From: Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]] on behalf of Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]]

Sent: 02 January 2009 14:02

To: [email protected]

Subject: GentleVoice January 2009







  January 2009

In This Issue

Teaching by Lama Zopa

This Month at Jamyang

The Director's column

Rejoicing in 2008

Carers Christmas Carol

UK Retreat Centre

Tibetan Doctor in UK

Your thoughts for Gentle Voice


Quick Links



Editor's welcome 

GentleVoice - The Newsletter of Jamyang Buddhist CentreAnd so begins 2009! A brand new year to fill up with projects, wishes, desires, aspirations and a new design for Gentle Voice to celebrate  that we now reach out to over 2,000 subscribers. Here at Jamyang we did a little exercise of looking back at 2008 and rejoicing at all that happened during these 12 months, see Sally's column below. Also on the topic of rejoicing, don't miss Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teaching on the rare and precious human life, both inspiring and challenging.

A whole set of new classes starts on Monday the 5th, including Geshe Tashi's class on the Practice of Refuge, where you will be able to complete the 100,000 recitations by attending all weekday and weekend classes. In addition this month we have 2 visiting teachers: Andy Wistreich and Robert Beer, and we will be hosting 2 film nights and a new discussion group starts on Thursdays.

Also in this edition you will find a poem about the carers' Christmas party and an invitation to fill in an online survey about a retreat centre in the UK.

We hope to see you soon at Jamyang, and that this New Year brings you lots of happiness, love, compassion and wisdom. And in particular that you may find that Jamyang continues to provide you with tools to achieve these mental qualities! 


Much love,
esther g.

Teaching by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on the Precious Human Life-


LZRRare and Precious Opportunity

Regarding pure morality, if you examine the world you will see that very few people keep even one vow purely. If you examine yourself for just one day, for 24, or even one hour, you will see that the mental afflictions, the non-virtuous thoughts of anger, desire, and attachment grasping to this life's happiness arise strongly, one after another, like a storm, like a waterfall, uncontrollably. All activities performed in one day or even one hour are non-virtuous, resulting in suffering. Not only that, but you can't find satisfaction with such attitudes. Even if you owned the whole world, including the sun, moon, and planets, you still wouldn't feel satisfied. This is the heaviest suffering, the biggest problem in people's lives.

For example, famous singers, actors, etc., who are wealthy, famous, and powerful have minds that are full of worries due to their non-virtuous thoughts of worldly concern grasping onto this life's happiness. The more worldly pleasure and wealth you have, the more the mind feels dissatisfied and miserable. Externally wealth may appear to be wonderful and beautiful: being rich, owning many big apartments, expensive buildings and cars, having a large family, many thousands of friends, etc. However, that person's inner life is very unhappy. The more you have, the more unhappy you are. There is no inner peace and happiness. You have worries and fear of other people becoming more famous than you are, about losing your wealth or your family, that at any time something might happen and you lose your good reputation. All this comes from desire, the non-virtuous thought. This is without mentioning the result of non-virtuous actions at the time of death and in your future lives, those suffering births in the hell, hungry ghost, or animal realms. For many lifetimes you reincarnate into the lower realms again and again because once born there, there is no opportunity to practice Dharma or virtue. If you look at chickens, tigers, cows, etc., their attitude is only desire, seeking the happiness of this life. So, all their actions are non-virtuous.

Having met the Dharma you have the opportunity to practice, but the animals don't. There is no way for them to meet the Dharma, to understand and practice it. Being an animal, their minds are blocked from understanding the words and meanings of the Dharma. Even if you explain that happiness comes from virtue-those actions motivated by non-ignorance, non-anger, and non-attachment-even if you explained this to them for thousands of years, billions of eons, there is no way for them to understand. They can't learn how to practice Dharma. We human beings have met the Dharma. We have this opportunity, but they don't. Look at them and look at the nature of their life, their motivations and actions. You can see that they only create negative karma, meaning that they will be born again like that, will die and be born again, die and be born again in the lower realms.
Therefore, it is a miracle for us this time, like a dream, to be a human being. We just came from the lower realms. Our permanent home or residence has been the lower realms. We have just come from there. It is something impossible that happened this time, not just to be a human being, but to have met the Dharma, Buddhism. It is like a dream, an impossible thing that has happened.


Because of the state of the mind and the habit of beginingless mental afflictions, especially of desire, it is very difficult to keep even one vow of morality purely. By not having met Buddhadharma we don't accept reincarnation or karma. Then, even when we hear the teachings, they are still not easy to accept. We don't understand or have faith. Due to imprints of some merit created in the past, we might have faith and accept the teachings but this still doesn't mean we are able to practice. So, it is very difficult to keep even one vow and to live purely. Just to become a human being you need pure morality as the basic cause or else it can't happen. But to be a human being qualified with the 8 freedoms and 10 fortunes you need to have created the 18 causes. To practice morality by taking the pratimoksha vows (of individual liberation) and follow the path to liberation, you need so much merit, which is extremely rare to have.

It is even more rare to practice bodhicitta, to take the bodhisattva vows, to achieve the Mahayana path, and to become enlightened. Even rarer than that is receiving a great tantric initiation and following the tantric path in which you can practice and achieve enlightenment in one short life, instead of taking three countless great eons by following the sutra Mahayana path. The rarest and most incredible thing is to take a highest yoga tantra initiation and to practice that path, which makes it possible to achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime in these degenerate times. Having this perfect human rebirth that has all these incredible opportunities is so rare and precious.

Teaching extracted from the
Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. For Lama Zopa Rinpoche's full teaching please visit:






Mondays @ 7.30pm
Buddhist Meditation


Tuesdays @ 7.00pm 


Wednesdays @ 7.30pm
How to do the preliminary practice of Refuge (starts Wednesday 21st)




 6/ 20 January






The Director's column-

SallyHappy New Year to you all!  I'm starting 2009 with the highest aspiration - that 2009 is a happy, healthy and peaceful year for everyone, both Jamyang folks and the whole world. How wonderful it would be if peace resided everywhere.


It is nearly one year since I came to Jamyang.  It has been a fast, happy year.  Mainly a "getting to know" kind of year - getting to know the people who frequent Jamyang, and to know how the Centre functions, getting to know London city, and getting to know myself a bit more too, as another year passes.

Usually upper most in my mind when writing these columns, is gratitude to all the people who help Jamyang exist and flourish, especially looking back over 2008 - Geshe Tashi, our teachers & tutors, our Board, our staff & work programme folks, our members/friends, our carer visitors, our students, our visitors and our wonderful pool of generous, kind and helpful volunteers. 

Due to all these people working together in a miriad of different ways, 2008 was an exciting year, with the launch of the Lam Rim Chen Mo Correspondence Course, and the FBT Campus Course, a great visit from Khensur Rinpoche, plus a multitude of other excellent classes and events.  Our Cafe was established in-house providing a social "warm" space within Jamyang.  And our recent Strategic Plan gives Jamyang a clear direction to more forward into 2009 and beyond.  And particularly, thanks to new member/friends and those who increased their donations, the study programmes plus other cost cutting measures, Jamyang finishes the financial year looking brighter than early 2008 (not luminous, considering the current financial climate, but at least brighter!). 

So I send the strongest good wishes to each of you, and thank you for however you have been involved with Jamyang in 2008, even if merely reading the Gentle Voices!  May each of us, in our own unique way of actualizing the Dharma, help to subdue the violence and suffering occurring in so many places in the world. May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. 

 With love,


Rejoicing in 2008-

Staff, volunteers and carers2008 has been a very eventful year for the hospitality team and all its volunteers. The Dharma programme has been jammed packed with evening classes and weekend workshops, Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Tara Room bookings, school visits, phew, (take a breath), film and music nights, special events like Rizong and Khensur Rinpoches' vists, not to mention Jamyang's 30th anniversary, gasp!  And the Jumble Sale, how could I forget it!


All the events were seamlessly (practically) sewn together by volunteers and work programme people, thank you all for your effortless effort.Let's all rejoice and dedicate our virtues and energies to a happ y, joyful, and successful 2009 for FPMT and all mother sentient beings!


Some things we all rejoiced in during 2008:
*Geshe Tashi's continued presence at Jamyang
*Dedicated staff and work programme people
*Our fantastic volunteers - too many to name, but so much appreciated
*Jamyang's finances improved significantly over 2008
*Work camp achieved lots of good work including clearing of the basement
*Guest bathroom upgraded (nice hot showers now!)
*Cafe opened in-house providing social "warm" space
*Screening "The Unwinking Gaze" - successful fundraiser and great social event
*Lots of Jamyang students and friends being able to attend HHDL teachings in Nottingham
*Jamyang Jumble Sale day was great fun and made some money
*Sally attended FPMT Regional Meeting at FPMT Centre in Copenhagen - rejoiced at the hospitality they extended, and in meeting other Directors and SPC's of European FPMT Centres and hearing about their Dharma work.
*Cell block radiators all replaced (big thanks for Carmen's donation), thus making the guest and volunteer rooms much more comfortable
*Underfloor heating installed in two offices (big thanks to Anil's sister for her donation)
*Mantra rolling workshop well attended. We were able to fill many statues - many hands make light work!
*Mike Murray "extricating" himself from Jamyang and doing long retreat in India!
*Jamyang's IT equipment and facilities being upgraded
*Our caring and resilient plumber John Hamilton!
*Geshe Soepa's teachings delivered with great warmth and humour during the first 3 months of the year
*The Pilgrimage: 32 left to India, 33 came back (with Geshe Tashi)
*Rizong Rinpoche and Khensur Rinpoche's teachings, and Yangsi Rinpoche's visit
*Visits by Andy Weber, Ven. Sean Price, Ven. Steve Carlier, Gareth Sparham, Ven. Rita Rinniker, Robert Beer and Ven. Amy Miller.
*Last but not least, two Jamyang members ordained: Ven Jinpa and Ven Palmo


And many many more we can add to the list. We hope you also have time to think back on 2008 and rejoice at all the wonderful things this year has brought.


"Carers Christmas Carol"- by Robin Bath


Santa and his helper!


 "Carers Christmas Carol"

On a Wednesday morning crisp and bright
 Through Jamyang's garlanded door,
The carers found to their delight
A welcome to make spirits soar.
The decorated lobby was looking a treat
With a Christmas tree covered in lights,
Right there on the table were mince pies to eat
And Michelle's hot punch full of delights.
So the carers were settled, while munching away,
As the RTK team leapt into gear.
The agenda was set so they'd have a great day,
"Let's start with some thing to bring cheer!"
Jolly Gill got us going and started the singing,
So we merrily added our vocals...
Though Anil sang so lustily it set your ears ringing,
And I thought it might panic the locals!
Next we assembled, sitting down row by row
In the gompa, expectant...excited.
Then Ruben revealed all the magic of his show
And everyone was really delighted.
 Meanwhile out of sight the diligent bunch,
All the cooks and the kind volunteers
Laid out the most wonderful Christmas Lunch
That elicited a hearty "Three cheers!"
Then just as the desert plates were tidied away
There came the loud peel of a bell...
'Twas Santa with helpers...minus reindeer and sleigh
Asking if all the carers were well.
Then the two elves got busy and d'elved into sacks
Handing everyone the presents, well wrapped.
Once in receipt of their treat they could simply relax
And said "Thank you, farewell Santa" and clapped.
Still weighed down by dinner, an invitation entrancing,
Whisked us through to the Tara Room floor
Where we all were told "Now it's Strictly Come Dancing,
And our expert Salsa teacher you'll adore!"
Then after the effect of such earnest exertion,
Came tea and cakes to revitalize...
And we hoped that the carers enjoyed their excursion
As we hugged them and said our good-byes.
How splendid to fill up the Courthouse with joy,
When sharing our spiritual Centre.
Exchanging ourselves with others is a mode to employ
With dear Geshe-la here as our mentor.


UK retreat centre survey-

Sprinhead where we hosted the 2007 summer retreat! 

Would you like to have a retreat center in UK? If yes, please can you take time to fill in this quick online questionnaire from Andy Wistreich regarding retreat centres in the UK. Thank you.




Tibetan Doctor-

We received this information and thought some of you might be interested in Tibetan Medicine. All of these events are organised by the Tibet Foundation.


 Dr Tsewang Tamdin is a prominent and well-respected Tibetan physician, and a regular visiting doctor at Tibet Foundation in London. He is a senior physician at the Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute (Tibetan: Men-Tsee-Khang) in Dharamsala, and a Member of the British Acupuncture Council, London. Dr Tamdin has over 27 years of clinical experience, successfully treating patients both in India and elsewhere. Since 1990, at the invitation of Tibet Foundation, Dr Tamdin has been visiting the UK two or three times a year to give medical consultations and seminars. During this time he has given thousands of consultations in the UK and continental Europe. He has successfully treated a wide variety of illnesses and has a very impressive success rate.


Consultations with Dr Tsewang Tamdin
London: January 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12
Venue: 2 St James's Market, London SW1Y 4SB
Birmingham: January 10
For appointments please call 020 7930 6001
Please book your appointments  in advance before 24th December

The Loong - Part II

A Lecture by Dr Tsewang Tamdin, Principal of the Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute in Dharamsala, India.


In Tibetan medicine loong is the subtle 'wind' which flows around the body. If loong is out of balance then it makes a person quick-tempered, anxious and can lead to headaches amongst other problems. In this lecture, Dr Tamdin continues his look at loong problems, their causes, and how behaviour and Tibetan medicine can be used to bring the loong back into balance.


Thursday 8th January 2009 7pm Venue: 2 St James's Market, London SW1Y 4SB.
Advance booking essential: limited places.
Call 020 7930 6001.


Your thoughts

What do you want to see in Gentle Voice?  We would love to hear your ideas and comments about Gentle Voice, please contact Esther at: [email protected]


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Jamyang Buddhist Centre | The Old Courthouse | 43 Renfrew Road | London | SE11 4NA | United Kingdom

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