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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ground-Breaking Ceremony for Berlin’s new Buddhist Centre

The FWBO’s Berlin Buddhist Centre is moving to new and larger premises. They have a substantial building project ahead of them, during the course of which they plan five rituals marking the various stages of the work.

Amogharatna, the Centre’s Chairman, writes with a report of their first ritual.  He says -

“On Sunday, 17th January 2010 around 35 members of the Berlin Buddhist Sangha celebrated our very first event in our new premises in Berlin-Kreuzberg. This was a “building site ritual”, “Erster Spatenstich” in German - which would be translated as “The Ground-Breaking Ceremony”.

“We dedicated the event to the Buddha Ratnasambhava, the yellow Buddha of the South, whose element is earth. The event lasted three hours and included walking meditation, mantra-chanting and making offerings to three shrines (check the video here!) , as well as chanting the Ratana Sutta and making offerings to the spirits of this 120-year-old historic site.

“The ceremony concluded with a seven fold puja and finally we had the traditional hot chocolate and cake in a coffee shop nearby. There will be more videos available soon.

“We are still fundraising. If you would like to support our New Buddhist Gate Berlin project, please find more information about the fundraising and on the progress of our project on our fundraising website, now also available in English!

“For online-donations, you can go to (UK) or if you live in Germany go to

“With metta,Amogharatna

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Berlin Buddhist Centre celebrates finding new premises

Amogharatna, chair of the FWBO’s Berlin centre, reports -

“On 31st of October 2009 at our Sangha day celebrations, we launched the fundraising campaign for our new Buddhist Centre, “The NEW Buddhist Gate Berlin“ (German: „das neue Buddhistische Tor Berlin“).

“Cornelia and I started preparing the fundraising as early as June. Since August, a fundraising committee has been meeting on a regular basis. Our goal is to get everybody in the Sangha involved in fundraising activities, and many more besides.

“We have produced a beautiful flyer in German and English, as well as a bi-lingual fundraising website are facilities for making on-line donations and a long list of ideas about how everybody can get involved.

“Of the estimated costs for the new Centre of €890,000, we already have €400,000 from donations and assets. Our aim is to collect €490.000 during the next 18 months so that we are not burdened by debts when we move into the new centre around the beginning of 2011.

“After a four-year long search, we finally signed the contract in July 2009. Our new premises are part of a local initiative involving the redevelopment of a former hospital consisting of fourteen buildings into apartments and business premises. They are situated in Berlin-Kreuzberg, a central, lively area of the city, well served by public transport and close to the attractive Landwehr canal. The space is in many ways perfectly suited to our needs and will be a suitable home for the prospering Sangha for many years to come.

“After meditating together, singer Johanna Fassbender and her band gave us a short sample of their work. Amogharatna introduced us to his vision for the new Centre and the FWBO in Berlin, and Karunada told us about the efforts of the brave team of volunteers, responsible for turning the former hospital kitchen into a radiant brand new Buddhist Centre.

“Of course the tea break was another good opportunity to enjoy a great assortment of cakes, donated for the occasion by members of the Sangha!

“After the tea break, Cornelia and Amogharatna launched the Fundraising campaign.  In the photo you can see the rest of our team.

“The afternoon was concluded with a sevenfold Puja during which Mitras had the opportunity to re-affirm their commitment to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

“And that's how we spent Sangha day.

“If you want to contribute or help us fundraise, or just have some ideas that would be helpful for us, please don't hesitate to get into contact:

“For online-donations, you can go to (UK)

“Or when you live in Germany go to


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

FWBO Berlin purchases property for new Centre

Amogharatna, Chairman of the FWBO’s
centre in Berlin, writes –

"This afternoon Satyasthira and I signed a contract on behalf of FWBO Berlin to purchase part of a building! This will become our new centre when we leave our current rented premises around the end of 2010.

"The premises are part of a larger development, involving the conversion of a former hospital into a mixed residential, commercial and social development. Our plans for the building include a large shrine room of 100m² with a high glass roof. There will be a second shrine room and a study room of 40m² each. Additionally there will be an office, a library, a bookshop and a kitchen. The premises are on the ground floor and accessible for the disabled. We will also have a very large basement for storage and toilets. It is well serviced by public transport, and is centrally located, close to the canal, where one can walk and enjoy a break from the bustle of the city.

"The hospital will continue to use the buildings until the end of the year, when it will start to leave in stages. Our building will be handed over in the middle of 2010. Currently it houses the X-Ray archive but formally it was the hospital kitchen. The renovation work will be completed by the end of 2010, if everything goes according to plan.

"It has taken us a long time to get this far with the project. In addition to the team of those involved directly, looking at and investigating countless buildings over several years, we would never have got this far had it not been for a generous donation of money many years ago, raised by the workers at Windhorse Trading (as it was then). So a very special "Thank you" to them! More recently Karunada has played a major role in engaging thoroughly with numerous legal complexities which the project has created. Without him, it is unlikely that we would have signed the contract today. SADHU KARUNADA!

"There will be much to do in the coming months, a lot of planning and organisational work as well as the inevitable fundraising to help pay back our considerable loans. I have no doubt that the efforts involved in pursuing our vision will be rewarded, when we finally have premises that do justice to our work of helping to make the Dharma more accessible to ever more people.

"With Metta from Berlin,


P.S. Attached are photos of
1. the building
2. Amogharatna and Satyasthira signing the contract
3. Some of those present at the signing of the contract: left to right: Michael Linsner, Satyasthira, Mokshasiddha, Herr Paterock (Solicitor for FWBO Berlin), Amogharatna, Frau Dr. Herwig (Solicitor for the Development Project), Frau Graetz (leader of the Development Project), and Karunada".


Monday, August 11, 2008

Bhante in Berlin

Amogharatna, chairman of the FWBO's Centre in Berlin, (known locally as the Buddhistisches Tor Berlin, or the 'Buddhist Gate' of Berlin) has sent us this report on their recent visit by Sangharakshita.

"On 14th July, Bhante arrived in Berlin for a short visit. He was accompanied by his friend Saraha, and they stayed in the men's community. Over the next three days members of the Berlin Sangha enjoyed several opportunities to see Bhante. His programme included going for a short walk each day and meeting individuals as well as a few special events.

"At the Sangha evening in Buddhistisches Tor Berlin on Tuesday he gave a substantial talk on “The Six Distinctive Emphases of the FWBO”, which was translated into German by Dharmapriya. This was a particularly appropriate topic for a Sangha whose members are geographically quite remote from other FWBOs, and the shrine room was filled to capacity with over sixty people. On the same evening he officiated at Peter Hirth's Mitra ceremony. A version of the talk is available here from FreeBuddhistAudio.

"On Wednesday afternoon Bhante performed a 'naming ceremony' for Samuel Phillip, Utpalavajri and Akasaraja's recently born son, and in the evening he had dinner with Berlin's men Mitras. On Thursday he had a meeting with Order Members from Berlin in the morning and in the evening had dinner with the women Mitras.

"So it was a busy time for Bhante, much appreciated by the many people who were able to see him, and for which they are all very grateful".

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year-End celebrations in Berlin

On 22nd December 20 people celebrated the winter solstice with a Dana-Day festival in 'Buddhistisches Tor', as the FWBO's centre in Berlin is known.

Amogharatna, the Centre's chairman, said "It was the first time, as far as I know, that we have had a decorated "Year's End tree" (as christmas trees were officially renamed in former East Germany) in the centre. The idea behind the celebration was to take some of the pre-Christian elements of Christmas, as well as positive ingredients of the Christian festival such as generosity, and set them in a Buddhist context. As well as meditation and puja the celebration included acknowledging our gratitude to others for what they have given us, a chance to express our hopes for the coming year and sharing presents around the tree. At the end we had a small feast of gingerbread and (non-alcoholic) punch. We hope the event will become a regular feature of our programme in the future."

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ordination in Berlin - an ever-widening circle, the Sangha grows

Joerg-Detlef Nerkhorn was ordained in Berlin (at the FWBO Centre) on 30 June 2007. He was given the name ARYAMAITRI - 'He whose friendship is noble'. His private preceptor was Arthapriya and his public preceptor Sona.

FWBO News estimates that this bring the Western Buddhist Order to a total number of 1447 - just below the 1,500 mark. In fact, had we not experienced three recent and tragic deaths, the total would now be exactly that.

Thse interested in some simple statistics about the Order are invited to click here, this will take you to a short presentation on our sister site FWBO Discussion.

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