New Tibetan Center in Hamburg, Germany

Today I would like to present to you the new Tibetan Center in Hamburg, Germany. I know this topic is not about Thailand. However, it relates to Buddhism in general. The Tibetan Center, under the patronage of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, has just recently opened a new location in Hamburg City (Güntherstr. 39, HH-Hohenfelde).

Tibetisches Zentrum, Guentherstrasse 39 in Hamburg, photo: tibet.de

Tibetisches Zentrum, Güntherstrasse 39 in Hamburg, photo: tibet.de

I am happy about that because this center is actually very close to my place and I am looking forward to stopping by for evening meditation now and then.

New Tibetan Center in Hamburg-City

New Tibetan Center in Hamburg-City

Well, some of you might know that I practice Vipassana in the tradition of Ajahn Tong, which is a meditation technique in the Theravada tradition. I am not about to switch or mix up my meditation practice but I think some additional Samatha and Metta meditation cannot be wrong.

Buddhaimage at the Tibetan Center, Hamburg

Buddhaimage at the Tibetan Center, Hamburg

Last Sunday I went to visit the center and I must say that it is really a very nice, neat and peaceful place. Just an ideal location for meditation! I recall that about 12 years ago I did a weekly course about Buddhist Psychology at the Tibetan Center in Farmsen-Berne. This was actually my first course in Buddhism and also the first formal Buddhist meditation practice that I did.

Time for meditation at the Tibetan Center Hamburg-City

Time for meditation at the Tibetan Center Hamburg-City

On open day last weekend, Tibetan monks performed some rituals among these were the creation of a sand mandala followed by the ritual destruction of it. When I arrived at the center, the mandala had already been completed. I think that creating this kind of mandala from fine coloured sand is a very meditative act and the monks also put their metta and well wishes into this work of art. I have learned that the mandala is for visualizing the Buddha Avalokiteshvara, who is generally known as the Buddha of universal compassion.

Sand mandala on the opening day of the Tibetan Center Hamburg-City

Sand mandala on the opening day of the Tibetan Center Hamburg-City

However, there is a lot more symbolism to the mandala but in short, it stands for impermanence and the transitory nature of material life. I also got to witness the ritual destruction of the sand mandala which is a highly ceremonial act.

Tibetan monks and the ritual around the destruction of the sand mandala

Tibetan monks and the ritual around the destruction of the sand mandala

Destruction of the sand mandala

Destruction of the sand mandala

The deity syllables are removed in a specific order along with the rest of the geometry. Once the mandala has been completely dismantled, the sand is collected in a jar which is then wrapped in silk and brought to a river. Hence, we went to the nearby Kuhmühlenteich which is close to the Alster lake. There the monks released the sand into the water and thus back into nature. This symbolizes life’s transitoriness and impermanence of the world in general.

Tibetan monks, going to the nearby river at Kuhmühlenteich, Hamburg

Tibetan monks, going to the nearby river at Kuhmühlenteich, Hamburg

Tibetan monk releases sand from the mandala into the water

Tibetan monk releases sand from the mandala into the water

Summing up, I may say that it was a very interesting and uplifting afternoon at the new Tibetan Center in Hamburg-City. I will defintely stop by there for meditation and I am also curious about other courses or seminars relating to meditation practice.