White Easter at the EC

EC Blog News & Reports

White Easter at the EC

April 7th, 2015

In the Allgäu region it is said that winter lasts “from O to O” – from “October” to “Ostern (Easter)”. This weather proverb seemed to prove correct.

While the Europe Center was pretty much deserted due to the course in Kassel with Lama Ole Nydahl, our Easter eggs fell from the sky in fluffy, white crystal form this year, giving us just another opportunity for some beautiful photographic impressions. We hope you enjoy them!

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After weeks of preparing to welcome friends from around the world for the first Transmission Weekend of 2015 with Lama Ole, the day had come to put our new gompa and everyone in and around it to a big test. Let’s cut it short about the result and let the pictures do the talking: it was crowded, crazy, cozy and.. is there another word for “wonderful” starting with a “c”?

“Entering the Diamond Way” is one of two autobiographies written by Lama Ole Nydahl about how Diamond Way Buddhism came to the West. Must-reads for any practitioner, the stories in the books of course come to life even more by being recounted directly by Lama Ole and friends who shared the experiences of the pioneer times – following the tradition of oral transmission in the Karma Kagyü Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

After days of giving lectures and answering questions, Lama Ole spent 11 (!) consecutive hours in the meditation hall – giving the final lecture, meditating with his students, and finally giving blessing and answering his students personal questions for hours and hours, until also the very last one of the hundreds patiently lining up for blessing and advice got his individual attention. We could not be more thankful for yet another great gift like this weekend and all the memories and experiences shared with us. Thank you, Lama Ole!

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There was one thing we really wished for prior to the Transmission Weekend – sunny weather, which would enable everyone to spend time outside and simply spread out across the grounds of the EC. Well – we got a sun eclipse to watch on Friday, but then the cloudy skies delivered everything from fog to rain and snow over the weekend!

However – with a lot of creativity, flexibility, patience and joy, everyone got their delicious meals, found a (sometimes rather unusual) place to eat, and simply made the best of the breaks in between the lectures with Lama Ole and the Diamond Way teachers: talking to old and new friends from the other end of the world while queuing for food or coffee, meditating, circumambulating the stupa, grabbing some mini jobs to help running the event, and, and, and…

Looking at the happy faces and the feedback we got, everyone had a great weekend that showed clearly how important it is that we have our new, bigger Europe Center now, and how much joy it brings along!

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No matter how good the preparations and organization up front: something like this big Transmission Weekend would not be possible without pretty much everyone coming taking over a voluntary job or two to help run the event.

To name but a few of the tasks: cleaning thousands of square meters several times per day, tidying clothes racks and shoe shelves, welcoming and directing the guests, chopping veggies, cooking, cleaning the dishes, running the cafeteria, serving the meals, organizing the garbage, selling in the shop, making announcements, organizing the parking space, shuttling over a thousand people up and down to their cars and the train station within a few days, registering the guests, taking care of the cash boxes, taking care of the sleeping halls in town, setting up audio, video and streaming equipment, taking pictures for this blog … just to give you an idea.

So we cannot help ourselves but to very much thank every single one of you amazing helpers for your contribution to make this Transmission Weekend such a success. You just rock!

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Taking a break in between a marathon of meetings and talks, Lama Ole, Caty and Tomek went for a tour of the construction site.

The interior works are progressing fast now, so chances are very good that the new living building will be ready in time for Gyalwa Karmapa’s visit in August. Lama Ole met the workers doing their best to finish the building in time and was very impressed with the eco-friendly heating system run on wood pellets and the machinery running it.

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After months of traveling the world – Siberia, Australia, New Zealand, North and South America, South Africa, Ireland, to name but a few destinations -  Lama Ole Nydahl has arrived at the Europe Center right in time to celebrate his birthday on March 19th.

Wasting no time as usual, Lama Ole went straight to the gompa in order to greet a few hundred students eagerly awaiting his arrival, guided the meditation on the 16th Karmapa, recounted his recent travels and answered questions.

At midnight, he was presented with a huge birthday cake and of course countless well-wishes – only to immediately continue answering his students’ questions and giving advice and teachings a few minutes later, being, as always, the most inspiring example of a Bodhisattva constantly working for the benefit of others.

We could not be happier to have Lama Ole back at our Europe Center with us. A long and healthy life for you, dearest Lama, and many happy returns!

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In seven years of running the Europe Center, we have had the pleasure of facing a challenge of two concerning running bigger events. We learned to do our best to make it possible for everyone to come and enjoy, and we also developed confidence and trust that no matter how big the challenge, at the end of the event, pretty much everyone has had a magnificent time.

And of course, just like every other Buddhist center, we put extra effort in making everything even more shiny in time for the Lamas’ arrivals. Because of the capacities of the new building and Lama Ole’s physical absence for more than five months, hundreds of people from all over the world registered for the event, looking forward to seeing their Lama again.

So after weeks of organizational meetings preparing for the Transmission Weekend “Entering the Diamond Way” with Lama Ole and an unprecedented number of his students, we took to action with the help of many: refurnishing, cleaning, polishing, labeling, planning, preparing Lama Ole’s birthday cake and 200 more cakes (using 1500 eggs…), meditating – and having a very joful time together with our traditional pub quiz.

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Happy Losar, everyone! We love to welcome the New Year twice a year – once according to the Western calendar and once, approximately two months later, according to the Tibetan calendar of the Karma Kagyu lineage.

The Europe Center sangha got a very special New Year’s message from H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje – along with his best wishes for the year of the wood sheep, Gyalwa Karmapa sent a beautiful booklet with the prayer for the swift return of his teacher Shamar Rinpoche, who passed away last summer, asking his students to make wishes for Rinpoche to return and teach again very soon.

Another beautiful surprise awaited us: after a bit more than one year, we finally got to welcome the long awaited set of 16 Karmapa statues for the villa gompa. You might remember that the EC sangha had given the first manufactured set of statues to the Bern sangha as a thank you for the Stupa of Complete Victory or Long Life they had given to the Europe Center last year. Here you can see the pictures of the Bern sangha taking their Karmapa statues home in December 2013.

The Europe Center sangha would like to wish everyone a very joyful, healthy and meaningful year of the wood sheep!

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Australia-New-Zealand Night

February 22nd, 2015

Another rather chilly winter weekend – perfect setting for a fabulous New Zealand themed event at the EC!

Organized by the sanghas of Australia and New Zealand, we enjoyed delicacies from the other side of the planet for dinner before meditating together. The highlight of the evening was a screening of  the movie ‘The Lord of the Mind’ video created by our very talented New Zealand sangha in order to fundraise for the development of the Diamond Way Retreat Center Glentui. It is situated on New Zealand’s beautiful South Island, just an hour away from Christchurch.

The screening along with popcorn and NZ snacks was followed by a fun(d)raising party with a playlist of the best music from down under. Thank you to the friends who organized this lovely evening and greetings to the sanghas of Australia and New Zealand from our EC – we hope to see you here for the Summer course (latest)!

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BBQ in the Snow

February 20th, 2015

It’s never too early to start the year’s first barbeque, or is it?

Shortly before the middle of February, a snow bar with a nice bonfire in front was built, warming drinks were provided and our BBQ masters braved the cold for hours to provide everyone with steaks and grilled veggies.

So – when are you starting the BBQ season?

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