From: Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]] on behalf of Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]]
Sent: 04 July 2008 19:32
To: [email protected]
Subject: GentleVoice July 2008
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July 2008
In This Issue
Teaching by Lama Yeshe
Geshe Tashi's Column
This Month at Jamyang
'Why does the Buddha wear lipstick?' by Brian Richardson
Summer School
Did you know?
Sally's column
Volunteers needed
Quick Links
Editor's welcome 
Kids Why does the Buddha wear lipstick? This is the sort of thing you can learn by leading a school visit, writes Brian in his contribution to Gentle Voice. Jamyang has been very lucky to have a team of volunteers who, over the years, have facilitated groups of 20-30 students visiting the centre. Both children and teachers get a tour of the building and an explanation of some of the ways Buddha taught on how to live life with a good heart. This way, Jamyang not only contributes to a school's curriculum, but also offers a positive experience for both kids and teachers, who often speak of the peace and happiness they experience after the meditation session in the gompa.
 
By teaching children to have a good heart and be kind to others, they grow up to be good human beings, explains Lama Zopa Rinpoche. In this edition of Gentle Voice you will find some articles on this topic: Lama Yeshe's teaching on education, the school visits, the Summer School at Jamyang and the 16 Guidelines training for people working with children.
 
Geshe Tashi writes in his column about some of the up and coming events and Sally shares the kind response of students to her "Gentle Request for Help" email sent two weeks ago. She also introduces Ven. Rita, an energetic Swiss nun who will be teaching at Jamyang in August.
 
Lastly, don't miss the opportunity to attend the "Buddhist Way of Living and Dying" weekend, the last set of teachings with Geshe Tashi in London this term!
 
Much love, 
esther g.

On educating children- by Lama Yeshe
On Lama Yeshe's 1975 visit to Australia, one of his students, a trainee teacher, invited Lama to his college to talk to some of the other student teachers.

Lama YesheThe purpose of education is to benefit people. We all know this. However, different countries have their own ideas of what constitutes benefit according to their individual inclinations. What some countries consider to be bad education other countries consider good. In other words, what makes education good or bad depends on how one interprets good and bad.

When it comes to teaching others, we have to take into account and foster our students' abilities and interests and try to develop those qualities in the classroom; if we don't, the students just get bored or upset. Especially at this time, it's not wise to teach in an authoritarian, dogmatic way: "Sit there! Learn this!" Children nowadays are very intellectually free and don't respond well to force. So we have to arouse their interest. Skillful teachers know how to make their students interested in the subject being taught, whatever it is; that's a uniquely human ability. Simply pushing students isn't just unwise; it doesn't work.

Being a teacher is a big responsibility. But learning alone doesn't make a teacher; we have to know how to interest our students in what we want them to learn. If we don't, it's impossible to teach. A good teacher should know each student's individual character and temperament and how to work with that. If the teacher's attitude is "My way is the only way" and the student's is different, it becomes a problem.

Another quality that a good teacher should have is equanimity. Good teachers don't favor those students who make them happy and forget about or reject those who are slow, temperamental or difficult to communicate with. That's not right. If the teacher gives off a good vibration, has a good relationship with all of his or her students, makes them interested in the subject and benefits their life, that's wonderful.

Also, we all have different aptitudes. We learn some things quickly and others slowly; we understand some things the instant we hear them but find others incredibly difficult to grasp and to integrate with our own experience. Therefore we have to expect that because everybody's mind is different, some students will find certain subjects difficult and others easy. But, given time, most students can learn most things and we shouldn't give up on or denigrate those who don't get something the first or second time.

So teachers should have the skill to treat students as individuals and not generalise them. No two personalities are identical; each person's ability to learn is different. Also, some people have a tendency to judge others on superficialities without knowing what they're like inside, but others' inner abilities can be very difficult to comprehend; most of the time we don't even know our own abilities.

Check your own educational experiences. You probably found some subjects unbelievably easy to understand while others were still incomprehensible even after repeated study. Why was that? Your own experience should help you have patience when you teach.

It's especially important to explain to children why they should get an education; as I mentioned before, you can't force them to learn. If they understand the reasons they'll take more of an interest in their studies and be much easier to teach. They don't necessarily have to understand all the logic for and benefits of learning, just some. Anyway, if you simply tell them they have to study: "because it's the law" or "because I want you to", they'll just ask "Why?"

That's true. Kids today aren't easy. They always want to know why. It's not like it used to be in the old days. Think of the traditional English methods of education. Children had no choice; they had to do as they were told. Teachers didn't have to explain anything; they had all the power and used it. But that was in the past. These days children are more intelligent and sceptical and teachers seem to have lost the power they used to have - it's moved a little more to the students' side. Perhaps they've unionized! Anyway, the conclusion is to give students logical reasons for why they should get educated.

It's not easy to be a teacher. Good teachers take responsibility for their students' lives. Perhaps this doesn't happen so much in the West but that's how it was in Tibet. Our teachers felt very responsible for they way their students thought and behaved and in general tried to ensure that their lives were constructive and uncomplicated. But even though Western teachers today have less influence over students than they used to, they still have some.

Therefore, as much as you can, give off good vibrations and come from a place of sound philosophy rather than misconception. Many teachers' ideas are total misconceptions and when this is reflected in their unconscious behavior it adversely affects their students: they adopt their teachers' erroneous ideas and copy their bad behaviour. I'm not just being negative; it happens. So be careful how you think and act.

Lama Yeshe gave this talk at Kedron Park Teachers College, Queensland, on April 29, 1975. Edited from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive by Nicholas Ribush. To read the whole text click on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive E-letter- September 2006

For advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche on educating children, visit the School-Age Children section of the online Advice Book.

 
For more information on Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Schedule and for advice visit his official website.

Geshe Tashi's Column-
Geshe Tashi I would like to say hello to all the readers and share two things with you connected with Jamyang's upcoming programme.
 
I am sure you will see more details in the future programme but I would like to share with you why I have put that programme together. For a year, starting in September, I am going to do the Foundation of Buddhist Thought course as a campus course. It will be different from the previous campus courses we have done here at Jamyang: instead of doing it at the weekends the teachings will be on a weekday. Also, instead of running for two years, it will last one year. I will be using the new books published by Wisdom Publications (with the exception of the last module).
 
One of my aims is to really give a structured course so that people living in London who maybe could not come previously, but are able to commit for one year, can do this course.
 
Although the course is already available as a correspondence course, I have not taught it as a campus course for several years. So if you want to learn Buddhism in a more structured course, and would like to have an overview of Buddhist theories and practices, this course will give you some helpful understanding and knowledge. If you are interested in this, please think about enrolling (click here for more information about this course).
 
The second thing I want to say is that once more we are very fortunate to bring Khensur Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche to the UK and to Jamyang to give us important and amazing teachings. This time he will be staying here longer than before, and the schedule will include weekday and weekend teachings.
 
In terms of subjects he will cover, Khensur Rinpoche will give some Lam Rim teachings and also a Vajrayana initiation and commentary. As I always say, there are very few great teachers like Rinpoche, and it is extremely useful to take the opportunity when they come to our doorstep, and I would like to encourage you to try to come to his teachings if you can.
 
Overall, what I am saying is to look at the programme and to try to participate in the discussions and the activities as much as you can. This way it will help you to get inspiration and encouragement for your practice and you will be supporting the continuity of the centre.
 
Thank you very much.

 THIS MONTH AT JAMYANG
    

THIS MONTH AT JAMYANG

REGULAR CLASSES
Mondays @ 7.30pm
Buddhist Meditation

Tuesdays @ 7.30pm

 Geshe Tashi - Dependent Arising

Wednesdays @ 7.30pm

 Geshe Tashi - Buddhist Way of Living and Dying

Thursdays @ 6.00pm
Silent Meditation Group

Thursdays @ 7.30pm

HappinessThrough Mindfulness
 
 
 
WEEKENDS
5-6 July
Vajrasattva Practice
13 July

GROUP PRACTICE
11 July
  4 Mandala Offerings to Tara
12 July / 20 July
Lama Chopa Practice
22 July
Medicine Buddha

School visits at Jamyang- by Brian Richardson

Kids
'Why does the Buddha wear lipstick?' This is the sort of thing you can learn by leading a school visit. This school year we have had visits from ten primary schools and one teacher training college. Altogether, about 350 primary school children have visited the centre.

In previous years there have been as many as 1,400 children visiting. On a visit, they get a tour of the building and some time in each of the shrine rooms. We can briefly cover the history of the centre and how it was founded by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and then go through the panels of the life story of the Buddha.
Kids
Fortunately, no-one has asked what enlightenment is. Having enjoyed a jammy dodger and an apple juice, we do a short non-religious meditation, which the children love. They also love waiting for the note of the bell to fade away before they can open their eyes. You get comments like 'My memories all disappeared and my mind became fresh'.
 
At the moment, Cynthia and Brian are doing the primary school visits and Ros is doing older students' visits. We have taken over from David and Lynne. If you are free at all during the day, why not join us for a visit? They are usually from about 10am for an hour and a bit.

KidsWe are planning to put some web pages on the Jamyang site with details of how to book, along with other pages for children to learn about dharma. We also want to develop some teaching materials, and to visit schools. And it would be nice to get Jamyang Junior going again, possibly during the daytime. If you would like to help with any of this, please tell Anil. 

Oh yes, why does the Buddha have red lips? Because it symbolises his sacred speech. One final story. When Cynthia did the equanimity meditation, one child said afterwards: 'I felt like my head and my heart changed places'.

Some THANK YOU letters
writing
Another THANK YOU-
Kids
Summer school in august-
Jamyang will be running a summer school for one week this coming summer!

FPMT LOGOThe summer school will be an opportunity for children to participate in arts and crafts work and to play together in the friendly environment of Jamyang Buddhist centre. There will be no specifically Buddhist teaching but there will be an emphasis on learning to appreciate and value each other in all the activities.

As a unique offering there will also be a crèche facility for parents during this time. Activities for parents will include discussion, meditation and some free time.

The summer school is open to all children between the ages of four and 12. The school will be run by Cynthia Bonell who has many years experience as a junior teacher in London and has recently returned from teaching Tibetan children at the refugee reception centres in Kathmandu and Dharamsala.

If you are interested in participating, please download and complete the booking form and return it to Jamyang. We will get in touch with you shortly.
The 16 Guidelines for a happy life for children
Istituto Lama Tsong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, 18 - 23 July 2008 
 
You are warmly invited to attend an Essential Education training course for people currently working with (or intending to work with) children, young people and families, using The 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life. The course will include the first European presentation of 'Ready Set Happy', a new 16 Guidelines resource for children aged eight to 11 years. 

The Guidelines are a practical tool for helping people everywhere to be kind and wise in daily life, inspired by a set of ethical principles drawn up by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has said: "Wherever you start Essential Education, this should be the practice."

The course is being offered by the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, an education non-profit organisation set up in January 2005 to take forward the late Lama Thubten Yeshe's vision for 'a new kind of universal education.' The Dalai Lama is the patron of the Foundation, and Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the Honorary President. It is part of the FPMT.

The course is designed for teachers, trainers and parents who have a personal interest in the 16 Guidelines and the philosophy behind them, and who want to share them with children and young people.
 
For more information please visit the Essential Education website.

The Director's column
SallyA warm July hello to everyone.

This is the perfect opportunity to begin by offering heartfelt thanks to all who responded so kindly to my recent "Gentle Request" e-group message.

We received the following response:

One-off donations = £2,125.
Three new members paying one year membership immediately = £360.

12 New members = £120 extra per month.
Two new members waiting for our online payment facility to be activated to sign up (this will be active very soon) = £20 extra per month.
Five people offered to increase their existing membership.
Several people offered non-financial help to raise funds for Jamyang via running Yoga workshops, professional musicians offering to play and so on.

I felt so happy with this response!  I also had a lot of positive feedback from people reiterating how much Jamyang means to them, which is most inspiring too. Thank you again to everyone who responded - your help really matters.

 
With excited anticipation, I hope to soon welcome a long-term friend and dharma sister, and one of my main dharma inspirations, to Jamyang! Her name is Venerable Rita Riniker, who has been ordained for over 17 years now.
She was resident teacher at Tushita Centre, Dharamsala while I worked there.  Ven. Rita has led and guided many retreats including five three-month Vajrasattva retreats, Green Tara retreats and a two month Lam Rim Chen Mo retreat with teachings by Yangsi Rinpoche in 2000. Ven Rita is especially well known for leading Nyung Naes, having completed more than 80 consecutive Nyung Naes over a period of six months in 1998.

 
Ven Rita is a fantastic teacher - very down to earth, practical, wise, knowledgeable and compassionate.  She "cut her teaching teeth" in Dharmasala, teaching to very sceptical, often argumentative and critical students arriving in D'sala for their very first taste of Buddhism! She quickly won their approval and respect. I highly recommend her teachings.
 
Take care everyone, enjoy the sun!
Love Sally

 

VOLUNTEERS needed to publicise Jamyang's activities
It is one of Geshe Tashi's wishes that Jamyang become better known in the local area and also in other parts of London. For this, a communal effort is needed. We have prepared fliers/postcards that publicise the full range of services offered by Jamyang. Where should we put them? If you can help in any of the following ways please contact me: [email protected]
 
We need to compile a list of free notice boards in London. Any ideas? Maybe health food shops, anything to do with alternative medicine/treatments, clinics, doctor surgeries, community centres and even supermarkets. Please send names and contact details.
 
Could you "adopt" one or more notice boards near where you live or work? This would involve putting up our flier, then keeping an eye on it and replacing it when necessary. Fliers can be picked up in the office or we can post them to you.
 
If you can help in this way, please let us have your contact details.
 
Notice boards apart, does anyone have info/ideas about other forms of free publicity? All ideas welcome.

with love,

Mary Curtin and Esther g
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