May 2013 Newsletter

Posted on 16 May 2013


May 2013 Newsletter

Kagyu Samye Dzong London

Monthly newsletter

Dear Lama  

 

Welcome to the May Newsletter.  While we normally look forward in the newsletter to what's coming up, much of this month's newsletter is looking back at some of the very special events that have taken place in recent weeks. Not the least of these was the inauguration of the second Shrine Room and as well as writing we also have links to videos and slideshows - a veritable multimedia feast!  We hope you enjoy them.

Contents
 
Kagyu Samye Dzong aims to provide a place of peace and tranquility for all in central London, with the shrine room available for individuals to come and sit during the day.  For full details of the Centre, including the programme of evening meditations and forthcoming events, visit the website.
News in Brief
  • Lama Yeshe Rinpoche's 70th birthday is approaching fast. To thank him and show our appreciation for all his activities we would like to make an offering to him on his birthday from everyone connected to Samye Dzong London that he has inspired and helped over the years. If you would like to contribute, visit the website for more information. 
  • A new programme will be coming out shortly, running from June to March 2014.  Keep your eye on the website for full details.  Since we now have 2 shrine rooms it will include lots of meditation retreats. 
  • Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche will be teaching at Samye Dzong from 28th-30th June.  There will be a refuge ceremony on the Friday evening and teachings over the weekend. Details of the teaching programme will be available on the website nearer the time.
  • We will be showing a film callled "Daughters of Dolma" about Buddhist nuns in the Kathmandu valley on 22nd June from 7.00 - 9.00 pm at Spa Road.
  • The cello concert advertised in the printed programme for the 18th May has been cancelled due to ill health.  

2nd shrine room inauguration  

 

 

Samten Namdak and Ani Dolma write:

 

"Over the last several months many volunteers made a tremendous effort to build and decorate this, our second, shrine room. Then in the first week of March, less than a month before the big inauguration on April 1st, Akong Rinpoche communicated to us that the 1000 Buddha statues that were made in Tibet for us more than three years ago needed to be cleaned up and made smooth. This took many hours because the statues are made of cast bronze and we needed to use chisels, steel wool, and many other tools. After that we bathed them all with special relic water and filled them with sacred relics and offerings. They were to be placed in the new shrine to represent the 1000 Buddhas that will come in this Fortunate Aeon.

  

It was a stimulating month and, with just a week or so left to finish the job, Akong Rinpoche arrived with some invigorating news: the 1000 Buddha statues had also to be gilded and their faces painted! In between interviews, preparations for, and bestowal of, empowerments Rinpoche instructed us in how to do this and helped with the filling of the statues. In spite of the pressure of time, the whole process was somehow warm and unhurried. With Rinpoche working and joking along with us, we felt relaxed and steady. Kateng Lama and Urgyen Tulku also worked at filling the statues from morning until late at night, all the while chanting Shakyamuni Mantra along with the occasional laugh here and there.

 

The coming together of our community in this work felt very special and it all finally reached completion in the early hours of the 1st of April. It was a testament to all of Lama Zangmo's dedicated years of work to establish a space for our London KSD community to practice and grow.

 

Later that afternoon, the Inauguration of the shrine room itself was a splendid event. A film crew from BBC News London was there to witness the occasion and Rinpoche gave a lovely interview. He "opened" the eyes of the 1000th Buddha statue with the final strokes of the paint brush and then said prayers to bless the space. Following that, Rinpoche gave a talk encouraging us to think about all the different beings who helped with the work in the shrine room: From the smallest insects carrying the building materials, to the person who transported the materials, to the person building it, to the people painting the statues, to the people who brought flowers to the newly opened room, to the person who opened the door behind Rinpoche in the middle of his talk... [this got a roar of laughter]... he asked us think of every single being and dedicate to them the merit of this great and wholesome fruition. He emphasised impartiality: if there was someone we considered an enemy or if there was then someone throwing a rock through the window, we should still dedicate the merit to them. This evoked more laughter and he smiled and said that of course he wasn't suggesting someone throws a rock through the window!

 

We concluded with dedications and saying prayers together with Rinpoche, receiving his blessing, and the new shrine room was consecrated as a living space for the community to put the teachings into practice. It is a beautiful room with a vaulted, and exquisitely moulded ceiling almost as high as the room is wide. Light and blue sky streams in from the banks of east and west facing windows at each side of the room as well as the upper windows on all four sides high up in the ceiling. The effect is fresh and cool - it gives the feeling of being on a great mountain top.

 

After the inauguration, we all enjoyed food and drink with Rinpoche. He gave his food to the surrounding little children that would regularly encircle him. Everyone had a great time.

 

We want to thank all the people that have been involved in any way with helping this and previous centres over the years. Especially, we wish to acknowledge all the people who participated in all the work leading up to the inauguration. Working toward a common goal was a beautiful experience and it is inspiring to know that we can all pull together when needed. May the connection arising from sharing in this project bring nothing but benefit to all beings."

 

 Not being content with just the usual slideshows, preparing the 1008 Buddhas, and the inauguration itself, you can also check out a couple of videos on the Centre's website.  Enjoy!

There are five powers which help us establish our meditation: aspiration, familiarisation, planting white seeds, integrating and sharing/ dedication. They are drawn from the 7 Points of Mind Training from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

 

While easy to understand, these five powers have a profound meaning that can help us "jump start" meditation practice if it has diminished, and keep our momentum going to practice regularly. They are also easy to remember and help us keep on track.

 

Over the weekend, we will develop Tonglen and other practices to balance theory and practice. We will also see how these five powers can be applied to letting go at the time of death. This course is suitable for beginners as well as people who have been practising longer. All are welcome.

 

Clive Holmes will be leading this 2 day workshop on the weekend of the 8th-9th June from 10.00-5.00 each day  - suggested contribution £55. To book your place contact the office by phone on 020-3327 1650 or by email

Christine Gonzalez writes of Khenpo's teachings on the Four Immeasurables:

 

 "The experience of being one of many students in the presence of Kenpo Damcho Dawa in early March, was a continuous shower of joy and humour, love and compassionate wisdom. He began by assuring us that we can have absolute confidence in that we can change our mind.


He said that The Four Immeasurables are the core of the Buddhist Path.
 

  1. From having just a spark of good will and love, we can develop it into Limitless Love, embracing all beings.
  2. From having just a spark of pity, we can develop Limitless Compassion, also embracing all beings.
  3. From rejoicing in goodness, we can develop Limitless Joy, which is the equvilent of Liberation
  4. From just becoming aware of our attachment and aversion, we can develop Limitless Impartiality, which goes beyond Samsara and Nirvana

Khenpo Damcho Dawo explained that suffering comes from us trying to find happiness for ourselves at the expense of others, through doing this we hurt ourselves and others.  He explained how happiness comes from developing appreciation and a loving heart for ourselves and then extending it outwards to all others.  Once we begin to live by love and kindness we avoid fighting and anger and other negativity, we learn to take only what we need and no more.  Then we can live in contentment and are much less prone to illness. He said we can achieve true happiness which is unchanging through meditation.

The Khenpo finnished the weekend by saying that we should "dress in the state of Refuge and hold it strong with the belt of practicing The 10 Virtues."
Before leaving we had the opportunity to offer a kata and recieve a blessing."

 

 

  c44 - Learning and practising meditation at Samye Dzong
David Bates writes:
 
For many people there comes a point in their lives where they are feeling stressed, worn out, overly busy and they're looking for ways to deal with this, to unwind.  Some may have heard that meditation might be useful but aren't sure how to go about it.  if you are one of those people you might be interested in one of our introduction to meditation courses. Our next course at Spa Road will be taking place on Wednesday evenings, 7.00 - 8.30 pm from 22nd May - 10th July, while the course at Manor Place runs from Thursday 6th - 27th June, also from 7.00 - 8.30 pm. 
What is meditation?

In essence, meditation is simply the practice of paying attention to what we are doing while we are doing it, whatever this may be. In the Buddhist tradition, this type of attention is called mindfulness.

 

Meditation is the art of finding peace and happiness within by using simple methods of calming and stabilising our minds. Modern life can be stressful and busy. Most of the time we are carried along by the force of emotions, habits and conditioning and end up feeling tired and stressed by everyday life. Practising meditation can change this. 

 

Meditation can help bring about a natural sense of peace and well-being that can extend to every aspect of our lives. People who meditate regularly tend to sleep better, handle the ups and downs of daily life with more clarity and ease and relate to others with more compassion and warmth.

 

This course is perfect for beginners. It will include posture, relaxation, breathing and other meditation essentials. A regular meditation practice can bring a greater sense of inner peace and calm an overactive mind.

  

Deepening your meditation practice

 

For those who already do some meditation and who would like to deepen their practice we have two meditation afternoons at Manor Place on the 4th and 18th May from 2.15 - 6.00 pm. 


 These afternoons offer 
a chance to get together with fellow practitioners and gain greater depth in the experience of meditation by applying oneself through a series of short meditation sessions. It is an ideal environment in which those who would like to sit more than they currently do can be supported by the group endeavour, and by being surrounded with like-minded meditators.

 

The emphasis will be on silent sitting meditation, and it will be assumed that participants have already had some experience of meditation techniques. There will be no instructions during the afternoon. Gelong Trinley or one of our meditation instructors will lead the practice, signalling the beginning and end of each session. Participants will nevertheless have the opportunity to ask questions related to the practice, and to have discussions to improve their meditative skills.

There is no suggested contribution for the afternoon, participants are welcome to make any donation they wish.

 

Short Retreat

 

 And for those who want to spend more time in meditation, we have a short retreat coming up at Spa Road - from 14th-16th June, from 9.00 - 5.00 pm each day you can meditate with the Samye Dzong Sangha. There will be no instruction during these three days.

 

So from beginners to the more advanced meditator (or more persistent anyway), there is something for everyone.

 

 

To see the full programme of activities at the Centre, please visit the website.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE - for courses run by Samye Dzong London, prices mentioned are suggested course donations only. A lack of funds should not prevent anybody from attending.

 

 
MAY 2013

 

 

Meditation afternoon at Manor Place

Saturday 4th May, 2.15 - 6.00 pm

An afternoon of extended meditation practice is a chance to get together with fellow practitioners and gain greater depth in the experience of meditation by applying oneself through a series of short meditation sessions. It is an ideal environment in which those who would like to sit more than they currently do can be supported by the group endeavour, and by being surrounded with like-minded meditators.

The emphasis will be on silent sitting meditation, and it will be assumed that participants have already had some experience of meditation techniques. There will be no instructions during the afternoon. Gelong Trinley or one of our meditation instructors will lead the practice, signalling the beginning and end of each session. Participants will nevertheless have the opportunity to ask questions related to the practice, and to have discussions to improve their meditative skills.

There is no suggested contribution for the afternoon, participants are welcome to make any donation they wish.

 

The Jewel Ornament of Liberation at Spa Road 

Thursday, 7.00 - 8.30 pm  throughout May

Lama Zangmo continues her teachings on this important text, said to capture the essence of the teachings of the Kagyu lineage.

 

Drawing a Deity at Spa Road
with Ani Semchi
Saturday 11th - Sunday 12th May, 10.00 - 5.00 pm
Suggested contribution: £55 

Drawing a deity is a form of meditation in itself and is very helpful for aiding visualisation practice. Ani Semchi will include explanations on the meaning and symbolism of the deity. No previous skill is required.

  

Medicine Buddha Puja at Spa Road
Sunday 12th May, 7.00 - 8.00 pm
All are welcome.
Employing the skilful techniques of mantra and visualization, Medicine Buddha Puja is practiced to protect oneself or others from bad physical or mental health. 

 

The birth of the Buddha at Spa Road
Friday 17th May, 7.00 - 8.00 pm 

All are welcome

Join the KSDL sangha for a dedication of lights and prayers to celebrate the birth of the Buddha. This is one of the most auspicious dates in the Buddhist calendar, alongside that of the enlightenment and parinirvana of the Buddha the following week.

 

Meditation afternoon at Manor Place 

Saturday 18th May, 2.15 - 6.00 pm

An afternoon of extended meditation practice is a chance to get together with fellow practitioners and gain greater depth in the experience of meditation by applying oneself through a series of short meditation sessions. 

 

Introduction to meditation at Spa Road
with Bernard Mordan
Wednesday evenings from 22nd May - 10th July, 7.00 - 8.30 pm 

In essence, meditation is simply the practice of paying attention to what we are doing while we are doing it, whatever this may be. In the Buddhist tradition, this type of attention is called mindfulness.

Meditation is the art of finding peace and happiness within by using simple methods of calming and stabilising our minds. Modern life can be stressful and busy. Most of the time we are carried along by the force of emotions, habits and conditioning and end up feeling tired and stressed by everyday life. Practicing meditation can change this. Meditation can help bring about a natural sense of peace and well-being that can extend to every aspect of our lives. People who meditate regularly tend to sleep better, handle the ups and downs of daily life with more clarity and ease and relate to others with more compassion and warmth.

This course is perfect for beginners. It will include posture, relaxation, breathing and other meditation essentials. A regular meditation practice can bring a greater sense of inner peace and calm an overactive mind.

 

 

JUNE 2013

 

Introduction to meditation at Manor Place

Thursday 6th - 27th June, 7.00 - 8.30 pm 

 

The five powers of meditation at Spa Road
with Clive Holmes 
Saturday 8th - Sunday 9th June, 10.00 - 5.00 pm

There are five powers which help us establish our meditation: aspiration, familiarisation, planting white seeds, integrating and sharing/ dedication. They are drawn from the 7 Points of Mind Training from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

While easy to understand, these five powers have a profound meaning that can help us "jump start" meditation practice if it has diminished, and keep our momentum going to practice regularly. They are also easy to remember and help us keep on track.

Over the weekend, we will develop Tonglen and other practices to balance theory and practice. We will also see how these five powers can be applied to letting go at the time of death. This course is suitable for beginners as well as people who have been practising longer. All are welcome.

 

Medicine Buddha Puja at Spa Road

Sunday 9th June, 7.00 - 8.00 pm
All are welcome. 

Employing the skilful techniques of mantra and visualization, Medicine Buddha Puja is practiced to protect oneself or others from bad physical or mental health.  

 

Meditiation retreat with the Samye Dzong Sangha at Spa Road
Friday 14th June - Sunday 16th June, 9.00 - 5.00 pm
Bring offerings for the shrine - flowers, food, or incense.