Cologne Buddhafield: Where Osho is still alive

The Cologne Buddhafield, a very bubbling and alive place, is attracting Sannyasins and friends from all over the world. What is it that makes this place so juicy? The answer is easy: it is still an Osho’s place, a place where you can feel the laughter and lightness, the love and caring, this special something, the taste of the salty sea which Osho left in everyone of his people.

The center of the Cologne Buddhafield is the Osho UTA Institute, which developed into one of the greatest spiritual growth centers in Europe during the last 21, sometimes-stormy years. The work in the Osho UTA Institute is rooted in Osho’s vision of Zorba the Buddha, a man who is undivided, whole; a man who is as well connected with his consciousness and silence as with his dance and the juice of life, the man that loves, lives and celebrates, where the material and the spiritual world have melted into unity.

Osho UTA Institute runs a flowering bookshop, has three big group rooms, several session rooms next to a reception area, office premises and recreational areas, as a Zen court yard, a roof garden with a pond and sitting facilities for about thirty people. This year additional session rooms, toilets and changing facilities had to be built because of the increasing rush and expansion.

The institute has been booming in the last years. Quite often even more than a hundred people are participating in two or three different groups or trainings during weekends, where people (sannaysins and non-sannaysins) are coming from far away for groups and sessions. Hari Prasad Chaurasia comes here every year with hundreds of listeners thronging the place to listen to his stunning flute. Once he mentioned how much he appreciates the silence in UTA’s Buddha hall. This was, when at the end of his concert the auditorium was so taken away, that for minutes on end, there was no applause, until he got up and silently left the hall.

Many Sannyasins live and work around the Osho UTA Institute. Spatially attached to the institute is the central meeting place, Osho’s Place Bar & Restaurant. It’s not only and Osho place; it’s even called that. Group participants melt with "outside" business people, which give sometimes a funny but well accepted picture, when primal groupies, their teddy bears under the arm, mix with normal guests. People even feel attracted by this atmosphere. The outside appreciation shows in local newspapers and guides who recommend Osho’s Place as a restaurant with excellent vegetarian food, good service and reasonable prices. Part of the flair is the international scene as Sannyasins visiting or working in Osho’s place come from all over the world. A Dutch or a Brazilian waitress behind the bar might serve you. World famous Ragu for example, was born and grew up near Osho’s birth place and met him already as an University professor, works in the kitchen whose chef is an American. Italians also cook here. Sannyasins from Japan, Iran, Canada, France, Sweden and nearly all other places in the world visit here and meet old friends as a surprise. Lately an additional eating room for thirty people had to be created in the UTA premises due to lack of enough space for regular customers because group participants had flooded over Osho’s Place. Osho’s Place is booming as well as the BSE crisis hit Germany and vegetarianism became en vogue.

Osho’s Place somehow functions as a floodgate to Sannyas. If sometimes a non-sannyasin gets a job here, it takes not more than a couple of months until he or she gets initiated in Sannyas Even visitors use it to sniff the taste, at times come closer and end up with a mala around their neck. But it’s all easy and incidentally.

Besides Osho UTA Institute and Osho’s Place, Osho Verlag is part of an organized unity of the Cologne Buddhafield Enterprises. Osho Verlag is publishing Osho’s books in German and the Osho Times, German edition, which is doing really well. "Verlag" has more than 500 Osho titles in German on stock. Lately, more and more additional books and music from Sannyasins and last but not the least a complete master archive of Osho’s discourses on audio and video. Audio and videotapes of Osho’s discourses are purchased by customers from all walks of life and from all over the globe.

These three enterprises are owned (though economically independent) by the Osho Lotus Commune association, which was formed by the operators of the businesses to inspire and coordinate the Buddhafield activities.

All together there are some eighty Sannyasins including a dozen or so permanent therapists working in these central Buddhafield businesses. Next to them, all of the "big-shot" Sannyas therapists like Avikal, Krishnananda, Prabha, Meera, Premartha & Swarup, Vedanta, Rafia, Thuria, Vasumati, Sudha, Leela etc. pass by on a regular basis, holding groups and sessions.

Together with a nearly unnumbered lot of other businesses and activities run by Sannyasins like a disco, law offices, bio-food shop, esoteric book shop, another vegetarian restaurant, doctor’s clinics, practitioners of alternative medicine, graphic design offices, Feng Shui, Cranio-sacral, Kinesiology, Astrology, Psychotherapy and management institutes, an Osho Galleria for malas and jewellery, window cleaner companies, construction companies, real estate agents and so on, live together and have created the unique fair of the Cologne Buddhafield.

As all Osho centers around the world have their unique flavour, the Cologne Buddhafield has developed into its own structure. Sannyasins work in their jobs and live independently according to their wishes, needs or preferences as singles, some in family structures the rest in couples or some other share a flat or a house. Some in the city, some in the countryside. But Osho’s place and the institute are central to every activity like communication, sharing, gossip, and rumour; in short – the center of meeting, a communion rather.

Constant change is an essential characteristic of the Cologne Buddhafield. When you visit, you can be sure that many things must have changes since you came last; a cellar space has changed into session rooms, session rooms into office spaces or vice-versa. The reception has moved from here to there one business has moved to another place, the free space has transformed into a group room. May be next year another floor will be erected on the building, another business established or internal structures rearranged. Come here during the festival that is organized on a big boat floating on the river Rhine under the Motto, "Yes to the River." It’s all a constant flow and as long as the Cologne Buddhafield goes with the flow, it will be alive as it is.

Auf wiedersehen…

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