It takes ten to fifteen minutes to follow the footpath from S-Bahnhof
Frohnau to the Buddhistisches Haus at the end of Edelhofdamm. A long steep
staircase, where the number of steps and landings is connected to Buddhist
teachings, leads up to the temple.
The building, designed by Max Meyer in 1924 in Ceylonese style, and the
two-storeyed library, are built on a hilltop in the middle of an ancient
park. The builder-owner and founder of the Buddhistisches Haus was the
homeopathic doctor and writer, Dr. Paul Dahlke, who became a Buddhist after
several visits to Asia and later published writings and translations about
After Dahlke’s death in 1928, it became difficult to sustain the spiritual
site. Buddhism was considered undesirable by the Nazis; the building fell
into disrepair and was looted in 1949. In 1957 the German Dhammaduta
Society, whose headquarters were in Colombo, Sri Lanka, bought the house
from the beneficiaries. The monks that were sent over brought new life to
the oldest Buddhist site in Europe, and West Berlin gained a magical hidden
place of Eastern spirituality on its northernmost edge.
The monks from Sri Lanka and their beautiful house, rich in tradition, have
not played a significant role in Berlin’s contemporary Buddhist community.
After the recent threat of closure and sale of the land was averted, the
period of isolation, never completely voluntary, could come to an end. The
house with its temple, library and garden is open daily for meditation,
contemplation and study.