Katja writes from Berlin with the wonderful news of the opening last weekend of Triratna’s new Buddhist Centre in Berlin-Kreuzberg (known as „Buddhistisches Tor Berlin“, the Berlin Buddhist Gate). She says -
In beautiful late summer sunshine, we held a very successful opening of our new Buddhist Centre – known as ‘Buddhistisches Tor Berlin’, the Berlin Buddhist Centre – which we celebrated with more than 500 guests from many countries. There were representatives of other Buddhist groups, local neighbors and many other interested visitors.
The festivities began in the morning with a talk by Sona on the question “Why a new Buddhist Centre in Berlin-Kreuzberg?”. Amogharatna, our chairman, described the search for a new centre and the path that eventually led to the ‘Buddhistisches Tor Berlin’. During his speech, he read a greeting from Bhante Sangharakshita, who had sent it from England. There was also an atmospheric consecration ceremony, including the Sakyamuni mantra and offerings to the new shrine.
A special highlight was the joint concert of the choirs of the Essen Buddhist Centre and the Berlin Buddhist Centre. At the end of their program they encouraged all visitors to sing along and so shared the experience of “energy by singing” with the entire audience!
Many guests took the opportunity to participate in guided meditations, which were offered every hour. From 6pm the centre joined the city-wide “Long Night of Religion” program. Short lectures, meditations, panel discussions and tours of the centre ran into the night and aroused much interest amongst visitors, many of whom had had little previous contact with Buddhism.
The time and energy that we invested in preparing for this special day was worth it a hundred times over! We want to express a big Thank You to everyone who participated in this wonderful celebration, especially to all of the volunteers who contributed to its great success.
Now we look forward to the beginning of November, when the centre’s construction will be completed and we can fill the building with life.
The embedded video offers a quick photo tour and commentary of the two decades since Triratna started activities in Germany. We’ll post a selection of photographs tomorrow, but there’s plenty on the internet already - see for example here, here, or here… Thanks to Ashvajit and others for them.