Die Welt, German national newspaper carries article on Das Buddhistische Haus -Berlin on the traces of the Buddha
Posted on April 7th, 2012

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Author: Nicole Dolif|ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 19.05.2008

Die Welt (The World) is a German national daily newspaper published by the Axel Springer AG company. It is one of Germany’s leading newspapers. On the eve of the visit of Dalai Lama to Berlin on May 19, 2008 ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Die WeltƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ published an article on Das Buddhistische Haus (Berlin Vihara).

An edited version of the English translation and the web link to the original article in German are appended below.

Berlin on the traces of the Buddha

To mark the visit of Dalai Lama to the capital Berlin: Die Welt looked at a center of the eastern teachings in Frohnau.

Berlin is the center of Buddhism in Germany. All three large currents of Buddhism – Theravada from Southeast Asia, Tibetan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism from Japan – areƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ represented here. If today Dalai Lama on his current visit to GermanyƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ makes a stop inƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Berlin, 15,000 people wouldƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ want to be there.

Tissa Weeraratna (58) wouldƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ alsoƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ have liked to hear, what the head of Tibeten BuddhismƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ had to say in the afternoon at the Brandenburger gate. However unfortunately I have today an appointment in Vienna, says the Buddhist originating from Colombo in Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Since eight years he lives in Berlin and administersƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Das Buddhistische Haus (Berlin Vihara) in Frohnau.

Altogether there are approximately 50 Buddhist Centers, temples and Meditation Centres in Berlin. Buddhism began to be taught for the first time in schools in Germany beginning in 2003. Even in the penal institution at Tegel, the largest prison in Germany, Buddhist meditation is taught to the prisoners.

ItƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ is difficult to say how many BuddhistsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ are in Berlin, since Buddhism does not have a status as an official religion in Germany. However there areƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ about 5000 Germans engaged in Buddhist matters, according to an estimate ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the Buddhist academy. And of the approximately 10,000 Chinese, who live in Berlin,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ one of ten visits theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Buddhist temple.

Tissa Weeraratna meditates each day, alwaysƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ at three o’clock in the morning.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  “My bio rhythm says it to me, he explains. SinceƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I meditate I have not been sick.” And above all as a result his spirit is completely calm. He sits barefoot with a cup of tea in the library of Das Buddhistische Haus in Frohnau. His dark eyes look at the visitors calmly. He has time for discussions, worries and problems.

The Buddhist house is the oldest Buddhist Temple in Europe. It was built in 1924 by the physician and pioneer of Buddhism in Germany, Dr. Paul Dahlke.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ During the first few years it was used not as a monastery, but only as a place toƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ teach the teachings of the Buddha. Dr. Paul Dahlke died in 1928. Thereafter the house stood empty. Only almost 30 years later, Mr. Asoka Weeraratna from Colombo, Capital of Sri LankaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ purchased Das Buddhistische Haus from the heirs of Dr. Dahlke.

Since then Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka have been living in Frohnau. Asoka Weeraratna is the uncle of Tissa Weeraratna. “I am happy to manage the houseƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ that my uncle purchased (on behalf of the Trustees of the German Dharmaduta Society)” he says. The beautiful house with its temple on the hill, surrounded by pine trees, is a German national cultural asset. Lectures are conductedƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ regularly in the large rooms of the library. ” All are welcome” Tissa Weeraratna says spontaneously. “Without an appointment and without payment”. This is important to him. He wants to give something to people who visit him. ” Many people who visit us suffer from theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ pressure and stress ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ everyday life, he says;ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Buddhism intends to increase your good qualities and eliminate bad ones. This reduces the causes of stress”.

Many people come to Tissa Weeraratna. “About 40 persons per dayƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ excludingƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ school childrenƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ who want to get information” he says.. “We hold conversations or go to the Temple to engage in meditation. His dark eyes radiate behindƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ his eyeglasses. He derives joy from his work.

In the Buddhist house in Frohnau meditation is conducted on the lines of the Buddhist Theravada tradition. There are courses for beginners and advanced,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ and workshops onƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ weekends. Two Buddhist monks constantly live in the house. AndƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ another three are staying there as guests.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ If they do not speak to visitors, these monks with shaven heads and dressed in red robes go out and through the town of Frohnau or evenƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the centre of the central districts. ” They are seeking conversations withƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ people e.g.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ in shopping streets or shopping centres, some also meditate there”, says Tissa Weeraratne. They invite the Berliners to come and visit us. They gladly accept gifts they are given by people. “Something to eat and drink. However no money. ” Monks are not allowed to touch money” explains the Buddhist, ” since it is theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ beginning of corruption.”

In the 60’s the Dalai Lama once visited the Buddhist house in Frohnau. This time he will not come, but speak only at the Brandenburg Gate. The Dalai Lama is not the head of all Buddhists, he says, however he is a very wise man. He finds it problematic thatƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the Dalai Lama is the head of state and religion at the same time. This should not be the case, says Weeraratna.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  But otherwise he cannot understand why there are protests in connection with the visit of Dalai Lama. ProtestsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ should actually not be allowed. On the contrary, one must follow him.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ……………………………………………

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Article in German

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ http://www.welt.de/welt_print/article2009319/Berlin_auf_den_Spuren_Buddhas.html

Die Welt|

Dalai Lama Besuch

DruckenƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ BewertenƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Autor: Nicole Dolif|ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 19.05.2008


Berlin auf den Spuren Buddhas

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