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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