Snowy EC under a full moon

EC Blog Archive for November, 2012

Snowy EC under a full moon

November 30th, 2012

After the new dormitories were finished a few months ago, the next refurnishing project is on its way: the big hall in the basement will be completely redone within the next few months.

The goal for the new interiors is clear – more practical, more cosy, more EC!

All necessary cables and pipes will disappear behind beige canvas panels, stylish pendant lamps will give warm light, white and wooden surfaces will make the room appear more spacious, creating a more cosy atmosphere.

At the same time, the food serving during weekend events will be easier to handle for the kitchen team thanks to a new counter and more hidden storage space, and the coffee- and snack bar as well as the info board will provide a nice setting for a chat with friends in between.

So Abel, Tamas, Tomas and Radek are constantly running in between the wood workshop and the Villa, already fitting in the first shelves for the new coffee bar only a few days into the practical part of the work. If you like to work with wood – come and help with the refurnishing! Just let us know in advance by mail so we can reserve a nice bed for you.

We are going to keep you in the loop about the progress in the basement here on the blog, so check back regularly or subscribe via the box on the right side to be kept up to date about new posts.

Yes, the fundraising action is still going – and our kids are doing their part as well to get the money for the building together.

With christmas coming closer, our parents and their kids enjoyed an afternoon of creative cookie baking in the basement of the villa. The yummy results are being sold for the benefit of moreEC in the dining room already.

 

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Diamond Way Buddhism in the West, we invited some friends to share their memories of the early days with Lama Ole and Hannah Nydahl.

Gabi, Karola, Erik, Jesper and Leif recounted many touching and memorable moments and stories from the past decades. Through their partially very personal memories, the adventure of bringing the Buddha’s teachings from Asia to Europe, Russia, America and Australia really came to life for those of us who became Buddhists years and decades later on, when Diamond Way Buddhism had already been well-established in the West. In this process, one of the biggest challenge was seperating the actual and complete Buddhist teachings from elements of culture, in order to make the teachings accessible to modern Westerners with completely different lifestyles compared to those in the East.

Knowing our roots, understanding why things are done in a certain way by knowing about experiences of others earlier on, is essential for us as lay Buddhist practitioners in the modern Western world. In an unbroken lineage of oral transmission like the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, this knowledge is being passed on and kept alive until today. This is one of the reasons why we have the Transmission Weekends at the Europe Center.

Another very recommendable way to learn about the history of Diamond Way Buddhism in the West are Lama Ole and Hannah Nydahl’s personal memories, written down in Lama Ole’s books “Entering the Diamond Way” (german: “Buddhas vom Dach der Welt”) and “Riding the Tiger” (german: “Über alle Grenzen”).

EC Team Weekend in Garmisch

November 17th, 2012

2-3 times a year we try to have an EC Team weekend for spending time together, getting to know each other better away from “daily business”.

This year the Sangha of Garmisch-Partenkirchen invited us to stay at a hotel in Mittenwald owned by some of them. We did not have to do anything. The Garmischers cooked, cleaned and prepared. Whenever we offered to help, we just heard: “You are here to relax, you do enough all year”. Wow, how concept-breaking!

Arriving Friday night, Cristina and Leonie offered us one of their famous “pub quizzes”. This time we got to enjoy a special edition about the EC Team. Questions like: “What colours played an important role at Thomas’ and Ifka’s wedding” or “What’s the name of Sidsel’s daughter” made our brains run wild.

Waking up after a fun night amongst friends we couldn’t believe our eyes. We are used to mountains around us at the EC – but this here was different. The landscape of shallow hills and considerably higher and more rocky mountains than in Allgäu impressed many of us quite a bit.

Saturday offered many options: longer hikes, shorter hikes, visiting playgrounds, going shopping, visiting the Buddhist Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. After spending the day in different groups we opened the evening program with a common meditation. Even some of the parents were able to join because a couple of parents volunteered to take care of all the children.

The rest of the evening we played some games and discovered some real strategic talents in people. We shared many stories and got inspired by realizing once again what a bunch of wonderful and experienced people has come together in Immenstadt in order to support the EC.

The next morning’s brunch was one of the most relaxed events some of us had in months. Just eating, talking, the children roaming around… nothing needed to be done, with lots of time still left. No urge to go for a walk since it was raining. Just sitting with the friends, recalling passed events together.

What a luxurious, relaxed, and joyful weekend! Thank you very much for your hospitality and generosity, dear friends in Garmisch!

After some busy weeks around Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Latvia, Denmark, Spain, and Poland at meditation courses attended by several thousand people, Lama Ole returned to the Europe Center for a week of project days.

Arriving from Poznan late in the evening, there was still time for a spontaneous get-together in the hall of the EC Villa with the friends who came to say hello. Lama Ole and Caty answered questions and recounted what has been going on the last weeks around the world.

The week continued to be full of smaller and bigger events. During Lama Ole’s project days, we try to make the most out of so many people being at at the EC at the same time – for example by meditating together, meeting with the EC communication team, finding the time for a walk and a chat with old friends, or a movie night in the lounge with home-made popcorn.

Talk about movie night and popcorn – to many, the absolute highlight was watching the new James Bond movie at the cinema in Immenstadt – together with Lama Ole and around 100 friends.

The busy week was rounded of with many members of the EC team taking off for the EC Team weekend in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The Bavarian Sangha took over the EC instead of them – planning and preparing for the approaching New Year’s Course in Munich and simply having a very nice time together at the Europe Center…

Inauguration of the new EC road

November 13th, 2012

During the last 2,5 months the Europe Center was more difficult to reach than usual. Soon the major road renewal will be finally finished.

In Allgäu, the South-German region where the EC is located, there is a tradition of having new roads opened and blessed by a local priest. We like to keep the local traditions and customs, and being Buddhist, it quickly became clear that Lama Ole would inaugurate the new EC road.

When the day finally came, everyone gathered at the beginning of the road down at the lake. The atmosphere was festive: the road sealed with a ribbon, the fresh tarmac glistening in the afternoon sun, the champagne chilled, and some people were even wearing their Sunday’s best despite the cold.

Opening the event, Lama Ole thanked the road workers that have been working hard in every weather, rain and snow included. After cutting the green ribbon, everyone walked back up the hill. While going up, Lama Ole was throwing rice on the road as a traditional symbol of blessing and we repeated the mantra of White Umbrella or Dukar, a Buddha aspect for protection on journeys.

The new solid paved road will make everyone’s life much easier, giving no more hard time to residents’ and visitors’ cars and eliminating the clouds of fine dust stirred by each passing vehicle on dry days. Nevertheless, it is now also a bit more narrow and tarmac can be quite slippery so one has to keep driving slowly and carefully than before, especially in all the steep parts in the winter.

After arriving back up at our cosy warm EC, we invited the road-builders for coffee and home-made cake. Having a good time together they finally stayed also for dinner and we were happy to have an opportunity to show our gratitude for their great work.

There is still a few things to finish but soon we will be able to use the road as we please. Everyone is very much looking forward to it even thought the constant walking kept everybody in good shape. ;)

 

Cooking connections – Part 2

November 6th, 2012

Only a day after the lunch invitation at the villa in Immenstadt, Caty returned the favor.

Originally being from Hamburg in Northern Germany, the question what to serve for lunch the next lunch was easy to answer for Caty: fish, of course! So the evening before, we had a nice kitchen party whilst preparing lots of potatoes, curd cheese with herring and chocolate pie.

Coinciding with surprisingly warm autumn weather and bright sunshine the next day, we enjoyed the tasty lunch on the terrace of the Baucafé. The chocolate cake did not make it to the Baucafé for dessert – it was so tempting that it did not survive the kitchen party… ;)

Cooking connects – also our EC cooks Sonia and Laci quite frequently invite us for cooking special meals together with them. It is always fun to have a relaxed chat with friends while peeling potatoes or chopping veggies – and enjoying the tasty results afterwards together with even more friends. So if you would like to share your special recipe and have a kitchen party – just let us know next time you come to the EC!

Cooking connects

Taking a short break we took the chance to visit the Buddhist house-sharing community in another beautiful villa down in Immenstadt for lunch and chatting with the EC team members living there.

We keep to our annual blog tradition of sharing some impressions of this year’s first snow with you. :)

The white splendor did not last for long – but a love of snow helps if you want to live at the EC – we have 6 to 7 months of snow each year, normally from October/November until March/April.