News from the International Projects 2019/2020

In April of this year, Lama Ole selected the three centers in London, Granada and Mount Olympus to be the focus of our international fundraising activities. The three Sanghas are working together for a year to raise awareness about supporting the renovation of their buildings.

Below, is a little re-cap of how the past months until October 2019 have been for the three centres. Find out how they work together, what are their plans for the rest of their year, and if they are any closer to their goal.

Granada Project Logo

Granada Diamond Way Buddhist Centre

For us, it was a complete surprise, and it also felt like a significant gift from the Lama to be chosen as one of the international projects. As we were also an international project two years ago, we had some experience on how to organize ourselves and plan for the events to come. We had many meetings where we started to envision how we would share the project with all the friends and how to make them feel that the project is theirs too. Quickly, our sangha jumped to life to divide all the tasks, and it was natural for different people to step forward and take responsibility for specific roles.

One of the most natural things that came up was the wish to work together with Olympus and the Beaufoy so we can strengthen the connections and friendship. We found that London and Greek/Balkan Sanghas shared this collaborative feeling, which has resulted in a very joyful experience of friendship. We enjoy working side by side and this wonderful gift that the Lama has given us. So, from the beginning of this adventure, we have felt that we are all together working for the same goal: contributing to Lama Ole’s activity.

It has been a fantastic experience. Each sangha comes from a very different environment, with different life experience and dynamics. So far, it brings a lot of richness to our activity because by working together, we can create so much more. The joy coming developed through our collaboration is contagious. It inspires friends from other sanghas and encourages them to take part.  

During the EC Summer Course, we realized that the three projects have something in common: each sangha is small in comparison to the size of their project. Therefore, by combining our ideas, joyful effort and power, we get the energy, inspiration and strength that we need to face this big fundraising activity.  

It has been great to see how we support each other, even if one of the projects has a smaller presence at the course. Travelling to every course over one year can be challenging. That’s why we make sure to lend a helping hand to each other. In case someone didn’t have the conditions to join, the other projects rolled their sleeves up and helped them to share the effort. Working in this way, we know we are not alone and that we are working with our family.

So far, we have gathered around 15% of our goal. So far, we have finished the first phase of the renovation (building structure). This year’s awareness will help us to complete the interior of the house so we can have a fully functioning centre by next summer. The EC Summer Course especially was a good push in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.

We’re very excited about the future. The next year will be full of work on many fronts. Some of our sangha will focus their efforts mainly into travelling and sharing the project around the world. At the same time, others will stay in Granada to lead and overlook the building works. We have already finished renovating the structure of the villa, and we are ready to begin work on the interior. We are prepared to use the raised funds immediately on the next part of the development. Every donation and each course are getting us closer and closer to our target and enable us to move in finally.

With the funds we have raised in the past three months, we will work on the first two floors of the villa. First, we need to put in new windows, which will close the lower levels of the house and protect the interior. Second, we will focus on the heart of the house, which is the gompa. Our big short-term goal is to finish the gompa by December so we can share this accomplishment with everyone during the New Year’s course in Hamburg.


Our take away is: with a small sangha but a big heart, impossible becomes possible.

KPDL Project Logo

KPDL Olympus Diamond Way Retreat Centre

In the beginning, we had to get over our surprise as we did not expect to be one of the three international projects. With time, our small sangha came together and begun planning how we can do it. Our excitement grew, and meeting after meeting, we were more enthusiastic, hopeful, also creative.

This project is a big push for all of us to get more involved and active in the development of the Olympus retreat centre. Being a tightly connected sangha and having some experience of working together as a team helped a lot. We created our bonds already last year as a cooking team in Karma Berchen Ling where we cooked for 1.600 people. During the EC summer course, the majority of our sangha was there, while some stayed in Olympus.

We want to thank all the friends from various countries that helped us so far.

It is a rewarding experience to work together. We found out that working on the joint projects (like the Generosity book) can be more fun than working only for “our” project. After all, all projects are part of the activity of our Lama Ole.

All three projects, as Jean-Paul observed, have something in common. We are all smaller sanghas compared to the size of our projects. And all of us try their best to deal with that. No matter how difficult our goal is to achieve, we have managed, so far, to keep a good style, cooperate well, and support each other.

We have gathered so far 42% of our goal. However, the construction works are already underway. We’ve completed all the paperwork necessary to commence the building site, and that was a lengthy task. Moreover, we cleared the interior of the building and the surrounding land, repaired the roof, and connected the site to the water and the electricity network. In the meantime thanks to a group of diligent friends that stay permanently on-site and very efficient work from a mixed planning team and some working weekends we have: facade renovated, plumbing, heating and electrical installation half way, cement works on the floors and plastering started,  windows and doors ordered. So we have reasonable hope to close the building for the winter.

We will continue the activities at the next courses throughout the year. In parallel, a lot of things are happening at the KPDL Olympus Retreat Centre. Over the next months, we plan to build the fence, to finish off electric, heating and hydraulic systems, and continue with the interior things like floors and walls with the goal, if the fundraising goes well, to finish by springtime.

Of course, the progress of the development depends on how much we will manage to collect at the courses. So far, the generosity of the international DW Sangha and the support we received, especially during the summer course in EC encouraged us a lot. Thank you all!

London Project Logo

London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre

The decision of Lama Ole to let us fundraise for this year came to us somehow as a surprise, even though we’ve asked for it! It has undoubtedly speeded up our activity and planning, as everyone could feel an energy and inspiration rush. And the past three months have been hectic!

Apart from kickstarting the fundraising activities at the beginning of May, we still had to come up with the vision for the future design of the Great Hall. To do that, we followed the guidance from Lama Ole and the advice he gave us the during the 2017/18 New Year’s Course in London. His recommendation was ‘not to take the colour out of Tibetan Buddhism’ and to design a space which will inspire and touch everyone who will see it. 

To create the concept for the altar, we formed a small team consisting of architects, interior designers and local experts in Buddhist art. Furthermore, responding to Lama Ole’s request, we approached Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and asked for his support. We sought his counsel in regards to the forms and statues which will grace the meditation hall in the future. 

After many hours of tireless work of the designers, we presented our suggestions to both Lamas in July during the stupa inauguration in Copenhagen. Their decision was unanimous – we will have a six metres high Refuge Tree thangka for an altar! And Rinpoche will oversee the production of the painting, as well as two statues: the 16th Karmapa and Loving Eyes, which will be placed on our altar right next to the big Buddha statue.  Needless to say, now that we have a clear vision of the finished Grand Hall and the blessing of our Lamas’ behind it, we are absolutely thrilled. 

This process not only boosted our enthusiasm but also allowed us to progress with further developments and designs for space. We’re currently in discussions with plasterers who will renovate the walls and beautiful period ornaments decorating the Hall. Simultaneously, we’re working on the technical specification for electricity, heating system, lighting and audio-visual equipment. Not to waste any time, we already have a few Dharma friends helping us with the building works. They’ve been focusing on the restoration of the historic stained glass windows and under-roof skylights which can be open using the original industrial mechanism. They will soon be brought back to their former glory!

We have immensely enjoyed fundraising together. It’s great to know that two other projects are going through a similar process along with us. We have found our collaboration very stimulating and supportive. We are very open with each other, which allows bringing different perspectives to the fundraising activity and our projects. It’s exciting to see how many close friendships forged through working together so closely – even though in three different time zones!

We want to use this world to get to know each other and learn to work together. From the very beginning of the fundraising activity, we took the ‘one for all, all for one’ approach. At every course, we make sure that apart from having fundraising stands promoting each project, we also deliver shared activities. Whether it’s inviting people to grow and get inspired through the Generosity Book or waking up at 6 am to prepare 25 litres of bulletproof coffee, we’re in it together. This way, we stay inspired and motivated. Working together helps us remember that we’re a part of something bigger than our local day-to-day activities.

After hugely successful efforts at the summer courses in Europe, we’re at about 25% of our overall goal. This sum allows us to commence the renovation works in the Hall, which is thrilling. There is still a long way ahead of us, but we’re optimistic and full of inspiration for the rest of the year. The help and support from the sangha so far have been overwhelming and heart-warming. It helped us to remember how lucky we are to be a part of this incredible project.

The next few months are not going to be boring, that’s for sure! We are very excited about continuing the activity in the South and North Americas. We can’t wait to connect with friends and sanghas there as we don’t get to do that too often. Also, even though the summer is still on, we’re already preparing for the New Year’s course in Hamburg. 

The next few months mean to us also a significant push with planning and developing a technical specification for the Great Hall. With luck (and a lot of hard work), we will begin the physical works at the beginning of next year. Our wish is to have the ‘core and shell’ of the Hall ready for Lama Ole’s next visit. We also want to take the time to visit the two other projects and help with their construction works. After listening to their plans for all these months, we want to see them with our own eyes!

Don’t miss us at courses with Lama Ole around the world to stay up to date with our developments!

Categories: International Projects

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