From: Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]] on behalf of Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]]
Sent: 29 February 2008 19:46
To: [email protected]
Subject: GentleVoice March 2008
Jamyang Buddhist CentreFPMT LOGO
March 2008
In This Issue
Teaching by Geshe Tashi
Geshe Soepa's farewell
HHDL in UK- Update
This Month at Jamyang
The SUMMER programme is out!
Sally, Jamyang's new director introduction
Di's last column
Essential Education Training
News on Ecie and Sutra recitation
Vajrasattva art weekend
The Manager's Column
Lam Rim Chenmo starts in May
Books, books, books...
Up date on our bookshop
Quick Links
Editor's Welcome 

OfferingIn a couple of days a group of 32 pilgrims will be joining Geshe Tashi in the city of Chennai, India, to travel for 4 weeks across some of the most sacred Buddhist sites. We hope to bring back lots of stories, teachings and, of course, Geshe Tashi.  Related to this trip, I thought you would enjoy a teaching on "Impermanence" that Geshe-la gave in Kushinagar on the last Pilgrimage.


On the topic of impermanence, Geshe Soepa, who has very kindly taught at Jamyang for the past 5 months, will be leaving to travel in Europe, and then go on to Canada. Similarly Di, who has been director of Jamyang for more than 3 years will be handing over to Sally, our new director. You can find more information in their columns.


We are very happy to announce the SUMMER programme is now available, you can read some of the highlights of the new programme in Eve's article. We are still receiving applications for Geshe Tashi's Foundation of Buddhist Thought Campus Course starting in September, and we will soon launch the Lam Rim Chenmo correspondence course, read Pierre's column.


Don't miss the chance to attend Rizong Rinpoche's weekend teachings and Geshe Soepa's last weekend teachings and retreat this term. We have new books on the Bookshop to accompany this teachings, as Corinne explains in her contribution. Books, books, books: Bill shares his experience of volunteering in Jamyang's Library.


Finally, at the end of the month we have the yearly work camp, an opportunity to come together and work to transfrom Jamyang into a Potala palace, everyone is welcome, read Anil's column for more information.


The next issue of Gentle Voice should be out in mid April, until then,


Much love,

Esther G.

Teaching by Geshe Tashi-


Today we are here at this holy place where the Buddha passed away and where his body was cremated about 2500 years ago. Here I would like to discuss with you two points.

Firstly, the common understanding that all things deteriorate and disappear, that all things and events are impermanent. At any one time things or events exist then they pass; they are impermanent. Here at this place the Buddha showed his own passing away, leaving his body and this is also called the teaching on impermanence. This teaching demonstrated imperanence so directly, showing that the body that he possessed also deteriorated and also disappeared. This is a very strong teaching. It is said that when he passed away many of the great masters or practitioners who were his followers could not bear this separation, could not accept his passing away and could not bear not being around him any longer. This is something very familiar, one way or another we all experience this. It is a very deep emotion. To see someone who you love, someone with whom you have had a connection for a long time, to see such a person passing away is very painful. The Buddha showed this to his followers and many could not bear this separation. It is said that many of his followers also passed away shortly afterwards as they could not bear this separation.


This is the nature of impermanence and this is why the Buddha in his first teaching, the Four Noble Truths, in the noble truth of suffering, taught the understanding of the impermanent nature of all things and events around us including ourselves, our body and our lives. He said that this nature of impermanence should be understood. He said that if we do not understand that nature, the nature of impermanence, we will experience sorrow, lamentation and grief as a result of this lack of understanding of the nature of impermanence.


Just imagine 2500 years ago, this area might have had lots of trees, thick jungle, with just a few villages roundabout. The Buddha was 80 years old and showing his age. He would have been walking around these places here, maybe in the morning doing his alms round and from time to time giving some teaching. Then one day he became ill and passed away and after just a few days his body was cremated and he was no longer here at this place. If we look at all of these processes, his walking and giving teachings, doing his alms round, showing his aging, then one day getting ill, passing away and then his cremation, all these processes are of an impermanent nature all these take place within the nature of impermanence.


We need to understand that, and also to understand the nature of impermanence related to our own self; to our body, our status, our obsessions, our friends, relatives, partners, and all these things that we have around us; to our interaction with all these things, to our partaking in different activities including coming here today and leaving tomorrow. All these things are of the nature of impermanence, and one day we also will not be here on this planet. This understanding of impermanence is extremely important. If we have this understanding of impermanence then we will understand that if we are experiencing craving then it will bring pain and difficulties. This includes our craving for sense pleasures, our cravings for things we do not have, even including our dharma practice. The understanding of impermanence is the medicine, the cure for the elimination of craving, clinging and attachment.

Extract form the newly published book  "From Lumbini to Kushinagar. On the road with the children of the Buddha", based on the pilgrimage that Geshe Tashi led in 2006. It includes a series of talks given by Geshe Tashi at the major pilgrimage sites and background historical notes. The book was produced as a collaborative effort from several of the former participants in the pilgrimage. It captures the atmosphere of spiritual endevour which Geshe Tashi so eloquently gives voice to and recreates the magic of each of these holy sites. The book is available at the Jamyang bookshop for only 5.
Geshe Soepa
Come to Jamyang next Thursday 20th of March to say good bye to Geshe Soepa and Di, and welcome Sally. Join us from 6pm onwards with veggie food to share! 
Please note that because Geshe Soepa will be flying on the 24th, the date of his farewell party has been changed to the 20th of March.

Public Talk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in London

Public Talk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Universal Responsibility in the
Modern World
22 May 2008 Royal Albert Hall
14.30. Doors open at 13.45
                    Venue: The Royal Albert Hall, 
                    Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP

                    Nearest tube: South Kensington 
                    (Circle, District and Piccadilly Lines)
Tickets can be bought either by booking online at or calling the box office on 020 7589 8212. For further details on the event and His Holiness the Dalai Lama's full UK schedule click here

There are still tickets left for the teachings he will give on the 26, 27and 28th of May in Nottingham. To buy tickets visit:



REGULAR CLASSES  Mondays @ 7.30pm Buddhist Meditation Tuesdays @ 7.30pm
 Geshe Soepa - Various topics throughout the month  Wednesdays @ 7.30pm
 Geshe Soepa - Various topics throughout the month
Thursdays @ 7.30pm         16 Guidelines for a Happy Life
15-16 March
1-2 March
8-9 February
Overview of Jamyang's summer programme-
                                         LOTS going on at Jamyang these next few months!Programme
Most importantly, Geshe Tashi, our resident teacher, will be back from long retreat in India. He will be offering an Introduction to Buddhism weekend of June 21 and 22, and will be teaching this term on Buddhist Meditation on Tuesday  evenings, as well as leading an Insight Meditation retreat May 3-5. On the meditation theme, Ven Sean Price will be teaching "Happiness Through Mindfulness" on 7 consecutive Thursday evenings between June 19 and July 31. And, you can also try our new Silent Meditation group on Thursdays.

 His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be visiting the UK this May and will be teaching in Nottingham (May 24-28) on Lama Tsong Khapa's In Praise of Buddha Shayamuni for his teaching on Dependent Arising , and will be offering a Vajrasattva initiation at the same time. In support of His Holiness's programme, Andy Weber, well known Tibetan Buddhist artist will be doing a weekend on Vajrasattva, the Buddha of Purification the weekend of April 18-20, and Geshe Tashi will be offering teachings on Tuesdays and a practice weekend on Vajrasattva in July, plus a series of Tuesday evening teachings on Dependent Arising, starting on June 10.

 Another theme this term will be The Buddhist Way of Living and Dying. Geshe Tashi will be teaching on this subject on Wednesday evenings June 11 till July 30 and the weekend of July 25/26. Sue Aldam and Robin Bath lead a practical course on Dying Well several times a year. If anyone thinks they might benefit from such a course, do come and find out what we're up to on Saturday afternoon May 10.

 A great (and rare) opportunity is offered in the form of a campus course in the Foundation of Buddhist Thought, due to start in September, to apply and for more information write to: [email protected]

 Jamyang London hosted a wonderful Dharma Festival in the West Country last August; this year it's Jamyang Leeds's turn.

 Just a few more highlights - There'll be another Peace in the City day (see page 16). Gareth Sparham will be visiting to teach on The Bodhisattva's Path; there'll be Discovering Buddhism weekends on Refuge and Karma , and  a Jamyang Walk. And THE Jamyang Jumble Sale on the August Bank Holiday. 

Please book in advance by contacting Jamyang's office at [email protected]
Director's column

 A warm hello to all Jamyang friends,

After many months of waiting and hoping, my work permit and entry clearance for UK to allow me to take on the role of Director, finally came through, and four days later I was on a plane from New Zealand, heading for Jamyang.  Still feeling a wee bit jet lagged, I am onto my fourth day at Jamyang now.


I don't think anyone could have wished for a better "entry" into the Centre.  The morning Di showed me around the building, the sun was shining brilliantly through all the skylights, bathing Jamyang in a beautiful golden light.  Everyone has been so welcoming and friendly, and yesterday was a day away, working with the Jamyang Board of Trustees.   I was really struck by the deep level of commitment and devotion to the Centre shown by the Trustees, along with a very sweet group energy.  I feel very blessed to have the honour to take on this role with such an extended Jamyang family to work with.  I also met Geshe Tashi Tsering some years ago, at a Geshe Conference in Delhi, and was extremely impressed by Geshe la's skill, wisdom and presence, so it is very amazing to find myself working in the same Centre as Geshe la now.


To give a brief introduction of myself - I am mother of two children and a step daughter (all grown up now).  I co founded Mahamudra Centre, an FPMT Centre in New Zealand, working there for 16 years. Then was Director of Tushita Centre in Dharamsala, northern India and had 4 amazing years there, surrounded by the most wonderful dharma environment (Dharamsala being the home of HHDL). Then followed 5 equally rich years working as Director of Land of Medicine Buddha in California.  But I can see the role of Director at Jamyang has a completely different flavour to those other Centres - mainly because of the number of people deeply committed to Jamyang's wellbeing who support it on many levels, and the depth of people's dharma study here and the rich history of the growth of this Centre over so many years.  I suspect that adds up to a level of support and help to the Director that I have not experienced to the same degree before.  Previous roles left me feeling a bit "alone out there" as Director sometimes, but in the very short time I've been at Jamyang, I can see that I will not have that sense here! 


I will try to serve Jamyang Buddhist Centre to the very best of my abilities, and make daily prayers to be able to be of benefit.  And I look forward to gradually meeting you all, so please do come and introduce yourself when next at the Centre!   


With love,

Diana's column-

DiHello Everyone!


As you'll see Sally has arrived as our new Director and I'm sure you already get a sense of her qualities from her column. We are handing over during March and I just wanted to say a brief word to say thank you to everyone for your positivity, warmth and support of Jamyang and me over the last four years. It's been painful at times to see my own crazy mind and failings in glorious technicolour. As our Spiritual Director and my Teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche says: "When you live in a cave or a tree you don't see much of your mistakes, you think, 'I'm a good person with no delusions', but still the mistakes are inside." However "As a director of a Dharma centre you face a lot of things that hurt your ego. This is a great challenge to your practice."


I also want to say, very importantly, that equally it has been amazing to be part of all the events and activities that Jamyang does to benefit and teach and practise the dharma. And especially to have the opportunity to work in a place where people give so much of themselves, work with their minds to choose the positive, and all with such generosity of spirit. I feel richer for having known you all.


I apologize for any mistakes and rejoice in all the positivity and learning of this time, and I'm sure Jamyang will continue from strength to strength. I will continue to be part of the Jamyang community and also will be practising in our new Healing Room (more soon) as a Psychotherapist.


With much love and thanks,

Essential Education Training in France-
16 Guidelines Did you attend the classes run by Alison Murdoch and Geshe Soepa on the 16 Guidelines to a Happy Life? Were you inspired to find out more and maybe share your findings with others? Maybe you wished you could attend but you were too busy.
Well you will be pleased to know that a 4 day residential course will be held at the Institut Vajra Yogini this May entitled Facilitation Training: The 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life 2008 . Further details are available from the website of the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Peace
News on Ecie Hursthouse health-
Following Lama Zopa Rinpoche's request to recite the Diamond Cutter Sutra on behalf of Ecie Hurthouse, we would like to thank all of you who contributed to the 110 recitations. It is very inspiring to know that the Jamayng community had such a compassionate and quick response to this request.
If you would like an update on Ecies health, the attached link was sent to us by William, Ecie's husband, soon after the crash. It makes amazing reading. That she is still with us is auspicious in itself: 
For those students that would like to join, this Sunday 2nd of March there will be a World-Wide recitation of the Golden Light Sutra. Jamyang will be offering a recitation this Sunday at 11am, everyone is welcome to come!
This sutra is inconceivable, for its ocean of virtue is without end; 
It frees every being  from countless oceans of suffering
Chapter 14 of the Sutra of Golden Light
You can read more about this sutra and download it at:
For more news on Lama Zopa Rinpoche's advice and activities click here   

Vajrasattva, don't miss Andy Weber's Art course-

VajrasattvaAndy Weber is one of the world's leading artists specializing in Tibetan Buddhist art.  He spent seven years living and studying the iconographical art of Tibetan Buddhism under the guidance of accomplished masters in India and Nepal. His unique style of authentic images for visualization are highly respected not only by the growing number of Western Buddhists but also by Tibetan Lamas of all traditions, many of whom have commissioned his work. His thangka paintings (Tibetan scroll paintings) can be seen in Buddhist centers and temples throughout the world including the Potala Palace in Lhasa and his images have become well known and popular through numerous publications. He conducts art classes all over the world, and we are delighted he is a regular teacher at Jamyang.


Andy will be leading a powerful, practical and relaxing weekend course that will enhance your understanding of Vajrasattva, the Buddha of purification. 


His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be giving an initiation to this deity in Nottingham this year, and Geshe Tashi will also give teachings on this practice.

This is a workshop not to be missed by interested art students and anyone wishing to learn more about Vajrasattva, particularly relevant for those receiving the initiation and attending the teachings.It is said that if we do this practice regularly it has the power of purifying all our negative karma.


 If you can't come for the whole weekend course, the slide show on Friday is more than enough to learn about this deity's significance from Andy's vast knowledge of Buddhist symbolism.

The Manager's bit

26th March - 30th March 2008


Dear friends,


This is a short reminder that next month is WORK CAMP month.  The jobs will fall in to 5 main areas - Outside of the building - Basement - Odd jobs inside Jamyang - the Gardens - and Painting and decorating.


The agenda is very ambitious but will transform the outside and inside of Jamyang, please see picture above.  We need people with all kinds of skills so please do apply.  The more the merrier.  We can offer accommodation and food plus all the merit and purification you can handle!


Call now! 

with love Anil xx

*STOP PRESS* Lam Rim Chenmo Correspondence Course starts in May-

PierreHello Jamyang,


Welcome to an update on what is going on the correspondence side of Jamyang. 


Another group of students (20) will be graduating from the Foundation from Buddhist Thought at the end of April. These students will join the over 550 students who have graduated from the correspondence course so far.


As you all know, Geshe Tashi started the cycle of studies on the Lamrim Chenmo 3 years ago. The course ended in June 2007 and since then an army of helpers got into transcribing, publishing, designing, and organizing the material so as to present students of the FBT course the possibility to continue their studies of the Dharma.


Gordon McDougall, who has brought his experience from the development of the FBT course, has finalized the transcriptions and detailing of the course. The audio teachings are being uploaded onto the server, where students will be able to listen or download the teachings while following the course set by Geshe Tashi. Our first two tutors who will lead the groups are Gordon and Kay.


Last week I spoke to Geshe Tashi and he gave us the approval to start with the first intake of students in May 2008. We have brought forward the date from September as there was no reason to wait any longer.


We are happy to announce the Lamrim correspondence course is set to go live in May, with the first intake coming from students who have completed the Foundation course.


This is the first public announcement of this course and others will follow at the graduate tea room, where the graduates of the FBT course meet up to discuss relevant topics.


 Jamyang thanks all those who are involved in the development of the course and hopes that the benefits will be immeasurable.




Pierre Alozie

Bill Alexander shares his experience working as Jamyang's librarian-

I have been a Buddhist and also a keen supporter of Tibetan Independence for many years.

In the 1990's I worked for Tibet House and for the Tibet society, coming to Jamyang a bit later. One of my happiest memories of those days was the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Jamyang in 1996. My wife (Daphne) and I 'guarded' 2 of the doors of the Gompa against (fortunately non-existent) intruders while His Holiness sat there in the Gompa, scattering rose petals, and saying prayers and mantras.


Now-a days my Jamyang volunteering consists of one morning a week looking after the library, that is putting away returned books, sorting books in their correct order and so on. Being a technophobe, and therefore computer illiterate, I keep well away from problems of cataloguing. So life is pretty simple.


My most difficult problem is chasing up the overdue books when the borrower is someone who does a lot for Jamyang and therefore deserves to be left alone!


For me the best thing about Jamyang is the people I meet. From the moment I enter the door on a Monday morning I know that I won't come across anyone who is trying to show off or to be clever by putting something over on a colleague. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and I miss that energy when I again emerge into Renfrew Road after my morning's work.


Finally something that epitomises Jamyang's ambience is the reclining Buddha and the little waterfall outside in the courtyard. There is a transcendental quality about the music made by those water drops. I have only to listen to them, and to the underlying silence, to feel that Jamyang is indeed as T.S.Eliot's "still point of the turning world"


Bill Alexander

Jamyang is very priviliged to have over 2,000 books and an extensive audio archive and video archive. Everyone is welcome to use the library, and Friends of Jamyang have borrowing rights (2 books at any one time for a month).
Jamyang's Bookshop-
HappinessAs you already know, you are welcome to come along at any time and have a look in our bookshop. We have just received new books.
Here are a few titles:DearLama Zopa
"The new Tibetan Calendar of the earth mouse year", "Seven points of mind training", "How to see yourself as you really are", "Introduction on Tantra", "Happiness", "Becoming Vajrasattva: The Tantric Path of Purification", "Dear Lama Zopa" and much more: new Malas, Incense, art. You will also find a new collection o f DVDs: "How to meditate", "Karma, the law of cause and effect", "Mystic Tibet", etc... etc...
The best way to have an idea of what we offer in Jamyang'sbeginners bookshop  is to come and see for yourself. We plan to make regular orders of new books to extend our stock. So have a look when you come around, you will probably find something interesting for you. And, of course, any purchase in the bookshop is a great way to help our Dharma Centre.
Bookshop Manager
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