Mike Murray has dedicated many many years of service to the Dharma and to Jamyang from the very beginning of the centre
wearing multiple hats in all those years, from SPC, and secretary of Geshe-la. Now that he left we want to share our gratitude and celebrate all this dedication with this interview.
When and how did your journey with Jamyang begin?
I’m born in Sri Lanka/ Ceylon, and with an interest in things Tibetan and Tibetan Buddhist since my early teens. In 1979 when I saw an advert for a Tibetan Lama who would teach in a flat in Osney Crescent in Kentish Town, it started my journey with Jamyang.
What does it mean to have a Centre like Jamyang in London?
It gives a space. It suggests another way. Hopefully, it provides a safe and supportive environment, somewhere to catch your breath, experience a bit of calm and peace. Unfortunately, the pressures of trying to pay the bills, etc. by ‘sweating’ the space and trying to make it relevant to the local community can make it busy. Always a difficult balancing act, but we need to be up front and honest that we are forced to do that in order to keep the place going.
What does the Jamyang Community mean to you?
I feel happier thinking about Jamyang communities in the plural. Communities that intersect in various ways. After all, as a gay man the dominant straight community in Jamyang is not ‘my community’ but I intersect with them, have friends amongst them and value their contribution to the whole. I adore the traditional texts, others find them really challenging, and we all practice in different ways – but we can all learn from each other and that diversity is our strength. Overall a place that welcomes all people interested in taking Tibetan Buddhism as a personal path of spiritual development to help them move towards greater more lasting inner contentment and peace, and that over time allows people to feel safe, valued and loved.
What are your visions for the future Jamyang Communities?
A place where youth, LGBTQ, BAME, PoC can feel safe, valued, and loved and where – if they want – they can meet together to discuss issues specific to their experience of encountering and taking up the practice of Buddhism.