From: Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]] on behalf of Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]]
Sent: 10 November 2008 14:00
To: [email protected]
Subject: GentleVoice November 2008

 
 

November 2008
In This Issue
Jamyang's 30th anniversary
Teaching by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Geshe Tashi's column
This Month at Jamyang
Director's column
A brief history of Jamyang
A closer look at the 16 guidelines for a happy life
Jamyang Walk
Appeal for the LYWA
Appeal for Songs of Tibet
Quick Links
 

Editor's welcome 
  BuddhaJamyang is a place of refuge; many students expressed this thought when we asked them what the centre meant for them. It is a place where you can find a friendly peaceful environment in the middle of a very busy city. Jamyang has that quality.  When you work here you forget how wonderful and precious this place is. I am reminded when I watch people visit the main temple for the first time and exclaim: wow that is so beautiful, as they point to where the golden Buddha sits. The Gompa is a breathtaking space, where many teachers and students have sat together to listen to and meditate on the Dharma. This is very precious, as Lama Zopa Rinpoche says in the article we chose for this edition of Gentle Voice.
 
All that Jamyang is now has been thanks to the work of many beings, as Robin Bath recounts in his article below where he gives a brief history of the Centre. Don't miss our invitation to join Jamyang's 30th Party. It will be exciting, interesting and guaranteed fun!
 
To find out more about what is going on at Jamyang you can read Geshe Tashi's and Sally's columns below.
 
Finally, we hope that you can join one of the many activities we will be offering in November, the busiest month since I arrived two years ago with one or more activities every single day of the week. For example, on Fridays we will start a class on the 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life, read more about this in Hazel's contribution.
 
You will find this is a longer Gentle Voice than usual, but I believe, worth the read.
 
See you soon. Much love,
 
esther g.
 
Join us to celebrate Jamyang's 30 years-

 Celebrate Jamyang's Past, Present and Future at our 30th Birthday Community Day!
 
BallonsJoin us on Sunday 16th November 2008 to
remember and celebrate the past, 
honour the present
and prepare for the future
of our great work to benefit all sentient beings.
 
The day will start at 11.45am, and end at 6pm. Lunch is included for everyone who comes.

 
 
 
PLEASE PUT A NOTE IN YOUR DIARY -      
 
         IT WILL NOT BE THE SAME WITHOUT YOU
Teaching by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on the importance of Dharma centres-
 
Lama Zopa RInpoche 
I just want to explain simply how meaningful it is that we have Dharma centers so that we can help so many sentient beings while they have this most precious human body. By awakening them to the unmistaken causes of happiness and suffering through explaining the Buddha's teachings on karma, which is our experience, not merely belief. By offering this education we open their lives to all happiness - not just that of this life, but that of future lives and the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara and the peerless happiness of full enlightenment.
 
How fortunate and happy I am! How fortunate and happy we are!
 
-Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Extracted from the FPMT's website 
 

Longer advice from a teaching at Institut Vajra Yogini, Lavaur, France on 12 May, 2003  
Transcribed by Su Foo, edited by Claire Isitt, December 2003. Edited for Gentle Voice.
 
I would like to mention how urgent it is especially nowadays in this world to have meditation centers, Dharma study groups. Actually that's the most important thing in the world.
 
Why do I say it's the most important service to sentient beings? Studying in the meditation center, learning Dharma yourself and giving the opportunity to others to do the same, inspiring each other. You share your experience, your understanding of Dharma, meditation, and try to benefit others. The change of action is Dharma, the change of attitude is Dharma. And purifying past negative karma - only Dharma can do that. No external phenomenon can purify it.
 
So as long as beings don't change their action and attitude, which is Dharma, how is it possible for them to stop their problems of life? And not only this life but they are creating all this negative karma to experience in future lives. So you can see that as long as from their own side if beings don't practice Dharma, especially the good heart, if they don't change their mind and their actions for the better, which is the cause of happiness, as long as they stay like this from their own side, what other people do can't really stop their problems. Not only that, they must achieve ultimate happiness, enlightenment, by ceasing subtle mistakes of mind. So all this happiness - temporary happiness, ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara, full enlightenment, everything comes from their own mind, with Dharma, the pure mind, Dharma, their actions, their pure action, good karma. So all these have come from their own mind, which is Dharma.
   Rinpoche and Geshe Tashi outside 43 Renfrew Road
 So, therefore you can now see - educating sentient beings about the mind, about reincarnation, about karma, what's the cause of happiness, what is the cause of suffering, which is contained within the Four Noble Truths, the fundamental teaching of the Buddha, our kind compassionate Buddha. The whole conclusion is educating Dharma, meditation. So here you can see that this is the most important service to sentient beings. 
  
The best service is Dharma. To teach Dharma to others, to help others to learn Dharma. Another meaning is giving education, making them understand what's the correct way, what's the correct cause of happiness. They come to the center and then they come to know the cause of suffering, delusion and karma, then they come to know what liberation really means, what they should focus on or achieve. So then they feel the need to look for the method to achieve the cessation of the suffering. Then they feel the need to do something, then they follow the path as they come to know there is a path. Then that's how they get inspired to practice the path, to follow the path to liberation, and to follow the path to enlightenment.

 
For more information on Lama Zopa Rinpoche's schedule and for advice visit his official website.
Geshe Tashi's column-
Geshe TashiRecently we had a visit from Khensur Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche which was very successful.  The teachings were very well attended.  Khensur Rinpoche was very pleased to see that so many people are interested in coming to classes and wanting to practise Dharma sincerely.
 
As always I say this, and deeply feel it ...there are very few Tibetan teachers like Khensur Rinpoche. Very few. Not just in the Gelug tradition, but in all the traditions. Great practitioners   who are also great scholars and who have such dedication, wanting to share with others who also have a great wish to study Dharma. Khensur Rinpoche is very kind to us, coming year after year to teach, regardless of hardships such as getting the correct papers, all the visas, and then travelling from one continent to another.
 
Nowadays we can fly to and from India, to the States and back again. But we take many things for granted. When we go to the airport in these places, we generally speak the language and understand the customs and how that country does things. And we have documents which are easily recognised by the officials. People like Khensur Rinpoche, this Tibetan great master, even though he did not have simple things like a passport and papers to travel easily, nevertheless he came this year, and gave such amazing teachings. The Centre and I personally invited him to come back and teach us in the coming years, and he kindly accepted. We requested him to come next year, and he said yes!
 
We must start preparing for this visit, and other centres in Europe will also be interested in him visiting and giving teachings. The teachings will be on the sutrayana system, how to cultivate love and compassion (bodhichitta) and on understanding emptiness. We always request him and all the great teachers to teach those subjects, not just give initiations.
 
My approach is that it is equally important to receive teachings from these great masters on general Buddhist teachings. There may be difficulties, as they don't know the western cultures, western mentalities and 21st century attractions. Nevertheless when we listen to teachings by these great teachers, although they teach in a very traditional way, there are great authentic Buddhist teachings and practices that we can learn about from these great teachers. From my own experience, living in the west and trying to learn about western culture and 21st century attractions, I am often reluctant to say important things so as not to be misunderstood. These great masters don't know about western cultures but their understanding of Buddhist practices is very authentic, deep and profound. Listening day after day, we will see the benefits of listening to those great traditional teachers.
 
So next year, for the main teaching, I have requested him is to teach and give the initiation of Vajrayogini. And to give the commentary of the Vajrayogini practice. Not just the initiation but also the commentary.on the Vajrayogini sadhana. 
 
Khensur RInpoche arriving at JamyangThere are 2 reasons that I have requested this initiation and teachings. The first reason is ... Up to now our main focus, with some, but not very great success, my first priority was the highest yoga tantra practice of Guhyasamaja. Khensur Rinpoche kindly gave the initiations twice over three years and finished the commentaries over these three years on the generation and completion stages of the Guhyasamaja practice. Although it might not have benefited huge numbers of people, the people who put their energy and time to study and to receive the teachings, those people have received great benefits from doing this. This year we requested Khensur Rinpoche to teach on Yamantaka (Solitary hero Vajrabhairava) and he kindly gave us the initiation and the commentary on how to do the generation stage practice on the sadhana based on one popular commentary. These two tantras are father tantras, and that is why I thought it was time we had an initiation and commentary on a mother tantra. Ideally it would be good to have Heruka Chakrasamvara, but for some reason we have chosen Vajrayogini. The main reason is to have complete father and mother tantric practices available at the Centre.
 
The other reason is this. Over the years, in some people's case over 30 years ago, they  received Vajrayogini initiations and commentaries from great teachers like Kyabje Song Rinpoche, when they visited the West and gave many teachings. Particularly mother tantra initiations, including Vajrayogini and Heruka and so forth. In order to benefit those senior western practitioners, to refresh their understanding and to also receive the teachings again from a great master like Khensur Rinpoche - a great practitioner, a great scholar, who has  studied the practice himself. He also led a great, important Buddhist Tantric institution like Gyume Monastic University. He was the abbot for 6 years. So my feeling is, for those people who have received initiations and commentaries from Kyabje Song Rinpoche and other great Buddhist teachers, that it is now time to make it more available, particularly in the Gelug tradition. Vajrayogini teachings and practices are closely associated with the lineage of Kyabe Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Song Rinpoche, and earlier, Pabonka Rinpoche.
 
Many times I have been asked by people wishing to leave the New Kadampa Tradition KR(NKT), who have received the Vajrayogini initiation from NKT teachers, and who are confused about whether they can continue the Vajrayogini practice without continuing the Dolgyel (Shugden) practice, because they were taught to do the Dolgyel (Shugden) practice in collaboration with the Vajrayogini practice. People have been a little misled to believe that if they want to practise Vajrayogini, then they have to also do the Dolgyel (Shugden) practice. So, to clarify any such confusion that may exist in the West, I have requested this Vajrayogini initiation and teachings from Khensur Rinpoche, so it can be done without any trace of Dolgyel (Shugden). To give people the opportunity to continue to practise Vajrayogini without Dolgyel (Shugden).
 
Another reason I am telling you all this now, is so that people know about this coming opportunity. My guess is that Khensur Rinpoche will come to give these teachings in September/October 2009. I am informing you at the earliest time so you can arrange to book these teachings in advance, so you will be able to put the dates in your diaries.
 
At this time, this is my main message in Gentle Voice. I wish to say thank you to Khensur Rinpoche and all the people who were involved in bringing him over to Jamyang and the other centres in Europe, and for the future, so people will know how important these visits are. In 10-15 years time these great teachers will not be here. These teachers from whom we receive these amazing teachings. That is very clear. As I said at the beginning, there are very few great teachers left on this planet.
 
I would like to say thank you to the people who attended the teachings, and at the same time, I want to encourage you to come to teachings from great masters like Khensur Rinpoche.
 

 THIS MONTH AT JAMYANG
    

THIS MONTH AT JAMYANG

REGULAR CLASSES
Mondays @ 7.30pm
Buddhist Meditation
 
Tuesdays @ 7.00pm 
 
 
Thursdays @ 6.30pm
 
Thursdays @ 7.30pm 
Discussing Nagarjuna's Precious Garland
 
21 November
Sitar and classical music concert
  

 
 
RETREAT
29 -30 November
 
GROUP PRACTICE
 8/ 22 November
 
19 November
Director's column-
Sally BHappy November everyone!
 
I felt a wave of sadness to say goodbye to Khensur Rinpoche at Heathrow last Tuesday morning.  Rinpoche's visit was a wonderful boost to Jamyang's already excellent Dharma programme.  Fortunately, Rinpoche has accepted Geshe Tashi and Jamyang's invitation to return and teach again, hopefully next autumn.
 
 
 And the recent mantra rolling workshop went very well, with a surprising good number of people coming over the week to help.  There's certainly no better way to get to know fellow students and visitors, than by sitting and cutting and rolling together.  Previously I've found preparing mantras rather hard, undesirable work, but this week was quite different!  It was really enjoyable because it was such a good team effort, so huge thanks to everyone who helped. One thing to mention - for those who had statues filled over that time, please do consider making some monetary offering towards printing all the mantras and other items used to fill statues, and for us to make a small offering to Geshe Tashi, without whose help, this could never be accomplished.
 
Another event to look forward to at Jamyang, is Ven Amy Miller's weekend course "Making Friends with Death", 22 & 23rd November.  Amy was Director of an FPMT Centre, Vajrapani Institute in California when I first met her as a lay person.  During her time there, she took ordination and became Ven Amy, and continued working as Director, until she left to do a long retreat.  She also travelled the world extensively with Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche and his attendant, (they even went to Antarctica!) as their escort before starting her own path as a teacher. These days she travels the world, teaching at FPMT centres and other venues.  She brings a wealth of Dharma and teaching experience with her.  Ven Amy's teachings are extremely accessible, with wisdom and humour. I do encourage you to attend her weekend.

I'm very happy to report that Jamyang's monthly figures have been in the black the last couple of months, rather than the red.  This is a heartwarming achievement, and although we still have debts to cover, at least our cash flow situation has improved now.  We do need to be very vigilant regarding finances still, especially given the current financial climate.  Especially thanks to all our new Members, and to those who have increased their donations. You really do help Jamyang significantly.
 

I hope you are all keeping warm these days. Stepping off the train one night recently into snow falling, was a shock for this Kiwi girl! (Actually, a pleasant shock, since the cold is still a novelty)
 
Love to all,
Sally



Jamyang's 30th Birthday- by Robin Bath
 Happy Birthday Jamyang!
 
It's hard to imagine that we're 30 years old ... three decades of Dharma in London!
Some of us had first met the Dharma at the summer retreats in Cumbria where the Lamas were making their first visits to England. Inspired by Lama Yeshe we requested his guidance to establish a centre in London, spear headed by Geoff Jukes who took on the role of our first Director.
 
GentleVoice - The Newsletter of Jamyang Buddhist CentreOur first meeting was in the house of a remarkable lady called Bunty Wills who kindly let us use an artists studio on the ground floor of a terraced house not far from Lords' cricket grounds. Two Lamas, a translator and one of the first European Sangha came to inaugurate the momentous event for the small gathering of eager students. Slowly we began a programme of once a week classes led by western Sangha coming down from Cumbria to give teachings interspersed whenever possible with a Lama.
 
After some months in St. Johns Wood we moved to the flat of Shan Tate in Kentish Town where she let us use her living room and in due course took over the Director's role. It's quite amazing to recall the number of remarkable teachers who came to that small space with all of us clustered  in such close proximity. Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa, many learned Geshes and our regular western Sangha kept the classes going for us, but for larger gatherings we had to hire spaces around London and for a while even held weekends in the abandoned Cambodian Embassy near Regents Park.
 
 Geshe WangchenA defining moment came when, to our great delight, Lama Yeshe chose our first resident teacher for us, a Geshe from Drepung Loseling monastery in Southern India. I came across my diary entries from April 1981.
 
" Early to the airport clutching a bunch of flowers with Geoff Jukes and Andy Wistreich to greet Geshe Wangchen who arrived with a beaming smile. In the afternoon took him for a walk around the local park and a youngster came up shyly to Geshe-la and said " Are you a Buddha?"...An auspicious start!  Two days later drove him to Shan's for our first group meeting. Everyone overjoyed and happy!
 
Our third move was to Swiss Cottage where Geoff had arranged accommodation for Geshe Wangchen in a family house in Goldhurst Terrace,and the group was able to meet for classes in the front room. It was from here that we began the daunting task of buying our first centre, and set about searching for properties. I remember coming across one place with a Buddha statue, and another with a Tibetan dog in the yard and wondered if they might be omens. In the end a semi detached house in Finsbury Park was chosen, and we set about the task of knocking through two small rooms, putting in an Roof Support Joist (RSJ) and painting the space so for the first time we gathered somewhere that looked like a Gompa. In time we also graduated from Aunty's painted china cabinet to a purpose built shrine and began to add our first rupas.
 
LZR and Jamyang studentsDuring the years that we were at Number 10 Finsbury Park Road we had the benefit of not only having a proper place for our resident Geshe and such close access to his advice and guidance, but also were able to have a place for visiting teachers to stay. As a result there were some wonderful teachings and the Gompa often got so crowded that I remember students sitting up the stairs and listening through the open doorway and spilling out onto the patio with the French windows open when the weather was fine. The compact garden was often a great place for events too. There was a memorable gathering with Lama Zopa sitting on a throne under a tree with apple blossom and a time when Geshe Wangchens' Guru sat with the students on the lawn.
 
There was a transition period when Geshe-la became ill, and the Centre's stability was a concern. Shan had moved away from London and two Sangha stepped in to help, Anila Sarah Thresher kept the spiritual programme running for us and Namgyal took on the directorship temporarily until Sean Jones stepped in with his business skills and began LZRsteering the centre onto a more solid foundation.He also established our first retreat centre in the Lynn Peninsular in North Wales where Geshe Wangchen was able to go to with a couple of attendants to recover. We had two small group retreats there and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful, wild scenery but it proved to be a long, long journey from London and difficult to keep on once Geshe-la returned to India. The monk John Feuille was hijacked on his travels through London and found himself quickly becoming an integral part of Jamyang - teaching, facilitating and doing all manner of running repairs.       
 
Our fifth Director chosen by Rinpoche was Alison Murdoch who took on the role with great efficiency and energy and was at Finsbury Park when we had the splendid news that after a period of surviving without a teacher, a young and charismatic Geshe who had come from his studies in Sera to Nalanda would courageously come to London to be with us. Geshe Tashi quickly established a place in our hearts with his teaching style, warmth and humour and in addition began the motivating energy that Alison ran with for us to begin looking for a bigger centre. 
 
Main gompaAnd of course it all came to pass. Alison identified the Old Courthouse one day when she was cycling by, and after all sorts of investigations, checking with Rinpoche and a perilous wait of several years we were finally able to bid for it at auction in November 1995.
 
When a handful of us first made our way into to the boarded up, damp and neglected building with Geshe-la, and did a brief puja sitting on the mouldering seating before the judges canopy in the lead lined and bullet proofed courtroom it was hard to imagine what the space could transform into. 
 
The move from Finsbury Park was a slow process - with Geshe-la, Ven. John and as many Statue in main Gompavolunteers as we could muster tackling the enormous task of trying to get the neglected building habitable. The sight of Geshe-la wielding a lump hammer to demolish the cell block reinforced toilets and clambering over the roof spurred us all on to tackle the seemingly endless repairs, and after a couple of months there was sufficient renovation for Geshe-la and John to move out of the old centre altogether and take up temporary residence in the cells. 
 
The repairs were destined to take ages, but in particular the apparent heavy energy that had been such a part of the violent history of the sentencing that went on here for over a century seemed to lighten after the visit of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche who visited all the corners of the building and did purification prayers. Despite the disarray we hosted the European FPMT meetings and the Gompa began to take shape and began to reverberate with the continuing blessings of visiting Lamas culminating of course with the sublime visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1991. By then the exquisite statue and aura made by Peter Griffin with the help of Ven. Bertran had been installed beneath the canopy, and the memory of His Holiness paying respect to the Buddha and sitting on the floor amongst the students before taking his place on the throne and giving us advice, blessings and a short transmission is something our centre will cherish.
 
With Geshe-las' continuing vision for the Centre and the energy of Alison, an amazing amount of work got done, particularly the funding for the huge task of redoing the entire roof, the skylight that brightened up the lobby, the makeover of the courtyard and the reclining Buddha statue and fountain that made such a delightful surrounding for the newly established Café. When Alison handed over the Directorship to Di our links to the Buddhist network and the local community through the Carers programmes and the Tara Room links were strong.
 
Di brought a lovely energy to the centre and we had a phase with Geshe-la concentrating more on studies with a prolific amount of his energy going in to courses both here and around Europe, including a very successful country retreat in Dorset in the summer of 2007.
 
We're almost up to date, so most of you are aware of the recent events and any newcomers will by now, we hope, feel really at home here at Jamyang. 
 
Sally is now the seventh Director who's come to us this year to bravely sit at the steering wheel in the command module and is doing a marvellous job of juggling all the things that get flung her way. 
 
We have a chance to meet and get to know her and indeed the community on our 30th Birthday Celebrations on November 16th. So make a point of coming along to share the day with us, won't you? The history of this remarkable Centre is made up of not just the events that go on here, but all the people who walk through the door.
 
Let's make sure that Jamyang can keep on having birthdays till Maitreya can come and help us blow out the candles on a very, very large cake!

A closer look at the 16 Guidelines for a happy life- by Hazel Benyon
The 16 Guidelines: - humility, patience, contentment, delight, kindness, honesty, generosity, right speech, respect, gratitude, loyalty, principles, aspiration, service, and courage - and their opposites,  are aspects of how we live our life: how we
think, how we act, how we relate to others, and how we find meaning.
 
Because they are aspects, we can't help but take on one or more of these guidelines or their opposites in every situation we find ourselves in.
 
What difference does it make to us whether we take on the aspect of gratitude or its opposite: ingratitude? Obviously, if we choose gratitude rather than ingratitude it will very likely open us up to the world and make us happier. Furthermore, our choice has a great impact on those around us and the society we live in. So much so that if we want to bring about change in our society, we can effectively start with ourselves.
 
It seems so straightforward and yet for some reason it is not. Why is this? The important thing to realise is that these guidelines are not a list of 'shoulds' and their opposites a list of 'shouldn'ts'. They offer a journey of exploration that takes us beyond fear into fearlessness.
 
At Jamyang, on this Friday and for the following six Fridays we will explore, experience, and share the impact these guidelines make. For the first four weeks we will look at four guidelines in detail. In the next two weeks, we will explore some of the challenges we face in following them, and develop tools for keeping them in our lives. Finally, on the last Friday we will have a 16 Guidelines party and bring together everything we have talked about.
 
More information about the Guidelines can be found on www.16guidelines.org, and the 16 Guidelines book is available at a special price from the Jamyang bookstore.

The 16 Guidelines have been developed by the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, an educational non-profit set up under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche to take forward the late Lama Thubten Yeshe's vision for a new kind of universal education. See www.essential-education.org
 

Jamyang Walk-
9th November

Our ever-popular Jamyang walk is not too strenuous, with lots of lovely scenery and chat. Details of the route will be given nearer the time. The walk will be from Putney Bridge to Kew Gardens. For information on the walk contact Robin on 020 7736 2771.
Appeal from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive (LYWA)
Dear FPMT friends and colleagues,
 
Last year I received a strong written admonition from our precious guru, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, that we quickly publish more teachings from the FPMT lineage, basically Lama Yeshe's and his own (although Rinpoche was typically a bit low key on his own teachings). Some of the points Rinpoche made were:
 
It is definitely a big loss that more material is not being published; this is a big loss in regards to the activities of the whole organization. Every day this doesn't happen it is a big loss for the organization.

Details of our plan may be found on our website:

http://www.lamayeshe.com/content/File/PFL2008-2012.pdf

Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.
 
Much love,

Nick Ribush
Director
Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive
 

Help the Songs for TIbet project-
During the first week of the Olympics, "Songs for Tibet" became the #1 rock download throughout much of the world.
      
During the 2nd week of the Olympics, the athlete download initiative was announced. This was an outreach that the Art of Peace Foundation did to have Olympic athletes download the album in a show of solidarity with Tibet. 46 did so.

The Chinese employed "The Great Firewall of China" to block the album on most major sites and some sites completely. After a world outcry, the Chinese government eventually unblocked the album on some sites.

A 15 minute video of the Dalai Lama discussing peace is now accessible from within China (it was a bonus 'album only' download). The Chinese government's willingness to allow this exposure of the Dalai Lama within China is a historic first.

http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/08/report-itunes-s.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/celia-alario/chinas-pr-fiascos-blockin_b_120013.html
 
If possible, doing ANY of the things below would help Songs for Tibet campaign tremendously:

- An email blast letting your friends know about the album and that it is available on iTunes and Amazon.
- Putting a cover photo & link on your website.
- Building awareness through Facebook/Myspace
- Anything else you might want to propose.

Please let me know if ANY of this is possible.

Thanks for your help.

All the best.
Geoff  Jukes
(former director of Jamyang)


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