From: Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]] on behalf of Jamyang Buddhist Centre [[email protected]]
Sent: 03 December 2008 22:08
To: [email protected]
Subject: GentleVoice December 2008

 
 

December 2008
In This Issue
Teaching by Lama Yeshe
Welcome to the 2009 Spring programme
This Month at Jamyang
The Manager's Bit
Update from the Café
Jamyang's 30th Anniversary
Thanks to the Mantra Rolling
Last Chance to Recover Lost Property
Gifts this Christmas
Quick Links
 
 
Editor's welcome 
holyAs I sat down to write this welcome column, I could not wipe the smile off my face. We have just received the printed programme for next term. How exciting! Not only because of the various courses and retreats offered that you can now book, but also because the programme is presented in a new design which you will soon see - when you next come or when the programme reaches you through post. We hope you like it. Please send us some feedback. The new programme is also available online and you can read more about it below. 
 
While we say goodbye to 2008 and write our resolutions for 2009, you might find it inspiring to read Lama Yeshe's teaching on the best Dharma practice, Bodhicitta. Speaking of Lama Yeshe and his vision, if you missed the celebration of Jamyang's 30 years, you can read all about it in Michelle's contribution.
 
You can also find out what is happening at Jamyang by reading the Manager's and Café's column, plus This Month at Jamyang.
 
Finally, we thank all students who participated in the Mantra Rolling Workshop, share some photos with you, and suggest some useful websites to look for Christmas presents at.
 
All the best for the students doing winter retreats at Jamyang or elsewhere.See you soon.
 
Much love,
 
esther g.
 

Teaching by Lama Yeshe on Bodhicitta-
 
"The best Dharma practice, the most perfect, most substantial, is without doubt, the practice of Bodhicitta."
 
Lama YesheRemember the story of the Kadampa geshe who saw a man circumambulating a stupa? He said, 'What are you doing?' and the man answered, 'Circumambulating.' So the geshe said, 'Wouldn't it be better if you practiced Dharma?' Next time the geshe saw the man, he was prostrating, and when he again asked what he was doing, the man replied 'One hundred thousand prostrations.' 'Wouldn't it be better if you practiced Dharma?' asked the geshe. Anyway, the story goes on, but the point is that just doing religious-looking actions like circumambulation and prostration isn't necessarily practising Dharma. What we have to do is transform our attachment and self-cherishing, and if we haven't changed our mind in this way, none of the other practices work. Doing them is just a joke. Even if you try to practise tantric meditations, unless you've changed within, you won't succeed. Dharma means a complete change of attitude - that's what really brings you inner happiness, that is the true Dharma, not the words you say. Bodhicitta is not the culture of ego, not the culture of attachment, not the culture of samsara. It is an unbelievable transformation, the most comfortable path, the most substantial path. Definite. Not wishy-washy. Sometimes your meditation is not solid; you just space out. Bodhicitta meditation means you really want to change your mind and actions and transform your whole life.
 
We are all involved in human relationships with each other. Why do we sometimes say, 'I love you,' and sometimes, 'I hate you?' Where does this up-and-down mind come from? From the self-cherishing thought - a complete lack of Bodhicitta. What we are saying is, 'I hate you because I'm not getting any satisfaction from you. You hurt me; you don't give me pleasure'. That's the whole thing. 'I, my ego, my attachment - am not getting satisfaction from you, therefore I hate you'. What a joke! All the difficulties in inter-personal relationships come from not having Bodhicitta, from not having changed our minds.
 
So, you see, just meditating is not enough. If that Kadampa geshe saw you sitting in meditation, he'd say, 'What are you doing? Wouldn't it be better if you practised Dharma?' Circumambulating isn't Dharma, prostrating isn't Dharma, meditating isn't Dharma. My goodness, what is Dharma, then? This is what happened to the man in the story. He couldn't think of anything else to do. Well, the best Dharma practice, the most perfect, most substantial, is without doubt the practice of Bodhicitta.
 
You can prove scientifically that Bodhicitta is the best practice to do. Our self-cherishing thought is the root of all human problems. It makes our lives difficult and miserable. The solution to self-cherishing, its antidote, is the mind that is its complete opposite - Bodhicitta. The self-cherishing mind is worried about only me, me - the self-existent 'I'. Bodhicitta substitutes others for self.
 
It creates space in your mind. Then, even if your dearest friend forgets to give you a Christmas present, you don't mind. "Ah, well. This year she didn't give me my chocolate. It doesn't matter." Anyway, your human relationships are not for chocolate, not for sensory pleasures. Something much deeper can come from our being together, working together.

To read Lama Yeshe's full teaching please visit the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. You can also find more about Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in the FPMT Website.
 
If you want to learn more about Bodhicitta, don't miss the opportunity to participate in the Discovering Buddhism weekend: How to Develop Bodhicitta next weekend 13-14 December.



Welcome to the 2009 Spring programme at Jamyang-
This new year brings a new design for Jamyang's printed programme. This is thanks to the work of students who volunteered their time and talent for this task: Marianne Hartley (design), Natasha Sturny, Robin Bath and Jane Moore (photos), Madeleine Chan (design). Thank you so much for your time.
 
Jamyang ProgrammeWe are very happy to announce that this term, besides the Wednesday and weekend classes on Refuge and Uttaratantra, Geshe Tashi will be leading the Easter Retreat on the topic of "Shine or Calm Abiding", and an Introduction to Buddhism weekend.
 
We are very fortunate to welcome back Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Tegchok who will be teaching "Mind Training" towards the end of April. We will also be hosting three very qualified Western teachers - Andy Wistreich (Ethics and the Benefits of Solitary Retreat), Robert Beer (Vajrayana Imagery) and Ven. Rita Riniker (Why do we end up hating the ones we love?).  Also a sneak preview of the following term: We have confirmed visits from Ven. Robina Courtin in July and Alan Wallace in December.

New this term are the Family Days, an opportunity for both 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's Way of Life". Also, weekend courses in the Discovering Buddhism series, with topics such as Transforming Problems and the Wisdom of Emptiness.

For those of you newer to Jamyang and Buddhism, this term we have an Open Afternoon in January, Learn to Meditate in February, and an Introduction to Buddhism in March. Besides this, we will be hosting our popular Peace in the City and Dying Well events in April.

Our popular Buddhist Meditation classes start again in January with the topics of The Four Immeasurables and Analysis.

Finally, don't miss the Great Prayer Day celebration with Geshe Tashi in March!

 
We would love to have your feedback so that we can continue improving the programme - both content and form. Please send your comments to Esther at [email protected]



 THIS MONTH AT JAMYANG
    

THIS MONTH AT JAMYANG

REGULAR CLASSES
Mondays @ 7.30pm
Buddhist Meditation
  

 
 
RETREATS
 22-24 December
 
27 - 5 January  
 
GROUP PRACTICE
 7/ 21 November
 

The Manager's Bit-
Anil with heather Recycling at Jamyang has taken a leap forward with the delivery of an 1100 litre bin from Lambeth Council.  There is no cost for Jamyang as we are a charity.  This is a good time to thank Susan Baccus who has sponsored environmentally friendly lighting here at Jamyang. 
 
With the cold grip of winter clenching its fist around our little isle, the annual conundrum of keeping energy costs down while keeping people warm is with us again.  Due to a very generous offer from Carmen Wilcox and Susan Svendsen, new radiators have been installed in all the cells and under floor heating provided for Alison Murdoch's and our Director's offices.  Great news for toes and feet! 
 
Finally, those of you who were unable to attend Jamyang's 30th anniversary, may not be aware of Jamyang's plan to fundraise for a new, efficient and greener gas boiler.   If you wish to take a fund raising initiative on this vital part of Jamyang's life please contact me in the Office.
 
Many thanks and keep warm!
 
Anil

Update from the Café-
Cafe StaffHello dear Jamyangers,
 
Please be aware that the Courthouse Garden Café will be closed on Thursday and Friday evenings before class, due to staffing and financial reasons, but Jamyang will be providing a tea station for those who wish to imbibe a hot beverage or two before class on those days.
 
The Café will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings before class, from 5pm - 7:30pm and during the weekend courses.
We also plan to open to the public sometime in the New Year. I will keep you updated.
 
I would also like to thank you for supporting the Café in the last few months. And from all of us here in the kitchen, have a lovely Christmas and New Year!
 
With love,
 
Michelle, Peter, Christina, Bella and Madeleine
XXX
Jamyang's 30th Anniversary Celebration by Michelle Klepper-
 
Old friends and new gathered in the main gompa at the Old Court House to receive a recorded birthday greeting from FPMT's Spiritual Director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Smiles were exchanged between those who knew him, as Rinpoche wasted no time in seizing the opportunity offered by a noisy truck passing his window to give an impromptu teaching on emptiness. Referring to the truck (and its distractions) having no inherent existence, he pointed out how easy it is to become "very tightly fastened" as if "trapped in a case of iron [by] the creations of mind". As Sally commented afterwards "Rinpoche, having such compassion, never misses a single opportunity to teach Dharma!"
 
LZRLama Zopa also paid tribute to Jamyang's past teachers, but most especially to resident teacher Geshi Tashi's "compassion and vast knowledge" and closed his message by praising Sally, saying that she had arrived at the Centre during a very difficult period, and that she was  "the perfect person to be at Jamyang at the right time".
 
During a couple of technical hitches, Board of Trustees Chair Roy Gillett and Robin Bath filled us in with the day's programme, which was rounded off by another short video message, this time from Geshe Tashi , who unfortunately couldn't be with us due to a clash with his teaching schedule. Rumours that a place on a last-minute 18-30s skiing trip to the Swiss Alps becoming available was the real reason behind our teacher's absence, were said to be unfounded. (Hell Realms, here I come.)
 
Robin and Geoff Jukes (Jamyang's first ever director) then read birthday messages and greetings from those who couldn't attend. Geoff also spoke of how the Centre, through all the services it provides to the community and the city, was fulfilling Lama Yeshe's vision; and particularly so now that possibilities for a Hospice Centre were being looked into. Geoff also reminded everyone of "how very spoilt' the Centre has been in having so many great lamas come through its doors. He said that Jamyang was a place where authentic teachings are given by precious lamas - actually living Dharma! And that we really must take as much advantage as possible of these oral transmissions coming to the West.
 
And if Geoff's reminder of the Centre's roots wasn't enough to create an atmosphere toasty with nostalgia, Robin's slide show, showing wonderful pics of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa from 1978, completed the task. We also saw snaps of the initial group gatherings in a St John's Wood studio, where the first once-a-week sessions were held. From there to the gompa being built in a Finsbury Park house that was purchased a few years later; and finally, photos of the group's arrival at the Old Court House.
 
It was also lovely to see so many familiar faces staring out of these early photos  - even if they were camouflaged beneath floppy hats, uncontrollable sideburns and mullets (and that was just the sangha!) Yet after considering the debt that many of us sitting in the gompa that day owed to the hard work and dedication of these people, it became possible to forgive them some of their fashion faux pas ... though perhaps not the sideburns... nor the purple flares! I suppose, however, that even those things can give us something to work with in Geshe-la's Tong-len classes, or perhaps by remembering that cheesecloth is empty of inherent existence.
 
HHDLFurther messages of congratulation were given and stories shared - notably the arrival in 1984 of Lama Osel at the Finsbury Park gompa. A mere toddler at the time, the young lama apparently climbed up onto the throne area and made a mandala with his tiny hands! And one more endearing memory shared was that of His Holiness the Dalai Lama joining the rest of the group on the floor of Jamyang rather than the seat prepared for him during his 1998 visit. 
 
Following on, announcements were made regarding the special puja taking place at Kopan Monastery on December 17th for the long life of Lama Zopa, and Sally suggested that any private donations to the event could be passed on through Jamyang. It was also mentioned that if there was anyone who had been a member of Friends of Jamyang for a long time, and who remained on the old rate but would like to consider increasing their subscription, then this would be greatly appreciated.
 
Just before the break, members of the Board of Trustees were introduced to the group and their roles and legal responsibilities under charity law outlined. With this,  Jamyang broke for a lovely lunch and an opportunity to seek out and question some of those mullet-headed comrades, and to take part in the silent auction fundraiser.
 
By 3pm we returned to the gompa where Sally talked about how fortunate Jamyangers were to have a long established centre with such a stable foundation, and was full of praise for Geshi Tashi's "hands on approach," to whatever was needed. In particular, Sally told how she found sitting in our resident teacher's classes being  "like a lotus opening".
 
Our director then set out an overview of the Centre's finances - both generally and in relation to the café's importance as a place for socializing in the Dharma, and the belief that once it was more fully established, it would become a fruitful source of income.
 
GTThe Spiritual Programme Co-Ordinator, Esther Garibay, spoke of the development of 'Cultivating the Path' - a set of tools to guide students through Jamyang's spiritual programme suggested by the Education Group members, particularly Jim Clark. She said that Geshe Tashi's emphasis was upon giving the Centre's own students opportunities to teach the Dharma, rather than bringing in 'big names', and also upon increasing the number of introductory classes to Buddhism and meditation. In closing, Esther offered a sneak preview of Jamyang's new programme designed by Marianne Hartley and the forthcoming events, which included a new course being offered by Geshe Tashi on the Introduction to the Nalanda Traditions.
 
The final leg of this session consisted of an outline of Jamyang's priorities - namely 'education' and 'community' - the two issues that mean most to Geshe Tashi and which were at the root of Lama Yeshe's vision. We were also informed that in order that the Centre could continue to flourish, targets for a five year, three year and one year plan had been set in place and covered the following objectives:
 
By 2013 - to have in place a retreat centre; hospice, and new business stream that would give us one-third of our total income;
By 2011 - to have the development of a local community project under way, and also for Lama Zopa Rinpoche to visit the UK (a letter having been already drafted requesting this);
One year objective - to have a strategy in place to achieve a more secure financial base; a strong educational programme and widen Jamyang's community appeal.
 
CakeThe close of this session brought with it great optimism and hope about Jamyang's future, and while holding this vision, the lights went out in the gompa and a birthday cake appeared, with those past directors being invited to blow out the candles as the whole group sang Happy Birthday to Jamyang!
 
At a break for tea and cake, people were invited to join one of four groups for a brainstorming session to help find practical measures to bring the Centre's goals to fruition. We then returned to the gompa to share ideas, and arrangements were made for actions to be taken.  The session appeared very productive, but what was evident was the positive family atmosphere and a sensed determination to bring about the Centre's objectives.
 
Venerable Barbara then led the dedications before another quick break was taken in order to close the silent auction and to prepare for the next, more frivolous, leg of the day's celebrations!
 
daveAnd so it began.... a showcase of the largely hidden talents from within our own team ... First up were two 'lifers' - William Walker who gave a highly impressive Dragon Sword display entitled 'Saluting Manjushri' (and miraculously managed to leave the stage with all his aggregates still attached); followed by our own rebel with a cause (and effect), Dharma librarian extraordinaire and Che Guevara look-a-like, Dave Benn who showed his skills as a wordsmith through some great comic poetry!
 
Winners of Jamyang's pilgrimage photographic and writing competitions had their work shared, and songs were sung by the lovely voice of Clare Walsh, that included a particularly beautiful Dharma song, with the music being composed by Lily Schalen and her music teacher, and the lyrics being written by our Robin no less! A most poignant rendition of the song 'Some Day' was also given which had been dedicated to moments of uprising during the Beijing Olympics, highlighting the need to bring in the visions of our Dharma Teachers as quickly as possible. And finally, the most wonderfully talented Lily played two pieces of emotive and uplifting music on her violin. Really! Who knew what gifted companions we have among us!
 
Oh, one last thing that we should not close without mentioning (as much as I'd like to!) Two little words - 'Dharma Charades'. Put together with the 'Countdown' theme tune for timing out the clues, and slides of our Jamyang friends using props to give hints for Dharma teachings, texts and films with quizmaster Venerable Barbara at the helm. Actually ... it was brilliant fun, even though some of us were rubbish at it. I did manage to get '7 Ears in Tibet' though!
 
The beautiful giant Catherine wheel display at the end of the evening went off to cheers, catherineand caused me to reflect upon Jamyang's journey, and in particular the irony of Rinpoche's opening greeting, when he talked of being "trapped in a case of iron" - much like the prisoners that were once kept in the cells of the Old Court House.  I'm sure that the symbolism of a building previously used for incarceration being transformed into one that offers opportunity for the greatest freedom isn't lost on any of us. How incredibly blessed we have been to find these precious teachers and this place at this time, and how we pray that all beings will benefit from becoming serial lifers at a place such as ours.
Thanks to the Mantra Rolling Participants-
A very heartfelt thank you to all of the students who volunteered during the Mantra Rolling Workshop, particularly those who stayed up all night, making sure everything was ready by Thursday so that Geshe Tashi could fill the statues before Lama Choepa.
 
Here are a few photos:

mantra
 
mantra2
 
GentleVoice - The Newsletter of Jamyang Buddhist Centre
 
Statues to be filled
 


Thank you!
Last Chance to Recover Lost Items at Jamyang-
 
Over the last few years, Jamyang has accumulated a number of lost property items.  The items range from clothing, books to Dharma items.  Please contact the Office Manager or a member of the Hospitality Team to see if your lost property has been found.
 
Any lost property not claimed by 31st January 2009 will be redistributed to a worthy cause.  Many thanks.


Some Ideas for Gifts for this Christmas Season-
A few useful websites where you can find ethical presents:
 
Foundation Store
The Foundation Store provides a vast selection of Buddhist Study materials including Prayers & Practices, Homestudy Programs, Dharma Study Materials for Children, and other FPMT Education Department Resources. Visit Meditation Supplies for a variety of Malas, Incense, Ritual Items, Accessories, and much more.  All proceeds from this shop are used to further the charitable mission of FPMT Inc.
 
Enlightened Gifts
As the world's first ever Tibet charity, the Tibet Relief Fund was founded in 1960 following the Dalai Lama's flight from his country. There are now over 130,000 Tibetans living in India and Nepal. We help to give these people a better future, through projects focusing on healthcare, education, income generation and youth employment programmes. We also support projects within Tibet and have helped build over nine primary schools and continue to work in this field as well as in community health programmes.

Sponsor a Yak
To sponsor a yak costs just £85. Aid to Tibet will purchase one dri (a female yak) with a calf, and give them to one of the neediest families in the region. There is a fun side to the programme too - donors can name the yak (on their donor's certificate at least), and receive an exclusive 'Yak for Life' T-shirt. 
 
Positive Presents from Concern
 Positive Presents are a great way to help people in the world's poorest countries - and give fantastic gifts to your friends and family at the same time. 
 
Oxfam Unwrapped
Perfect presents for every occasion - and they help to fight poverty at the same time. Brilliant!
 
Ethical Superstore
An online store where you can find a wide range of fair-trade, organic and eco products.
 
A Thai Massagge
Give someone a luxury treatment to end the year relaxed and energized with Esther del Rio. Contact her on 07941092121
 



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]
Safe Unsubscribe
This email was sent to [email protected] by [email protected].
Jamyang Buddhist Centre | The Old Courthouse | 43 Renfrew Road | London | SE11 4NA | United Kingdom