A virtual journey through the Americas – with Lama Ole and Tomek

EC Blog News & Reports

Before the project days at the EC, Lama Ole Nydahl was touring the Americas from Chicago to Argentina. He was accompanied by Tomek Lehnert and students traveling along to join the Mahamudra meditation course and many public lectures. So of course we took the opportunity and asked Tomek to give a tour report – and Lama Ole joined spontaneously.

Telling stories and showing pictures and videos, they took us on a virtual journey covering cities such as Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, San Diego, and San Francisco. During Lama Ole’s trip to Colorado, he had a chance to visit the newly purchased retreat land, Dakini Ranch, with over 300 acres and beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains. From the deep snow of the Rockies, they took us to the top of a volcano in Hawaii – and then to Latin America.

The President of Uruguay, José Mujica, received Lama Ole Nydahl and a group of friends from the Montevideo Diamond Way Buddhist Center in his office. In a significant and warm one-hour meeting President Mujica welcomed the activity of Lama Ole and the Diamond Way centers in Uruguay.

On invitation, the small tour group also had the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking glacial landscape of Patagonia in Argentina, in between lectures in Porto Alegre/Brazil, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires.

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During his project days at the EC , Lama Ole Nydahl was interviewed via live streaming. He answered questions for an online seminar organized by one of the biggest publishing houses in Russia, which is also publishing Lama Ole’s book Buddha and Love.

Such online seminars are organized for the most popular authors. This way, readers can ask questions to the author. The most popular authors gathered for such a webinar around 700 attendees. Lama Ole’s first webinar was close to that record with 650 people listening and asking questions. Because of this big success, Lama Ole was already invited for the next “webinar”, which will again take place at the EC.

“Buddha and Love” is not the only book by Lama Ole published in Russian until today – there are five of them and ebooks are going to follow soon.
Check out “Buddha and Love” in Russian here.
Check out other Buddhist books by Lama Ole Nydahl in Russian here.

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Welcome home, Lama Ole!

December 20th, 2013

After a long tour through North and South America, Lama Ole Nydahl arrived at the EC for a few project days and many people came to give him a very warm welcome. And of course he still took the time to greet and bless everyone present. Welcome home!

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Why would the villa be full of folding tables? Why would over one hundred friends be sitting around those tables, pens in hand?

In what has become an annual Europe Center tradition, Lama Ole Nydahl, Tomek Lehnert and Caty Hartung joined friends from all over the world to sign the EC New Years cards. Starting with Lama Ole, 800 cards were passed from friend to friend, until everyone had signed every card.

These cards will be sent out to the more than 640 Diamond Way Buddhist Centers in 44 countries around the world, as well as to H.H. 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, Shamar Rinpoche, and many more friends in the East and West.

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Pralines for a few friends…

December 18th, 2013

We have been amazed for months watching the daily progress on our construction site. And who is making this possible with thousands of generous donations and good wishes? You, Europe Center’s friends around the world.

So, as a small symbolic gesture of gratitude and love, we made more than 2500 pralines for our construction workers and everyone at this year’s New Year’s course in Vienna. For a whole weekend, we melted chocolate to exactly the right temperature, chopped many kilos of nuts, mixed dough, rolled 2500 little balls, covered them with chocolate, dried them, and last but not least wrapped them together with inspirational moreEC info snippets. Look forward to being surprised in Vienna!

To say it with a quote from our architect partners:
“We have never seen so many people put so much love into a project!”

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A few snowflakes here and there are not really considered winter in Allgäu. So the weather and temperatures around 0° Celsius did not stop Edwin, his roof team and the construction company from completely covering our future EC gompa, the reconstructed old barn of Gut Hochreute, at the speed of light and right on time for the real snow to come!

The self-supporting roof structure is up again in original style and covered provisorily. This way, the work can continue inside when there are meters of snow around for the next months. We had a chance of admiring the beautifully contrasting mixture of restored old and new wooden beams, neatly arranged on the inside of the roof, which will of course stay visible.

Underneath our future meditation hall, we strolled through our future kitchen on the ground floor of the old barn, separated from the dining area by the old lithic archways, which were more or less the only elements still standing back in September. Both areas get a lot of daylight now, thanks to the old cow stable’s windows facing the EC villa, which have now been transformed into french windows going down to the floor all the way to let more light in.

After admiring our future meditation hall and Brasserie, we went over to the new building. Its shell is partially up to the 2nd floor as well: one can already inspect our future dormitories and seminar rooms with a stunning lake view.

For more information and pictures of the construction process, please check frequently on our Construction Illustrated section of the more.ec site.

 

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During the rather chilly temperatures in recent weeks, our gompa has been almost constantly full with diligent meditators. And since it is nice to share the joy, we organized a weekend for everyone to meditate together – a lot!

For a whole weekend, we focussed on the Four Foundational Practices  (Tib. Ngöndro). These meditations are also known as the preliminary practices of the Great Seal (Skt. Mahamudra). They lay the basis for realising the true nature of mind. Involving many repetitions, they create strong positive imprints, making the practicioner unshakeable. The foundational practices may take several years to complete. They are a translation of a meditation text known as ‘The Vehicle for the Path of the Supreme’, composed by the  Ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje (1555-1603). The four Ngöndro practices are: (1) Taking Refuge and Developing the Enlightened Attitude; (2) Diamond Mind Meditation (Skt. Vajrasattva; Tib. Dorje Sempa); (3) Mandala Offerings; and (4) Meditation on the Lama.

Only two weeks after the Ngöndro Weekend, we extended our two daily common meditation sessions on the 16th Karmapa to a 12 hour meditation from 9am to 9pm, inspired by a lecture given by one of the Buddhist teachers from London about this very meditation and its meaning.

This form of ‘Meditation on the Lama’ (Skt. Guru Yoga, Tib. Lami Naljor) is a practical and comprehensive tool for enlightenment which was composed the  16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. The 16th Karmapa made  Hannah and Lama Ole Nydahl the holders of this practice.

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Power Brick Weekend

November 27th, 2013

A perfect weekend to spend outside, beating on stones with hammers: Temperatures below freezing point and something between snow and rain. I guess everybody had that thought crossing his mind, when they took the first look out of the window on Saturday morning.

Despite those conditions soon enough almost 20 enthusiastic friends were happily cleaning bricks. Our work-force was augmented by a team of Russians from Archangelsk. They are on a European trip and passed by the EC on the weekend. We were thankful for every hand that could hold a hammer and they were happy to be pulled into activity instantly.

Two days of tireless work and a lot of dust later and we managed to clean the last 1600 bricks in one weekend. This was also possible thanks to the great support that our cleaners had. They were kept happy by countless cakes, Glühwein and an American breakfast on Sunday.

While a lot of people were busy outside, Meiken and her sewing crew prepared fabric to manufacture 400 cushions for our new gompa. They managed to cut all the fabric in only two days and will get busy sewing the cushions over the next weeks. All that activity inside and outside was rounded off by a great lecture on student-teacher relationship by Yomi.

A lot of people took part in this project and we are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our work in the future brasserie, having a coffee and a great time together.

Thank you!

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Team Weekend at Schwarzenberg

November 17th, 2013

Approximately twice a year the Europe Center team takes a break from the daily tasks that keep the place running and gets a change of scenery. We disappear for an EC Team Weekend mainly with the goal of getting to know each other better, which is not always so easy to do in the everyday EC action.

This time, the EC residents and sangha members from nearby Immenstadt, Bühl and the surroundings were invited by the friends there to spend the weekend in Schwarzenberg. Nestled in the stunning mountains near Oy-Mittelberg, Haus Schwarzenberg is a beautiful retreat center with a rich history, which the center’s old-timers shared with us on Saturday’s cosy storytelling evening. For decades, Lama Ole Nydahl‘s international teaching activity and the founding of many centers around the world was supported and coordinated in Schwarzenberg – also finding and founding the Europe Center in 2007 happened partially thanks to the experienced friends in the center, which is just a 40 minute car ride away from the EC.

Other than that, we enjoyed meditation together, a lecture by one of the EC’s own lay teachers, a “scenic” walk in the unexpected fog, tasty meals prepared for us by Schwarzenberg’s residents and the Nürnberg sangha, and plenty of time to relax, chat, and get to know one another better.

Thank you Schwarzenberg and thank you EC team for a wonderful weekend!

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The Return of the Barn

November 4th, 2013

Just like the villa, our lovely old barn is a piece of local history. Built in 1911, it was originally used for storage and to keep horses and cows out of the weather. Since we moved into the EC in 2008 we’ve used it for tool storage, as a meeting hall, an office and of course for meditation.

As part of the more.ec project, the barn was redesigned to be a spacious, beautiful gompa (meditation hall) with over 500 square meters of space, as well as a kitchen and dining hall. Since the barn is monument protected, we worked closely with local planning officials to preserve as much of it’s historical character as possible.

In February the barn was carefully dismantled, and all of the hundred year old wood was sorted, to separate the solid from the rotten, dried, and stored until now. Meanwhile some new pieces were constructed to match the old ones. Approximately 70% of the old wood has been preserved.

And this week, diligent carpenters have begun raising the barn again! They’re working hard to get the roof up before the first heavy snowfall, and promise that the gompa will be ready for Lama Ole to inaugurate next year as part of the Summer Course. We’re excited to see the daily progress! Be part of it and follow the regular Construction Illustrated posts on the more.ec website, and stay tuned!

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