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January 2008
In This Issue
Teaching by Geshe Soepa
This Month at Jamyang
Join the FPMT e-group
The Director's Column
Audio Project
Leaving Party for Kerry Prest
The 16 Guidelines at Jamyang
The Manager's Column
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List!
Editor's Welcome 

Welcome to the new year at Jamyang!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday break. Some of you probably took an opportunity to unwind and catch up with your practice. Here at Jamyang the 8 Nyung Nay retreats were very successful, with more than 20 participants at different times, and 4 brave students who completed the whole set.


The new programme has started. Geshe Soepa will be teaching Tuesdays and Wednesdays on a variety of topics, the Buddhist Meditation class continues on Monday nights, and we are delighted to offer teachings by 2 long-term English monks, Ven. Sean Price and Ven. Steve Carlier, that you mustn't miss!


I am also using this space to sincerely thank Kerry Prest who has been Gentle Voice's editor for more than 2 years, and wish him the best in his path of becoming an ordained monk. Thank you Kerry!


All the best for this New Year


Much love,


Esther G.
Teaching by Geshe Soepa
The Precious Tree Of Cures

Notes on the benefits of saving beings and setting them free as well as the discipline of giving up killing gleaned from authentic sutras.


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 office. 


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 benefits.


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 says:


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 other reasons.


Now, where does the pleasure of eating meat come from? On the one hand it arises Lama Zopa & Donkeyfrom 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 pain.



More links...


Read what Lama Zopa Rinpoche says about benefiting animals


Read Lama Zopa Rinpoche's recent email about killing turkeys


Download the Animal Liberation practice and do it at home!


Donate to the Animal Liberation Sanctuary in Nepal


Watch online video about treatment of animals (not for the faint hearted!)




Mondays @ 7.30pm
Wednesday 16
Tuesday 22


Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11,12 &13 Weekend teachings with Ven. Sean Price

Friday, Saturday and Sunday 25 ,26 & 27 Weekend teachings with Ven. Steve Carlier

Join the FPMT e-group

Don't forget we're only one centre in a world-wide family! Join the FPMT e-group and FPMT Mandalayou'll get all the latest advice from our spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche, news on the the latest projects and the monthly newsletter.


Join here


View the latest FPMT newsletter here

Director's Column

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 share.


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 Needed

We 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 Party!

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 sentient beings.

Kerry Prest

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.

16 GUIDELINES FOR A HAPPY LIFE - the minute you live on them, your life will change!


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 clicking here.


 About Alison-

  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 Life-

 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 CE.


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 impermanence.


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 qualities.


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 practical"


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.


 Going Universal-

 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 truths"


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 teaching.


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.


Over 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 February.
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 few. 


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.


This email was sent to [email protected], by [email protected]
Jamyang Buddhist Centre | The Old Courthouse | 43 Renfrew Road | London | SE11 4NA | United Kingdom