Still more joy, still more energy – dismantling the Summer Course!

EC Blog Archive for August, 2015

Many thanks to all the friends who stayed after the end of this year’s Summer course in order to help with the huge task of dismantling the infrastructure! How much fun it is despite a bit of unsurprising exhaustion – we let the pictures do the talking!

Day 14 – Safe travels!

August 11th, 2015

Within a few hours, thousands of inspired friends left the Europe Center ground heading home after the Channa Dorje empowerment, taking with them lots of blessing, deep impressions, grown and new friendship and lots of wonderful memories. See you latest next year, friends – thank you for coming and making it happen together!

There are far more people than I could possibly try to see, focus on, or even fit into my peripheral view – they extend so far in every direction, spilling out the doors even as they squeeze ever closer, trying to make it into the frame for our group pic – the crowd immense beyond counting, swaying jovially together in the afternoon sun – as every single of them turns towards me with a bright and joyous smile – their cheers are still echoing in my mind.

What an incredible group of people, one can actually feel their joy in the air as we try to organize everyone, to fit them all in, squeezing more and more, as this is quite possibly the largest group of Buddhists ever assembled in the western world. Seated in the middle is Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje and Lama Ole Nydahl, surrounded by thousands and thousands of our dearest Dharma family, eyes glimmering and faces glowing like nothing I have seen before.

The words to describe how this feels escape me – I am just so happy to be here in this place, to capture this special moment in history – seeing this place literally explode with people who have all come to share in the Dharma and to hear the teachings of our great and ever compassionate teacher Karmapa, and to bask in this environment that Lama Ole has created in a lifetime of dedication and hard work. One would think that there would be no way to top what has already happened, each day bringing more and more excitement and splendor to our little secluded corner of Germany here – and yet it continues to astonish me with ever mounting energy.

Today was the last day of our great event here – the grand finale – however this doesn’t even begin to describe how big, enormous, monumental, colossus and huge this really is, how much it means to all of us. For the Dharma to continue to grow in the West, this is a record breaking and pace setting moment in history that deserves to be remembered for years to come – and will be.

For the Europe Center – hosting and successfully putting on such an incredible event, make that a stupendous event, bigger and better than anything I could have imagined, is such a major moment for them as well – the years of their hard work and experience paying off in droves. To celebrate the completion of all the new buildings, the newly inaugurated Gompa by Karmapa himself, this place is on fire with activity and promise for the future. There is cause to celebrate, on every level this is a huge success, and those who have made it possible have some serious credit to take.

— by Tokpa Korlo

“When we first heard that there would be a meeting with Karmapa, all youngsters got excited and helped preparing to make the meeting as nice as possible. However, then plans changed and the meeting finally took place on Saturday noon after the meditation session.

We all were sitting in this small meeting-room, sining mantras and waiting for Karmapa. Finally he came in with a big smile. It was the second meeting with him at the EC so we showed him what happened at our meetings and courses, e.g. in Graz and Kossin, during the last years so far.

After that we had a nice talk with Gyalwa Karmapa. He told us again how important it is to be so young and to have the possibility to practice, get all teachings we want and meet other young people from around the world in the wonderful Europe Center. Also he seemed impressed that the youth had grown so much and came from a great variety of countries.

Karmapa cared about us, full of compassion, wisdom and fortitude which makes us all very happy. It was an honor to meet our spiritual head, the 17th Karmapa so privately and we are looking forward to seeing him again!”

— by Anna Buchmayer

Today, in the presence of Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje and Lama Ole we have once again come together to wish for the swift rebirth of Shamar Rinpoche.

Seeing his photo hanging on the wall reminds that he is no longer with us and that for the moment we have to brave this world without him. But this is nothing new – well over a year has now passed, and yet today – the feeling remains. Perhaps it is all in my head, a self fulfilling prophecy, but it doesn’t matter – because things continue on, and the day we had today despite my own personal feelings was again, another record breaker.

Today was the first time that the Samantabhadra prayers were ever performed in full, in Tibetan, on this side of the world, sung joyously in a grand chorus of over 8000 voices. The melody echoed across the lake and up the mountains on the other side, the tent full of souls eager and ready to spend their day once again under the burning sun together. 

– by Tokpa Korlo

Friendship and joyful activity for the benefit of others is all around at the Summer Course!

Today, a new chapter in the history of the Europe Center was opened. H.H. Trinley Thaye Dorje gave the first initiation from the Chik She Kun Drol Empowerment Cycle (“Knowing one liberates all”) and will continue giving empowerments from this series in Europe over the following years.

To reach a high level of realization and a deep understanding of the Buddhist teachings, one needs a long and healthy life. Since the next rebirth could be one in another realm keeping one from meeting the Dharma, it is important to take the chance one has with this life, meeting with the teachings in a human body .

The White Liberatrice or White Tara (Skt. Sita-Tara; Tib. Dolkar), also sometimes counted with the protectors or Bodhisattvas, gives a long life and protects from illness. She is regarded as the female manifestation of the compassion of all Buddhas, easy to recognize by her five additional wisdom eyes: one in her head, two in the palms of her hands and two in the soles of her feet, seeing wherever she is needed to help beings. Sitting in meditation posture, her right hand is stretched forward in the mudra of generosity while her left hand holds a lotus .

While the parents are meditating or attending the lectures, their kids at all ages are definitely having a great time at the Summer Course as well!

In four big tents, there is lots of space for all kinds of activity in any weather, run by a highly motivated, multilingual team of caretakers, supported by parents doing voluntary shifts. The little “tigers and lions” are well taken care of by professional babysitters in the baby tent, there is a cozy “snoozle room” to tell stories for the 4-6 year olds. Next to the “Dragon Island” tent of the 7-9 year old there is a “creativity tent” with the opportunity to do handicrafts, painting and be creative. And then there is the “Black Pearl” with an “activity tent” which is located next to the 10-12y. Here we have space for sports, dancing and just being wild!

The plan was to have an afternoon lecture by Karmapa on Bodhicitta, but – as is the nature of plans – the plan was changed and instead the jam packed tent was treated to a talk by Söpon-La Tsültrim Namgyal.

Söpon-la was a close attendant already to the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje and nowadays to H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje. He recounted stories about the Karmapa lineage and interjected facts about the controversy and history of how it all came to be. Always smiling, he regaled the crowd with stories about the 16th Karmapa in a way that only he can.

For the evening talk, we received teachings from Lama Jigmé Rinpoché, representative of Gyalwa Karmapa in Europe and nephew of the 16th Karmapa. Full of humor, wit and incredibly genuine, he spoke without any particular format. Calm and collected, pausing naturally as he speaks, never in any sense of rush or hurry, his presence is as familiar as if he was speaking to each one of the thousands personally and directly to our hearts.

Be it in the huge gompa tent, in our beautiful new barn gompa open 24/7 for personal practice or at the stupa – the thousands of guests from all over the world are definitely using the EC for what it was built for: exchanging, getting teachings and meditating, meditating, meditating at and time, night and day!