The Europe Center’s primary purpose is as a place of transmission. A place where all members of the more than 640 Diamond Way Buddhist centers worldwide come together to learn from each other and meditate together, and exchange experience, knowledge and views.
For the first Transmission Weekend of 2014, representatives from some of the big centers, each with a few hundred members, including Hamburg, Prague, Budapest, Warsaw and London came together to share their stories and ideas. The Londoners came with a group of 20 people to share the experience of buying and renovating the historical Beaufoy Institute, now London’s biggest Buddhist center.
The weekend was for everyone in the worldwide sangha. So people from other centers came to get inspired by the many magical stories and memories, to find out what it actually means when the small group that has been meeting in someone’s living room to meditate together grows large enough to get its own “key center”. This is most of the time a rented space to meet and meditate at, and often grows so much that the vision of buying real estate and building a center to enable people in their city to get in touch with the timeless Buddhist teachings and meditate.
Idealistically donating one’s personal savings and fundraising creatively for years, looking for a place that fits the needs of the future meditation center, finally buying for example an old factory and then renovating it, all completely based on non-profit work and the surplus that comes with meditation practice – all this challenges everyone involved on a large scale. It means constantly working to keep a joyful, beyond personal view of things. The result: great development and growth both as an individual as well as a group, as well as a deep trust in the Dharma and the blessing and protection of our teachers that often enough becomes so obvious in these experiences.
With deeply touching honesty, some of the strongest and toughest guys spontaneously recounted their struggles to become and stay friends and keep up the idealism, to “put their egos into a corner” and keep looking at things on a beyond personal level in order to make such a huge project happen. They opened up completely in front of everyone. And why? To make it easier for other places going through a similar process. To help others to avoid making the same mistakes and learning from the sometimes admittedly hilarious mishaps or hindrances the “old dogs” encountered during four decades of pioneer work making Buddhism accessible to people in the Western world.
Because after all, what we strive for is to create the conditions to have lots of time to meditate together in order to reach enlightenment for the benefit of all. His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje once put it like this at the Europe Center: “It is precious work you are doing here for the benefit of all. With all this work, please also remember what you are building this place for: meditation!”