The Channel Countries take over the EC

EC Blog News & Reports

This weekend the Europe Center was conquered by the channel countries on all levels. We tried Belgian waffles, had English breakfast, tasted Irish drinks, learned about different Scottish dialects, enjoyed some Dutch cheese with French wine and dances… and Peter Malinowski from Liverpool gave an inspiring talk about the meaning of the sangha and several other buddhist topics. We were even taken on a virtual bus tour covering all the channel countries and afterwards danced the night away surrounded by “national heroes” of all kinds…

It was a very nice example of what the country weekends at our EC can be: getting to know more about each other and our different cultural backgrounds, deepening our friendship, meditating, working, and learning together, and definitely having a whole lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who put so much effort into making this weekend such a success – including the Czech sangha, who once again just came to help.

So come and join one of our country weekends – just check the EC events calendar for the upcoming Bavarian (oh yes, the Bavarians do consider themselves a country! ;-)) and the Hungarian Country Weekend!

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The transmission weekends obviously have become part of our EC life, but this time we can truly admit that the last one was one of our most precious ones.

Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, who was giving teachings, initiations, and building stupas in almost every corner of the world, became present in the stories by Maggie, Wojtek , Pedro, Caty and Jakob. Maggie spent almost twenty years with Rinpoche and her memories were not just touching, but also full of fun and incredible concept breaking stories.  Pedro as always managed to stay in a joyful mood during his talks, Wojtek, Caty and Jakob accompanied the event with their experiences from meetings with Rinpoche who had a power to open every person’s heart. Rinpoche, who meant so much for the Dharma both in the East and the West, was one of the closest teachers for Lama Ole and Hannah and one of the closest friends of the 16th Karmapa, who once said: “If I am a Buddha, he is Ananda.”

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Allgäu autumn impressions

October 11th, 2010

Just send off a french lady in love for a walk in sunny autumnal Allgäu – you will get the most romantic pictures of the Europe Center grounds and the “Great Alpsee” lake that we have seen in a while. Merci beaucoup, Catherine!

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Work at the EC surely never gets boring – today JC and Stefan went up into the air to get down five antique carriages and sleds from under the roof of the barn. Both of them being routined mountain climbers, they managed this rope-action elegantly, securely and with a lot of fun.

We are already getting quite excited about what our new meditation hall will look like. Now that the wooden walls and lots of other stuff have gone, one gets a feeling of the huge space under impressive old wooden bars and 2500 squaremeters of roof. However, emptying the barn is just the beginning of many months of work – we will constantly need a lot of help to make this happen. You are more than welcome to support our barn-becomes-beautiful-gompa-action whenever you can – as even Lama Ole just did this week!

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Lama Ole at the EC

October 7th, 2010

This week Lama Ole spent some project days at the Europe Center – mainly to write articles, answer his students’ emails and letters and to support the ongoing construction work in the old barn that will be transformed into the new EC meditation hall. Before driving here, Lama Ole spontaneously spent a relaxed evening talking to friends at the nearby Schwarzenberg Retreat Center.

A lot of cleaning-up action together with the Lama took place in the barn – the work was so dynamic that we really had trouble taking focussed pictures… The newly built shoe shelves for busy weekend events were immediately tested by one of our youngest inhabitants – he obviously approved! ;-) The very active day was followed by a cosy movie-watching evening in the Baucafé.

We waved goodbye to the Lama even before the sun came up on Thursday – wishing him and everyone joining a great time in Hungary, Skandinavia, Russia, Ukraine, and Spain!

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In sunny autumn weather there was a lot of tidying-up action at the EC this weekend. Besides removing all sorts of summer course leftovers, tons of wood have to be sorted and stored, woodsheds have to be built to keep the wood dry in the snow… basically, everything has to be ready for six to seven months of winter and snow very soon. The golden fall is usually very quickly followed by the first snow. Of course, in between we also found enough time to enjoy the sunshine while meditating, having breakfast, lunch, and meetings outside and playing with the kids.

And last but not least, more deligent helpers came on Sunday to also polish the Villa – preparing everything for someone very special to arrive tonight for the next days… we will keep you updated!

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Autumn has arrived…

October 2nd, 2010

Birds are heading southwards, the wineleaves shine in bright hues of yellow, pink and red and the nights are becoming quite chilly. There’s even already snow on the higher mountain tops that can be seen from the EC.

These pictures are probably just the start of  some more blogposts within the next weeks – we would like to share lots of photo impressions of the extraordinarily beautiful Allgäu autumn with you.

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After a summer of hard work by many, hindrances like injuries and long periods of rain that prevented the continuation of the work – we had a lot of reason to celebrate yesterday: Edwin and his team put the last tile on the roof of the 2nd House, took down the scaffolding right afterwards and celebrated the fresh and clear view from all sides together.

Lots of thanks to all the friends who spent hours, days and weeks of their summer on the roof to get this done – please come back home soon to see the results of your great work (before it’s all covered by snow! ;-) ).

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Once a year, the Immenstadt ladies put on their nicest dirndl – the traditional Bavarian dress – and the gentlemen the according fine leather trousers for the “Viehscheid”. Translated directly, this means something like “cattle division” and it refers to all the Allgäu cows being taken down from the meadows to their home farms for winter. Even the cows themselves are dressed up – the sound of the hundreds of huge bells around their necks is very impressive when they pass through the valley. The “leading” cow of each farm wears a crown made out of flowers to show everyone that things went well during the summer season up on the mountain meadows.

After the cows have all arrived safely in their owners’ transporters, it’s the Immenstadt version of the Oktoberfest. Probably there’s no need to add much to the pictures. ;-) We had a wonderful time down in town today, learning a bit about the Bavarian culture and traditions – hopefully you will also enjoy some “Viehscheid” impressions!

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Bright sunlight in the 2nd House

September 3rd, 2010

Even the cows on the meadow seemed to be wondering what was going on today. Lots of chainsaw sounds in the middle of peaceful, quiet Allgäu?

Well, to literally cut it short – our resident arborist Jürgen and a team of helpers took down the line of big trees separating the 2nd House from the parking lot. To improve the view, secure the house and to bring bright sunshine into the rather dark dormitories. New trees have been planted already and more are still to come. It’s about time to do all this, since there is already the first snow on the mountain tops…

Okay, from the outside it might look a bit like a battlefield at the moment – with the tree logs and the not yet finished new roof. ;-) However, EC residents Charlotte and Tamás immediately inspected the new view across the mountain meadows and the lake from the dormitory windows. They were obviously delighted with the result of the “tree action”!

And as if it had not been enough action and challenge already, the guys afterwards tried some rope acrobatics in the garden…

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