Goodbye for now, Lama Ole and friends!

EC Blog Archive for October, 2014

Ten days of project days at the EC are over for Lama Ole and everyone who came for the Mediation Weeks and the Transmission Weekend.

Continuing and rounding off a time of lively exchange and action with his students, Lama Ole met with the currently present residents of the Europe Center for dinner and afterwards went straight to the gompa to guide a meditation and give blessing to everyone. Early the next morning, he drove off to the train station to catch a train to the centers meeting in Braunschweig, accompanied by several students and making best use of the train as a mobile office.

Thank you for the wonderful time, dearest Lama, and see you in December!

In between a lot of work at the desk answering emails of his students, Lama Ole still found some time to help our outdoor team with one of the recurring yearly activities: tidying up the waterfall coming down right at the EC’s road.

In a forest region like Allgäu with sometimes extremely stormy weathers, this does not just mean getting a few branches slowing down the flow of the falling water,. It is also about pulling out some serious logs and rocks blocking the waterfall with heavy machinery. Lama Ole spontaneously decided to drive the wheel loader himself. Great to see him back in excellent shape after his successful neck surgery earlier this year!

The first of our Transmission Weekends in the new gompa had to be a very, very special one – and it was. Lama Ole Nydahl, Maggie Lehnert-Kossowski, Caty Hartung and Tomek Lehnert shared their memories and lessons learnt of the times with one of the greatest Lamas of our time bringing Buddhism to the West – the late Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche.

For the first time in seven years, our happy event management did not have to worry about fitting everyone into the lecture hall. 800 people who had come for all over Europe easily found their places in our new gompa. For the photo presentations, the two big screens gave everyone front row seats.

Opening the weekend with a lecture about the importance of the student-teacher relationship in Diamond Way Buddhism, Tomek shared inspiring stories from four decades and his countless travels with Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche, Lama Ole and Hannah Nydahl. The next day, Tomek’s sister Maggie, Rinpoche’s personal attendant of more than 20 years, had a very special guest in the audience listening and contributing to her shared memories of his teacher – Lama Ole! Later on also together with Caty and Tomek, they brought Rinpoche and his blessing touchingly close to everyone present, no matter if people still had met Rinpoche personally or not.

Once again, it became very clear why the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism is the lineage of unbroken oral transmission going back without interruption to Buddha Shakyamuni himself. There are so many stories full of fascination, blessing and transmission that books could simply not transmit so intensely!

We would very much like to thank Lama Ole, Maggie, Caty and Tomek for everything they shared, all friends present for coming and helping with making this weekend as unforgettable as it was!

Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche was born in Bhutan in 1918 and was one of the greatest masters of Tibetan Buddhism.

As a boy he was ordained as a monk in Bhutan’s largest monastery in Phunaka Dzong. He trained with important teachers from all of the main Tibetan Buddhist schools, especially the Drukpa Kagyu and Karma Kagyu lineages. After meeting H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa in Bhutan in 1944, Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche became his close student and received from him the transmission of the Karma Kagyu Lineage. Their relationship was such that the 16th Karmapa once said “If I am Buddha, Lopön Tsechu is my Ananda”

From his base in Kathmandu, Nepal, he was a key figure in nurturing the development of Buddhism in Nepal following the occupation of Tibet by China. A close friend and confidante of the former King of Nepal, he exerted a formidable influence throughout the diverse Buddhist community in Nepal and was respected both as a great lama and also a skilled politician.

Rinpoche became the first teacher of Hannah and Lama Ole Nydahl, and was a huge inspiration behind their work in establishing Diamond Way Buddhism in the West. At the invitation of Lama Ole Nydahl, Rinpoche first came to the West in 1988 to give teachings and transmissions to many students. Over the next 15 years Rinpoche touched thousands of people in Europe, Russia,  North and South America with his inconceivable compassion, wisdom and enlightened qualities.

Rinpoche built many stupas, monuments symbolising the enlightened mind of the Buddha, in both the East and the West. The crown jewel of his career and one of his greatest legacies is the Enlightenment Stupa in Benalmadena, Spain. Also the Stupa of Long Life in the garden of the Europe Center was built and originally consecrated by Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche.

Rinpoche passed away on on June 10th, 2003. In Lama Ole Nydahl’s words paying tribute to his beloved late teacher:

»People’s lives are their most complete teachings.
Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche showed us mind’s power.

Even with the weather, we could not have been more lucky with the first Transmission Weekend in the new building. Summer-like T-Shirt temperatures and bright sunshine all weekend long – and easy to see that everyone made the best of it!

Cafeteria, dining hall, brasserie, pub – call it what you like, but it’s the new heart of the Europe Center, and it’s definitely beating!

During the Meditation Days and the Transmission Weekend, at whichever time one chose to enter coming down from the gompa after meditation, for sure there were always friends to meet and lots of different activities going on. The kitchen run by so many voluntary helpers managed to spoil us with the most delicious meals three times a day. On most days, somewhere in the crowd was Lama Ole having dinner together with everyone and answering his students’ questions. And of course, the Transmission Weekend also brought our first big party in the new building – we did hardly spot anyone not dancing the night away!

The interiors of the EC’s new heart are still work in progress. For now we want to see what everyone’s needs and wishes are – for meeting, relaxing, working, chilling, chatting, watching movies or gathering for a jam session with guitar, drums and piano, and the furniture concept will be developed further accordingly.

However, the colorful mixture of big tables with space for smaller and bigger groups to eat, meet and connect in combination with small cafe house tables for online workers or more private talks seems to be already working very nicely. If you have suggestions how to make our new home even more cozy and convenient, please let us know – or just expect to be surprised next time you come!

Let’s put the summary of the first Transmission Weekend in our new gompa into the hands of the people who know best – those who came to make it happen, including Lama Ole, Maggie, Tomek and many other friends who signed our guestbook!

Meditation Days – Impressions

October 21st, 2014

Every time Lama Ole is at the Europe Center for some project days or a book retreat, we invite the international sangha to come to enjoy and get to know the place, take part in the manifold activities and meditate in four practice sessions per day in the Lama’s energy field.

And of course, polishing and preparing the buildings and the logistics in time for the big weekend ahead kept us going as well! For the days leading up to our first Transmission Weekend with Lama Ole in the new gompa, we will let the pictures do the talking…

Did you know that Siberia is actually a place in Allgäu?

Well, okay, it is not quite as vast as the region in Russia with its world-famous endless railway, which Lama Ole travels on during his Russian Tour every winter. The other Siberia is on the Europe Center’s very own grounds, around 3.5 hectars of beautiful landscape-protected forest and meadows and an old wooden hut in typical Allgäu style.

In order to check out the land and plan how to use it, Lama Ole and our voluntary arborists went for a walk up the mountain to Siberia in beautifully sunny autumn weather, and many of the people present for the meditation retreat came along spontaneously.

Returning home to the Europe Center for the first time after the gompa inauguration in August, Lama Ole Nydahl did not waste any time, making the most of our new space immediately…

He had dinner with everyone who came for the ongoing meditation days and answered questions, inspected every corner of our new building, guided the evening meditation on the 16th Karmapa, gave blessing to everyone and continued the evening answering even more questions for hours – and did prostrations in the gompa the next morning, together with many of his students.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Lama Ole for his blessing and tireless work for the benefit of all – without him, we would not be here today. In his own words, here is what Lama Ole said about the Europe Center on this occasion:

»The buildings which last are the ones built with devotion, by people who were really open to something of great importance, greater than their own lives, and at the same time they were doing it for the benefit of everybody.

And this is what we have here now. We can really be proud of this place. What I have seen today and how it is functioning goes beyond anything I could have imagined. It is because there is a deeper meaning behind it, a deeper openness, the idea of benefiting others, today and also into the future.

This is why this here is standing today so nicely and fitting so well. I am very happy and deeply impressed. It is a new dimension and will give depth, quantity and quality to our work. It shows that we really know what the Dharma is worth. When we put so much into creating something like this, it shows how important it is.

So thank you, all of you who did something, all of you who plan to do something, all of you who support – thank you very, very much!

We here have the finest of frames for developing our countless enlightened qualities. May waves of human development radiate from our hundreds of centers and inspire the world. Above all, may we be torches of freedom and bless our societies in every way.«