2nd Building-up Weekend

EC Blog News & Reports

2nd Building-up Weekend

July 14th, 2014

A very short and incomplete résumé of the Summer course build-up after the second working weekend:

Kitchen tent’s floor is basically done, the beautiful wooden floor of the soon-to-be EC gompa is well on its way, as is the Brasserie underneath – and lots of friends from Italy, Czechia, Spain and many other countries came to make it happen. And to round of a perfect weekend – we watched the German soccer team win the worldcup!

Otherwise – we will just let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!

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Finally! Last Thursday, everyone felt the energy at the EC shifting to Summer Course mode with the arrival of the first members of the Summer Course team. This always creates a very family-like atmosphere. Old friends with many shared memories meet, fresh members join the team and immediately feel at home – it is simply what the Europe Center is all about!

“For the next two months.” is the answer one mostly gets now when asking new arrivals how long they are going to stay, and we love it! On Sunday evening after the Matinée, accompanied by beautiful rainbows, some early birds built up their sleeping tents. Even though there is actually no need to hurry: because of the new terraces on the gompa plateau, there are masses of perfect places for putting one’s tent – all on dry and even ground, overviewing the EC and and lake. Enough space for everyone!

The technical tent on the kitchen tent plateau is already up as well to provide the tools, pipes and power supply for the construction of the huge kitchen tent with its super-stable wooden floor and for the gompa tent later on. Summer course build-up 2014, here we go!

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Now in its seventh year, our annual Matinée has become a regular fixture for many from Immenstadt and surroundings.

In between rather rainy days, the sky brightened up right on time for our guests to enjoy the concert in the Europe Center’s courtyard in the sunshine. Professional musicians and opera singers performed “Evergreens” of classical music under the Art Nouveau arcades of the Europe Center’s courtyard.

After the concert, it was time for homemade cakes and typical Bavarian white sausage with pretzels in the garden. Friends from the local and Danish sanghas donated an impressive collection of cakes – hardly anyone managed not to try at least one of them and enjoy them in the nicely decorated EC garden, with a view of our soon-to-be-inaugurated gompa – one year ago at the time of the Matinée, the old barn had disappeared almost completely and has now been rebuilt.

The Matinée also rounded off our annual statue exhibition and most of the concert visitors took the chance to join one of the final exhibition tours in the villa. This year’s Buddhist art exhibition drew a few hundred visitors over the weekends of June and July. We look forward to continuing these traditions with many new guests next year!

Just when all the guests had returned home and stage and Matinée café were dismantled, a beautiful double rainbow appeared across the Great Alpsee Lake and Immenstadt.

To say it with one of the performed evergreens: “What a wonderful world!”

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There is a very sweet tradition that comes with our annual Matinée…

Every year, our cakebaking-savvy Danish ladies pack a car in Denmark filled to the roof with cakebakers and all kinds of magical cake ingredients donated by them. They drive down all the way to Allgäu and spend a whole weekend and most of the night before the Sunday morning Matinée in the EC kitchen, creating what can only be called pieces of art.

Since they again outdid themselves compared to the years before, we just had to post a separate cake-exhibition blog to share at least the visual part with you – because of course all cakes and cupcakes were eaten up by hungry Matinée guests and our hard-working summer course and gompa-builders the very next day. And trust us, the cakes taste as good as they look.

We would very much like to thank you Danish friends and our local cake-baking friends for putting all this effort every year. Probably latest next year, the EC Matinée will be just as famous for its cakes as for its magnificent musical performances…

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The Brasserie, our future dining hall and kitchen on the ground floor of the “old barn” underneath our soon-to-be gompa, is buzzing with activity. Finally, our worldwide sangha can take part in the building activity, together with the professional workers who seem quite impressed with the diligence, dedication and joy of their voluntary helpers.

The thousands of bricks from the old barn which were cleaned and polished by many diligent helpers a few months ago are now in place, already giving the barn a cozy, rustic atmosphere even though it is still a construction site of course. Now all the bricks and the gaps in between are being filled and afterwards scraped into shape again, one by one. Looking at the bright faces and shining eyes, the friends doing this could not be enjoying this more – literally brick by brick building our future living room together!

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Things are definitely heating up in what we now really cannot call “the old barn” anymore – on August 10th, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Lama Ole Nydahl are going to inaugurate our new Europe Center meditation hall together with thousands of friends from around the world. Our future gompa is buzzing with activity!

Voluntary helpers from many countries are now sharing the hard but very joyful work with the professional companies’ workers, and the atmosphere and tension is intense. The walls are being covered with beautiful light-colored wood, many meters of cables have to be installed, the light-colored new roof beams will be adapted to the old ones, the ventilation system has been installed and needs to be covered, and then the wooden oak floor and the wooden steps for the staircases will be put it by our carpenters – just to name some of the ongoing activities.

Meanwhile in the villa, after finishing the 400 new meditation cushions, our handicraft-savvy ladies are preparing equipment for doing prostrations in the new gompa as well.

Feel free to come and join the work if you would like to have your share in finishing our future gompa together, you are very welcome! If you intend to come, please register via the Summer course registration at www.summercourse.ec

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At the Europe Center, we try to take every occasion to connect with the area and make the beautiful Gut Hochreute buildings accessible to visitors. The popular „Cultural Weeks“ with the statue exhibition and the classical music concert are a great opportunity for that – many from Immenstadt and the Allgäu area take the chance and visit us on Sunday afternoons in June and July.

Visiting the statue exhibition, one can learn not only about the meaning of Buddhist statues and their profound symbolism. The heart of the annual statue exhibition is made of the collection of statues residing at the Europe Center. Many of them are used in the center’s daily life for Buddhist meditation practices. On top, there are always some „hidden treasures“ displayed, chosen especially for the occasion.

It might come as a surprise for people not familiar with Buddhism that Buddhist statues actually do not depict any gods—Buddha is not a god but rather reference to a perfect state of mind. The different forms, with precisely prescribed proportions, attributes and expressions, are thus symbolizing and reflecting various enlightened qualities of one’s own mind.

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Our EC carpentry team is in full swing furnishing our soon-to-be gompa. To prepare the massive wooden oakwood beams for the floor of our EC gompa, they packed a van and headed for the Diamond Way Buddhist Center in Braunschweig.

Ever since a group of Buddhists purchased the former iron foundry, a center for meditation and Buddhist art has developed step by step. The many years of building activity was solely based on private donations and tireless voluntary work. The project of the Diamond Way Buddhism Foundation provides 2400 square meters of space for numerous activities. The main focus is on the activity of the Buddhist Center offering daily public meditations, lectures, practice explanations, a library, teachers’ trainings and seminars for students. Furthermore, the “Buddha Fabrik” (Buddha Factory) is home to an artists’ workshop of the Buddhist Institute for Tibetan Art (BINTA) and a mail-order outlet for Buddhist literature.

At the “Buddha factory”, our EC carpenters met up with the carpentry-savvy friends from the local Sangha, who did such a great job with the wooden floor of their center, that Lama Ole Nydahl wished for their carpentry expertise to also benefit the Europe Center’s meditation hall’s interiors. So the Braunschweig-EC-Team spent a long weekend transforming huge oak logs of over 40 trees into beautifully polished floor bars. Measuring, cutting, molding, planing, filling knotholes and gaps, grinding… and having a whole lot of fun doing all this!

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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.

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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.

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