About us

History of the centre

Prehistory
History of the Centre at 41 Pomorska Street

Prehistory

Lama Ole z Leszkiem Nadolskim, Tomkiem Lehnertem i na wykładzie

Lama Ole with Leszek Nadolski (‘Misiek’) and Tomek Lehnert at a lecture.

Lama Ole gave his first teaching in Gdansk in March 1981 in a flat owned by Dorota Krzyzanowska. The lecture was translated by Dorota and Karol Sleczek. Lama Ole stayed in Gdansk for three days and returned in the spring of 1982. On this occasion he gave a lecture at the University of Arts and then at the Zen Centre in Gdynia-Witomino. Dorota Krzyzanowska translated again and a number of people who took refuge later became well-known within Diamond Way Buddhism, both in Poland and internationally, such as Leszek ‘Misiek’ Nadolski (at present in charge of the retreat centre in Kuchary), Beata ‘Berta’ Nadolska, Gosia ‘Maggy’ Lehnert (for many years an assistant and close student of Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche), Zbyszek Andruszkiewicz (former head of the centre in Kuchary), Jurek Karwowski and others.

Leszek (Misiek) Nadolski i jego żona Beata (Berta)

Leszek (Misiek) Nadolski and his wife Beata (Berta).

On 13th December 1983, Lama Ole gave another lecture at the University of Gdansk. He often recalls what happened during that teaching:

“I told the audience: ‘You should be happy that your system does not work…’ At that moment, the secret agents got up and started taking notes. So I added: ‘Because you do not have to waste your time on meaningless activities and you can commit to developing your mind.’ Having heard that, the agents thought for a while, sat down, relaxed, put their pens down and focused on the teaching. Apparently they recognized that what they had just heard was true.”

Tomek Lehnert (Lama Ole's secretary for many years), Slawek Bialy and Tadeusz Uchto took refuge with Lama Ole during the lecture at the Culture Club in Gdansk-Zaspa. Three years later Wojtek Kossowski, husband of Maggie Lehnert, also took refuge. Later he built 20 stupas in the West together with Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche.

At around this time Lama Ole gave lectures in Gdansk almost every year. In 1987, we hosted Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, who gave a Guru Rinpoche empowerment in a building set within allotment gardens. From 1991 that site housed the Gdansk centre for several years. Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche visited the present Gdansk Centre in 1999.

Lama Ole, Tomek Lehnert i Zdzisia Andruszkiewicz

Lama Ole, Tomek Lehnert and Zdzisia Andruszkiewicz.

The Centre was located in the following places:
1982 – Gdynia-Witomino, at the Zen Centre
Dolny Sopot – in a private flat
1984-85 – Gdansk-Chelm, in a private flat within a block of flats
1986-91 – Gdansk-Wrzeszcz, in a rented flat over the ‘Moda Polska’ department store.

(In 1990-91, there were 3 meditation groups in Gdansk: in Wrzeszcz, in Wojtek Mazur’s flat and at Maciej Jelinski’s house. In 1991, a joint meeting with Lama Ole was held in Kuchary, where he recommended finding a common place for all groups, which took place in September 1991).

Ośrodek w wynajętym budynku na terenie ogródków działkowych

The center in a rented building in the area of allotment gardens.

September 1991 – a building in the area of allotment gardens in Polanki Street (where Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche had given the Guru Rinpoche empowerment in 1987)
1998 – purchase of the present real estate at 41 Pomorska Street
2003 – buying an adjacent plot of 397 sq. m
2003 – another plot of 336 sq. m is purchased
2005 – purchase of shares in an adjacent real estate, which enabled us to use another 100 m2 adjacent to our plot.

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History of the Centre at 41 Pomorska Street

Stan budynku w momencie zakupu

Stan budynku w momencie zakupu

The original condition of the building.

In May 1998, we purchased a plot of 1,147 sq m and a 240m2 building that required renovation.

The dilapidated condition of the building is still remembered by those who had to painstakingly clean roof tiles, deepen the foundations and strengthen ceiling beams or demolish old walls and furnaces. During the first decade of the Centre, hundreds of friends took part in the construction and refurbishment, gaining countless good impressions and building deep relationships with the Gdansk Centre and with each other. Relations grew stronger with every event witnessed by our small house at 41 Pomorska Street.

Due to the tireless efforts of our friends and their extraordinary generosity, we have succeeded in completely renovating the building, creating more than 60m2 for a meditation room, two flats, a kitchen with dining area, toilets, showers, residential space, the office of the Karmapa Foundation together with a depot for books and 'Diamond Way' magazines with a dispatch service. We have also continued to expand, increasing the property with three new plots of land.

There were numerous obstacles and miraculous solutions during this process. One day, our hitherto indefatigable hero, Wlodek Wiszka, exhausted after fighting with an unfriendly official, decided to address ‘a higher authority’ and asked Tsechu Rinpoche for help. Our Lama gave a laconic reply: ‘I promise to think about it’. After a few days, one of our neighbours spontaneously expressed the wish to sell her plot, even though we had never asked her about it. Shortly thereafter, the unfriendly official was promoted and replaced by a polite young man who helped us purchase the plot from the town authority.

From 2003 to 2005 the property was increased by another 833m2. At present, we have land with a total area of 1,980m2 and refurbished buildings with a total area of 240m2.

You will find more about the history of the Centre at 41 Pomorska Street in the 2003 issue 'Diamond Way' magazine.

Lama Ole i Lama Czeczu Rinpocze w ośrodku w Gdańsku

Lama Ole and Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche in the Gdansk Centre.

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The activity of the centre


Who we are

From the left: meditation, lecture, post-lecture supper and… before meditation.

The Gdansk Diamond Way Buddhist Centre belongs to the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and is one of 600 lay meditation centres and groups founded by Lama Ole Nydahl which are under the spiritual guidance of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Trinlay Thaye Dorje.

Our centres are not abstract institutions. They are organised on a voluntary, non-hierarchical basis and function through friendship and idealism. They are places where one can acquire the timeless wisdom of Buddha’s teachings, meditate, exchange experiences, share in others’ development and take part in group activities.

In Poland all of our 64 centres and meditation groups are represented by the Diamond Way Buddhist Association of the Karma Kagyu lineage, officially registered in 1984.

The main objective of the Association is to transmit authentic Diamond Way Buddhist teachings in a modern way.

Meditation



Meditation

Everyone can participate in Buddhist meditation. It takes about half an hour and does not involve any preparation, knowledge of complicated texts or the wearing of special clothes. All meditation sessions are free of charge and are guided in Polish.

Half an hour before the beginning of the meditation there is always somebody in the center who can give you basic explanations. And after the meditation we are more than willing to answer all your questions – concerning both the meditation practice as well as Diamond Way Buddhism foundations.

Meditations in the centre take place on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 7.30pm.


Lectures and meditation courses



Lecture and meditation


Lama Ole Nydahl usually visits Gdansk once a year to give a public lecture. Between his visits we are visited by travelling teachers who are close students of Lama Ole, and a lecture or a weekend meditation course is organised at least once a month.  (see News - Gdansk).


Audio-Visual material


The library in our centre offers Buddhist books and magazines that can help you to familiarize yourself with the Karma Kagyu lineage, as well as a collection of films, tapes and CDs containing lectures of our teachers. They can be used at the centre or borrowed by arrangement with our librarian.

You can also buy books, magazines, meditation texts and recordings of our teachers’ lectures in the centre.

Books

PS.

Lama Ole often emphasises the importance of direct contact and the exchange of experience that take places in our centres. As lay Buddhists, not bound by monks’ vows, we can experience all the joys that life can bring including taking part in parties! Since we have amongst the members of our Gdansk sangha some leading Polish DJs, our parties have always had excellent musical accompaniment. We’re sure you’ll enjoy our great company!



Gompa Terror - Halloween Party 2007

 

The maintenance of the centre

We derive inspiration from the Buddha’s teachings – primarily concerning holding the pure view. From a practical point of view we respect the rules that are explained in the teachings on the fundamental level: the law of cause and effect.

The centre does not receive any subsidies from the state or the city. Nor are the companies that provide gas, water or electricity willing to make any exceptions and instead ruthlessly charge us for their services. We, on the other hand, do not charge anybody for participating in the meditations. Everybody is welcome in our centre, completely free of charge, and is welcome to have tea or coffee, even with milk.
 
The residents pay for living in the centre, but the rent does not cover all of the expenses as, additionally to residential space there is also plenty of space that is for use by all sangha members.

Those of our friends who have integrated the teachings of cause and effect into their lives and who have experienced their wisdom fall from the level of the head to the level of their heart, support the centre with regular voluntary donations. Thanks to these friends, everything is possible.

Buddyjski Związek Diamentowej Drogi linii Karma Kagyu
Pomorska 41, 80-343 Gdańsk

Bank account:
Bank Millennium S.A.
27 1160 2202 0000 0000 3592 0970
SWIFT: BIGBPLPW
IBAN: PL 27 1160 2202 0000 0000 3592 0970
(the address is as mentioned above)

The financing of building our new centre