A new adventure: 2500 km to meditate!

Dear friends,

After a few weeks of preparation, I am now ready to announce my next adventure, for which I am kindly asking for your help:

I am starting on a 2500 kilometers bicycle tour through Europe to raise funds for the opening of a meditation center called the Open Centre, in Spain.
My goal is to raise 1 Euro per kilometer to ride, which is 2500 euros (about 3800$ CAN, 3400$US or £1700).

The Open Centre is an Open Dharma project, with Jaya Ashmore, Gemma Polo Pujol, Ajay Singh (and others), the teachers and friends with whom I have done many meditation retreats in India, France, Spain, Israel and Québec, Canada.  The Open Centre project is also supported by UNESCO.

In early June, in a few weeks, I will leave on my bicycle from Leipzig, Germany, to go to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, France and Spain, climbing up to 2000 meters altitude 3 times while crossing the Alps and the Pyrenees.  I will stop a few weeks at the Tapovan Meditation Centre, in Dordogne, France, for the Dharma Yatra, the 2 week annual outdoor walk/pilgrimage I am taking part since 4 years already, and then arrive at the Open Centre in Catalonia, Spain, in mid-August.

I will have my tent with me, which will be my home once more, my little camping stove will be my kitchen and the trees, the road, the rivers, the wind, the Sun and the rain will be my neighbours and companions along the way…

I will carry my laptop and digital camera with me, powered by a solar panel on my bicycle, so you will be able to follow my trip on the website I created for it:
http://www.2500km.com   (in French, English & German)

I then need your help for this event, as it is a fund-raising event.  I would then like to ask you for your support, for your encouragement, to allow me to ride these 2500 kilometers, to raise these 2500 euros for the opening of the Open Centre.

It is a good cause, to my humble opinion, and I would be honored to have your support for it.  I know that you do not have much money (few are those who think that they have a lot of money, even if they are millionaires! :) ), and your support, no matter the amount, will be very welcome and greatly appreciated.  A few dollars or Euros already means a few more kilometers for me!  (2500 km by bicycle can only be done 1 km at a time…)
Anyways, now, in 2007, what can you really do of any real importance with 50$ or 100$?
50$, it’s a tank-full of petrol (perhaps even not a full one), and there might well be no trace of it after 1 week.  50$, it can also be a dinner in a restaurant - not a fancy one - surely very nice, but that won’t last much longer than the time for digesting it.  200$ is a few new clothes, that might not be so needed after all, and that might not be worn so long passed the next ephemeral fashion trend.  1000$ or 2000$ is a week of vacation somewhere in a all-inclusive package, perhaps very nice, but that won’t last much either…   So is 50$ or 100$ really a lot of money nowadays?

I can’t offer you "permanence", but perhaps that I can offer you something else, more real, more "solid":  The chance to help others, the chance to permit people, including you and I, to have a place where it is possible to look at what really matters in one’s life, a place to learn to live with inner as well as outer harmony, a place to be loved and to learn to love oneself, to accept oneself with all what we can we find inside us, beautiful or ugly, a place to permit human beings to grow and to develop themselves, like flowers or trees in fertile soil, crystalline water and soft caressing Sun…
A place to welcome people from any religion or no religion, to allow them to speak and, more importantly, to allow them to be in silence, listening to what is being said inside.

To change the world to make it a better place, yes, to bring peace upon this world, yes.  But such a real change can only happen by starting first from inside oneself…  This is what I believe.

I am very happy to have the possibility to offer my energy and efforts to a project like the Open Centre.

More info about the Open Centre:  http://www.opencentre.es/

Open Centre presentation video:  http://www.2500km.com/?cat=5&langswitch_lang=en

For people of my country, in North America, Spain might seem a bit far, that is true.  But it is also a large step closer than India, the starting point of Open Dharma, the meeting point of many of my friends and I, and the source of a great wisdom.

I then invite you to make a donation to support this adventure, either
1-  by credit card or PayPal directly on my secure website at
2-  by check in any currency, made out to "Benoit Martin" and sent to:
    2500 KM to Meditate
    1981 DesMelezes
    St-Bruno, QC
    J3V 6A1
3-  or by bank transfer:
    - In a bank account in Canada with TD Canada Trust or Desjardins (please write me to have the bank account details)
    - In a bank account in the UK (please write me to have the bank account details)
    - In the Euro zone (Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, etc.) to this account:
        IBAN:  DE28 8605 5592 1802 919 208
        BIC:  WELA DE 8L

Any amount, even a few dollars is already a great support!

I would also be open (and happy) to have corporate sponsors.  For businesses (or even individuals) giving 75$CAN (50 Euros) or more, I will place a link towards your website from the Donators page (which is good for the SEO - Search Engine Optimization - of your website!).

All funds received will go to the Open Centre.  Open Dharma is registered in the US under the umbrella of Earthville Inc, a "501(c)(3) non-profit corporation", so donations are tax-deductible for US tax payers and some Canadian tax payers (those having income from the US, I think - please consult a tax specialist, I do not pretend to be an expert! :) )

I would also accept donations or sponsorships to support me for my travel and gear expenses, but I would prefer that the priority goes to the Open Centre.

As of now (on May 14th, 2007) I have received 188 euros (277$CAN) from donators from countries as diverse as Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran and Brazil! :  http://www.2500km.com/?page_id=4&langswitch_lang=en

I would also ask your help by forwarding this message to those you know around you, or to your boss at the company you are working for.  I am attaching to the message the press releases in English, French and German, for distribution and unlimited publication.

I would also be happy to meet people I know and/or people I do not know along the way.  If you are located nearby the path of my planned route - see at  http://www.2500km.com/?page_id=11&langswitch_lang=en  - send me an email to invite me!

Thank you very much for your support, wishing you a nice and pleasant day - or evening -, and wishing you to be truly happy.

Regards & Metta,

-Benoit Martin
Leipzig, Germany


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