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2023 Reflections from Lama Zangmo

Dear Friends,


Happy New Year.I hope 2024 will be a positive year, and you will feel happy about how you have spent your time and efforts at the end of it.




Looking back to 2023 I thought I would give a little summary of the past year in Samye Dzong London. How did we spend this year which seems to have flown by so quickly, what did we accomplish? There were many wonderful and inspiring moments and events during 2023, and here are just a few of the things to rejoice in.


We had visits from wonderful teachers such as Drupon Khen Rinpoche, Karma Lhabu and Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. We welcomed the Tashi Lhunpo monks who led us in prayers for the swift return of Akong Tulku Rinpoche and for the long life and good health of Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche. We started several long courses at the beginning of the year which are still continuing this year, and therefore many people are now familiar with Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament and Gampopa’s Precious Garland texts. 


Some people went to Samye Ling to take refuge and attend the Kagyu Monlam with our Abbot, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, while others started the Ngondro foundation practice. We now have a new joyful resident monk who is studying and practicing diligently, and thanks to our Tibetan resident, Druk, we started running Tibetan language classes again after a long hiatus. Lastly the Bardo Group organised our Embracing Death and Dying event and supported many at the last stages of their life and at funerals.

 

These are some of the things that come to mind. We can each look back and rejoice in the practice and positive activities we did, and resolve to do even more this year. Rejoicing is one of the Four Immeasurables and is an uplifting practice in itself.


As you may know, we have offered our courses free of charge since 2015. This has been a very positive experience as a whole, but has also been challenging. We found that many people would book for courses in advance, but about a third would simply not turn up, which became quite discouraging. In order to resolve that, we introduced a small non-refundable booking fee at the beginning of 2023. The booking fee is not payment for the courses but a fee to help reduce the admin and the casual approach to bookings, which seems to have been successful.


A highlight of 2023 was having a visit from Damchö and several nuns who have all been spending years in Thrangu Sekhar retreat in Nepal. They stayed a few weeks in London and about a month in Samye Ling, before returning to Nepal at the end of December to continue their training. They will be back in a few years to help in our centres, and they send greetings to everyone who knows them. I hope many others will be inspired to immerse themselves in the Dharma in a similar way.


Samye Dzong London is like a doorway that enables anyone to meet and connect with the teachings and the Lineage. Without that connection we are each like a seed floating on the wind, unable to put down roots. The only way for us to grow and mature is to land in the fertile soil of the living teachings as they are practiced today. 


It is difficult to measure in concrete terms what was accomplished during 2023, but if even a few people have been able to make that connection and work on their minds through study and practice, becoming happier and more peaceful, then it was beneficial and worthwhile.


Thank you to everyone who has helped Samye Dzong London to flourish during this past year. Many of you have given your time as a volunteer; offered financial support; attended our activities or simply held us in your prayers. 


We appreciate all of you and hope to see you in 2024.


Best wishes

Lama Zangmo.





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