A Brief but Blessed Visit

Lama Ole, surely the Buddhist teacher with the busiest schedule of any in the world, managed to squeeze in a half an hour recently to stop by Lolland Buddhist Retreat Center, on the way from Copenhagen to the New Year’s Course in Hamburg.

Regular readers of our blog will remember that we completed renovation of the first Diamond Way stupa in the West this summer, and placed a beautiful new Buddha Shakyamuni statue in it at our Summer Course. Unfortunately Lama Ole couldn’t be there, and no stupa statue is complete without the Lama’s blessing, so he stopped by on December 27th to bless the statue and re-inaugurate our stupa.

After arriving in a convoy with around forty friends, Lama Ole wasted no time and climbed up onto the stupa to remove the statue. After focussing his mind on it and guiding those present in recitation of mantras, he placed it back in the window on a new pedestal custom made by a friend so that it sits a bit higher.

Using every minute available, Lama Ole also took the time to walk through the garden to view and bless the Naga Queen statue we installed beside the pond this summer.

A snack and a cup of tea later, and off he and the friends drove again, the explosion of activity over as quickly as it began, leaving Lolland once again as peaceful as usual.

Thank you Lama! We look forward to seeing you again at the Summer Course!

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Our (almost) new stupa

The first Diamond Way stupa built in the West stands in
the courtyard here at Lolland Buddhist Retreat Center.

Inaugurated in 1982 by Tenga Rinpoche, it has been exposed to quite a lot of wild Danish weather over the last 32 years. A stupa of enlightenment built in a very traditional style – especially compared to other Diamond Way stupas such as the sangha stupa at Schwarzenberg in southern Germany, or the Kalachakra stupa in Karma Berchen Ling in Greece – the thin layer of gold on the peak and the “gau” (the frame around the window at the front where the Buddha statue sits), and the paint on the main structure were in need of renovation.

The project began in late 2013, when our expert friend Barbara came for a week and reapplied gold to the top of the stupa; the 13 rings representing the levels of development of a Bodhisattva, and the crescent moon, sun and drop which represent compassion, wisdom and the ultimate goal, enlightenment.

In spring this year, the old clay Karmapa statue was removed at Lama Ole and Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s request, and was sent to Tenovice where it brought its blessing to their stupa as part of the filling. Then two talented friends, Peter and Uwe, completely rebuilt the wooden frame of the gau and the concrete support behind it. In early summer the new frame was driven down to Barbara for its own coat of gold leaf, painstaking and time-consuming work with a beautiful result.

Suddenly, everything moved very fast. Just in time for the 30th Annual Summer Course, the whole stupa was painted by friends from Copenhagen. Two friends sacrificed a day of the course to drive down to Düsseldorf to pick the frame up and bring it back. Each person at the summer course put a handful of precious material in the stupa’s stunning new Buddha Shakyamuni statue before it was sealed. And everything came together like magic on the last day of the course, when the frame was hung, the freshly dried paint gleamed in the sunlight, and Lama Ole Nydahl joined us in typically unconventional fashion: via Skype while recovering from his spinal surgery. He watched the placement of the statue, gave a short talk, and held his gau up to the camera to bless everyone present. A truly inspiring afternoon!

Now our stupa shines once more. May it inspire many people for many, many years to come!

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Buddha Shakyamuni statue

The Stupa’s New Buddha

Lama Ole Nydahl and Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche agreed at last year’s Summer Course that it’s time for a new statue in our stupa: a golden Buddha Shakyamuni. The best place for any Diamond Way Buddhist centre to find top quality statues is the Europe Center, so we contacted our friends there. Geri from the EC has spent years building relationships with artists in the East so that they can offer Diamond Way Buddhist centers the best craftsmanship at the best prices.

It didn’t take long to find a gorgeous Buddha of the right size. Coincidentally Matt, our newest resident, moved from the Europe Center to Lolland last week, so he brought a friend with him when he came north. The beautiful new statue is now standing on the altar in the gompa waiting to be filled and placed in the stupa window during the summer course.

Experienced friends will fill the statue during the summer course, and if you would like to help you’re welcome to join in. You can also establish a connection to Lolland’s new Buddha and the stupa with a donation: please contact us if you would like to donate precious materials, or money to buy them, for the filling.

You might be wondering what happened to the familiar Karmapa statue that stood in the stupa since 1987? During the building up weekend in May it was removed from the stupa and taken to the Czech Republic where it will have a place of honor inside the new stupa at Tenovice, lending its blessing and power to the place and strengthening connections between our Diamond Way retreat centers.