30.07.2012 - 10.08.2012
I sit writing this entry one day after leaving the Diamond Way Buddhist summer course. Yesterday morning we packed up our tent and belongings, leaving behind over 4000 people from all parts of eastern and western Europe, the America's and Australia.
What an experience! The Europe Center sits on 65 hectares of gorgeous Bavarian countryside in the deep southern region of Germany overlooking the Austrian alps. It is a showcase of German efficiency as the two week course, including the set up of two massive tents is constructed and maintained by the German sangha (Buddhist community) and approximately 400 daily volunteers. This includes providing meals for all the participants three times per day, managing two stores, one cafe as well as six hours of childcare daily for kids aged from birth to 16 years! Plus a laundry service!
However, I digress from the most impressive part of the course and this was the opportunity for Dave and myself to meditate regularly, reconnect with our local sangha friends, spend time with the international sangha, gain teachings from our teacher, Lama Ole, and H.H the 17th Karmapa who heads our Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
Meditation and teachings were provided in sessions three times per day and although there was no set rules of attendance, Dave and I found the opportunity to spend time doing this together inspirational, and basically ran up the hill for the start of each session. We would drop Bodhi off at Pirate Bay (childcare) where he happily played with kids from all over the world. His closest buddies were two boys from Russia and Belgium who couldn't speak a word of English. What they could speak was "5 year old boy" and it is hard to describe the uplifting feeling we felt watching them happily play and communicate with one another. We were pretty blissed out
I may sound a bit gushy but this is honestly the way it affected the both of us. We completed the Phowa course on Conscious Dying - me for the first time. Liberating! Of course, we now must harness our enthusiasm and energy for regular practice back home as it is a whole lot easier to meditate in the beautiful, stress-free haven of the Europe Center than during the business of our usual daily lives. But we will do it!