by Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Tegchok-
The subject of this teaching is mind training [Tib: lo-jong]
which has the connotation of cleansing, or purifying, our mental, verbal
and physical actions. Actually, from that point of view, all the Buddha's
teachings are mind training in that they were all given for training the
body, speech and mind.
This text, the Seven-Point Mind Training, is associated with Atisha, a
great scholar and practitioner born in India in the tenth century. He
received this teaching from Serlingpa, "The Man (or Teacher) from the
Golden Isle," which refers to Sumatra.
There are two methods for generating and practising bodhicitta, the
sevenfold cause and effect instruction, which, during Atisha's time, was
available in India, and the method of exchanging self and others, which was
not. Therefore Atisha had to undertake the difficult, thirteen-month
journey from India to Indonesia to receive the teachings on exchanging self
The text begins:
Homage to great
The term "great compassion" may be understood on two
levels: interpretive and definitive. On the interpretive level, it refers
to Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion; on the definitive level, it
is the mind wanting to free all beings from suffering. This is the
compassion that is important at the beginning, like a seed; in the middle,
like the moisture and nutrition that make a plant grow; and at the end,
like the ripening of the fruit.
The essence of this
nectar of secret instruction
Is transmitted from the
master from Sumatra, Serlingpa.
These two lines explain the great qualities of the teacher in order to
generate confidence in the source of the mind training teachings. They
originated with the Buddha himself and have come down to us today through
an unbroken lineage of masters, including Serlingpa and Atisha.
Generally speaking, nectar means immortality-here it specifically indicates
something that overpowers the various demonic forces that put an end to our
life. Thus it actually indicates the Buddha, because the story of the Buddha
tells how he overcame those forces. So when the text says "this
nectar" it shows that this teaching has come from the Buddha.
The root text continues:
You should understand
the significance of this instruction
As like a diamond, the
sun and a medicinal tree.
This time of the five
degenerations will then be transformed
Into the path to the
fully awakened state.
This section, an explanation of the greatness of the text, is designed to
excite our interest in it. The second line says "like a diamond, the
sun and a medicinal tree," the Tibetan word dorje [Skt: vajra] being
translated as "diamond" here. Even a small fragment of diamond is
more valuable than gold or other precious substances, so a diamond is said
to outshine them all. Similarly, even a small, partial instruction from the
Seven-Point Mind Training is exceptionally powerful and very effective for
destroying our selfishness, and in that way it surpasses all other kinds of
Then it says that mind training is like the sun. Of course, when the sun is
up and fully visible in the sky it completely illuminates the land, but
even before it has actually arisen its light dispels much of the darkness
of the night. Similarly, even when we understand or practice only a part of
mind training it is already very powerful in overcoming selfishness and the
Finally, mind training is likened to a medicinal tree, whose roots, trunk,
branches, flowers and leaves are all therapeutic, making the whole tree
medicinal. Therefore, while of course the whole tree can cure disease, even
one of its leaves or petals is similarly effective, and in the same way,
even a partial explanation of this mind training is very powerful in
overcoming the negative mind.
Therefore, just as diamonds, the sun and medicinal trees are
regarded as important and precious, so, too, is this mind training teaching.
Extract from: "The Kindness of Others: A Commentary
on the Seven-Point Mind Training" by Geshe Jampa Tegchok, published by
theLama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. To
read the full text, please visit the archive's website.
Jampa Tegchok will be visiting Jamyang at the end of April and beginning of
May to teach on the Seven-Point Mind Training.
Please book now to attend his teachings.
Summer programme available online-
Welcome to the 2009 summer term at Jamyang!
We will also be hosting very qualified western teachers: Andy Weber leading art workshops
on Wrathful Emanations: Vajrapani to Mahakala in May and Vajrayogini in
November; Gareth Sparham teaching on How
Bodhisattvas practise basic Buddhism in June; Robert Beer will continue a
series of teachings and slide shows on the Vajrayana imagery in June and
October; Sangye Khadro will be teaching
on Applying the wisdom of dependent arising in our daily life in September
and Alan Wallace will be leading a
retreat on the topic ofThe Way of Shamatha: Soothing the Body, Settling the
Mind, and Illuminating Awareness in December (please note dates
have changed and the retreat will be from the 10th to the 16th).
The Family Days will continue this
term to provide an opportunity for kids and parents to enjoy various
activities that include story-telling, singing, dancing, arts and crafts,
and much more.
We will continue Thursday evening's Discussion Group, set up on the
advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which will meet to discuss
Shantideva's text "A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life". Also,
weekend course in the Discovering Buddhism series with
the topic of Introduction to Tantra.
Finally, don't miss the Saka Dawa celebration with Geshe
Tashi in June, a weekend of group practice and meditation with the
opportunity to take refuge on the Sunday followed by Yangsi Rinpoche's
I am back in London after some annual leave time in New
Zealand. I am happy to say, the three FPMT Centres in NZ are all
flourishing and it was nice to meet up with old dharma friends again.
I even marched up the main street of Auckland on March 10th, along
with other Tibetan supporters, and felt good to join them.
Now I'm back at Jamyang again, and two events stand out in my mind to
One is the CPMT Meeting being held at Institute Vajrayogini in southern
France from 26 April - 2nd May, which I and our Spiritual Programme
Coordinator Esther Garibay, will be attending. This is a meeting held
every few years, of all the Directors, SPC's and key staff of FPMT Centres
from around the world - there are 155 Centres in 34 different countries now
- so we at Jamyang are part of a very large international family too.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche will be attending this meeting. I have
always found these meetings incredibly inspiring and motivating and you
really see the depth and extensiveness of the benefit our FPMT Centres
bring to the world.
Secondly, I'm so happy that Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Tegchok is visiting
Jamyang again from 28th April - 10th May. Rinpoche was resident
teacher at Land of Medicine Buddha for some of the time I was working
there. Rinpoche is quite a character! He has a very direct
manner, and a constant mischievous twinkle in his eye. He is an
excellent teacher with enormous experience in both Buddhist practices and
teaching about them. The "icing on the cake" for Rinpoche's
visit, is that Geshe Tashi himself, will be translating Rinpoche's
teachings - it can't get much better! Please do take advantage of
this wonderful team of dharma experts.
Enjoy the spring - the blossom trees in full flower now, brighten up one's
day, don't they?
Health and Safety-
Our H&S Policy says 'We will provide and maintain safe and
healthy working conditions and equipment for all our staff, and provide the
information, training and supervision needed for this purpose. We accept
our responsibilities for teachers, volunteers, students and residents, and
for all visitors to the Centre. All staff have a duty to help with Health
But it goes further than this - H&S is something everyone should be
mindful of. After all, as Buddhists, what more could we want than the
health, safety and happiness of everyone coming to the Centre?
You can help us with health and safety - if you ever see anything in the
Centre that could cause anyone a problem, please tell a member of staff
about it, and please keep asking about it until it is fixed.
Besides everyone keeping their eyes open for risks small or large, we need
volunteers to help us with the annual Risk Assessment exercise. This
involves visiting all the rooms in the Centre and looking for anything
which could cause harm - loose carpets, trailing wires, cupboards
overloaded or not attached to the wall, slippery floors, etc. After
recording these risks, they are assessed as to how likely they are and how
serious they would be. Then an action list is drawn up for dealing with
them. No special training is needed to do this, common sense is enough!
If you have some spare time during the day and would like to help us,
please contact Anil at [email protected]
A visit to the Vauxhall City Farm-
Animals at Vauxhall City Farm won't feel the bite of the
recession thanks to a staggering £5,130 raised by friends of Ani Chodron,
collected by Jamyang Buddhist Centre.
On 23rd March, staff from Jamyang presented Vauxhall City farm with
donations made in memory of Ani Chodron, a Buddhist nun and member of
Jamyang's community, who passed away on January 19th 2009.
The money will contribute towards the cost of feed, bedding and veterinary
bills for the animals, which are some of the toughest things to find funding
for. Vauxhall City Farm runs a variety of amazing projects - including
Riding for the Disabled and Youth Activities - and relies on donations for
feed and bedding.
Sharon Clouston, Farm director, said of the gift: "We
have been surprised and heartened by the generosity and support of
Chodron's friends, and we will ensure that we use the donation as it is
intended. We are touched by this and the story of Ani Chodron's life and
will remember the legacy within the Farm".
Her friends at Jamyang decided that as she had a deep love and
understanding of animals, they would ask for donations towards the farm
rather than flowers. Ingrid, a lifelong friend of Ani Chodron
explains: 'Her love of animals was legendary. In her native Finland
she had three dogs and a jackdaw she rescued. Chodron liked to visit
the different City Farms, including Vauxhall. We are sure that she will be
happy with this donation safeguarding the well-being of the animals at the
farm, and ensuring that the farm stays open for people to visit in the
Jamyang Walk- Saturday 18th of April
Please join us for a wonderfully varied 6-mile walk to
"Happy Valley". With a name like that, how can you resist! This
is part of the London Loop (section 5).
Rather than all meeting at Jamyang since we come from different parts of
the city... please make you way to East Croydon mainline station where we
will assemble in the ticket hall at 11am.
We need to take a short bus ride to the start of the walk at
Hamsey Green where we head off into spring countryside across fields and
woodlands encountering a couple of quite steep climbs. There will be a
chance of pub grub on the way, or bring a packed lunch. Good shoes
recommended - boots not necessary. This is a surprisingly rural walk so
close to South London. Fr more information if needed: call Robin on 020 7736
Look forward to seeing you!
P.S. If for any reason the weather forecast is terrible,
please check in case we need to cancel.
Ven. Antonio Satta in Austria-
International artists take part in forum on Buddhism and the
Arts at the V&A-
As part of The Many Faces of Buddhism, a season of arts and
cultural events presented in London by The Robert H. N. Ho Family
Foundation, artists from around the world will take part in an
international forum at the V&A on Saturday 25 April 2009.
The platform will provide a space for artists who have thought deeply about
and the arts' experience to express and share their views.
It will also help stimulate
new debate on the influences of Asian and Buddhist worldviews
within the arts of the
Poem by Juliette 'Scrambled Eggs and Mindfulness'-
Hi there, I wrote a poem entitled 'mindfulness' after a
weekend teaching with Andy Wistreich in Leeds. Juliette
Scrambled Eggs and
To three eggs scrambled
This is what appeared;
The yellow of the eggs
Against the blue bowl,
The speckled flecks of pepper
The heat of the soft solids and the salt
on the front of my tongue.
I noted the crunch of the escaped piece of eggshell.
The sound of the fork on the bowl.
The wanting to read the post.
The idea to write this.
At the last mouthful,
the desire for more.
The comfort in my belly.
The realisation that there is a whole world
in those scrambled eggs:
the past, present and future.
If we notice.
Those eggs were in the death
of unwanted chicks.
In the corn grown by a farmer
and the deaths of many more,
nameless and uncounted.
They were in the sun and the rain
and other timeless phenomena.
The eggs are now me.
From their energy
I will tend my garden soil,
where the shells will return to nourish
green plants for my hens.
Food for thought.
Jamyang is affiliated with FPMT (Foundation for the
Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition) and is one of more than 150
centers and projects worldwide. FPMT is based on the Gelugpa tradition of
Lama Tsongkhapa of Tibet as taught by our founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe and
spiritual director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. If you would like to receive FPMT's
monthly newsletters please subscribe here.
Rinpoche will also be leading
a new yearly course in North Carolina, USA - Light of the Path; the final
dates for 2009 are Sept 8-22. Light of the Path will be an annual
teaching/retreat event with Rinpoche for the coming years (hopefully five
at least!). The event will be webcast for those who cannot attend in person
and an online program based on the teachings will be available starting in
2010. We strongly encourage as many students as possible to attend this
event, particularly teachers and sangha. As an experiential lamrim retreat
we envision both the event and the online program that follows becoming the
fundamental basis for all other study and practice.
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]