Teaching by Geshe
The Precious Tree Of
Notes on the benefits of saving beings and setting them free as well
as the discipline of giving up killing gleaned from authentic
by Sera Je Geshe Thubten Soepa
For the teaching this month we
thought you'd like an exclusive preview of Geshe Soepa's new Book, The Precious
Tree of Cures. This is Geshe-la's second book and is currently being edited. If
you'd like to donate towards the publication of this book, please contact the
The benefit from the discipline of giving
up killing is that it is one of the most vital positive actions resulting in
human or divine rebirth in a future life. In this life, too, you will live
longer, there will be no illness, and you will have no worries that someone
might be going to kill you. Even the gods will delight in you and come to your
aid, and holy beings, the lords of compassion, will be pleased. The results that
conform with the cause are that, in future lives, you will rejoice in giving up
killing, your senses will be clearer, and you will enjoy other such
Let me explain this a bit further. If you
wish to engage in the pure ethical practice of giving up killing, it is
certainly necessary for you to give up killing, to give up causing others to
kill by paying them, rewarding them or making gifts, as well as to give up
things like buying, eating and trading the meat of animals that have been
killed. The need for this may be understood upon reflection by means of
scriptural and logical analysis.
Furthermore, owing to a great number of
meat eaters, there will be a great number of people buying meat. As people buy
meat there will be lots of traders in meat foods. For that reason there will be
many butchers who kill goats, sheep, cattle, chicken, fish and other innocent
animals against their will. This link is clearly evident and comprehensible to
anyone who cares to investigate.
For this reason eating meat of animals
that have been killed, buying and trading such meat etc. are in contradiction to
the practice of protecting life. They are the main reasons for its opposite, the
action of killing, and are linked to killing. If you are someone who wishes to
observe the discipline of giving up killing, you need to give up things like
eating and buying meat of animals that have been killed. You can understand this
by way of logical analysis.
In chapter six of the Lankavatara Sutra, the Buddha
Mahamati, if nobody eats meat in any way
whatsoever, then no living beings will be killed for killing's sake. Mahamati,
innocent living beings are killed for the sake of their value. Killing for other
reasons is rather rare.
The sutra says that for the most part,
innocent animals are killed for the sake of their value and for their meat.
Killing them for the sake of their skins also occurs while it is rare for any
Now, where does the pleasure of eating meat come
from? On the one hand it arises from
bad habits and on the other hand people eat meat because of overly strong
self-cherishing. What does "self-cherishing" mean? It means not thinking
of others experiencing suffering, while considering ourselves most important. To
illustrate: May I be happy! If, in order to be happy myself, I am not
thinking of animals, other living beings, humans, who are experiencing
suffering, if I'm not showing loving kindness and compassion to them, that is
self-cherishing. Self-cherishing is the opposite of bodhicitta. In order to be
able to give up eating meat, we need to frequently and thoroughly familiarise
ourselves with the idea of how living beings experience suffering at the moment
of slaughter. Through this seed of compassion we can give up eating meat,
understanding how we ourselves and others equally dislike experiencing
what Lama Zopa Rinpoche says about benefiting animals
Lama Zopa Rinpoche's recent email about killing turkeys
Download the Animal Liberation practice and do it at
to the Animal Liberation Sanctuary in Nepal
online video about treatment of animals (not for the faint
|Join the FPMT
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the latest FPMT newsletter
Happy New Year Everyone!
Greetings from all of us here, with everyone back from their
holidays, and Jamyang full of positive energy from the Nyung Nay retreats. The
heating is almost completely fixed and all is well. I've just got back from
Bodhgaya, the site of the Buddha's enlightenment in India. Root Institute for
Wisdom Culture, our sister FPMT centre, was full of old and new students (so
many that some had to stay in a big tent in the next door field) and we had a
very inspiring time with many teachings from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Jamyang's and
FPMT's Spiritual director, and from Ven Thubten Dhondrup(Neil Huston). Rinpoche
taught especially on refuge, suffering and compassion, as well as telling how he
was first inspired by the Kadampa Lojong (thought transformation) teachings
whilst in his previous incarnation's cave in Lawudo, Nepal.
Back at Jamyang, as some of you know, Kerry is leaving this month,
to start a new life as a monk. We really want to thank Kerry for all his hard
work for Jamyang for the last couple of years and especially for being such a
helpful and positive presence. We wish him really well in his time in India and
then at Nalanda Monastery in France. Join us to thank Kerry and wish him well on
Friday 18th January at 6pm. Please bring some food to
I also want to really thank Sue Aldam, who stepped down as one of
Jamyang's and Courthouse Community Centre's trustees in December. Thank you Sue
for your many years contribution and, in the words of the board: your presence
and gentle understanding will be deeply missed. And welcome Ros Boughtflower,
Lesley Pender (Lel), Brian Richardson, Roy Sutherwood and Roger Wright who have
all joined the boards of both charities as new trustees.
Having announced Sally, our new Director's, imminent arrival and
my imminent departure, it seems (to use a Buddhist phrase) we have a few
obstacles! The work permit for Sally was issued with the incorrect date of birth
so has to be re-issued and then it will still take some time for Sally to get
entry clearance. Anyway, coming soon, watch this space!!
With much love,
Diana Carroll, Centre Director
|Audio Project - Help
have some audio cassette tapes here at Jamyang that we'd like to make available
on our audio website (www.talkingbuddhism.com). They are of HH Dalai Lama of teachings
in Bodhgaya in 1998 and also of Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 2001 (Bologna) on the
Heart Sutra and Lojong.
If anyone has the
skills and time to be able to transfer these onto audio CD, we'd be most
grateful. Please contact Pierre in the office.
|Goodbye to Kerry Prest & Leaving
It's been my pleasure and honour to work at Jamyang for the past 2 and a
half years. Over my time here the role has changed many times but the variety of
work has always been fun. It's been such a privilege to work with Geshe Tashi,
who has taught me many things, and to have such a kind and supportive team like
Diana, Gordon etc. Working here has given me the opportunity to meet many great
Lamas and Teachers, be involved with events such as retreats and the relic tour,
work with designers on publicity and websites, and all for the benefit of
It's also been my greatest pleasure to be given the opportunity to work
in one of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's centres, and to meet the wider FPMT family. I
hope I've managed to help his work in a small way and that I'll continue to in
my new role.
In a few weeks I'm off to Dharamsala for a retreat, then HH Dalai Lama's
new year teachings. Then to join the Jamyang pilgrimage with Geshe Tashi. It's
during the pilgrimage that Geshe Tashi has kindly agreed to give me ordination
as a Monk - in Bodhgaya of all places - it's going to be quite a trip! Then I'll
be moving to Nalanda Monastery in France where I'll be living for many years to
come, studying the Basic Programme there under Geshe Jamphel.
Many thanks for all your support, and I wish the Jamyang community all
health, happiness and success for many years to come.
If you'd like to join us here at Jamyang for a little leaving party, it's
going to be Friday 18th January from 6pm. Please bring food to share.
GUIDELINES FOR A HAPPY LIFE - the minute you live on them, your life will
As part of Jamyang's programme, Alison Murdoch
and Geshe Soepa will be offering a class on the "16 Guidelines for a Happy
Life". We had an opportunity to interview Alison who explains more about
what the 16 Guidelines are, and what the series of Thursday classes will consist
of. Here is an extract of the interview, but you can listen the whole audio file
My name is
Alison Murdoch and I encountered the Buddha Dharma just over 20 years ago, in
1977 in Dharmasala, India, and I met my teacher who is Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He
invited me in 1994 to become director of the centre here in London. So I was
director for 9 and a half years, and when I told him it was time to retire, to
have a break, and when I was hoping for something more peaceful, he asked me to
take on the Universal Education project, that was originally the brain child of
Lama Thubten Yeshe, Lama Zopa's teacher about 25 to 30 years ago.
About the 16 Guidelines for a Happy
The 16 guidelines are a set of
practical advice for everyday living. What Lama Zopa said to me is - the minute
you live by them, your life will change. And that is the point of Essential
Education; to do things that will immediately make people have less suffering
and more happiness in life. Our organisation is actually called the Foundation
for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, helping people be kind and wise. The
16 Guidelines is the first clear initiative of the organisation, and they
are based on or inspired by the 16 Human Dharmas of King Songtsen Gampo who was
the first Buddhist King of Tibet in the 7th Century
What Lama Yeshe wanted to do is to express Buddhist principles in a new
fresh way. So it took us quite a lot of time to reduce The Guidelines
to a simple formula: how we think, how we act, how we relate to other people and
how we find meaning in life. And each of the formulas has a philosophical theme:
how we think is the power of the mind, how we act is cause and effect, how we
relate to other people is interdependence, and how we find meaning in life is
Each of The Guidelines is a quality that we all know very well,
things like loyalty, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, and they are all
qualities that we have inside ourselves, and The 16
Guidelines encourages us to develop these 16
Anyone who follows these Guidelines will become happy-
That was what King Songtsen Gampo
said, and actually, an incredible transformation took place in Tibet from the
7th century onwards. It was quite a war-like country before that and
this was his recommendation for ordinary people, for everyday life. So you can
see some result in Tibet, and how it has became a culture renowned for
being peaceful, serene, and tolerant. So we think it will be fantastic if we can
get the same kind of transformation happening in this 21st Century.
"We've found they have a
very direct strong effect on people because they are
I've shared these Guidelines with people all over the world - in
conferences and focus groups, and we find they have a very strong effect on
people because they are practical. There is lots of philosophical discussion
about happiness, and advice, and long books and short books, and everything like
that. But these are 16 very memorable words, so you can really carry them around
and put them into practice.
Lama Yeshe's wish was to go beyond
Buddhism, to express things in a fresh and contemporary way, to bring spiritual
teachings together with scientific teachings, and also to bring in complementary
material from other traditions: every nation, every culture has a tradition of
wisdom, so lets bring this wisdom together! He was particularly thinking of
reaching people who didn't really feel comfortable with any particular spiritual
tradition. So that is what we are trying to do.
"Religion has become such a no-go
area for a lot of people we just had to find a new way of presenting these
The sort of guidelines we have created for ourselves are things like not
having scriptures, not to have Buddha says, Jesus says, Mohammed says,
because immediately people can close down. To be more relaxed and loose. Not to
use jargon or dogma, not to use specialised vocabulary that people don't relate
to, or a lot of stress on rituals that people don't understand, to use modern
forms. Lama Zopa has talked a lot about this - using theatre, cartoons, creative
arts, meditation, and practices like yoga.
Lama Yeshe talked about going deep into what is universal to every being.
This is something again that we often see in the teachings of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, who says very clearly that his number 1 priority is secular ethics.
The things that are common to all of us as human beings. That is what we are
trying to get at.
Teachings at Jamyang-
Geshe Thubten Soepa, who is at
Jamyang at the moment, has been associated with us right from the beginning. And
anyone who has heard his teachings or met him knows he has quite an
unconventional and imaginative approach to making the Dharma accessible. So to
take advantage and to celebrate Geshe-la being here in London, I asked him
whether he would do the series with me, so he is the one that is going to do the
And the plan at the moment is that he is going to speak the first week
about the whole idea of going beyond Buddhism. He said something very exciting
last year - Essential Education should be based, not on the view of Buddhism,
but on the view of reality. And it will be very interesting to see what he has
to say about that.
the other 4 evenings I've asked him to teach on each of the 4 themes: the power
of the mind, cause and effect, interdependence and impermanence. But only for part of the evening, then I will
lead us into a consideration of The Guidelines themselves, and there
will be various sorts of interactive activities, maybe some meditations,
maybe some homework, maybe some creative stuff - a whole load of different
things going on!
Please visit Jamyang's website for more information about The 16
Guidelines classes starting in
|The Manager's bit|
Happy New Year (again!) to everyone!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the
engaging and aspiring bodhisattva volunteers for all your help and efforts in
keeping Jamyang running so smoothly and effectively in 2007 and look forward to
your continued support in 2008!
Can I also say a VERY big thank you to the
volunteers of the work programme both past, present and future. Jamyang continues to attract volunteers from
all over the globe including Australia, Germany, Italy, and Canada to name but a
If you have offered to volunteer and not heard back from
me, please accept my apologies and I promise to do better this year! Thank you all again.