Gompa cleaning, large scale!

EC Blog Archive for the ‘Site progress’ Category

Gompa cleaning, large scale!

December 30th, 2016

Not only did our friends who cleaned the 400 sqm meditation hall surely accumulate lots of merit, they also had an awesome time climbing under the massive roof in order to clean the ventilation pipes! :)

The meditation cushions obviously have been used a lot since the inauguration of our precious big gompa, so all of them got new spelt husk paddings in the cleaning frenzy as well. We are looking forward to welcoming you on one of these cushions soon and to enjoy our now even more shiny gompa together!

You think we’re done with building at the EC? Think again! :)

The first of four field barns on the Summer course premises built in the style of the Allgäu region was properly inaugurated by our carpenters and many friends who came to celebrate in (semi-)traditional style.

Edwin pulled out his Sunday best carpenter’s outfit to read a traditional poem thanking everyone involved in the construction and including good wishes for the benefit of the new building. And the inauguration would be neither complete nor auspicious without three toasts together as well! Homemade burgers for everyone on top – a wonderful little party celebrating the amazing work of our voluntary EC architects and carpenters.

The field barns will be used to store the Summer course stuff like kitchen equipment and building material for the tents. So on the long run, they will save us quite a bit of money that would otherwise be spent on renting lots of storage space.

Quiet times at the EC…?!?

October 7th, 2015

Traditionally, October is a rather relaxed time at the Europe Center. Lots of time for meditation, reading, exchanging with friends and getting things done which had been waiting for more quiet times to come after the Summer Course and the Open House day.

The idyllic nature outside is starting to retreat as well – nights are getting chilly, the mornings become misty and the leaves start coloring and falling around the EC.

So much for the quiet times – it wouldn’t be our EC after all if everything went as planned, would it?

So one evening, we found ourselves being visited by quite a few fire engines and lots of heroic firefighters after the central fire alarm system went off. However – there was no fire to extinguish. Turned out that the thermometer for the wood chip container had set off the alarm because the inserted wood had been a little bit moist, making the temperature in the wood chip storage go up above the limit set as a precaution due do the steam that developed.

So basically, the alarm proved that the security system in the new building is running really well. However, what we were most impressed with was the few minutes it took the fire fighters to come rushing to our rescue, up the mountain all the way from Immenstadt and other neighboring villages. Good to know we are so well taken care of – thank you very much!

The day the international Diamond Way Sangha has been waiting for has finally come: the inauguration of the new EC buildings!

H.H. 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Lama Ole Nydahl, dignitaries from the area, as well as hundreds of Sangha members from around the world who made it all possible with their donations came together to celebrate what we have achieved together.

The rainy skies cleared right in time for the ceremony. After an appropriate Bavarian salute with gunshots from the new building’s roof, accompanied by alphorns and the traditional Tibetan wind instruments played by Karmapa’s monks, a series of touching speeches followed. Immenstadt councilman Dr. Ralph Kellner, the deputy administrative officer of the Oberallgäu district Ulrike Hitzler and the German Buddhist Union’s representative Gunnar Gantzhorn offered their congratulations and good wishes for the future and great benefit of the Europe Center.

Afterwards, Philip Leube and Caty Hartung on behalf of the architects and the Diamond Way Buddhist Foundation put in words what everybody present had in their hearts: deepest gratitude to our teachers for giving us the timeless means and motivation to make the dream of the Europe Center project manifest like this over just a few years!

Lama Ole Nydahl reminded us of why we built this place: to make it possible for more people to get in touch with the timeless Buddhist wisdom, and especially to have a home to meditate in. And this is what was done – a spontaneous meditation on the 16th Karmapa, the meditation practiced in and giving energy and growth to all the Diamond Way Centers around the globe.

Gyalwa Karmapa touched everyone deeply with his speech. “All of this would not be possible without two main ingredients: that of our heart and our aspiration, and then the same kind of aspiration in the form of the blessing of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, meaning those who have fulfilled that aspiration… when those two points meet, then all of this wonderful environment becomes possible.” Karmapa finished with the wish for us to keep the conditions that made this possible in our hearts, for the long life of Lama Ole and for our bonds to be strengthened more and more!

Each country with Diamond Way Buddhist Centers was invited to contribute an item that represents an important historical turning point in the development of the Dharma. These items have been placed into a time capsule buried by Gyalwa Karmapa and Lama Ole today and the plan is to open it again together in a future life in 108 years.

In the time capsule, there is a collection of special items representing the expression of Karmapa’s lineage as it has appeared in the West through the tireless work of Lama Ole and Hannah Nydahl and all their students and friends. In addition to these items, people have written wishes including Lama Ole and Gyalwa Karmapa, who wrote his wish right before sealing the capsule.

May these items inspire our future Diamond Way sangha to know their roots and feel the power of this great lineage. May this time capsule be a symbol of gratitude from us to our teachers and secure the continuity of their activity. May our bond with our teachers and our sangha strengthen for all time and may we bring massive benefit to the world together.  May we always be close and our societies remain free so that we may all enjoy opening this treasure together in 108 years!

After the courtyard celebration, the inauguration of the gompa and the burying of the time capsule, Gyalwa Karmapa and Lama Ole were far from calling it a day – the afternoon was filled with more celebration, together with many hundred students from around the world!

Coming straight from the Rabne in the gompa, Karmapa went on an extensive tour through each and every room of the new buildings, blessing basically every corner followed by an ever-growing number of students. After this, he guided a classical circumambulation (Tib. Kora) of the whole premises of the Europe Center. During the Kora, colorful Tibetan prayer flags were hung into the trees up on the summer course gompa plateau.

And last but not least, Karmapa and Lama Ole had a toast and a cookie together with everyone in the gompa tent, watching performances and presentations sitting right in the middle of the crowd of students.

For sure, this was a truly historical day in the history of the Europe Center which we will not forget so quickly!

Four sessions of teachings about the Great Seal (Skt. Mahamudra) texts by the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje with Rinpoche in two days – a lot to learn and great inspiration to meditate even more right the same evening.

In Buddhism, meditation means “effortlessly remaining in what is.” This state may be brought about by calming and holding the mind, by realizing compassion and wisdom, or by working with the body’s energy channels and meditating on Buddha forms of light and energy. The most effective method is the constant identification with one’s own Buddha nature which is taught in Diamond Way Buddhism.

The most effective method is the constant identification with one’s own Buddha nature which is taught in the Diamond Way. When the oneness of the seer, what is seen, and the act of seeing is unbroken—during and between the times of meditation—the goal of the Great Seal (skt. Mahamudra) is reached.

It’s done! The construction workers, carpenters and voluntary helpers outdid themselves over the last weeks in order to finish the new EC building in time for the start of the International Summer course… they managed, and the new building is really shining.

The beautifully laid-out wooden floors made of oak for inside and of mountain pine for the balconies create a warm atmosphere all around. Daylight comes flooding in through the light wells and the huge windows everywhere. Thanks to the anthracite stone tiling, also the bathrooms with their shower cubicles have a natural feeling to them. Colorful furniture donated by friends and centers, the fair-faced concrete and steel staircase railings combined with fine fabrics for the covers of the beds give the building a unique, modern style. Oh, and yes, then there’s that view across the Allgäu mountains and the lake, of course…

On August 2, H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje will bless and inaugurate our new living space – and put the crown on the years of work of a large team of architects, countless construction workers and dozens of volunteering friends from around the world bringing their expertise, sheer manpower and the millions donated to moreEC, orchestrated by Caty Hartung and inspired by our Lama.

High time to celebrate what we have achieved together!

As soon as the construction workers had finished their work, the work only began!

An armada of voluntary cleaners, strong friends carrying donated and EC-made furniture and decoration experts entered the rooms of the new building to prepare them for the Lamas and parts of the Summer Course team to live in during the course. Within days, they transformed the “raw” rooms already equipped with built-in cupboards into lots of cozy, individually furnished living space for the guests during the course.

Also, the terraces to enjoy meals, tea or just a chat with friends on were finished in time for the course – one at the gate and the big one underneath the two big chestnut trees in front of the barn.

Not a single visit of Lama Ole at the EC without a tour of the construction site!

Aiming to be finished in time for the Summer Course so Gyalwa Karmapa can inaugurate the new building and our teachers and parts of the team can live and work in there already during the summer course, the construction works are progressing very fast at the moment.

Our carpentry team is now especially busy, working on furniture for the future guest rooms. So Lama Ole and Alexandra checked out the wood workshop and its impressive machinery already in use in the new building and tested a sample desk and bed in one of the rooms.