The Warsaw Diamond Way Buddhist centre, known as “Stupa House” (due to its similarity in shape to certain Buddhist monuments) is one of the biggest urban centres of the network of 600+ Diamond Way centres and groups founded by Lama Ole Nydahl worldwide. It also fulfils the role of a national centre for Poland. Here we highlight a little of the Centre’s history, accomplishments and current activities.
The building itself, originally designed (but never used) as a crematorium, functioned through much of the 20th Century as boiler house – pumping hot water to homes and businesses throughout a North Western district of central Warsaw. When the Diamond Way Buddhist group in Warsaw acquired the building in 1999 it was in a state of total neglect, having been left vacant for many years.
The local Diamond Way Buddhists, having meditated in the houses and flats of various group members since the 1980s were aware how much work it would take to restore the property. While it was was difficult to imagine how they were going to buy such a big building and how it was going to be filled with people meditating every day, within 5 years, most of the major construction had taken place and today it has become a reality. Today, over 300 people regularly attend the centre, many coming from from different cities and countries. 13 residents live in the centre and around 30 active supporters of the centre live in the nearby area. The Warsaw centre is a striking example of how Diamond Way Buddhists have transformed a derelict building into a lively centre for their activities. Through voluntary work, idealism and great dedication, the group renovated the building and brought new life and energy to the local area. The centre hosts visitors from 6pm to 9pm every day, starting with a half hour long guided meditation and finishing with the opportunity to answer questions over a cup of tea.
This year (2012) they are celebrating 35 years of Buddhism in Poland and Stupa House will be a focal point of many cultural events. There is currently a major project “Hala” to extend the centre to include a meditation hall large enough for 500 people, new rooms for residents & guests including families with children, a cooking & eating area, a social area, office & meeting space, a creche and workshop space.