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Ringing the bell

Yesterday I met Dana, my colleague from China, in the European Institute of Applied Buddhism. It’s founded by Tich Nhat Than and located in Germany. An enormous building with several meditation halls ¬†and a small restaurant next to it. There we had lunch with many young monks from Vietnam. At irregular intervals a bell sounds and then everybody is supposed to stop what he is doing and just breathe. It increases your mindfulness, I can tell you. It is a great practice, especially since everyone adheres to it: in the middle of filling dishes at the buffet the bell rang and everyone stood still. After 10 seconds we continued filling our plates. Over lunch we were not supposed to talk and we didn’t. Strangely enough everybody finished eating at the same time. Another bell rang and we could talk.

She was busy with coaching these days she told me. Busy in China is different from being busy in Europe. I asked her how many coaching clients she got this year: 400. We both had to laugh and that continued for a while. We talked business in the Konditorei next to the monastery where they did serve coffee. Exchanging plans of programs in Sweden and China.

The monastery is a nice place with great teachers and classes. Waking up at five, first meditation of an hour, then an hour Qigong and finally breakfast before the day starts. Next are the classes and walking meditation. For sure you will be in another world.

It’s closer by than Sri Lanka where I’used to get my dosis of Buddhism. But we said to each other that the traveling to the other side of the world might be part of the ‘enlightening process.’ Far away from home, where everything is different and strange you open just that bit more. I drove back home at the end of the day. I couldn’t resist to fill the tank of my car with ‘racebenzin.’ Germany must be the only place where they sell this: fuel with 100 octane that makes you break all the speed limits that don’t exist in a large part of the country. I was happily surprised by the speed of accelerating.

Sorry, still a petrol head.

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