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Last week the new retreat centre in the north of the Netherlands was informally opened: the Boeddhawierde. A mosaic made by a friend of the local sangha, Lucia Keidel, was unveiled during a ceremony - which marks a significant step in the further development of Triratna in the Netherlands.
‘Wierde’ refers to a mound that the local ancestors built in the muddy fields, to keep their feet dry and bury their dead. Later when the dykes were build, they became sacred spots and churches were typically built on them. (‘Boedhha’ is the Dutch for ‘Buddha’.)
Order member Silavadin bought the building a year and a half ago and has been rebuilding it since then, with the help of many people. The Boeddhawierde is situated adjacent to the local church in the village of Usquert. It’s very quiet and there is a sense of sacredness to it all, making it a very good location for a retreat centre. The Boeddhawierde can host small groups of up to ten people, as well as those wishing to do a solitary retreat.
Silavadin’s next plan is to get charitable status for the project. At the moment he is running the retreat centre on his own - although from January there will be a young mitra joining him, forming the beginnings of a small community.
Silavadin writes: “My ideal for the Boeddhawierde is that it would be an oasis where people can have a rest from samsara, breathe, be themselves, get together and practice the Dharma, especially art and meditation, and thrive. There should also be a place for the unusual.”