EC Blog News & Reports
Like every year, we are getting into the holiday spirit with our own traditions at the Europe Center!
Embracing Western culture, the kids went on a hike to “Siberia”, our own forest at the very top of the vast EC grounds, to find the perfect christmas tree for the new building and decorated it lovingly. In the meantime, the adults got together in the gompa for 12 hours of guru yoga meditation on the 16th Karmapa, which is also one of our winter traditions.
After all this sitting, all our strong men joined forces to get the huuuuge new carpet from Nepal up to the gompa – come soon and have a look at how beautiful it is! :)
Following a week of meditation sessions and lectures by Diamond Way teachers, Lama Ole arrived in time for this year’s Mahamadura Transmission Weekend.
With a packed meditation hall, the weekend started differently than we had expected. After news of the terror attacks in Paris broke, Lama Ole guided an hour of meditation on the Buddha of Limitless Light (Tib. Phowa), making good wishes for the victims, joined by many Buddhist centers around the globe via live streaming.
In the wake of these intense impressions of impermanence of everything composite in this world, the deep explanations of the Great Seal wishes by the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, the Ganges Mahamudra by the great Mahasiddha Tilopa and the teachings of Lama Shang by Lama Ole could neither have been more fitting nor of greater inspiration!
After the months of ongoing changes in structure, organisation and style at the EC, it was a wish of both Lama Ole and the people frequently involved in running the Europe Center to have time for an intense exchange between teacher and students about these specific topics.
In the beautiful castle of Immenstadt (which has been beautifully restored by the same Buddhist friend in charge of the restauration of the EC villa, by the way), we had the chance to get answers to all the questions which had come up during the process of change since the Summer course.
After a long and very interesting session of Q&A about the EC, mistakes that have been made, changes that have taken place or will still take place, Lama Ole for example advised us to learn from the past, take things one step at a time on a democratic and meritocratic basis together and, most importantly, to focus more on meditation now that the new buildings are standing and the process of creating a new EC for our future is in full swing: “We all share in the wish that everybody will become enlightened and that everybody will learn what is necessary!”
As a thank you for his constant support and precious advice during this exciting process of developing the Europe Center, the sangha presented Lama Ole with a stupa handmade of precious wood. We rounded off the evening with Lama Ole guiding a wonderful guru yoga meditation on the 8th Karmapa. Afterwards, we stopped by our sangha friend’s Italian bistro right next to the castle for a little midnight snack and drink.
As a continuation of our recent EC change weekend, we will take a day each month to keep all the fresh development going at a big center meeting additional to our regular weekly center meetings.
This EC change day was characterized by more lively discussions and in-depth analysis of the way we do things at the EC – and enjoying the most beautiful autumn weather outside in the breaks.
Inspired by the recent statements by Lama Ole regarding the organizational structure and style at the Diamond Way Centers around the world and especially at the Europe Center, it was our common wish to dedicate a whole weekend – and more time if necessary – to reflect on the current state of things and the new situation after the finalisation of the construction work for the new building.
The Diamond Way centers around the world are – according to Lama Ole and Hannah Nydahl’s wish and example, run by voluntary work and donations, based on idealism and friendship. On a purely organizational level, the basis for the voluntary team work in the centers is both democratic as well as meritocratic where beneficial.. Very basically said, this means those who do and know more about a certain topic or area of activity also carry the responsibility, in accordance with the whole sangha. After years of managing the EC on a huge construction site, it is high time to reinvent the Europe Center and the way we work to shape the future together!
So in brief, over 100 sangha members frequently involved in the daily EC life came together for a fruitful weekend full of in-depth talks, very honest opinions, collecting of new ideas and asking of critical questions. It provided an excellent basis for further very necessary EC change meetings and the lively development in the months ahead.
And the weekend showed one thing very clearly: The incredibly strong motivation in every single EC team member to make the Europe Center the best place it can possibly be for the international Diamond Way Buddhist sangha – based on idealism, friendship and trust!
Traditionally, October is a rather relaxed time at the Europe Center. Lots of time for meditation, reading, exchanging with friends and getting things done which had been waiting for more quiet times to come after the Summer Course and the Open House day.
The idyllic nature outside is starting to retreat as well – nights are getting chilly, the mornings become misty and the leaves start coloring and falling around the EC.
So much for the quiet times – it wouldn’t be our EC after all if everything went as planned, would it?
So one evening, we found ourselves being visited by quite a few fire engines and lots of heroic firefighters after the central fire alarm system went off. However – there was no fire to extinguish. Turned out that the thermometer for the wood chip container had set off the alarm because the inserted wood had been a little bit moist, making the temperature in the wood chip storage go up above the limit set as a precaution due do the steam that developed.
So basically, the alarm proved that the security system in the new building is running really well. However, what we were most impressed with was the few minutes it took the fire fighters to come rushing to our rescue, up the mountain all the way from Immenstadt and other neighboring villages. Good to know we are so well taken care of – thank you very much!