Welcome to Intersein (The Inside Tour)

Brightness and simplicity is the main impression of the house. Everything manifests simplicity - solid wood furniture, bright linen curtains, Ikebana-flower-arrangements and Thay's gathas. The same Buddha-relief as in Lower-Hamlet transmits concentration and serenity in the meditation hall. Whoever comes, immediately feels at home. The mind naturally calms down, leaving hurry and worries behind and relaxation can set in. This whole atmosphere is a first, but essential aspect of the practice center. People easily turn towards the practice, and mindfulness can already be a deep experience.

 - Karl and Helga

 

"I Have Arrived, I am Home"

Take a walk with us, a visual mindfulness tour through this magical mindfulness palace of Intersein. A palace of beauty, coupled with simplicity. A field of awareness, coupled with ease. A home for retreats, coupled with a family atmosphere of practice.

A former hotel, this has been the Sangha's home for the last 18 years. As we walk or sit from room to room, don't hesitate to pause from time to time, relax into your body, and let the calming energy of this center penetrate your mind and body.

Remove your shoes or sandals, and slowly proceed into this welcoming room. The unbroken melody of running water, perhaps some jingling wind chimes, a warm glowing background light, and Thay's callligraphy... all say the same thing in different languages..."You Have Arrived." 

Through the first door, into the common rooms we go...

The golden surface of the dining tables warms the heart of this house. Let us meander around...

 

Ikebana arrangements from their gardens pervade the hall. In every direction, they light up the room with spring's newest gifts.

Hello there little friend. Hope you have a peaceful day, too!...

At the rear of the dining hall is the tea room. A perfect place on a cold and rainy day to enjoy a warm drink with friends, or to break out your laptop. (This is where the hotspot is!)

Feeling thirsty for peace? A combination of spiritual nourishment and physical nourishment is Intersein at every level.

Here, A wonderful selection of herbal loose leaf teas all come from their own garden. In addition, there are always one or two large containers of wonderful herbal concoctions, prepared fresh each morning.

Front and center, Thay's calligraphy reminds us...

"Mindfulness is the Source of Happiness"

I hear a bell... let us stop and breathe for 3 breaths...

Centering body, speech, and mind in oneness, resident practitioner, Tom-Phillip invites the bell, calling the community to stop, breathe, touch life deeply, and then gather promptly together.

Let's head into the hall to see what's happening...  Ahh, I hear singing as well...

 

"Guten Morgen, Guten Morgan! Good Morning, Good Morning!...."

It's time for the community Morning Circle!  This is the powerful start to the day here at Intersein, where meditation meets joy and togetherness.

A short guided meditation, some inspirational words by Helga, Karl, or one of the residents, holding hands for a few moments to connect with each other...  Let the morning silence end, and a joyous day together begin!

While the begin their morning work in the garden, we'll keep checking out this big place...

Winding up the stairway, green light pours in from every direction...

"Opening the window, I look out onto the Dharmakaya.

How wondrous is life!  Attentive to each moment, my mind is clear like a calm river."

The river of Intersein's mood flows through each room: simple, warm, natural, and spacious. This simplicity offers more attention to the large windows and glass doors that open to greater sources of beauty...

 

Another simple bunk room for two...

Across the hall, we head to an interview room

Where teacher and student can meet quietly, on chairs or cushions.

"Where does the dharma and your life meet the road together? I want to hear..."

Let's take a peak out the window, as I overhear a sharing circle starting outside...

Wow, so many friends gathering, to share about the practice! We're in the middle of a "work retreat". And the community gathers to share about practices of mindfulness in the course of their morning work together. So inspiring to see them sharing deeply about the practice.

I think someone spotted us... Let's give them some privacy and respect their confidentiality

Up to the third floor now we go...

Perched under the southern rooftop, this little Buddha room has lustrous advantages.

It is our evening haven as long-term guests or residents when retreatants have evening activities downstairs.

This is the resident studio which also contains half of Karl and Helga's library collection. It is a gorgeous room to work in. But if you want access, then think about living here long-term...

And finally, we arrive at our room...

Entering onto our balcony, the Bavarian country side in morning springtime glory...

Surely, we've been born in a Pure Land realm....

Looking southwest, a brilliant beech tree meets morning beams, and a flower garden slowly awakens below.

Would you like to join me for a cup of tea while we're up here?

Then we head down to the meditation hall. So if you thought the first one was nice... that was just an appetizer

Wonderful!  Karl is sharing about the history and inspiration for Intersein. They lived in Plum Village for over 6 years, so they have many old stories to tell us kids in the Sangha. We listen with wide eyes, curious minds, and grateful hearts.

We come to the end of our indoor walking tour. We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we did!

We close here with a relief of the Buddha and Jesus, holding each other as friends on the path. Intersein is located in a traditionally strong Catholic region.  But they have found a home for their friendship in this Sangha dwelling in the Bavarian countryside of Germany.


Welcome to Intersein (The Outdoor Tour)

2 Senior Teachers

6 Residents

4 story practice center

18 years running solid

20+ retreats year-round

10,000s trees surrounding

1 Practice

&

1 Community

Intersein - Center for Mindful Living

Born in 1999, it is the longest standing, largest, and has been the most robust lay residential practice center in the Plum Village tradition.

How can one capture the gorgeous surroundings of this mindfulness center, community of practitioners, teachers, residents, guests, birds, forest, flowers, ponds, buddhas, bodhisattvas, breath-taking views, meditation gardens and all?

It’s beauty and magic is overwhelming on so many levels of body, heart, and mind, such that we will let these photos speak first.  

So please, come with us!  We will take a mindful, leisurely walk around the land, gardens, building, and people of this community. Take off your sandals or shoes, enjoy the bare grass, and enjoy each step on our path...

Sitting in a field of wildflowers in the distance, Intersein appears, snugly embraced by the surrounding forest.

Taking some steps closer, we see gardens of rhodendrons, lilacs, and an assembly of trees... intrigued by the lower garden's beauty, we saunter further.

Slowly approaching, one finds a smiling Buddha, quietly watching over the pond and garden, ensuring its serenity, moment to moment.

Crossing over a trickling stream, we look back to see the meditation hall, facing this serene oasis.

Turning around and facing south... it takes your breath away. Let us pause for some moments, and savor 3 full in and out breaths to fully soak in this spacious beauty into the depths of our store consciousness....

Walking under a refreshing canopy of beech and oak leaves, peering down a row of rhododendrons.... our spirit settles under the shade, but our senses continue to awaken at each violet blossom and herbal fragrance.

Where will this ambrosial path lead next?

 Turning the corner into sunshine... a compassionate friend greets us to her garden, with a soft gaze and everlasting smile. We greet her compassionate presence with a bow, and remember to kiss the earth with each step on our path...

Walking up the hill, we peer over the former the hut of our root teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. Now, this refuge within a refuge is the simple yet gorgeous abode of Karl and Helga, founding teachers of Intersein.

Avalokita quietly protects their entrance with an unceasing compassionate gaze.

Walking onto the upper field, we see a friend taking a break, soaking in shades of green, and the musical array of many feathered friends.

One never wanders far without seeing a family of tulips showing off together. In the near distance, friends share a cup of tea on the patio.

Just around the corner, and look who's there! ....  A couple of joyful sister weeding the garden together, surely making Helga very happy.

Over some flower bushes, another friend pops out with shovel in hand and smile in full force. Hello Stephan!

And at the other end of the glade, retreatants shovel their love, sweat, and mindful attention into the soil together. Only through community can we grow these most beautiful gardens.

Walking on the cool grass across the field of the Sangha's backyard...

Ahhh, work is finally over for the morning. A resident couple, Andrew and Claudia, enjoy each other's support for a lazy loving break.

Come on, let's give them some space and keep walking towards the forest...

The spruce giants shelter this center like a mother hugging her child. Let's wander into her wooded realm, and explore a few treasures...

Just a few moments away, exists this other refuge of stillness, beauty, and peace.

We find some friends during outdoor walking meditation, having finished work in the garden. Allured by their peaceful river of steps, we follow them for a short while, enjoying each breath and step behind them.

We'll come back and explore the forests here in greater depth and beauty later. For now, let's make our way back to the center.

On our way, we see the teachers, walking around and sharing their zen eyes over the garden. Hello Karl and Helga!

In the front gardens, sunlight pours over Intersein in its mid-morning glory.

We approach the entrance, beholding the beauty of this Sangha home. Our outdoor walking tour is coming to a finish. Before we head inside, we turn around once more towards the plum cherry and beech trees spanning the view...

With gratitude, we feel our seeds of peace and beauty have been watered with each step, and each breath of forest air. We turn around to step inside, but just before we enter...

We see our an inspiring old friend, who welcomes us with his peaceful smile and look of compassion, as we finally enter this Sangha home....