Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year Approaching

The end of the year always feels like the appropriate time to take stock and reflect a little on the past, and maybe also to think about changes to introduce in the future. 2010 marks my tenth anniversary of having moved to Berlin as a result of an intuitive decision I made on waking up a few days after my ordination into the Western Buddhist Order in Guhyaloka in Spain in 1997. I was 40 and it really feels like my life began then. Because I had never been to Germany before, and being of a naturally somewhat sceptical nature, I visited the city a few times before following my intuition and actually starting a new life in a new country.

I have never regretted that decision. Although there have been periods where life has not been particularly easy, I have never seriously wanted to leave Berlin. Indeed, within a couple of years of my arrival, it was clear to me that Berlin would probably be my home for the rest of my life, however long that may be.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I arrived home rather late this evening at midnight after a very pleasant end of year dinner with some of my English students, and having already decided to check on line whether registration for next year's Berlin marathon had opened, I was delighted to discover an e-mail inviting me to do just that. So now I have paid the 60,00 € fee and am registered. Immediately afterwards I registered for the Berlin Big 25 in May, which finishes in the Olympic stadium. I had hoped to participate in this year's run, but less than 24 hours before the start I became ill.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Order Forum

Yesterday evening I arrived home after a long weekend at Vimaladhatu in Sauerland. The event was the annual Central European Order Forum, a mix of retreat and convention, and was attended by around 30 members of the Western Buddhist Order (WBO) living in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Poland and Russia. Very harmonious and inspiring, the event gives us all a chance to catch up and appreciate each others' endeavours. Being set among wooded hills, the weekend gave me a chance to do some hill-training, something I'm not at all used to, since Berlin is very flat.

On Monday I stayed in Essen and spent the day with Jnanacandra, the Chair of the Essen Buddhist Centre, discussing issues of common interest.