Friends – here is the second of a three-part series of highlights from the interview we held with Lama Ole and Caty about moreEC last summer. The full interview can be found in the “moreEC Reports” – http://more.ec/events/report/.
Q. We saw how the purchase of the Europe Center was a new stage for the international sangha, having all come together on one project. How do you imagine that the blessing will manifest after we realize this stage of EC development together?
Ole: Many people will have benefit. Our goal is not to make institutions. It is for people to have benefit, to meet the Buddha’s teachings, especially with the Diamond Way, and to really benefit like that. Many more people will be benefited. It is the only goal.
Caty: Many more people will believe in their power. It was so strong to see people get an idea of what they can achieve if they work together. This time it will happen on an even larger scale. It is very unique with Ole. He doesn’t call it a one-time thing, but he says, “You can do that again.” What we did was not an exception. The Diamond Way sangha can do that again and again and again. To feel that worldwide unity and strength is a very good exercise. In the end of course it is all illusion; in the end it is what we dream that we manifest. It’s really great that this experience follows so quickly after the first one, and that it’s possible thanks to Ole’s words. Without Ole’s words nobody would believe that we could do it again. But now we say, “Ok, let’s do it.” This is a really great way our teachers work with our possibilities.
Ole: I am glad to have people like Caty practically helping me.
Caty: I learnt it from you. We came to some places which were in such rough shape that there was hardly a wall standing. Ole came and said, “What a wonderful place. It is so beautiful here. Amazing what you can do here.” I wondered what he was talking about. Now, 15 years later, I come to this amazing place with all walls standing and everything functioning well. It is beautiful; people come and go, working and meditating. He just sees the potential in us, and everywhere. I wish you all will feel it one day. We were very few people who saw that with our own eyes.
Ole: People will just understand that houses don’t get happy, cars don’t get happy; the only thing that gets happy is their mind. They start looking for happiness where it is – in the mind, and not in all kinds of places where it is not. If people just do that, it is one step in their maturity. It is what makes our work possible; more and more people do it, more and more find their inner power, more and more realize that not only can they benefit themselves – one person, but can benefit all – many people. This quality is really a joy for me. As people’s lama and close friend, when I see people jump over that barrier, I am impressed. This is how I feel. Amazed that someone has learnt something that was wise.
Q. How would you advise your centers which are in full building mode, to keep a balance in supporting the Europe Center and their local project? Should there be emphasis on one or the other?
Ole: Generally we say 50-50 if they can. One foot here and one foot there. But of course it is up to people everywhere and depends upon the closeness of one’s connection. Continuing the work already in progress should continue.
We could look to Vienna for an example. They decided to work more slowly in order to be able to give to both places. They will make the outer form first, without going much into the details. That level will be taken care of gradually once this stage has been achieved.
We would not interrupt any projects that are in motion in order to get enough to complete the EC. On the other hand if people manage to make the EC a priority, there will be a lot of good energy behind all of our projects afterwards.
Caty: It’s important to do everything from freewill and surplus. There is no tax that has to be given to the organization. This is very important not to misunderstand. Everyone’s surplus is individual, and it is very important that nobody feels strange about giving. Of course it is useful to have a point of reference. That is why Ole says 50-50. But it is not that you have to; it is not a tax. We want to keep everything joyful. We want to complete the vision of the EC because we believe it is the next step for the Diamond Way, but it should come out of surplus like everything we do.
Though the EC may be a bit more distant in kilometers for us, we’re working hard in the Americas to bring the EC mindset ever closer. The Americas moreEC Raffle was the first activity carried out across South, Central, and North America. Despite plenty of logistic and linguistic challenges of organizing a raffle between 12 countries, we managed to have all the numbers in a hat in time for Lama Ole to draw the winning number on Dec. 11th at Karma Dechen Ling in Uruguay.
Jeff Saunders of Minneapolis, USA, was pleasantly shocked to hear his number 2768 was the winner! Jeff +1 will get to enjoy the grand prize of the raffle: a tour for two through our Buddhist heritage in Bhutan with Maggie Lehnert. The rest of us couldn’t be luckier that Jeff won—he’s a professional cameraman and filmmaker and has already promised to document and share his journey with the rest of us.
In addition to the main prize, our friends from Perú spontaneously donated a course in Lima next year. The winner of this prize is 4241 -María José Dufourg from Guatemala.
After accounting for the prize expenses, the raffle managed to raise over $25,000 USD in profit for the Europe Center. A big thank you to our raffle coordinators and the entire network of Americas keypeople who made this possible.
On Saturday, December 12, the Vilnius centre had beautiful gala dinner with delicious food, good wine and hot flamenco dances on the table served as the desert. At the highest point of the party the on-line bridge was organized between Vilnius, Milan (as the center had 12 hour 16th Karmapa meditation marathon and moreEC fundraising party) and the Europe Center. Conversation was noisy and one could feel the joy of the meeting even through the computer screen. The Europe Center residents shared the information about the latest news of a campaign, Milan and Vilnius presented their events and many smiling faces. We celebrated the common international project bringing us ever closer to each other.
Friends – here is the first of a three-part series of highlights from the interview we held with Lama Ole and Caty about moreEC this summer. The full interview can be found in the “moreEC Reports” – http://more.ec/events/report/.
Q. Lately a statement has been made that the Europe Center in the West has a function similar to Tsurphu in Tibet. Could you explain that connection?
Ole: Karmapa made three main centers: Kampho Khandra in Southeast Tibet, Karma Guen in Northeast Tibet and Tsurphu, 70 km from Lhasa. He made them all in inaccessible valleys that were extremely difficult to reach. The people who wanted to see Karmapa either had to go one of those places, or see him when he came out. Most important was that he travelled for about half of every year. He visited all the different places that had been built up at that time. That was a serious strength; through these travels he did the work. Tsurphu, Kampho Khandra and Karma Guen were really solid places where people practiced and lived in communities.
It is a bit different here today. We have the central place where people can come with much greater ease. We always make it easy to make a contact. That’s true at the EC as well as in all our centers around the world.
Caty: Tsurphu outlasted the life of any one Karmapa. The real estate guaranteed that the lineage would survive. This is how it relates to the Europe Center. This place will guarantee that the Diamond Way will endure beyond our generation. This is very important because the real estate manifests the vision. Tsurphu was the first place of Karmapa, and now the Europe Center takes that role.
Q. Why is it so important to focus on this big construction and renovation now?
Ole: Because it is now that we need it. Our friends are living under conditions they should not be living under.
Caty: And we need it in order to be able to make the program the whole year through. I think we would only postpone our development if we would not start now. Why wait 10 years? There is no sense in waiting. It is totally natural to take the next step now. We have the full power so why not use it?
Q. What will the completion of moreEC bring to the worldwide sangha’s development? How do you see it after 3 years when we will have managed to build it all?
Ole: I see much more of the same in a more lasting way. Buddha gave 84,000 different teachings in 108 books. Going through the teachings, accumulating the wisdom, doing the practice and meditation takes time, and it takes space. It requires buildings with no holes in the roof and a place where you can live comfortably and take shower in the morning. If this place is really going to do the service that we aim to do around the world, then we have to get that money and build.
Caty: After we have built it and start with year round courses, this place will also make money and we will again be able to send money from Germany to the rest of the world as we did before. We have had a big habit of doing that for twenty years. We sent money everywhere. I think we will have a big win-win situation by focusing the energy here now, and then continuing with the world. Nobody will lose anything.
About a month ago, many friends came together and had a great time at the moreEC Football Cup in Bochum. The idea behind the football cup was for friends to come together, play in a good team spirit, and just plain have fun while supporting the moreEC Campaign!
And this we did! It was a great success, we had a great dharma lecture the first night, woke up the next morning to play some football together, and then danced the night away…
About eight teams played and the games started in the morning after meditation. It was amazing to see just how many different types of people were on the field and where they all came from.
The award for the furthest distance traveled to reach the Europe Cup in Bochum went to Brno, from the Czech Republic, as well as the trophy!
Still one has to say that everyone played their hearts out, and some extra creative on top- one team did a prostration every time they scored a goal!
Thank you to everyone again for an amazing time in supporting an amazing project!
In addition to the photos below, find more impressions of the event here:
As the moreEC campaign kicked off in the whole world, the Europe Center itself wasn’t sleeping either. One of the first fundraising events was our Pub Quiz arranged according to the tradition of Dutch and English bars to challenge the brains of customers not only with the amount of beer they can drink but also with some intellectual contest. And guess what – the Dutch team beat all the competitors!
We also organized the movie – popcorn night and were lucky to be joined by Lama. The artistic Austrian sangha took over for a weekend night and transformed the villa into Casino Royale where the local creme-de-la-creme gambled for the benefit of moreEC (see blog post from a few weeks ago). The next day the parents could enjoy a long meditation session on moreEC family Sunday where child care was provided for a donation to the project. And last but not the least – an event followed by huge success – moreEC Karaoke Night, where one could pay for someone to sing…or for them to stop singing in some cases:).
And of course individual people have also been giving their best. During the campaign, the EC team members have generously offered their qualities and skills for the benefit of moreEC and all beings. One could enjoy a Thai massage, get a business card designed, get a Tibetan medicine consultation, your plumbing fixed, get your kids to learn English or Polish, or change to winter tires (a question of life and death in Allgau) for a donation to moreEC. The EC kitchen was used many times for making apple jelly and pear compote, cookies or even catering for events! Have your eyes and mouths open at the upcoming events where you can still get some for yourselves and at the same time support moreEC.
We want to thank all our friends who support us in so many different ways! karmapa chenno :-)
On the 19th of November the region of Middle Germany enjoyed the party “for nothing just to by generous” in Braunschweig.
The idea was to create nice atmosphere with as little organization and financial effort as possible. We had barbecue, mulled wine and drinks, our DJs played music that people could order in a “jukebox”: 1 song – 1 Euro, 1 song without cue – 5 Euros. If you didn’t like the song someone bought, you could also kick it off for 5 Euros. In this way we created a very great party atmosphere, with a lot of joy and dancing. So the people gave 8350 Euros in cash and pledged donations. The Jukebox earned 111 Euros and the bar 250. All together party brought in 8711 Euros!!!
Hi moreEC friends,
Fantastic vision – very inspiring.
Here in Christchurch we had a fundraiser dinner and info evening with friends for and about the EC.
Here we are: well fed, happy and informed with some $$$ for this great place that we will come to visit soon.
the Christchurch sangha
On November 26th, friends at the Mahamudra Course with Lama Ole in Texas, USA raised some $33,000 for the moreEC project. The auction fundraiser lasted two hours – ending at 4:00am – and included 150-200 participants that bid for donated auction items, performed “dares” for donations (arm wrestling! embarrassing dances! re-enacting bad 80s movies!), and sent pledges via text messages/SMS’s that were projected in real time on stage (“Text to Pledge”). With moments to go, in the spirit of togetherness, 30 friends volunteered $100 each to meet the group’s goal to break $33,000. A celebration ensued. So we hear.
We offer you below the only picture of the auction that is internet-worthy…it is of Lama Ole speaking about the Loving Eyes thanka hand-stitched over many many hours by one of our sangha members! Most people’s cameras were confiscated in the interest of having all our friends keep their jobs:).
The annual Dutch autumn retreat from the 18th till 20th november began with a lecture about meditation by Michel van Dinteren. Between hours of delighting and enlightening meditation, the Dutch went back in time and lived the 60 and 70′s, playing some nostalgic rounds of Bingo.
After refreshing the Bingo procedure, people almost jumped on the bingo counter, hoping to buy the bingo card that could lead them to a moment of fame: being the winner of one of the amazing prices like a more EC Banana, an umbrella, a light torch, toilet paper and many more. Guided by sounds and jingles from the seventies the bingo masters turned on the most serious Electric Bingo Machine which popped up the bingo balls with hopefully everybodies lucky numbers. The first one filling a horizontal or vertical line of numbers on their freshly bought bingo card was a winner! Of course, the numbers had to be carefully checked….. The desire to win, and the longing for those moments of fame turned on the tension in the audience. They were kept quiet and in harmony with typically old style Dutch party snacks that were common in the days before fusion world cooking entered the Dutch kitchens. One of our dakinis mixed and served the most fruity and fresh cocktails behind a midget bar all night long.
During an inspiring Skype meeting with the Bochum Sangha, who just played the more EC Soccer Games, we all got the opportunity to shout hello to each other and share the more ec spirit before our noble internet connection got lost. It seemed that even the technological opportunities went retro. Some people just got lost in the 60′s and 70′s retro style that night, they are still wearing their sticky fake mustaches and dance endlessly on the disco beats of the 70′s…. so beware when you come to Holland again!