by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on the Precious Human Life-
Rare 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
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.
The Director's column-
Happy 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
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.
Rejoicing in 2008-
2008 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
Some things we all rejoiced in during 2008:
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
*Lots of Jamyang students and friends being able to attend HHDL teachings
*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
*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
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-
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.
We received this information and thought some of you might be
interested in Tibetan Medicine. All of these events are organised by the
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
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.
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]