After weeks of driving screws into the afterwards everything-proof kitchen tent floor in any weather from pouring rain to 35 degrees bright sunshine. It’s the day the big tents go up!

Within only a few hours and with the help of pretty much all present helpers from many countries, first the metal construction goes up, immediately followed by the white tarpaulins being pulled across the construction strip by strip. Every year, it’s the most obvious evidence of how much can be done together in no time- with so much fun to come along despite the really tough work.

And every year, the summer course build-up just seems to become even a little bit more powerful, a little bit more joyful and at the same time more relaxed. Every year new people join the team and become friends – starting and finishing the day with two common 16th Karmapa meditations, working “on the hill” all day long and then somehow still finding the energy to celebrate with friends in the Baucafe at night.

All our admiration to everyone involved in this build-up – you manage to impress and inspire us deeply time and again!

The first two big steps towards the inauguration of our EC stupa have been taken!

After the Lamas gave green light and instructions concerning the exact placement of the stupa, the ground was broken to prepare the foundation, which is going to be 1,80 meters deep in total. At over 30°C, we started to dig the big hole and after a few hours, it was so deep that it was a challenge to get out again.

In the evening, the moment we had been anticipating for months was finally there: the Swiss sangha brought the stupa from Amden in Switzerland, where it had been stored since it left its former home at the Bern Buddhist Center. Looking around the courtyard when people got the first glimpse of the stupa, one could spot a tear or so in many eyes – it was a very touching and intense moment. After carefully unwrapping the well-secured monument which will be filled and consecrated by Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche after the summer course, we took to the baucafé to thank and celebrate with our Swiss friends.

With the “old barn” which is now our future gompa and dining hall to be finished very soon, it was high time to say thank you to the diligent professional workers involved in the construction with a nice afternoon barbeque in the courtyard right in front of the result of their work.

Many of the skilled craftsmen who rebuilt the listed building have been working at the EC for way over a year now, becoming friends with us, meeting Lama Ole, celebrating with us on several occasions and sometimes even meditating with us. “I have never worked in such a joyful, energetic environment before” assured one of them. “I don’t know if it is because you are Buddhists, but fact is that whenever I meet one of you guys, there is always something to laugh about no matter how tight the schedule is. I am going to miss that!”

Well, they are all welcome to come and visit any time they like of course. For now, we would really like to thank them for all the effort they put into the future heart of the Europe Center and wish them all the best – keep up the good work!

Shiny happy people…

July 16th, 2014

In the unlikely case that the other posts were not showing enough summer course building-up joy already, here are just some of the beautiful and happy faces of this year’s preps!