A couple of days that were supposed to be the Polish Country Weekend at the EC turned out to be a weekend course with Lama Ole – organised by Poles!
Polish friends step by step were taking over the Europe Center many days ahead of the planned weekend. Due to the registration process, we knew that there would be plenty of friends arriving not only from every part of Poland but also from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, England, Ireland, France and Germany. On Friday evening, after a wonderful welcome at the EC, we had a chance to taste a delicious Polish dinner. Afterwards everybody gathered in the big gompa tent for presentations of some Polish retreat centers, city centers and buddhist projects. To the great astonishment of many, Lama Ole, who was in book retreat at this time, joined us and made memorable comments during the Kuchary retreat center presentation: “It was from here where all the Buddhism in Eastern Europe and Russia started.” After greeting everybody and wishing us a very good evening, the Lama left and Tomek Lehnert started a lecture: “Teacher-Student-Relationship – my 20 years on the road with Lama Ole and Hannah”. Late at night, after the lecture, many friends joined the „Take It Easy” Kick-off party featuring a beatbox concert by Blady Kris and we enjoyed it to great extent.
Saturday morning started with a common meditation on the 16th Karmapa. After that everybody enjoyed having breakfast outside, since the weather was unusually sunny and warm. Later on we listened to the inspiring Caty who was telling about the Europe Center and the plans for its development. After a traditionally Polish cuisine lunch everybody gathered in the tent because the most important part of the weekend was about to start: „The History of Diamond Way Buddhism in Poland” Part 1. Polish travelling teachers: Mira Boboli, Maggie Lehnert, Wojtek Lehnert, Wojtek Tracewski, Rafał Olech, Włodek Wiszka and Marcin Barański together with Wojtek Kossowski and special guest Ania Czapnik were describing the very beginning of Buddhism in Poland. Another great surprise happened – our wonderful Lama Ole decided to spend more time with all of us. He joined us not only during the afternoon session but also he gave a lecture in the evening. Wonderful! Spontaneity is one of Polish distinctive features – therefore the whole day schedule was immediately changed. It was not the only time, as we all were to find out later. During the Lama’s evening lecture we had many friends here and Lama Ole’s last sentence that night was: “So what do I have in the program tomorrow? Bodhisattva promise and blessings?”. We couldn’t believe it :) We finished the day with a great party and an auction where many friends shared their generosity and donated some money to support the EC. The party powered by DJ Romero went on until early Sunday morning :)
After a late breakfast on Sunday morning there was a presentation of a great exhibition “Buddha Travelling West”, which we prepared especially for the EC. Afterwards all of us gave the Boddhisatva promise. It was very touching experience for all of us. Lama Ole gave a short speech. What made the strongest impression was one of the Lama’s sentences: “The active patience means to travel very far away to meet your teacher”. The blessing afterwards lasted till 6 p.m. Everybody who was visiting the Europe Center for the first time got a great gift – a set of relics from many European initiations – which were given out in 2008 during the first International EC Summer Course.
All of us were totally amazed by everything that happened this weekend and now the EC is a familiar place for all of us. We would like to visit the Europe Center as often as possible. It is much closer then we thought. See you soon! :)
The Polish Sangha