Being at ease with ourselves leads to intuition, the understanding beyond the intellect, which in the end is the key to enlightenment.
A beautiful piece of land has appeared in the heart of Slovakia, the remaining part of which we managed to buy in Autumn 2005, shortly after the visit of the 17th Karmapa in Bratislava. This success was apparently achieved through hard work by friends from the Slovak sangha, however maybe also through the strong wishes of the 17th Karmapa, to whom we presented our project of building a retreat center in the middle of Slovakia during his visit.
After the presentation, an idea appeared out of the space to give the 17th Karmapa a gift – a quality hard cover sketch-book and special water colour paints. Caty has confirmed that the 17th Karmapa likes to draw. Right after we gave the gift to Karmapa we asked him if he could give us his first painting from the sketch-book, together with his signature. We said we would put the signed painting into an auction, and the money gained would be used for our new retreat center. Karmapa, looking really pleased by the gift, just smiled and said: "OK, when is the deadline?" We had agreed that Karmapa would give us the sketch next week in Becske (Hungary), where he continued his European tour.
However, next morning a pleasant surprise awaited us. Coming downstairs from his bedroom with a satisfied smile on his face, the 17th Karmapa was holding a finished sketch in his hand, and out of the sheet the face of Lama Ole was looking at us. We could not have imagined a better gift - a portrait of Lama Ole drawn by the 17th Karmapa himself!
We sold the sketch at an auction during the New Year Course in Hamburg, with a plan that half of the sum would go to the European Center project, and half to Slovakia. Then Caty came up with a proposal that sketch should stay with its new owner for a year and after that it should return to Slovakia. Then we may decide if we want to put it up for another auction next year. We did it with pleasure. However, the funny thing about it was that if you wanted to see the original drawing last year, you should go to Slovakia, because it was us who bought the sketch at the Hamburg auction in 2005 :o) For the moment the sketch is waiting for the Easter course to be held in April 2007 in Berlin where it will be possibile to buy it and support this way the financing of the Europe center. ;-)