A walk at the lake with Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche

EC Blog News & Reports

Despite his tight schedule of meditation and teaching sessions every day, Rinpoche took the time to go for an early morning walk down to the Great Alpsee lake with some of his students.

On the way down from the Europe Center, the summer course guests just driving up in the shuttle bus could hardly believe their eyes and jumped out of the bus to greet Rinpoche, who happily blessed all of them. Down at the lake, he took the time to answer his students’ questions.

Rinpoche, a highly respected lama of the Kagyu lineage, is a “Maniwa’, a title given to masters of the Chenrezig practice who have accomplished at least a billion Om Mani Peme Hung mantras. Whereever he goes, his mantra wheel is with him to bless his surroundings. On the walk, he also took the time to bless all living beings in and around the lake.

The first day of Rinpoche’s stay at the Europe Center, he was greeted by an extraordinary double rainbow around the sun. Welcome home, Rinpoche!

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A very popular way to spend the breaks in between the course sessions is shopping at the dining tent’s Dharma shop.

Finding presents for friends or oneself that are at the same time beautiful and meaningful is easy here: meditation supply, Dharma books, thangkas or statues, Buddha pictures and beautiful jewelry with Buddhist motives – one only has to choose! And then of course there is the “World’s Best Shop” with products from sanghas all over the world – from beautiful dresses to precious olive oil from Spain.

Enjoy your shopping spree!

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A week before the beginning of the course, the build-up for this year’s exhibition in the gompa tent started: “Meditation Places and Altars” in Tibetan Buddhism.

The exhibition showed the four main different models of how Vajrayana Buddhism is practiced in the East and in the West: a yogi cave in the Himalayas, an ordinary and humble Tibetan house of lay practicioners, the lakhang of a typical monastery in Asia, and a collection of pictures of 300 Diamond Way gompas representing lay Buddhism in the West, complimented by a modern Western altar as well as several traditional ritual items and meditation supply.

Depending on the location, the altar  “should remind us of enlightenment”, (Hannah Nydahl) and in Diamond Way Buddhism it often also represents the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) and the Lama. Additionally, offerings and ritual items can be displayed on the altar.

The term gompa traditionally means “place for meditation” and is a general expression for a  complex of buildings where one can sit down and practice. The proper term in Tibetan to specifically describe a meditation room or hall would be lakhang.

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With the opening of the International Summer Course at the Europe Center approaching, the activity – and the joy! – naturally increase even more.

We almost got the impression that the pouring rain even only contributed to the joy… but we just let the pictures do the talking!

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Remembering Shamar Rinpoche

July 31st, 2014

For one day during the course build-up, our focus shifted to Kathmandu in Nepal. After 49 days of mourning, our precious teacher the 14th Shamarpa, Mipam Chökyi Lodrö (1952 – 2014), was cremated in the presence of tens of thousands of his students from around the world.

We stayed at the EC to prepare the Summer Course. However, in our hearts we were there at the cremation ceremony guided by H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje and many other high Lamas of all main traditions of Tibetan Buddhism who came to say goodbye to Rinpoche. Connected to all Diamond Way Centers worldwide via live-streaming, Lama Ole Nydahl guided a 16 hour meditation on Amitabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light and we meditated all through the night while the cremation was going on in Kathmandu.

Rinpoche will be dearly missed by the international Europe Center sangha. We were lucky enough to receive Mahamudra teachings from the highly realized second highest ranking Lama in the Karma Kagyu lineage when he visited the Europe Center and other international meditation courses time and again. Director of the Diamond Way Buddhist Foundation Caty Hartung found touching words to say goodbye to her teacher, you can read the complete letter on Shamar Rinpoche’s Official Website: www.shamarpa.org. For a report and photo impressions of the cremation ceremony, please visit diamondway-buddhism.org.

Even after his passing, Shamar Rinpoche made the Karma Kagyu lineage stronger and more united, thus preparing a bright future for what he lived for: the lineage and his spiritual son and successor Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje. Gyalwa Karmapa will in turn now recognize his successor, the 15th Shamarpa. May this happen soon and without obstacles.

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Our diligent summer course helpers at the EC last week could not have been happier about a completely unexpected surprise: For the first time after his successful neck surgery, Lama Ole Nydahl came to visit the EC – for a very special occasion based on ancient Buddhist teachings and transmission.

On behalf of Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, who is going to inaugurate the stupa in August, Lame Ole placed a treasure vase (Tibetan: “bumpa”) into the foundation of the stupa, assisted by our little girls from the Immenstadt sangha. Only the evening before, our carpenters quickly built a rock-solid staircase to make the 1,80 meters deep foundation hole securely accessible.

The minute Lama Ole arrived and started to talk about the history of the stupa and his dear teacher who built and consecrated it for the first time, the late Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, the sun we had not seen at all during days of pouring rain finally came out – and stayed.

Everyone present was deeply touched and happy to see Lama Ole in such good health after the surgery – and we cannot wait to welcome him back home for the International Summer Course!

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As part of the construction of the new EC stupa, Lama Ole Nydahl took a break from his recovery to visit for a day and place the bumpa, a vase filled with blessed objects.

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Lama Ole made efficient use of the few hours he spent at the EC. After placing the stupa’s bumpa, he went straight to our soon to be inaugurated new gompa to check out the construction progress and especially the wooden floor.

It was Lama Ole’s wish that the carpentry for the massive oak wood would be carried out by a team from the Braunschweig Buddhist Center together with the EC’s carpentry team. When Lama Ole saw the new floor for his flat at the Braunschweig center some time ago, he was so impressed with the beautiful woodwork that he suggested for the Braunschweigers to share their knowledge and skills and take care of the EC gompa floor. And so of course they did!

The Lama did not come empty-handed, but well-prepared to thank the Braunschweig-EC-Carpentry team: imported straight from Switzerland, everyone was presented with a Swiss Army cap as a thank you.

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After three weeks of intense work, our future gompa’s oak floor is already pointing out quite clearly that the quality of crafts coming together for the beautiful building is truly a class of its own.

According to Lama Ole’s wish, the voluntary carpentry team from Braunschweig, Schwarzenberg and the EC neatly arranged a total of 47 massive oak trees which are now, plank by plank, arranged on the gompa floor in the exact order they were cut in. So one can actually see the patterns of the wood slightly changing from plank to plank. Even the knotholes and cracks were turned into pieces of art: carefully prepared and filled with epoxy resin, they now almost seem to resemble lakes within the beautiful wooden “landscape”.

Many helpers from around the world were crawling on the floor for days. They happily helped with filling the drilling wholes with nearly 10,000 little wooden plugs, carefully choosing each one according to its pattern to make it fit perfectly to the pattern of the plank.

Finally, after beveling, polishing and oiling the wood for days, the carpentry team went to a mountain hut to celebrate our new gompa floor in appropriate Allgäu style. Thank you for the impressive work, friends. This beautiful floor surely is going to last at least a hundred years!

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Getting out of bed very early and standing in the pouring rain for hours was not a problem during the last building-up week at all:

asked by the event organizers if we could set up a refreshment station for the participants of the yearly AlpseeRun, we happily cheered them on and got a lot of smiles and thank-you’s in return. Congratulations to all participants, they showed great sportsmanship and impressed us a lot!

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