EC Blog Archive for October, 2013
The weather was on our side the first Sunday in October – except for the beautifully coloured foliage, it felt like summer again. So many Immenstadt citizens came for cake and coffee at “Gut Hochreute”, which is the original name of the EC buildings, known by many as a historical and architectural landmark.
Everyone enjoyed homemade cake and muffins on the Baucafé’s terrace overviewing the lake. 100 Buddhist Centers of the Karma Kagyü Tradition of Diamond Way Buddhism took part in this event all across Germany and opened their doors to visitors. By the way, the EC is actually open for visitors every Thursday evening at 7 pm, so please come if you would like to get information about Buddhism or you would like to participate in a meditation. Explanations and meditation on Thursdays are in German.
There was a lo to do for the visitors – for example one could learn that the roof construction of the monument-protected barn was carefully dismantled. All wooden beams were numbered and are at the moment being restored professionally. Afterwards, they will be put back to their old place. Passing the gate, the visitors saw palettes full of red bricks – they are stored there at the moment to be cleanen of old plaster and will then be put used for the rebuilding of the barn as well. The upper floor of the barn is being transformed into a meditation hall. Kitchen and dining hall will be on the ground floor underneath the gompa. The building is scheduled to be finished in autumn 2014. The new building behind the barn is planned to be finished at the end of 2015.
Those who did not feel like going for a walk on the EC grounds took tours of the monument-listed Art Nouveau Villa, with its antique silk tapestry, beautiful chandeliers and wooden wall coverings. Others joined introductory lectures to Buddhism and tried a short guided meditation to find out what meditation actually feels like.
Not only at the info stand in the court yard but all over the place, we witnessed many lively conversations of visitors and members of the center. A truely nice and sunshiny day for getting to know each other!
For this autumn’s Transmission Weekend, Maggie Lehnert, Wojtek Kossowski, Eva and Manfred Seegers and Caty Hartung came to share their deep knowledge, experiences and many magical stories about Stupas with us.
Mind’s full potential can show itself in many different forms. For centuries, buddhist cultures around the world have been building stupas to symbolise enlightenment. They are full of meaning and are a blessing for the region and the whole country they are built in.
Stupas are vivid monuments to the enlightened mind, Buddhist monuments for peace, prosperity, harmony of the world and an ideal place to learn, reflect, and meditate. The outer structure of a Stupa has a deep meaning at many levels and its inner treasure chambers are filled with symbolical objects. Consequently qualified Lamas charge the Stupas through powerful ceremonies. Maggie’s stories of her 20 years of assisting Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche while he guided the construction of the first stupas in the West touched us deeply.
Eva and Manfred Seegers took us on a virtual world tour to show how stupas developed over the millennia and around the world. Originating from Nepal and India, just like Buddhism they can today be found e.g. in the whole of Asia, Russia, America and Europe.
According to the Buddhist teachings there are eight different types of Tibetan Stupas, of which all have also been built in the West over the last decades. Each of them represents an important event of the Buddha’s life story. The Enlightenment Stupa Chang Chub Chorten in Tibetan) symbolises the achievement of Buddha’s enlightenment, the nature of a fully awakened mind.
Each of the 8 different Stupa types is built according to very precise instructions where both the exact design and proportions have to be correctly followed. Our architect expert Wojtek Kossowski gave un an insight on the many things that need to happen on a very practical level when building a stupa.
Stupas are normally closed monoliths, which Buddhists circumambulate (by Tibetans referred to by the term kora) while expressing their deep wishes as being in front of Buddha himself. To absorb its beneficial influence into our lives it is recommended to walk around the Stupa in a clock wise direction. Buddhists believe that wishes done near a Stupa may become true.
If you would like to know more about Stupas, please visit the website of the great Enlightenment Stupa in Benalmàdena, Spain.
We never get tired of building and rearranging beds at the EC…
This time after Lama Toensang’s departure, it was time for “bed action” again to transform a resident’s room on the first floor of the villa into a guest room with a beautiful view of the lake and the huge copper beech tree in Karmapa’s garden for up to 8 visitors.
We hope you will enjoy your stay next time you come, looking forward to having you with us. Welcome home! :)
For the first time, Lama Ole Nydahl, Caty Hartung, Gergö and Tomek took a walk through our new building.
Many of you have probably been following our construction updates on www.more.ec with lots of pictures and movies keeping you in step with the building works. The construction companies have been working high speed all summer and autumn long to make sure that the roof will be back on the re-built barn very soon.
So of course Lama Ole took the chance to check out the ground floor of the new building as well as the forest of metal beams used for building the new ceiling dividing the dining hall and kitchen on the ground floor from the meditation hall on the first floor of the old barn. Not only Caty was all smiles walking through our future seminar rooms, bathrooms and sleeping rooms in the new building. Also very impressive is the huge spray concrete wall which is going to support the hillside of the new building. Since the hill is going to “flow” onto the green roof of the new building, it is very important to make sure that the building will be so stable that it cannot be “pushed” downhill by the mountain over the years.
Surrounded by not much more than concrete, scaffoldings, and the already installed electrical system, it was easy to already imagining what it will be like once these rooms are filled with furniture, activity and laughter!
A year after he gave the first empowerment on the grounds of our future gompa in the old barn, we had the great honour of welcoming Lama Toensang of Montchardon in France again. Lama Toensang has been friends with Lama Ole for nearly half a century.
Expecting “a few more friends than usual” for the Medicine Buddha empowerment given by Lama Toensang, we decided to put up a tent again – only four weeks after dismantling the summer course tents. The weather played along, giving us a beautiful late summer weekend with lunch outside overviewing the lake.
During the mealtimes, Lama Toensang shared many interesting and inspiring stories from his life with us and patiently answered our curious questions about his youth in Tibet, under the guidance of H.H. the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Originally from the region of Kham in eastern Tibet, Lama Toensang was born in 1934 into a family of lay Lamas. Drawn to spiritual practice already in his early years, he spent 8 years of his youth traveling the holy places of Tibet. With 17 he was ordained at the monastery of the Karmapa in Tsurphu. In 1959, he fled from the Chinese invasion and spent time in Rumtek, Karmapa’s main monastery in India.
After many years of retreat in Sonada, he became the spiritual director of Montchardon at the request of the 16th Karmapa in 1976. Through his tireless efforts and his exceptional personality, he built up a flourishing buddhist center, welcoming many visitors from all over Europe each year. The many international visitors are not the only similarity of Montchardon and the Europe Center. Both are lay buddhist centers of the Karma Kagyu lineage under the spiritual guidance of the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje. Besides being a highly respected master of buddhist teachings and meditation, Lama Toensang is also a very practical and active Lama. He showed great interest in our construction site and the heavy machinery used to build the new building, inspecting everything together with Lama Ole.
We are grateful for a wonderful weekend with Lama Toensang and invited him to come for another visit at the EC as soon as possible.