Newsletter February 2013

Posted on 20 Feb 2013


Newsletter February 2013

Kagyu Samye Dzong London

Monthly newsletter

Hello,   

 

While the newsletter is normally devoted to forthcoming teachings and events, this month is a little different. The first two articles have come out of the journey to the Kagyu Monlam made by a group of people associated with Samye Dzong, including the sangha. First we have an account and transcription of an audience with His Holiness the Karmapa, which is followed by reflections on the Monlam by Alan Hughes. Combined with the slide show kindly provided by Lydia Polzer, we hope it gives you a flavour of the occasion. Luckily for those not able to go to India, some pretty good teachers make their way to London.  Please check the News in Brief for details of visits in March by both Khenpo Damcho Dawa Rinpoche Rinpoche and Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche.  And now...read on!
 

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
  • Losar - the Tibetan New Year is on Monday 11th February. Everyone at Kagyu Samye Dzong London wishes you a Happy Year of the Female Water Serpent. Join us for light offerings and prayers at 7pm to mark the beginning of the new year in the lunar calendar.

  • Amitabha Instructions with Lama Zangmo - will be given on the weekend of 23rd-24th February. Amitabha prayers are traditionally recited for the dead and dying, to ensure a favourable rebirth, and in regular practice, Amitabha is associated with long life and longevity.To receive the instructions, you should have taken refuge and you should also have had the Amitabha Empowerment. For full details,click here.

  • Living at Samye Dzong - From time to time residential rooms become available for rent at Samye Dzong London. If you are interested in renting a room and being part of the community, please contact the office.

  • Dates for your diary - we have some pretty special events coming up in March, not least with two well known and popular teachers:

  • Khenpo Damcho Dawa Rinpoche Rinpoche will be giving teachings onthe Four Immeasurables on the weekend of the 9th-10th March while on Tuesday 12th and Thursday 14th he will give evening teachings on Bodhicitta.

    Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche - will be with us over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend from 27th March to the 1st April. Full details of his programme of teaching and empowerments can be found on the website.

  • Alistair Appleton will also be leading a weekend workshop on the 2nd and 3rd March on Mindful Togetherness. While much spiritual practice works with inner harmony, this workshop is concentrating on the way we relate outwards. Full details can be found on the website

  • Lama Zangmo continues her teachings on the Jewel Ornament of Liberation on Thursday evenings at Spa Road.  Don't worry if you've missed the first couple - it's a big text and there's a long way to go!

  • Green Tara Pujas at Spa Road - if you fancy some early morning meditation why not join us at 7.00 am on Sunday mornings for our weekly Green Tara puja. All are welcome.

We were ushered into the audience room on the roof of Tergar monastery and after presenting kattas and offerings we all sat down right in front of His Holiness. Lama Zangmo introduced the group and conveyed greetings from both Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Rinpoche. She then gave a brief history of KSDL from its beginnings up to finding its own premises in Spa Road, and how we had hoped to have HH Karmapa there for the opening - and we could glimpse the great devotion that Lama feels for HH in the emotion that almost overwhelmed her. She presented HH with the KSDL leaflet, and HH's first reaction on seeing the picture of the Spa Road building was, "Wow! It looks like a castle!" Lama Zangmo renewed the invitation for HH to come, and he answered with great weight: "I will try."

 

 We were fortunate to be given the opportunity as a group to ask His Holiness three questions, and to our delight HH spoke in fluent english, without a translator:

 

Question: How can we support the activities of His Holiness, the Karma Kagyu Lineage, and the other traditions, and how would he like to see Tibetan Buddhism developing in the West.

 

HH: That's a big question! I can't answer immediately, but generally it's important to get the essence of Buddha-dharma. Without this understanding it is meaningless, pointless. The essence of Buddha-dharma is to transform people's minds, so they become more open, with a good heart, helping others. A change in their reality, rather than in what they believe, their ideas, their philosophy. Just a philosophy or an idea isn't good enough. We need to change our motivation, our behaviour, our livelihood. We can see lots of problems these days because of human behaviour and motivation. What is negative in people must change.

 

Question: We would like to ask on behalf of all the people associated with Samye Dzong London how we can all collectively support Akong Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Rinpoche in their activities and how we can promote their long lives?

HH: I think both Akong Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe have worked very hard in the last twenty, thirty years. It is very important to fulfill their wishes and aspirations. Their students have their instructions, their guidance and it's important to recognise what they really want to fulfill, to complete. Also, Akong Rinpoche's Rokpa projects are very wonderful, he is helping lots of education projects in Tibet. To support this project is very important.

 

Question: At Samye Dzong London there are monks, nuns and laypeople living together as a community. What advice would Your Holiness give to help us keep pure motivation and conduct so that we can be a good example of a Buddhist community in a big city like London?

 

HH: Western society is different from that of the East - India, Nepal, Tibet. Sometimes in some contexts changes are needed, the conduct must be according to the society, culture. But basically it's a problem of monastic education, how to be a monk or nun ... I think a sort of education programme about not only philosophy but conduct and motivation, day-to-day life education is needed. London is a very important place in Europe. It's very important to have a community there and to have an education programme.

 

HHK then kindly offered a zen to each of the Sangha, a print of Guru Rinpoche and of the First Karmapa Dusum Chenpa to Lama Zangmo for the Centre, and as we left he offered to each of us, from his own hand, a lovely engraved pebble with the Chenrezig mantra in gold letters! Emaho!

 

Alan Hughes writes:
  
"In mid-December a small group of us set off from Kagyu Samye Dzong London, with Lama Zangmo at the lead, to participate in the 30th Kagyu Monlam at Bodh Gaya, in India. The Monlam is an annual gathering of Lamas, monks, nuns and laypeople, who meet to perform prayers for world peace, and to receive teachings and empowerments from His Holiness the Karmapa, who presides over the festival.

 

The Monlam itself was a wonderful spectacle. The first 5 days of the festival took place in a giant pavilion at Tergar Monastery (the abbot of which is Mingyur Rinpoche) located on the edge of Bodh Gaya, with the last 3 days at the Mahabhodi stupa, a world Heritage Site which marks the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. There is still a Bodhi tree in the same place, a grandchild of the original, and we all spent many hours sitting under it.

 

Our daily routine started with us taking the Mahayana sojong vows at 6 am, which meant that we had to observe eight precepts until sunrise the following morning. These vows include the "normal" five precepts that we live by as Buddhists, together with some additional ones. The most significant aspect of this for most lay people was that we didn't eat after lunch, although as we got up before dawn we went to bed early, it wasn't as difficult as we feared it might be.

 

My experience of the Monlam ranged from the incredulity I felt being there in the presence of His Holiness the Karmapa and so many eminent teachers, and feeling enormous inspiration from the prayers that we were doing, to having sore knees from sitting so long, and sometimes feeling boredom and wondering "what am I doing here"? Overall, it was a wonderful, challenging experience.

 

We also participated in events outside the Monlam, the most notable of which was the group interview we had with His Holiness The Karmapa. Somebody else will write an article about the interview for this newsletter, but any account of our pilgrimage would be incomplete without mentioning it. To be in the close proximity, in such an intimate environment, with somebody with such incredible presence had an extremely powerful effect on everybody present. For me, this would have made the visit to India worthwhile in itself.

 

Bihar, the Indian state where Bodh Gaya is located, is one of the most underdeveloped and poorest areas of India. I think we all found our visit there challenging in many ways, and it really brought home to us how fortunate we are in the west. Not only did it make us appreciate the advantages and opportunities we have in our lives, but on a more mundane level I don't think we'll ever take drainage systems and rubbish collection quite so much for granted.

 

The Monlam was followed by the first public teaching from Jamgon Kongtrul on "Calling the Lama from Afar", then two days of teachings from His Holiness the Karmapa on "The Torch of Certainty". It was wonderful to receive teachings from such great teachers, and was an inspiring way to end our visit to Bodh Gaya.

 

On our journey back we stopped off in Delhi for the day, and were extremely fortunate to be able to meet with Tai Situ Rinpoche, who wasn't at the Monlam. A group of 12 of us visited him, for what was a wonderful, informal meeting. He was very friendly, humorous and relaxed, and gave us very profound Dharma teachings in response to our not always quite so profound questions. The thing that stayed in my mind most of all was his advice that we always should try to remember the first two of the Four Noble Truths, and always keep in mind that "Everyone just wants to be happy!".

 

Many thanks to Lydia Polzer who has kindly put together this slide show of the visit to the Monlam.

So much of the stress in our lives is caused by the thoughts we have about the past or about the future, all of which take us away from where we actually live our lives - the present. The more we invest in those stories, the more real they seem and the more solid they become. With the weight of these fantasies pushing us down,choice and control over our lives seems to slip away. It doesn't have to be this way.

 

This course will offer practical methods to reduce the stress in our lives. Up to 90% of our stress is self-created because of slipping into habitual "automatic pilot" mode.

 

We can help ourselves a lot by cultivating mindfulness so that we can start to give ourselves choices again and renew a sense of joyfulness in our lives. If that is too difficult, at least we can learn how to face and cope with obstacles.

 

At least we can befriend ourselves and find some sense of inner peace.

 

Clive Holmes has been teaching meditation for the last twenty years all over the UK, as well as in Samye Dzong centres overseas. He has completed over a year in intensive retreat and has studied in Europe and India with teachers from Burma, South East Asia, Japan and Tibet. He is co-editor of the books "Taming the Tiger" and "Restoring the Balance" by Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche. He has a degree in western philosophy, an honorary appointment as Teaching Fellow in the School of Education at Aberdeen University and is involved in teaching MSc Mindfulness.

 

Clive is teaching at Spa Road on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd February, 10.00-4.00 pm. Suggested contribution, £55. To book your place now contact the office at Spa Road on on 020 3327 1650.

We are happy to announce that we are looking for someone to join our residential full time volunteer team to Manage our Tibetan Tea Room. This is an ideal opportunity for someone who wants to do something very meaningful and fulfilling with their time.

As the Tea Room Manager you would be responsible for the running of the Tea Room such as ordering and purchasing of food, food preparation, serving tea and cakes as well as attending to the the shop. The Tea Room is the social heart of the centre and is sometimes people's first point of contact with the centre. This position is open to someone who enjoys social interactions and is friendly and outgoing. You would be working five days a week with two days off. Food and accommodation would be provided, but all volunteers are unpaid.

Living in the centre would enable you to deepen your understanding of Buddhism and meditation. You would have access to the shrine rooms for your own practice and the centre also has a regular weekly schedule of meditation sessions, pujas and teachings organised throughout the year.

If you are interested in this position feel free to contact our office by phone on 0203 327 1650 or by email
 

Hello people whose talents have not yet been realised!

LAMA YESHE RINPOCHE'S 70TH BIRTHDAY is in May and we are looking to put together a celebration through dance, singing, spoken word and live music. We are looking for reliable, committed, enthusiastic people to help bring this performance to life. No experience is necessary but is of course a bonus!


The meeting last week regarding Lama Yeshe's birthday celebrations was fantastic, it formed the basis of the production which we will be presenting to him in May. We know many of you couldn't be at the meeting but still want to be involved in any way you can! Please find attached the rehearsal schedule for the next 10 weeks and basic outline of the performance.

WE STILL NEED PEOPLE FOR...
 
 

  • Songs and chants
  • Celebratory group dance
  • Someone to build simple back drop for set
  • Someone to be music technician on the day (must be able to attend some rehearsals toward end, dates TBC
     

REGULAR REHEARSALS

Rehearsals for the dance sections will take part on Mondays at 7:00pm-8:30pm @ Kagyu Samye Dzong
Rehearsals for the songs and chants will take part on Tuesdays 7:00pm-8:30pm @ Kagyu Samye Dzong

After 10 weeks (Tuesday 5th March) a separate rehearsal schedule will be formed for the physical theatre/acting and group scenes.


WHEN?

The event will take place at Samye Ling on the weekend of 25th May. We are looking to travel up on Friday 24th and return late evening on Monday 27th (bank holiday). However if you need to leave earlier this is fine. If there are quite a few people we may organise a bus to take everyone up and back.

TO GET INVOLVED


It is still not too late to get involved! We are grateful for any ideas and input you may have so please get in touch! If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask or swing by a rehearsal.
If you would like to be part of this get in touch with the office on 0203 327 1650 or email us at
ksdlondon@samye.org (attention of JADE )

Jade Shaw

Freelance Dance Artist

 

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.

   

FEBRUARY 2013

 

Beingfulness: An Eight Week Course in Mindful Presence
 
Friday Every Week
Between 11 January 2013 & 1 March 2013
 
Spa Road,Alistair Appleton(Suggested Contribution: £90.00, Concession: £60.00)
How do we stay spacious and loveable human beings rather than stressed-out, hacked-off human doings? Using mindful meditation to get in touch with the whole spectrum of human existence, Alistair's course in Beingfulness teaches ways in which we can learn to be more present to our existence and conscious of the 'triggers' that spin us off in to anxious doing.

 

Introduction to Meditation
 
Wednesday Every Week
Between 16 January 2013 & 27 February 2013
 
Spa Road,Bernard Mordan(Suggested Contribution: £50.00)
People from all walks of life are learning to meditate and discovering the great benefit
it can bring them in their everyday life.

 

The Jewel Ornament of Liberation
 
Thursday Every Week
Between 17 January 2013 & 21 March 2013
 
Spa Road,Lama Gelongma Zangmo (Suggested Contribution: £55.00)
Lama Zangmo will teach a weekly class on Gampopa's The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, a text which captures the essence of the teachings of the Kagyu lineage.

 

Reducing Stress with Mindfulness and Compassion
 
2 February 2013 & 3 February 2013
 
Spa Road,Clive Holmes(Suggested Contribution: £55.00)
This course will offer practical methods to reduce the stress in our lives. Up to 90% of our stress is self-created because of slipping into habitual "automatic pilot" mode.

 

Meditation Afternoons in February
 
2 February 2013 & 16 February 2013
 
Manor Place,All Welcome
A chance to get together with fellow practitioners for an afternoon of short meditation sessions. Ideal for those who would like to sit more than they currently do.

 

Introduction to Meditation
 
Thursday Every Week
Between 31 January 2013 & 21 March 2013
 
Manor Place,Gelong Trinley(Suggested Contribution: £60.00)
A regular meditation practice can bring increased inner peace, poise and perspective. This course will cover 'calm abiding' meditation and mindfulness, and is a perfect introduction for beginners.

 

Mindfulness One Year Training Module One: Becoming Present
 
9 February 2013 & 10 February 2013
 
Spa Road,Mindfulness Association Teachers(Suggested Contribution: £120.00)
The one year mindfulness programme is a comprehensive training in mindfulness that is suitable for beginners and for those who already have a mindfulness practice. Participants will be taught progressive skills in mindfulness through presentations, guided practice and smaller group sessions.

 

Losar - Tibetan New Year
 
11 February 2013
 
Spa Road,All Welcome
Everyone at Kagyu Samye Dzong London wishes you a Happy Year of the Female Water Serpent. Join us for light offerings and prayers.

 

Amitabha Instructions
 
23 February 2013 & 24 February 2013
 
Spa Road,Lama Gelongma Zangmo (Suggested Contribution: £55.00)
Amitabha prayers are traditionally recited for the dead and dying, to ensure a favourable rebirth, and in regular practice, Amitabha is associated with long life and longevity. Lama Zangmo will teach a weekend of instructions on the Amitabha practice.

 

Dorje Sempa Instruction and Retreat Day
 
23 February 2013 & 24 February 2013
 
Manor Place,Gelong Trinley(Suggested Contribution: £55.00)
This is a weekend comprising the instructions for the Dorje Sempa practice followed by a one-day retreat. It is especially relevant for those who are doing Ngöndro practice or would like to learn about purification.

  

MARCH 2013

 

 

The Jewel Ornament of Liberation

 Thursday every week between 17 January 2013 & 21 March 2013

Spa Road,Lama Gelongma Zangmo (Suggested Contribution: £55.00)

Lama Zangmo will teach a weekly class on Gampopa's The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, a text which captures the essence of the teachings of the Kagyu lineage.

 

Beingfulness: An Eight Week Course in Mindful Presence 

Friday  every week between 11 January 2013 & 1 March 2013

Spa Road,Alistair Appleton(Suggested Contribution: £90.00, Concession: £60.00)

How do we stay spacious and loveable human beings rather than stressed-out, hacked-off human doings? Using mindful meditation to get in touch with the whole spectrum of human existence, Alistair's course in Beingfulness teaches ways in which we can learn to be more present to our existence and conscious of the 'triggers' that spin us off in to anxious doing.

 

Introduction to Meditation

 Thursday every week between 31 January 2013 & 21 March 2013

Manor Place,Gelong Trinley(Suggested Contribution: £60.00)

A regular meditation practice can bring increased inner peace, poise and perspective. This course will cover 'calm abiding' meditation and mindfulness, and is a perfect introduction for beginners.

 

Mindful Togetherness

 2 March 2013 & 3 March 2013

Spa Road,Alistair Appleton(Suggested Contribution: £80.00, Concession: £55.00)

Most of our stress and upset in life comes from problems with relating - relationships with family, partners, children and with the World in general. And while much spiritual practice works with inner harmony, this workshop is concentrating on the way we relate outwards.

 

Meditation Afternoons in March 

2 March 2013 & 16 March 2013

Manor Place,All Welcome

A chance to get together with fellow practitioners for an afternoon of short meditation sessions. Ideal for those who would like to sit more than they currently do.

 

The Four Immeasurables

9 March 2013 & 10 March 2013

Spa Road, with Khenpo Damcho Dawa Rinpoche Rinpoche(Suggested Contribution: £60.00)

We are extremely privileged to welcome Khenpo Damcho Dawa Rinpoche to Kagyu Samye Dzong London, for the third year running, for a weekend of teachings on the Four Immeasurables.

 

Introduction to Buddhism

9 March 2013

Manor Place,Gelong Trinley(Suggested Contribution: £20.00)

An afternoon in which to learn more about the basic teachings of Buddhism, and about its main traditions, practices and principles.

 

Introduction to Meditation

Wednesday every week between 6 March 2013 & 24 April 2013

Spa Road,Bernard Mordan(Suggested Contribution: £50.00)

People from all walks of life are learning to meditate and discovering the great benefit it can bring them in their everyday life.

 

Evening Teachings on Bodhicitta

Every day between 12 March 2013 & 14 March 2013

Spa Road, with Khenpo Damcho Dawa Rinpoche Rinpoche(Suggested Contribution: £30.00)

After his wonderful teachings on the Dorje Chang Tungma last year, Khenpo Damcho Darwa Rinpoche returns to Kagyu Samye Dzong London for another series of evening teachings, this time on Bodhicitta.

 

The Inner Child

16 March 2013 & 17 March 2013

Spa Road, Philippe Jacquet (Suggested Contribution: £100.00)

This workshop will be a journey of discovery where Art Therapy will help you to give a voice to your inner child and make it freer.

 

Teachings and Empowerments
Every day b
etween 27 March 2013 & 1 April 2013

Spa Road, with Dr. Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche

Our precious teacher and Founder Choje Tulku Akong Rinpoche will be visiting Kagyu Samye Dzong London over the Easter Bank Holiday for a series of teachings and empowerments on weekday evenings and during the long weekend.