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Twenty years of Kagyu Samye Dzong London

Posted on 6 May 2018

Twenty years of Kagyu Samye Dzong London


 Kagyu Samye

Dzong London

May Newsletter

Welcome to the May newsletter.  As well as looking forward to what's coming up, we also have a brief look back to when Kagyu Samye Dzong London first opened it's doors in Carlisle Lane, 20 years ago. To find out more, read on.... 

 News in Brief

  • An update on the proposed development at 11-13 Spa Road If you've been wondering what's going on, here's an update. Following the planning application, the Council received 177 objections from people living locally, after which the developer was asked to alter their design. We are still waiting for the altered design to be presented. The Council will be contacting everybody who commented on the original plans and will then give two weeks in which to submit comments on the revised proposal. After that two week window the application will be submitted to the Council Planning Committee for a decision. We hope that all those who previously commented will have a look at the new design and respond.  When it comes to the Council Planning Committee meeting, we hope that as many people as possible will attend.  We hope to send out a special mailing to let you know when this is taking place.  
  • Kagyu Samye Dzong London is looking for a part-time cook. We are looking for someone with experience in cooking vegetarian/vegan food for larger numbers (15-20 people). Anyone interested, please contact the office for more information.
  • Our first Earth Day was a great success with a good number of people and some pretty special speakers and activities. If you weren't able to get there, or if you'd just like a refresher there's a page on the website summarising what went on and including videos of the talks by Lama Zangmo and the inspirational speech given by our guest speaker Satish Kumar.  There's also a slideshow to refresh the memories of those who were there.
  • The first UK Kagyu Monlam will be taking place at Kagyu Samye Ling from 22nd-29th May. For more details of the Monlam, please visit the Samye Ling website.
  • Changes to pujas at KSDL during the Monlam - During the Monlam, KSD London will be slightly understaffed. For that reason there will be no Green Tara puja at 8am on Sunday 27th May, and there will be Chenrezig puja instead of Guru Rinpoche Tsok puja at 7pm that same evening.


1 - 20 years of Kagyu Samye Dzong London

David Bates writes:
"It was just over 20 years ago, in January 1998, that I set out for my usual lunchtime walk in Archbishop's Park. As I strolled down Carlisle Lane I suddenly saw a notice which hadn't previously been there - "Kagyu Samye Dzong London". I thought "Hmm....looks Tibetan. I'll go and say hello". I'd always wondered what was down the unused driveway with the high gates at the end, so here was my excuse.

It wasn't a particularly encouraging sight that greeted me. While the building was clearly an old school, it was also in the middle of being gutted and turned into something else! As I went in and called out "Hello" a nun appeared - this was my first meeting with Ani (now Lama) Zangmo. While I'd never had anything to do with Tibetan Buddhism (Zen and Therevada, but not Tibetan) there was something about Ani Zangmo that I liked, and I thought the idea of a Buddhist Centre in central London was an excellent one, so I made a donation and stayed in touch.

Three months later I was fortunate enough to be there for the official opening of the first Kagyu Samye Dzong London. As with any opening there was plenty of last minute rushing around, although this was particularly dramatic by any standards. Two carpenters had come down from Samye Ling to build a shrine for the shrine room. The day they left to go back to Samye Ling, the flooring for the shrine room arrived...but not the men to install it and the company that supplied the flooring weren't answering the phone. This was only three days before the opening! Instead, the two carpenters arrived back at Samye Ling only to be asked to go straight back down to London and install a floor which was like a giant jigsaw puzzle without instructions... in two days! Suffice to say it was done - just!

My memories of that opening day include: how cold and grey the weather was (there are warm sunny spring days....and this really wasn't one of them); the shrine room being absolutely jam packed; and most especially for me, taking refuge with Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche.

I can't quite believe that was all 20 years ago, that I've been editing this newsletter for the last 15 years and living in our third Centre for the last four and a half years! All the result of my curiosity and an unplanned turn down a driveway rather than a walk in the park on that January day in 1998." 
We will be celebrating 20 years of Kagyu Samye Dzong London with Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche on Friday 6th and the weekend of the 7th-8th July.  Definitely dates for your diary!  A full programme will go up on the website in due course and we hope to see you there .

     2 - June with Lama Zangmo

Those who look forward to teachings with Lama Zangmo will have no shortage of opportunities during June as she leads four courses:
A guide to Shamatha meditation is designed as a follow-up for those who have taken the introductory meditation courses run at the centre. Four Wednesday evenings from 6th June.
Developing a Good Foundation takes place on Thursday evenings from 7th June and covers the four thoughts that turn the mind to the dharma and an explanation of taking refuge.
Medicine Buddha instructions and practice will take place on Sunday 10th June. The Medicine Buddha puja takes place on the second Sunday of each month at the Centre and is a way to balance the phsycial, mental and spiritual health of ourselves and others. 
Finally, a reminder for those already on the Bodhicharyavatara course with Lama Zangmo, the next date is Saturday 16th June.

3 - Somatic meditation: an introduction with Alistair Appleton

Over the weekend of the 19th-20th May, Alistair is teaching the foundational practices of body-based meditation which gives us tools to release tension and learn to trust the inner wisdom of our bodies.
Modern life and psychological stress leaves our corporeal selves locked in near-constant patterns of holding, contraction and defence. And tackling this with the thinking mind, scrunches things further.  Drawing on his experience as a therapist, long-term meditator and student of the work of Reggie Ray, Alistair welcomes meditators of any level to experience their practice in a more embodied and more relaxed way.
Please book your place on this course via the Mindsprings website.