Introducing Kamalashila Institute

Nalandabodhi has a sister sangha in Germany! Kamalashila Institute for Buddhist Studies and Meditation , one of the first Tibetan Buddhist centers in Europe, was founded in 1981. Located in the small town of Langenfeld near Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Koblenz in the heart of the Rhine-Ruhr region, Kamalashila is the main European seat of the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. His Holiness conferred on our teacher, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, the title of spiritual director of Kamalashila. Under the guidance of these two great masters, the institute is committed to bringing a clear and vibrant vision of twenty-first-century Buddhism to the modern European world.

Acharya Lama Sönam Rabgye from Nepal and Acharya Lama Kelzang Wangdi from Bhutan are the two resident teachers. They live permanently at Kamalashila and preside over the daily meditation practices. They also guide retreats, teach a variety of courses on many Buddhist topics, and are available for personal interviews to discuss and guide students’ spiritual practice. Kamalashila also hosts a large number of American and European teachers who present different perspectives on meditation practices and Buddhist philosophies. These courses are intended to further the development of Tibetan Buddhism in the Western world.

In order to provide the local German community with the opportunity to study and practice Buddhism as close to home as possible, several meditation groups were established in the region. However, during the pandemic, teachings and practices have moved online in order to provide support and continuity. For example, on January 9, Ponlop Rinpoche taught on the six paramitas (in English with German translation). If you would like to be notified of upcoming webcasts and classes, you can sign up for the institute’s English-language newsletter.

One remarkable feature on the spacious grounds of Kamalashila is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist stupa. This enlightenment stupa’s perfect form symbolizes the mind’s pure nature, and the statue contained within it is Medicine Buddha. The Medicine Buddha practice is performed in the stupa on the eighth day of each month of the Tibetan calendar. Chödje Lama Phuntsok of the Karma Kagyu lineage supervised the construction of the stupa and consecrated it in 2006. While visiting the institute during his European tour in 2014, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa blessed the stupa in a very moving ceremony. The stupa radiates peace and harmony throughout Germany and the whole world, powerfully transforming negativity into positive energy. It also represents a link to the early history of Langenfeld, Germany, which has long been regarded as a holy place.

The Kamalashila Institute for Buddhist Studies and Meditation is another significant part of the global community of Nalandabodhi International. Under the vast and profound guidance of our precious guru, Ponlop Rinpoche, the Nalandabodhi community continues to flourish, spreading loving kindness and compassion throughout the world.

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