Countdown for the new EC Gompa – only 5 weeks to go until the inauguration…

EC Blog News & Reports

Things are definitely heating up in what we now really cannot call “the old barn” anymore – on August 10th, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Lama Ole Nydahl are going to inaugurate our new Europe Center meditation hall together with thousands of friends from around the world. Our future gompa is buzzing with activity!

Voluntary helpers from many countries are now sharing the hard but very joyful work with the professional companies’ workers, and the atmosphere and tension is intense. The walls are being covered with beautiful light-colored wood, many meters of cables have to be installed, the light-colored new roof beams will be adapted to the old ones, the ventilation system has been installed and needs to be covered, and then the wooden oak floor and the wooden steps for the staircases will be put it by our carpenters – just to name some of the ongoing activities.

Meanwhile in the villa, after finishing the 400 new meditation cushions, our handicraft-savvy ladies are preparing equipment for doing prostrations in the new gompa as well.

Feel free to come and join the work if you would like to have your share in finishing our future gompa together, you are very welcome! If you intend to come, please register via the Summer course registration at www.summercourse.ec

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At the Europe Center, we try to take every occasion to connect with the area and make the beautiful Gut Hochreute buildings accessible to visitors. The popular „Cultural Weeks“ with the statue exhibition and the classical music concert are a great opportunity for that – many from Immenstadt and the Allgäu area take the chance and visit us on Sunday afternoons in June and July.

Visiting the statue exhibition, one can learn not only about the meaning of Buddhist statues and their profound symbolism. The heart of the annual statue exhibition is made of the collection of statues residing at the Europe Center. Many of them are used in the center’s daily life for Buddhist meditation practices. On top, there are always some „hidden treasures“ displayed, chosen especially for the occasion.

It might come as a surprise for people not familiar with Buddhism that Buddhist statues actually do not depict any gods—Buddha is not a god but rather reference to a perfect state of mind. The different forms, with precisely prescribed proportions, attributes and expressions, are thus symbolizing and reflecting various enlightened qualities of one’s own mind.

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Our EC carpentry team is in full swing furnishing our soon-to-be gompa. To prepare the massive wooden oakwood beams for the floor of our EC gompa, they packed a van and headed for the Diamond Way Buddhist Center in Braunschweig.

Ever since a group of Buddhists purchased the former iron foundry, a center for meditation and Buddhist art has developed step by step. The many years of building activity was solely based on private donations and tireless voluntary work. The project of the Diamond Way Buddhism Foundation provides 2400 square meters of space for numerous activities. The main focus is on the activity of the Buddhist Center offering daily public meditations, lectures, practice explanations, a library, teachers’ trainings and seminars for students. Furthermore, the “Buddha Fabrik” (Buddha Factory) is home to an artists’ workshop of the Buddhist Institute for Tibetan Art (BINTA) and a mail-order outlet for Buddhist literature.

At the “Buddha factory”, our EC carpenters met up with the carpentry-savvy friends from the local Sangha, who did such a great job with the wooden floor of their center, that Lama Ole Nydahl wished for their carpentry expertise to also benefit the Europe Center’s meditation hall’s interiors. So the Braunschweig-EC-Team spent a long weekend transforming huge oak logs of over 40 trees into beautifully polished floor bars. Measuring, cutting, molding, planing, filling knotholes and gaps, grinding… and having a whole lot of fun doing all this!

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As you might know already, the EC is soon going to have its own stupa, thanks to the generous Sangha of Bern/Switzerland. To be perfectly prepared for our stupa’s transport and installation at the Europe Center later this year, some of us went to the beautiful retreat center in Amden, where it is stored at the moment.

A stupa is a vivid monument to the enlightened mind, a Buddhist monument for peace, prosperity, harmony of the world and an ideal place to learn, reflect, and meditate. According to the Buddhist teachings there are eight different types of Tibetan Stupas. Each of them represents an event of Buddha Shakyamuni’s life story. The Enlightenment Stupa (tib.: Chang Chub Chorten) symbolizes the achievement of Buddha’s enlightenment, the nature of a fully awakened mind.

Our future EC stupa was inaugurated by Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche. Since the beautiful new Buddhist Center in Bern did not come with a place outside where the stupa could be, the Berners gave it as a generous gift to the Europe Center. The stupa will be inaugurated by Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche after the Summer course.

Situated in breathtaking scenery above the bright turquoise Walensee lake, surrounded by the Swiss mountains rising up to 4000 meters, the Buddhist Retreat Center Amden provides perfect conditions for meditation retreats. The few hours we had in Amden we definitely made the most of. We spent the time talking to the Swiss friends experienced with installing and maintaining a stupa similar to ours, cleaning and measuring the parts of the stupa, being shown around the place by our friendly hosts and meditating together in the beautiful gompa.

If you would like to find out more about Amden, please visit their website.

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Just before the Europe Center’s event action heats up again with the statue filling weekend, six weekends of statue exhibition and the Classical Music Summer Matinee coming our way soon, we enjoyed a perfect spring weekend outside.

After some spring cleaning to get the EC Villa ready for summer, we made the most of over 20 degrees and bright sunshine, playing with the kids, taking time for a chat with friends and enjoying meditation and meals outside.

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Country weekends already have a more than four years old tradition at the Europe Center. The idea is to bring people together on weekends which are organized by Buddhist friends from a single or several countries.

On this extra-long weekend of four days run by Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Greece and Hungary, more than 50 people took over many functions at the EC. The whole weekend had a cozy family-like atmosphere, at the same time bringing the typical Balkan-like spontaneity and power to the Europe Center.

The main focus was on the meditation and the teachings. The Diamond Way teachers of our countries gave lectures sharing their memories and some of the “old dogs” shared stories from the early times of Diamond Way on the Balkan.

The afternoon activities were divided up into different workshops: Serbian coffee-fortune telling, Bulgarian folkdances, Hungarian medieval fighting in full armor and Transylvanian survival training.
For the breaks, we also offered a library of books from the Balkan in English, movies and poems from Greece and Serbia.

Of course one of the most important places of our activity was the kitchen, where all kinds of delicious national dishes were prepared by all of us. This activity reached its peak with the Saturday dinner which really deserved its fantasy name „gala dinner”.

We finished the weekend with a nice party and promised to each other that we will come together again for such a multicultural weekend, deepening our friendships even further.

– The Balkan EC team –

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Spring in Allgäu

April 29th, 2014

It’s our seventh spring in Allgäu, but that doesn’t keep us from being amazed time and again by nature waking up . So here are some of our most beautiful pictures of this year’s green and yellow EC spring for you to enjoy.

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A few times a year, the local EC team takes up on nice invitations by friends and heads out to visit another sangha. This time, there was a very special reason why we chose to go to Prague together.

Ever since the beginning, the Czech sangha has been a major force in building up and supporting the Europe Center. Frequently, Czech friends come to the EC on weekends to cook or help in other ways and thereby enable others to enjoy the teachings and meditation sessions. But somehow in addition to this, they still managed to purchase and renovate a huge new meditation center in Prague.

When we get together to celebrate the opening of a center, we put a lot of effort, along with many wishes that it may be of great benefit to everyone. From the beginning, finding the new Prague center and while building it, the Czechs wanted it to be an international center. This is why they invited Caty Hartung, who gave the very first impulse to purchase the property – and the whole EC crew for its inauguration.

So we filled up a whole bus in Allgäu and carefully packed one of our biggest Buddha statues. The Green Tara had long been gracing the main staircase of the EC Villa and was recently chosen by the Prague sangha for their new center. Another nice way of connecting the EC to Prague and vice versa!

After a fun bus ride from Allgäu to Prague, we were heart-warmingly welcomed by many friends – with the EC’s motto “Welcome Home!” lovingly painted on a huge sign. The new meditation hall had only been finished an hour or two earlier, right in time for our arrival.

The next morning was the big day! After the ribbon to the new center was cut, we meditated together on the 16th Karmapa as the first meditation taking place in the new gompa, well aware that also Lama Ole in America knew what was going on in Prague and was with us in his mind for this special day. Somehow the Prague friends after the months-long renovations and preparations still managed to find the surplus to spoil us all weekend long: with their amazing food, wonderful ideas like EC postcards that we all signed together sending them out to all the Diamond Way Centers around the world, sightseeing tours in the old city center, great evenings and most of all their impressive cordiality and warmth in any situation.

We would very much like to thank everyone in the Czech sangha for supporting the EC in so many ways and for this wonderful weekend of course – may our wonderful connection keep growing and may the new Diamond Way Buddhist Center in Prague joyfully benefit countless beings and enable them to find their way to lasting happiness!

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It’s done! After only a few weeks of roofing, the last “beaver tail” tile is fixed on the roof of the old barn, our soon-to-be EC gompa and dining hall!

For more detailed updates on the construction, please visit our moreEC Construction Illustrated Blog.

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On the first weekend of April, the EC was stunningly empty – which was because pretty much everyone got on a plane to London to celebrate!

Saturday 5 April 2014 marked an important day in the history of Buddhism in London and the UK. After over a year of renovation works to prepare the Beaufoy Institute to host a regular programme of meditation and events, the London Diamond Way Buddhist Center officially opened its doors to the public. You can read more about the opening ceremony with the Beaufoy family and many special guests as well as Buddhists from around the world on the Diamond Way Buddhism UK Blog.

Lama Jigme Rinpoche gave the first ever empowerment at the Beaufoy on Diamond Mind (skt. Vajrasattva, tib. Dorje Sempa), followed by teachings from him and Lama Ole Nydahl during the first meditation course at the new London Buddhist Center.

The opening was followed by another very special event attended by Lama Jigme and Lama Ole – a private screening for cast, crew & sponsors of “Hannah – the Film”, telling the touching story of how Lama Ole and his late wife Hannah Nydahl brought Diamond Way Buddhism to the West on behalf of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, Lama Jigme’s uncle.

The London sangha gave an impressive example of how it is always possible to put that extra effort making such celebrations truly memorable for everyone involved. Despite the constant renovation works in the huge building and the preparations for a course with many hundred people, they paid attention to all the little details and came up with a very creative and fun fundraising fair in the Beaufoy’s big hall, featuring many kinds of entertainment, like hoola-hoop competitions or typically british betting games for the benefit of the Beaufoy’s ongoing renovation works. Afterwards, everyone joyfully danced the night away to round off an unforgettable week of celebrations.

May the biggest Buddhist Center in London benefit countless beings!

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