More time with Lama Ole

EC Blog News & Reports

More time with Lama Ole

January 11th, 2014

Even though he spent less than 24 hours at the Europe Center this time, Lama Ole made the most of his time with us.

Following the afternoon’s roof inauguration celebrations, we had the chance to get answers to our questions regarding meditation and dharma practice for a few hours in the evening. Lama Ole also gave Buddhist refuge to several people and took the time to bless everyone.

Lama Ole is now off to extensive tours in Russia, Australia and New Zealand for public lectures and meditation courses in many cities, until he comes back home to the Europe Center for our meditation weeks in March. Bon voyage, dear Lama!

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Another day, another milestone passed for our new buildings to be finished – the traditional roof topping ceremony of our future meditation hall, the “new old” barn!

Just last September, all that was left of the barn were the foundation walls; the complete wooden construction of the upper floor had been dismantled. Now the impressive roof structure is back in place in accordance with the monument protection requirements, and it is even more beautiful than before! The 100 year old beams were numbered, inspected and sorted, and the experts were able to preserve around 70 percent of the beautiful old wood. Since our gompa is being built to last for at least another 100 years, some beams were replaced with new ones.

Lama Ole came home to the EC for this special day, and so did around 300 friends from all over the world. Lama Ole as the principal of the new EC buildings tied the traditionally decorated tree to a rope and then the team of carpenters and construction workers pulled it up to the peak of the roof. A traditional poem was read to honor and toast everyone involved in the building, including the donors who made it possible, the city and people of Immenstadt, the architects, and of course the diligent construction workers.

At the celebration inside afterwards, the future gompa was decorated with auspicious Tibetan prayer flags. Lama Ole thanked everyone involved for their great work and pointed out the importance of the Europe Center and its significance for the development of Buddhism in the West as a place of transmission and meditation. He promised that his strong wishes for its benefit will always be with the place and the people involved in the project. Lama Ole also expressed his special gratitude for the tireless work of Caty Hartung and her husband Gergely Porkolab, who have been working on the Europe Center project for more than a decade.

In traditional Bavarian style, we spent a very joyful afternoon together. We are of course very much looking forward to the inauguration of our meditation hall during the Summer Course 2014. Until then, the barn is going to get walls with heating hidden inside, a wooden floor made of solid oak beams from our own forest, lighting inspired by Tibetan prayer flags – and of course an altar with beautiful statues!

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Happy 2014 to you!

January 2nd, 2014

On December 31st, the place to be for a Diamond Way Buddhist was of course the New Year’s Course in Vienna. For those who stayed at home because of the kids, their job, or other reasons, there was a very nice celebration anyway.

The kids started early in the evening, decorating the basement of the villa and then baking and eating pizza together. The youngsters’ highlight of the evening was for sure the torchlight procession across the grounds of the EC – shining bright eyes everywhere!

The adults kicked off the night by meditating together. However, something was not quite our usual evening meditation on the 16th Karmapa… many of the participants looked a little bit different and more like straight from an 80′s movie or music video – due to the theme of the night: the 1980′s!

The buffet afterwards was a festival in itself – everyone brought something tasty along and it took us the whole night to test-eat our way through all the delicacies. The sounds of very familiar 80′s hits invited us over to the Baucafe and got everyone up and dancing the calories away again in no time. Amongst the attending stars were the likes of punk star Siouxsie Sioux in double edition, tennis goddess Steffi Graf, Rubik’s Cube, Madonna, Top Gun pilot Maverick, Angus Young of AC/DC, and many disco queens and kings.

At midnight, we took a break to watch Lama Ole Nydahl via live streaming from Vienna. He read his New Year’s letter, and together we gave the promise of the Bodhisattvas: the promise to strive for enlightenment and work for the benefit of all beings, with unending diligence and strength.

Followed by fireworks and hours of dancing to the best songs of the 80′s, we welcomed 2014 in appropriate style, and would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2014, may all your wishes come true for the benefit of all!

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Remember our praline action in December?

With the help of some friends, our 2500 moreEC pralines made it to the New Year’s Course with Lama Jigme Rinpoche and Lama Ole Nydahl in Vienna. The home-made chocolate balls were our “Thank you!” to everyone supporting the project.

Following a presentation about more.ec and the state of the EC construction site, the EC team conquered the stage and, together with Lama Ole and Caty, threw the pralines into the audience. That the audience threw them back at them igniting a little “praline fight” was not planned – but obviously great fun to all parties envolved!

Afterwards, everyone was quite busy sharing the secret messages hidden inside the pralines. Or did you already know that…

7000 bricks have been recycled for the new building… or that the new building is so magical that boiling water for tea comes out of the wall… or that there will be terraces to enjoy your coffee in the sun… or that there will be a big prayer wheel to spin at the entrance of the EC… and that 200 people will be able to eat at the same time?

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In between the years…

December 28th, 2013

The days between christmas and New Year’s Eve at the EC were mainly about meeting up with families and friends and enjoying activities one never seems to have quite enough time for.

So we meditated a lot and spent the evenings watching Lama Ole’s lectures at the New Year’s course in Vienna via live streaming together. More or less around the clock, the gompa was so full that we decided to heat the Diamond Room as well and meditated in two places.

Meanwhile upstairs in the villa, our painters practiced line art drawings of Buddha forms. Right next to them, the diligent team of seamstresses worked joyfully on the 400 meditation cushions for our new EC gompa, which is to be inaugurated next Summer Course!

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Christmas at the EC

December 26th, 2013

Christmas evening started very early in the grocery markets in Immenstadt and later on continued in the EC kitchen, where we prepared a lavish Turkey dinner together.

In the meantime, long tables were set up and nicely decorated in the Villa hall and the dining room.  After meditation, we enjoyed the rich and tasty christmas dinner. For dessert, our chef Sonia and her kitchen team served home-made Italian Tiramisu.

Later on in the beautifully decorated Baucafe, we laughed a lot during the “pub quiz” and played “Wichteln”, with everyone randomly exchanging surprise presents, and most of all simply enjoyed each other’s company!

 

 

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Decorating the christmas tree

December 23rd, 2013

Shortly before christmas, it was time to find a nice christmas tree for the Villa. Jürgen ventured out into our EC forest and cut a lovely one. Building its base in the villa hall, he disappeared almost completely underneath the tree, while the kids were eagerly standing around waiting for their turn to decorate it!

You might ask yourself why Buddhists, and even an international Buddhist center, have a christmas tree…

A defining characteristic of Buddhism is that it’s not a dogmatic religion or way of life. Part of its very essence is the wish for everyone to be happy. Most Buddhists in the West come from a Christian background, and Buddhism and Christianity share common humanistic values concerning the wish for freedom and happiness for all beings. A christmas tree is a cultural symbol. No matter if in India, Tibet or now in the West, the way Buddhism was practiced has always reflected the culture to a certain degree, but its essence is always the same.

So this is in short why we love our annual christmas tree decorating afternoon with the kids and enjoying the tree afterwards: it brings kids and adults together for some joyful activity, and inspires happiness and positive impressions in the minds of those who see the beautifully lit and decorated tree. It is a symbol of fertility and immortality and its green color signifies hope and peace. So happy holiday season to you!

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After three wonderful days with lots of activity together, Lama Ole and his team left for his hometown of Copenhagen and the New Year’s Course in Vienna.

Everyone present gathered in the entrance and court yard of the EC to wave goodbye. Waiting for Lama Ole to leave is always a nice spontaneous sangha meeting with lots of lively chats amongst old and new friends braving the cold.

See you again soon and bon voyage, Lama Ole!

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Maybe you already know that the EC sangha members living in and around Immenstadt collected money to buy a set of 16 statues of the Karmapa incarnations for the EC gompa? And maybe you also know that we managed to collect the money, thanks to the generosity of many.

But do you also know there was another Sangha collecting money to buy the set? This Sangha was from Bern in Switzerland. They would have had to wait for a year until a second set will be readily manufactured. But as we know as Buddhists, everything changes and plays around all the time. And it turned out that this very Bern Sangha is going to give a very, very generous gift to the Europe Center next spring: a stupa filled by Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche!

Deeply thankful for this present, the EC team decided that the first set of the 16 Karmapas should be the “Thank you!” to the Berners a few months ago. The EC gompa will then be graced with the set of 16 Karmapa statues which is currently being manufactured a bit later. During Lama Ole’s book retreat, 25 friends from Switzerland came to bring the Karmapas home to Bern. In a festive ceremony in the EC gompa, Lama Ole blessed each statue before Caty handed them over to their new owners, who were beaming with joy, as is easy to see on the pictures.

Again, we would like to thank the Berners for their generous present and friendship – and of course we are going to inaugurate the EC’s first stupa together with them next year!

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On the last of Lama Ole’s project days at the EC he gave a lecture, telling stories about the history of Diamond Way Buddhism, answering questions, and giving blessing after the lecture.

Via live streaming, friends around the globe were able to watch and listen. Even though the room was quite packed, everyone happily cuddled up and squeezed in the available corners.

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