Checking out our friends’ apartments in and around Immenstadt – the EC Mandala tour

EC Blog Archive for January, 2013

Because of the ever growing number of Buddhists moving to Immenstadt and surroundings in order to live close by and benefit the Europe Center, we have a new tradition: our Mandala tours.

Already for the third time, we visited friends in their homes and were welcomed in each flat or house with something nice to drink and some snacks. Starting in the early afternoon, we drove and walked our way up and down through Immenstadt and surroundings, admiring 10 beautiful homes and eating up pretty much all the delicacies their owners offered. We rounded off the day with a long night of joyful dancing and chatting at the Villa in Immenstadt, well taken care of by the 11 friends living there.

Many thanks to everyone who opened their doors for their hospitality, friendship, and all the many different kinds of activity with which they are supporting the Europe Center!

Tomek Lehnert has been traveling around the world with Lama Ole Nydahl for 30 years, organizing his teacher’s tours, supporting him, and teaching Buddhism himself.

Stopping by the EC he kindly agreed to give a spontaneous lecture about working with emotions. Tomek’s very entertaining, close-to-life examples like our attachment to the newest smartphone or laptop being outdated only a few weeks later by a newer model or – even worse! – accidentally being stepped on by a friend, gave very good reasons why it is a good idea to rely on less impermanent values like benefiting others, and therefore more reliable lasting happiness from a buddhist point of view.

Northern German Evening

January 20th, 2013

The ancient Indian meditation master Tilopa taught that leaving kin and country is half the way to enlightenment because one overcomes a lot of attachment this way. We Northern Germans who are down here in Immenstadt because of the EC like to think that this also applies to our move a little bit… 

Of the approximate 140 Buddhists living in Immenstadt by now, over 20 are from Northern Germany. This might not seem very remarkable – but to Northern Germans, moving to the Bavarian alps all the way in the very South of Germany is actually quite a big step!

Landscape and culture are indeed very different – Northern Germany’s completely flat landscape surrounded by the sea is mainly inhabited by protestants, the mountaineous South is traditionally deeply catholic. Another difference is definitely the language – Bavarian dialect is hard to understand for the “northern lights”, who traditionally even have their own language called “Low German”. Last but not least, the dry northern-german humour is definitely different to that of Southern Germany, and so is the traditional music.

So we had one evening with the 16th Karmapa meditation guided in Low German and treated our international and southern-german friends at the EC to some delicacies from the North like “Pears-Beans-Bacon” and stew of curly kale with stewed piquant sausage, with the fitting sailors’ music to sing along to and pictures from Hamburg.

Russian week at the EC…?!?

January 14th, 2013

Well, actually the “Russian Week” is scheduled in our events calendar for March 18-24 this year. But that did not keep some Russian friends from already staying for a week after the New Years Course in Munich and taking over the command at the EC…

Coinciding with this year’s start of the annual Winter tour through Russia, we watched a film about it featuring in-depth interviews with Lama Ole recorded during the long train rides through the Siberian plains. Those of us who have not been traveling through Russia yet got a good idea of the vastness of Siberia’s beautiful landscape and the unique atmosphere within the tour group usually consisting of a few hundred friends. Experiencing the endless white of the Taiga also gives more space in mind and inspiration for one’s meditation practice, according to Lama Ole.

Besides meditating a lot together with everyone else, the Russians went on to show us what it looks like at their retreat centers and crowned the week by making the famous and very delicious “Blini” pancakes for everyone, along with the classic “Borshtsh” soup. Hmmmmmm…., Большое спасибо, spaseeba bol’shoy (=thank you!), dear friends!

With many friends showing up at the EC after the close-by New Year’s course in Munich, the first week of the year was spontaneously turned into a mini meditation retreat.

Thanks to all guests taking over a part of the daily kitchen work and housekeeping, we spontaneously managed an event that we would normally organise thoroughly quite some time in advance. It was an impressive example of how much we can do here with everyone helping a little bit every day.

Along with four or more meditation sessions per day,  we enjoyed inspiring lectures by buddhist teachers Roman from Australia about “Practical Buddhism”, and by John from the US and Renate from Munich who answered our questions about meditation in Diamond Way Buddhism. On top, there was lots of time to talk during exceedingly long breakfasts or in the evening in the lounge.

After the annual meeting of the Diamond Way Buddhism Foundation with Lama Ole in Amden/Switzerland, Caty, Gergö, Martin and Roman shared the outcome of this with us during another cosy evening together in the lounge.

And last but certainly not least, the week finished with the newest member of the EC sangha saying hello – congratulations to Claudia and Sievert on the birth of their son!

Ringing in the New Year

January 1st, 2013

Dearest EC blog readers, we wish you all a healthy and joyful new year!

We welcomed 2013 together by following the Mahamudra teachings and the Bodhisattva promise given by Lama Ole Nydahl at the New Years Course in Munich via live streaming in the lounge. However, most of the gathered friends looked a bit different than usual – mainly due to our New Year’s eve’s motto “Heidi goes Bollywood”…

Not only the people but also the Baucafé was transformed – thanks to Sidsel, the walls were covered with painted mountain meadows à la Heidi and one corner of the Baucafé became a both glamorous and cosy Bollywood-inspired chilling lounge.

After a night of lots of fun and dancing, the first morning of 2013 greeted us in return with just another one of those impressive sunsets above Immenstadt.

Happy 2013, everyone. We hope to see you here at the EC very soon!