Empowerment on the Buddha of Limitless Light given by Maniwa Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche

EC Blog News & Reports

This year’s Phowa course was followed by an initation into the main buddha aspect of the Phowa meditation practice: Amitabha (tib: Öpame), the red Buddha of Limitless Light.

We were very happy one of the greatest Lamas in the East gave us this great gift – Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche from Nepal. Rinpoche carries the title of a Maniwa, one who has recited more than a billion mantras of the Buddha “Loving Eyes”: OM MANI PEME HUNG. Actually, he has been accumulating more than 14 billion mantras over the years. It is always a great honour and joy to welcome him back to the Europe Center. Combined with practical advice, stories and warm humor, his teachings leave a lasting impression on all who are fortunate enough to hear them.

 

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As every year, our photographers are taking so many great pictures of the course that we simply would like to let the pictures do the talking…


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As is tradition every year, the 6th International Summer Course at the EC started with the Phowa mediation course.

The goal of the Phowa practice is to learn how to die consciously, and transfer the consciousness at the moment of death to a state of highest bliss. The practice is the last of the Six Yogas (energy teachings) of Naropa, and one of the most profound teachings in Tibetan Buddhism. Lama Ole is one of the few Buddhist Lamas empowered to teach it. Since 1987, he has taught Phowa to over 80,000 people at several hundred meditation courses around the world.

After giving Buddhist refuge to the new ones and days of meditation on the Buddha of Limitless Light in three sessions per day, the Conscious dying meditation course finished after Lama Ole checked successful outer signs of the practice of over 600 first-time Phowa practitioners – who were all smiles after the signs were found on their heads. In the lecture after checking the signs, Lama Ole explained how to use the practice to help others at the moment of death.

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During the final days of the Summer Course build-up we asked one of our American friends, Christina, to share her experience on the technical team with us. So here is here report, along with some pictures of the last days before the course, including the “International Family Meeting” with Lama Ole Nydahl and Caty Hartung in a seminar house down at the lake.

Sneaking into the technical team meeting Friday night, I heard Sven, the build-up coordinator, lay out the plan for the summer course build up. He said the point was to make sure that every person was having fun, and developed a connection with the place and friends from all around the world. I had expected to hear details of how to build a tent floor and other “technical” information, but it made perfect sense after he said it. Building friendships and connections is exactly what the build-up weekends are all about. Nonetheless, the massive meditation, dining, kitchen and welcome area tents were all put up as well.

Saturday brought more friends from around the world. There was a buzz of excitement and tangible joy all around. In line with trying to ensure that everyone had fun, around noon we loaded up the yellow truck with a cooler full of ice cream. There was a Czech guitarist and dancers from Ukraine, Russia, the United States and Lithuania to bring a musical ice cream break to the almost 200 joyful volunteers.

Connections between friends were strengthened through an after-lunch swim in the picturesque Alpsee. Saturday night there was a lecture with Buddhist teachers Karolina from the Czech Republic, Ken from Finland and Matt from Australia. Karolina gave a short talk first about meditation. When the boys joined for a question and answer panel my cheeks hurt from smiling so much and my abs hurt from laughing. We continued the celebration in the Baucafe, where we used the excuse of friends’ birthdays to dance and connect the whole night.

Sunday the EC calmed, friendships were cemented with hugs and wishes to work and meditate together again soon. A few brave ones continued building the floors. Exhausted and joyful – the EC had another successful Summer Course build-up weekend.

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Three more ECTV episodes from the Summer Course, this time from the Job Center, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s arrival at the EC, and the beautiful Buddhas for Centers exhibition.

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Every day at this year’s Summer Course, our ECTV Team is producing a new video about a different subject.

Keep an eye on the blog for 3 new videos every three days, or check out the Europe Center YouTube Channel or Facebook page for daily updates. And if you’re lucky enough to be at the Summer Course, drop in to the more EC Cinema in the Dining Tent for daily showings. Enjoy!

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The American Week at the EC

August 8th, 2013

With friends from over 14 different countries the American’s showed up in force to take over the EC for a week. In true American pioneer spirit, it was a first of its kind, a country week during the summer course build up phase.

Europe is rich with different cultures and blessed to be within close driving distance to most of them. The Americas, North, Middle and South America, similarly have the richness of different traditions, but due to distances between them and the lack of transportation infrastructure the exchange between each other and Europeans is more challenging. Although we learned that there were many differences (particularly with food), we also learned they are outer expressions masking our deep similarity. Shared idealism and playfulness were found between new friends from the Americas and also the Europeans. As a new Polish friend put it, a part of the family finally came home.

Who would have guessed that the Hungarians and Peruvians are so similar, or the the Venezuelans and Czechs? Our shared inspiration helped us discover similarities and develop from our differences. A Czech friend said she re-learned innocent enthusiasm. A Peruvian friend said he learned how to work from the Europeans. Each day the Americans made a traditional food for lunch and dinner, had a presentation about their dharma activity in the evening, followed by a cultural exchange including “Think like an American” quiz, karaoke night and Colombian national dances. It was a week of joyful exchange, which will not be forgotten soon.

— by the American Sangha

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Lama Ole put one on top at the end of the Americas Week after returning home. He made the best of the 40 degrees Celsius and took his spontaneous lecture for the many friends building up the course outside, right in front of the construction site’s fence.

With our teacher giving us some insight into what has been going on in the countries he visited over the past months and answering his students questions, we spent a wonderful evening under the two huge chestnut trees in the courtyard of the EC, right in front of our future gompa and dining hall – and somehow even the mosquitos were apparently busy somewhere else that night and gave us a well-deserved break! ;)

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Every year a run around the the Great Alpsee lake is organized by a sports club in Immenstadt. This year the route was changed and the organizers asked us if they could send their runners up to the EC and across our grounds.

We happily accepted and decided to make a sunday morning event out of this – in the middle of the hottest phase of the Summer course build-up. We simply moved the breakfast from our terrace to the Summer Course Welcome Area and turned the breakfast into a cheerleading event. Every single runner coming up the hill got a refreshing shower (with a rainbow even!) and a big cheer. It was great to see their faces lighting up, seeing all of us supporting them. It was great fun for everybody involved and we are looking forward to them returning for another run next year!

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The meditation tent is standing, the kitchen tent, the childcare tent, the welcome tent and the dining tent are up, the shower tents are up and running… to name just a few.

But despite the “outer shells” of the tents having been built up by many voluntary helpers from e.g. Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Western Europe and Russia within the last two weeks – there is still lots of work to be done in order to finish in time for the 20th International Summer Course from 5-18 August. So now the work is happening inside the tents, building up all the needed infrastructure.

20 years experience of building up the summer course show in many ways and make things run impressively smoothly – even with the huge construction site in the middle of everything, bringing new challenges this year. However, the thing that impresses most is definitely to see with how much constant joy so much physically challenging work can be done… best we let the pictures speak for themselves!

If you would like to come for the course, you can find all needed information and registration on the course webpage: www.summercourse.ec. Looking forward to seeing you here soon! :)

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