for walk the Way of St. James

€1,349 of €1,000 goal

Raised by 25 people in 11 months
Di 24.04.2018, 00:00

dear friends and supporters,

my name is Erich Guergen and I send you cordial greetings from my home town berlin - the capital of Germany. I kindly ask for your support for my project I have in mind since a number of years: to walk The Way of St. James in spain - Camino de Santiago. any amount of money which helps me with covering the travel expenses is deeply appreciated - and, of course, any support in thoughts and words as well.

please, let me share some informations and background about my life with you - to give you maybe a better understanding about my situation:

I was born in Berlin in december 1945 - few months after the 2nd world war was over - in the russian zone of the diveded Berlin, which later became the capital of East Germany (GDR) - as the third child of a poor workers family. I had good education, graduated from high school, studied at technical university and worked 12 years as mechanical engineer. in 1981 east germen government gave permission - more then two years after my application - to change legally the border (wall or iron curtain) to West-Berlin, which was part of West Germany (GFR). reason for my application was family reunion with my daughter and her mother who lived in West-Berlin. it was easy to find a good job in West-Berlin and I worked another 12 years as engineer. besides I became activ in social rights movement for homosexuals - having had my coming out already six years ago when still in East Berlin, which was quite difficult there. I became e.g. co-leader of a support group for gay fathers, co-founder of the first gay switchboard in germany called Mann-O-Meter, activ member of the first gay choir in Berlin called Männer-Minne. this was epecially needed during the time AIDS arrived in europe in thr 80s. I lost a number of good friends in these years.

by the time in the early 90s I had faced a fair amount of suffering in my life, both physically and mentally: anxiety, inferiority, frustration and sex addiction to name only some. I tried a number of therapies and treatments but they could bring at best only some temporary relief. the problem was - as I learned later - that they just touched the surface, the symptoms, but didn't go to the causes, the the roots of all of it. like a gardener who cuts the weed only on the surface whitout taking out the roots: if the soil is fertile the weed will grow again and prevent nutritious crops and vegetables to grow and be harvested.

I'm very grateful that I came in contact with the taechings of the historical Buddha Siddhartha Gautama. in Berlin we have a buddhist temple, founded by the german physician Paul Dahlke in the 20s of last century - and as such the oldest buddhist temple in Europe - and still being activ in different ways. when I went there first about 26 years ago I saw - and I still remember very well - posted ona cardboard at the wall the Four Noble Truths and I immediately understood and I also realised that this is the medicine I will take for the rest of my life to treat and finally cure all of my suffering, to take out all the roots of suffering so that it will be extinguished some day however long it will take.

so in the middle of the 1993 I quit my job and went for 3 months to Sri Lanka, staying at Nilambe Meditation Center and Kanduboda Aranya, both Vipassana Meditation Center. I consider Godwin Samararatna as one of my most influential spiritual advisor and teacher and benefit still today, for which I'm very grateful.

In the next year, 1994, I studied in Berlin medicine and made my license as naturopaths, only to go back in early 1995 to Sri Lanka for deeper inquiry of life, staying again in Nilambe. there soon a deep call for social service appeared and I started to volunteer at the Mother Theresa Home in Kandy. the experience was so profound that I moved to Kandy and went daily to the home. I had come in contact with an eight years old girl from a very poor family from the jungle who suffered the consequences of meningitis; her name was Chandini Kumari and she became, I can say, the biggest teacher in my life. I cancelled all other plans for this year - one was my first 3-months work retreat at IMS/Barre - and stayed until the end of the year. back in Germany I started the process of bringing her to Berlin as my foster child, but but in february 1996 she died peacefully. I collected some money from friends, which I had asked for instead of presents for my 50th birthday and brought it back to Sri Lanka to support some social projects for handicapped and poor children with whom I had come in contact during my almost yearlong stay. for the Mother Theresa Home it was enough money to build a wonderful playground for the handicapped kids.

short after I came back to Berlin my 85 years old mother needed intensive care and I started 24/7 care with some professional help first at her place and then at mine. meanwhile I also had made my examination as nurse assistant. she died in august 1997, at 86, on the consequences of brain bleeding peacefully and I had been at her side when she took her last breath, for which I'm also very grateful for.

the following about 15 years I studied, practiced and volunteered at places in the US, South East Asia and Europe. to name a few: a) 3 years volunteer staff member at IMS/Barre, Mass., as well as work retreatant, working guest and kappiya for monastic teachers a number of times; b) 10 months giving service (seva) at Kripalu YogaCenter/Lenox, Mass.; c) living 6 months at Pa Auk Tawya in Myanmar, taking temporary Samanera ordination and practicing Samadhi meditation under the guidance of Pa Auk Sayadaw; d) practicing about 7 months at Na Uyana Forest Monastery in Sri Lanka, which is a branch of the Pa Auk tradition; e) sitting courses and giving longtime services at Vipassana Meditation Centers in the Goenka tradition in the US, Europe and India; f) being on pilgrimage and self retreat in India and living in Bodhgaya and Varanasi all together about 10 months.

during these years I didn't have a permanent residence, my motto became - and still is: whatever road I travel, I'm home.

in 2013 some health issues developed and I went back to germany to get some medical attention and treatment. last time I could travel for longer period of time was in 2014 to IMS to be the kappiya of Bhante Buddharakkhita who was a teacher at the annual 3 months retreat.

exactly two years ago I got a cancer diagnosis of a rare typ. I underwent surgery and intense radiation and still have treatments for the side effects and to gain strenght again. til now no recurrence or metastases were noticed.

over a number of years I had from time to time the positive feeling and thoughts to walk on the way of St. James in spain but it didn't manifest as action. it was more like ' yes, some day I will do it'. now this day is close - on june 6th this year I will start. I feel that the necessary conditions are are here and together - except the amount of needed money. for this I again kindly ask for your help and support. any amount is deeply appriciated and I'm very grateful for.

I dedicate this walk for the benefit and welfare of all beings everywhere.

if you have any questions or comments, please, feel free to contact me.

I also apologize for any disturbance or inconvenience I might have caused and ask forgiveness.

with Metta, erich guergen - berlin, april 2018
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€1,349 of €1,000 goal

Raised by 25 people in 11 months
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