Origin and growth
of the project
“A friend of mine showed me an abandoned village in the mountains of northern Italy in 1981. In 1982 the burning ceremonies for the 16th Karmapa took place in Sikkim, in which I could participate with a group of Swiss. I told my friends about this village, showed photos and under the deep impression of the blessing of this ceremony we asked Shamar Rinpoche if he would give us his support to buy up and revive this abandoned village. He gave the village the name “Karma Dechen Yangtse”, place of the highest joy.
We were inspired by reports of spiritual communities such as Findhorn, the Farm and others and thought we could do something similar on the basis of Buddhism. In the same year we founded the cooperative. A small group of pioneers began to clear the then completely overgrown area and buy the houses. Soon a meditation room was built and then a stupa was erected.
Later families followed, many children were born there, and soon we were able to found a kindergarten from which the “Bordo Free Family School” emerged. This group of about 15 adults and 15 children formed a constant community for about 10 years. The men earned their money mainly from abroad, while the women ran the seminar and guest business. The biggest construction activity also took place In these 10 years.
Of the many people who have visited Bordo or lived there over the years, many have stayed in the valley and built their own houses in the neighbouring villages. Bordo has also had an important influence on the recolonisation of the whole valley. The integration in the valley and the cordial exchange with the population seems to me unique.”