From: Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]] on behalf of Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]]
Sent: 01 May 2008 16:41
To: [email protected]
Subject: GentleVoice March 2008
Jamyang Buddhist CentreFPMT LOGO

 
 

May 2008
In This Issue
Teaching by Geshe Soepa
Geshe Tashi's Column
HHDL in UK- Update
Human Rights in Tibet
This Month at Jamyang
Dying Well Group
Sam Brooks, the new Repaying the Kindness manager
Estelle Rose says goodbye
The Manager's Column
Silent Meditation Group
Up date on our bookshop
Pilgrimage Recount
Quick Links
Editor's Welcome 

FPMT LOGOHis Holiness the Dalai Lama will be England towards the end of this month. What a good opportunity for Jamyang's students to meet one of the greatest living Buddhist teachers. Tickets are still available for the teachings and talk he will be giving in Nottingham. Read more later.


After being at Jamyang for 6 months, Geshe Soepa has moved to Canada. I thought you would enjoy an extract from one of the teachings he gave at the Easter Retreat last month which John Bonell kindly transcribed. The subject was preparing for one's death, which nicely introduces the Dying Well day in May. See below.

Geshe Tashi shares some of his experiences during the months he was in India, and you can also read anecdotes from the pilgrims who joined him to travel across that country in March, including some pics of Ven. Jinpa's (Kerry Prest) ordination!

With the Beijing Olympics ahead, this is a crucial time for Tibet, and anyone who supports the Tibetan cause. You can read an extract of a letter His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to the Chinese people and find some links to websites that campaign for Tibet.

Finally, we would like to use this space to sincerely thank Estelle Rose who has recently retired from managing the "Repaying the Kindness" project after more than 8 years of hard work, and welcome Sam Brooks who will carry on Estelle's job. You can read more from both of them in their contributions. You will also find information about the new Silent Meditation Group, and an update on the Bookshop's acquisitions!

Much love,
Esther G.
([email protected])


Teaching by Geshe Soepa-

"Now when the point of death approaches, what should we do?

There are five powers that we should develop to help us with the transference of consciousness.

First, there is the power of the seed. Offer your possessions to the Buddhas, the poor, to your family, and then give up attachment to the things of this life - body, family, possessions, country, life itself. Give these up with a positive state of mind, not a negative one.

Secondly, there is the power of fearlessness. Think that the situation you are in is not just your problem, everyone has to die, and that this is natural. Give up your attachment and think of your next life. Purify any negativities, and if you have taken any vows, take these again.

Thirdly, there is the power of prayer. Make good offerings and take refuge, and  renew your other commitments. Make offerings to Mahakala and make a request that you remember your practice in the bardo. Request help from all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Importantly, pray that you may practise Bodhicitta in the bardo and in the next life.

Some people die in their sleep, others die only after great suffering. The bardo is like a dream, you may not recognise it but you will not be able to see yourself in a mirror or see the sun or moon. Whilst you are in the bardo, if you can, you should meditate and stay in the body for three days until the gross energies are absorbed into the subtle mind. When the mind passes on, then the body starts to decompose. If your karma is good, your experience of the bardo will also be good. If your karma is bad, your experience will be bad. If you can remember to do your practice in the bardo, this will really help. Pray during this life to be able to do so.

Fourth, is the power of the antidote. Think like this: all bad things come from the self cherishing mind. If I don't give up this self cherishing mind then it will continue to cause me many problems. Realise that this self-cherishing mind  is the worst enemy of Bodhicitta. You need a strong decision the day before you die that you will do your practice the following day. In the time of the bardo, practice is very strong, very clear, so you must have this strong motivating power to practise.

The fifth power is the power of habit. Meditate again and again on Bodhicitta so as to create a strong habit. When you realise that you are dying, lie on your right side with your right hand under your cheek and with your head facing North. Then, as you breathe out, give all your virtues to all sentient beings and as you breathe in take in all the suffering from all sentient beings. Practising Tonglen like this whilst you die is a wonderful death.

Also meditate that all phenomena, all samsara, comes from the mind, and meditate on emptiness. If you die doing emptiness meditation, that also is wonderful.

So don't have any fear or worries at the time of death and practise in this way."

The full talk will be available on the Talking Buddhism pages of the Jamyang website. Geshe Soepa has now moved to the Lama Yeshe Ling centre in Canada, were he will be teaching. Thank you Geshe Soepa!

Geshe Tashi's Column

Geshe Tashi in BodhgayaHello from me. Not having written in Gentle Voice for eight/nine months, I want to say from my heart "hello" to everyone who reads Gentle Voice. I had a really really good time and I enjoyed very much my last seven months away from Jamyang in India. Although I didn't have any blissful experiences, I enjoyed very much - first doing prostrations in Bodh Gaya for more than two and half months, then a short pilgrimage to Sri Lanka, four/five days, then engaging in my retreat for about another 2 months. All these activities which I managed to do were extremely enjoyable, and beneficial to my mind, although as I said earlier, no deep down blissful experiences. I want to say thank you all at Jamyang for giving me this great opportunity, for your support in giving me this long break. At the end of my time in India, I joined a group of people, mostly from the UK. About 33 of us did this month long pilgrimage, the third pilgrimage organised by Jamyang. As with the previous two, this latest one was an extremely enjoyable journey. Of course from time to time there were hardships. But visiting these great places, where the Buddha Shakyamuni himself spent time and gave teachings and where great events like his enlightenment at Bodh Gaya and his first teaching at Varanasi happened, I really enjoyed visiting all those places with a group of very pleasant harmonious people. The pilgrimage went very well, as I'm sure you can gather from other people's reports.

Now I'm back at Jamyang, and as you see, a new programme started in the middle of April.
Mainly I just want to say "hello" and thank you" for all your support. Thank you! 

Update on His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in UK-

There are still tickets available for the teachings, both for the Mon-Wed teachings, and for the Public talk HHDL will give on the topic of "Caring for our world". We advise you to buy tickets as soon as possible. Geshe Tashi will be heading up the panel discussion Introduction to Buddhism on the Saturday evening.

Caring for our WorldHHDL

Sunday 25th May: 2.30-4.00pm

In Conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Jonathan Dimbleby

In response to the huge demand to hear His Holiness speak, an extra public talk has been arranged for the afternoon of Sunday 25th May in the Nottingham Arena, focusing on how, as individuals, we can meet the challenges of our times - in particular, environmental issues and concerns. Jonathan Dimbleby, the well-known TV and radio presenter and president of the Soil Association, will host the event.

The afternoon is open to a general audience but young people will be actively participating.

HELP NEEDED: If you are going to be at His Holiness teachings and would like to help out at Jamyang's stall giving out information about Jamyang, we are looking for 4 volunteers. Please contact Anil at: [email protected]

Human Rights in Tibet

Following the recent abuse of Human Rights in Tibet, here is an extract of a letter His Holiness wrote as an appeal to the Chinese people: FPMT LOGO

Today I would like to make a personal appeal to all Chinese spiritual brothers and sisters, both inside as well as outside the People's Republic of China, and  especially to the followers of the Buddha.  I do this as a Buddhist monk and a student of our most revered teacher, the Buddha.  I have already made an appeal to the general Chinese community.  Here I am appealing to you, my spiritual brothers and sisters, on an urgent humanitarian matter.
 
The Chinese and the Tibetan people share common spiritual heritage in Mahayana Buddhism.  We worship the Buddha of Compassion - Guan Yin in the Chinese tradition and Chenrezig in Tibetan tradition - and cherish compassion for all suffering beings as one of the highest spiritual ideals.  Furthermore, since Buddhism flourished in China before it came to Tibet from India, I have always viewed the Chinese Buddhists with the reverence due to senior spiritual brothers and sisters.
 
As most of you are aware, beginning with the 10th of March this year, a series of demonstrations have taken place in Lhasa and across many Tibetan areas.  These are caused by deep Tibetan resentment against the policies of the Chinese government.  I have been deeply saddened by the loss of life, both Chinese and Tibetans, and immediately appealed to both the Chinese authorities and the Tibetans for restraint.  I specially appealed to the Tibetans not to resort to violence.
 
Unfortunately, the Chinese authorities have resorted to brutal methods to deal with the development despite appeals for restraint by many world leaders, NGOs and noted world citizens, particularly many Chinese scholars.  In the process, there has been loss of life, injuries to many, and the detention of large number of Tibetans.   The crackdown still continues, especially targeting monastic institutions, which have traditionally been the repository of ancient Buddhist knowledge and tradition.  Many of these have been sealed off.  We have reports that many of those detained are beaten and treated harshly. These repressive measures seem to be part of an officially sanctioned systematic policy.
 
With no international observers, journalists or even tourists allowed to Tibet,  I am deeply worried about the fate of the Tibetans.  Many of those injured in the crackdown, especially in the remote areas, are too terrified to seek medical treatment for fear of arrest.  According to some reliable sources, people are fleeing to the mountains where they have no access to food and shelter.  Those who remained behind are living in a constant state of fear of being the next to be arrested.
 
I am deeply pained by this ongoing suffering.  I am very worried where all these tragic developments might lead to ultimately.  I do not believe that repressive measures can achieve any long-term solution.  The best way forward is to resolve the issues between the Tibetans and the Chinese leadership through dialogue, as I have been advocating for a long time.  I have repeatedly assured the leadership of the People's Republic of China that I am not seeking independence.  What I am seeking is a meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people that would ensure the long-term survival of our Buddhist culture, our language and our distinct identity as a people.  The rich Tibetan Buddhist culture is part of the larger cultural heritage of the People's Republic of China and has the potential to benefit our Chinese brothers and sisters.
 
In the light of the present crisis, I appeal to all of you to help call for an immediate end to the ongoing brutal crackdown, for the release of all who have been detained, and to call for providing immediate medical care to the injured.

You can find this and other news at: http://www.dalailama.com/news.htm

Some useful websites to go to if you are interested in learning more about what is
going on in Tibet and how you can help:
Tibet
Office of Tibet http://www.tibet.com
Students for a Free Tibet http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org
Free Tibet  http://www.freetibet.org
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy http://www.tchrd.org
Campaign for Tibet http://www.savetibet.org
Australia Tibet Council http://www.atc.org.au
 THIS MONTH AT JAMYANG
    

THIS MONTH AT JAMYANG

REGULAR CLASSES
 Mondays @ 7.30pm
Buddhist Meditation

Tuesdays @ 7.30pm

 Geshe Tashi - The Vajrasattva Practice

Wednesdays @ 7.30pm
 Geshe Tashi - What is Buddhist Meditation

Thursdays @ 7.30pm    
Silent Meditation Group
 
 
 
WEEKENDS
10 May
17-18 May

Jamyang's Friends-
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Jamyang is looking for a committed volunteer to help manage our "Friends" database. Basic computer skills required.

If you are interested and would like to learn more about what the job entails, please contact Sally at: [email protected]
Dying Well Group-
TreeOur next Dying Well day is on the 10th May - 10 am till 5 pm. Our main subject for investigation will be bereavement.  We will be joined for the morning by Clare Ziegler of Cruse Bereavement Care. Clare is a bereavement councillor and as she doesn't want to give a formal talk, we think the best way to structure the morning is around questions. So... if you can join us on the 10th, please think of things you would like to ask her, either about dealing with our own bereavement or how to help others in that situation.
We have two relevant audio tapes and there will be discussion and meditation as usual.

Welcome Sam-

Hi everyone.Sam Brooks

I am really delighted to have joined the Jamyang Community in the role of Manager of Repaying the Kindness (RTK), taking off where Estelle is leaving it, that is, in its currently strong position as one of Jamyang's sister projects.  I hear that I have a hard act to follow but I will do my very best to maintain and where possible increase the measure of happiness brought about by the RTK.

I have only been working at Jamyang for a couple of days but already it feels like home. It's really wonderful to be working alongside such a warm and committed group of people and the whole environment at the centre is ideal for a Buddhist working in the city.

A little about my background. I  recently returned from Kathmandu, Nepal having been studying at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Boudhanath,  Buddhist Studies and Tibetan for four years. The studies took the form of a degree and gave me an opportunity to delve into the teachings for a sustained period. During this time I came back to the UK for the summer to teach English as a Foreign Language, before returning to resume my studies in Nepal for the next year.

Before going to Nepal I did a variety of things including qualifying as a solicitor and managing a small sandwich business.  When I became a Buddhist in 1996 my whole world went a bit topsy turvy while I reassessed my world view and approach to life. I studied as much as time would allow here in the West under the wing of my main teacher Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche who skillfully led me through this period and under whom I completed my first set of preliminary practices (Ngondro). During this time I also travelled several times to India and Nepal on pilgrimages and for teachings, and loved it so much, I decided to return for full time study.

Now, happy to be home and feeling more grounded through the process of study, reflection, and (a little) meditation, I am so glad to have found this position here at Jamyang and RTK.  I look forward to working with joyful effort on these wonderful events aimed at bringing lightness and happiness to others.

Sam Brooks
Thank you Estelle-

EstelleIt is great to welcome Sam as the new manager of Repaying the Kindness: her energy and enthusiasm will be a very valuable asset to the project.

Repaying the Kindness owes it's success so far to the determined dedication of Clare Walsh who has been the facilitator and Tai Chi teacher since it's beginning in 2001, and to the hard work of all the volunteers who have been involved over the years. We have a wonderful team of volunteers who have been inspired by Geshe Tashi's teachings to put compassion into action.
I have been involved with RTK since 2001; first as a volunteer, then as coordinator, and for the last three years as manager. I have learnt a lot and made some good friends. The carers are good company and I will miss them.
 

I would like to thank the trustees and Jamyang's staff for all their help over the years. My especial thanks are for Geshe-la who has been a constant inspiration.

It has been a privilege to be part of this ground breaking project, and I'm sure it will continue to thrive.

Estelle Rose, April 22nd 2008.
The Manager's bit

BuildingDear friends,
The work camp was a great success, thanks to the efforts of all the volunteers.  The Tara room got revamped with a new coat of paint; the basement was cleared of 6 years of accumulated matter; the garden was weeded, cleaned and watered; a new water heater was installed for the cell block; the two Gompas were given a spring clean; and the final decoration of the healing room was completed.

The cost for doing all this work was only 107! 

Well done to everyone!

with love Anil xx
Silent Meditation Group-
Jamyang has a new meditation group that meets on Thursdays at 6pm. Dave Benn, who is one of the group's facilitators, writes:
Flowers

Exalted in mind & heedful,
the sage trained in sagacity's ways:
He has no sorrows, one who is Such,
calmed & ever mindful



As a dominant species mankind has one prominent characteristic, this is to be in a constant hurry inventing new strategies while rushing to meet deadlines.

In reality the mind is like a mountain lake when a high wind is blowing, the surface may appear rough and choppy but deep down all is calm.

Jamyang will be holding pre teaching class sessions of Shanti peaceful meditation; these will involve minimal verbal input where we will just sit quietly while alert letting the constant inner chatter subside, finding a haven of tranquillity to aid us functioning in an ever stressful environment.

This will be an area away from the social function of Jamyang with chatter and bonding over tea and biscuits. In these sessions there will only be your perceived awareness and your evolving karma.

Looking for the inner space Longchen Rabjam states in his A Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena

"The magical expressions that originate within the unborn basic space are completely indeterminate and not subject to any restrictions whatsoever. They cannot be characterised as "Things" for they have no substance or characteristics. In that their nature is like the panoramic vista of space, they are unborn, spontaneously present, and free of any time frame, any beginning or end"

With this as a motivation we hope to transmit this profound ultimate truth of quiet awareness just by living the good life when we exit from the shrine room.

The meditation will be divided into at least two sessions to facilitate ease for creaking bones and swollen joints, when stretching is in order.

Come one, come all, there is no place from where to fall.
Jamyang's Bookshop-
MalaComing back from India, Geshe Tashi has not only brought back his energy to Jamyang, but also, with the help of the pilgrims, many things for the bookshop.

Do not hesitate to come along and have a look at what is new.

We have new different Tibetan incenses, beautiful statues, new malas, holy stones "eyes of the Buddha", little clay plaques with the Buddha on one sideFPMT LOGO and his life on the other and many other things.

Also,  don't forget to have a look at our range of books; because you come into our shop a lot, our stock moves quickly, and we regularly renew it.

LibroWe try as much as we can to have books relating to our teaching courses, and at the moment we have some books on Vajrasattva, like Becoming Vajrasattva and Preliminary Guide to Vajrasattva.

 

The best way to have an idea of what we offer in Jamyang's bookshop  is to come and see for yourself. You will probably find something that interests you. And, of course, any purchase in the bookshop is a great way to help our Dharma Centre.

 

Love,

Corinne
[email protected]
Pilgrimage Recount-
            Pilgrimage


After a month travelling together in India, here are some words from Michelle Mallet and images from Roger Munro and Duncan Yuile. We will be sharing more poems and photos in following editions.


When we landed in Bombay,
It looked, from above, like any suburbia.
But when we saw the dwellings by the runway,
No doubt, we had arrived in India.
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But then again, that Chennai hotel, wow!!!
You could have been in L.A. or Vancouver,
However, as soon as you left the area,
Market shacks, grime, cows, a quick reminder.

Yet, the luxury was not to last,
For the contrast was soon felt.
Guntur, we could have easily past,
As jumbo mozzies were hitting below the belt.

Our buses were comfy and ACd,

Just like driving with our own private chauffeur.FPMT LOGO
But the journeys from hell indeed,
Were those nights on the 'train a vapeur'.

'Chai, Chai', they call all day and half the night.

At 10:30, at last comes dinner.
If you have no appointment, it's alright.
But 6 hours late, even British Rail can do better!

With the tuc-tucs, you took your life in your hands.

Well, if you have one left not turning blue for holding on.
'How much to the big bazar?' Steve demands.
'10 rupees per person'. - No, 5 - ok, come on!

For Jo, it was the Bodhgaya rickshaw trip.
Others had coughs, or the run on and off.
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But for Rose, at Li Meridien, she needed the drip,
And without her we had to take off.

We learnt a few things about each other,

ie. that Svetlana was the inventor of the 'taking it with a pinch of salt' expression.
For some, it was good to take time as a loner,
While for most, risking a face-off with a load of bull wasn't an option.

As foreigners, we attracted a lot of attention,
none more though than when we were on a mission.
Indian travellers also became papparazzi,
stealing shots posing next to a white aussie.

Being in such a group can bring the kid out of you.
The problem is when he has to get back inside though.
You become then 'your giggliness'
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Afraid of being caught by 'his Greatness'.

We saw many kids on 2 legs, and four;

The latter became playmates for Steve and Geshe la.
Goats were everywhere, but we needed just one more.
So, could someone email a picture to Cornelia?

Crackers, cookies, nuts, candies, going round and round on the bus;
Forget the non-attachment, avarice and enviable body!
By that time, our system, for normal food, was begging us.
The cheese party on the express was great, though someone forgot the Mutton Cadet.
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In these modern times, it may be hard to disconnect.
Living in the present is a technological challenge.
For some, the first question upon arriving was: where is the internet?
While others hit the foreign exchange.

Some celebrated 3 birthdays on the month's trail;
Others only felt as if, each time we had to stand up after a teaching.
Free time was between swim, shop, drop or email.
For the rest of the day, Geshe la took the worries out of living.

Handwipes, no salad, mozzie cream, teeth with mineral water...
Hard to remember it all when you haven't slept well for many a day.
But our nurse was never too far with advice - or the stick - bless her!
We had to reach the finish line, come what may.

For sure, as a whole, this pilgrimage was truly a blessing.
Prayers at the holy sites, on the bus chan-an-ting.
However, Geshe-la's blah blah was the highlighting,
Since no one was ready yet for enlightening.
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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