Welcome to the August newsletter and time for my annual joke about the residents skipping along the corridors singing "We're all going on a summer holiday". OK, maybe that's just a slight exaggeration, but it's a nice idea. And speaking of volunteers (how's that for a segue?), there's always a need for more when we re-open from Wednesday 23rd August at 5.00 pm. That could be in a part-time capacity on Reception or in the Tea Room for example - or, for those more ambitious, as a longer term residential volunteer. If this is something you'd like to consider, just visit the website where you can find more information and application forms for joining us. The weekend of 29th - 30th July the Centre is only open to those who have booked for the 24-hour Green Tara practice, after which the Centre is fully closed for the summer break. However it's more of a break for some than others because.... Lama Zangmo is leading a retreat at Samye Ling from the 12th to the 20th August. I'm certainly looking forward to it as it's my first chance to go on retreat since the pandemic kicked off. Also there will be Joe who's been volunteering at the Centre and now has a new haircut (very short!!!) and one or two other regulars. Starting on Thursday 9th September, Lama Zangmo is resuming the drop-in classes on Thursday evenings 7pm which are open to anyone interested in understanding the Buddhist teachings. The classes have time for Q&A and finish with a short meditation. Details will be added to the website soon. Finally, if these newsletters are no longer of interest, but just cluttering up your inbox, bear in mind that there's an unsubscribe option at the bottom of every email. If they are your thing, then do nothing else and you'll keep on getting them. Now, to find out what's happening when we re-open, just read on. Best wishes, David Bates Newsletter Editor
The Jewel Ornament of Liberation with Lama Zangmo
The course on The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa is open for subscribers for the module starting 9th Sept, which runs over four monthly Saturdays. The course will focus on Refuge & Bodhicitta, starting on chapter eight: How to Develop Perfect Bodhicitta, the remedy to ignorance of the means for becoming enlightened. The course is open to those who have a basic knowledge of Buddhism and wish to learn further, and are able to commit to attending all the dates. The dates for the course are Sept 9; Oct 28th; November 11th and December 9th. To see the full details of this course and book your place, just visit the course page on the website.
An Introduction to Meditation with Joelle Peeters
Running over four Wednesday evenings from the 6th - 27th September from 6.30 - 8.00 pm, this course is led by Kagyu Samye Dzong London Resident Joelle Peeters. Joelle is a long-time Tibetan Buddhist practitioner approved by our organisation to lead and guide meditation practice at the Centre. This course is for people who are new to meditation and will introduce the techniques and understanding to establish an ongoing and fruitful practice of calm abiding meditation. It will include posture, relaxation, breathing, and walking meditation and other relevant aspects of practice. A regular meditation practice can bring a greater sense of inner peace and can help to calm an overactive mind, as well as bring more understanding in a deeper sense of who we are. This is an In-Person ONLY course and will not be online. For full details and to book your place on this course, please visit the course page on the website.
Changing the Habits of a Lifetime, with Clive Holmes
After something of a gap, we are delighted to be welcoming Clive Holmes back to the Centre on the weekend of the 23rd - 24th September, 10.00 am - 4.00 pm each day. Some say the whole purpose of meditation is to restore balance by letting go of the harmful habits that cause us suffering. We can learn to change the ones that are unhelpful and shift our attitude in a helpful direction. This course will be practice and experience based. We will be exploring new horizons within our minds to help us accept and transform those habits that limit our freedom. We will see how many of our harmful habits arise from an "innocent mistake" whereby we take everything too personally, too self-importantly. Through mainstream exercises including those of self-compassion, we can awaken a fearless and mature attitude, We'll use meditation as a method to let go of what is not useful and to adopt what is healthy in our lives. For more details and to book your place on this weekend, just visit the course page on the website.
Embracing Death and Dying
We would like to invite you to join us on Saturday 30th September for our annual event Embracing Death and Dying: A Celebration of Life Through Reflection on Death', organised by the Samye Dzong London Bardo Group. This is an opportunity to explore and reflect on death and dying through a number of talks and workshops hosted by excellent speakers. To give you an idea of what to expect on the day, below are some of the topics covered in our previous events: · The role of hospices in caring for the dying · Wills and probate: the nitty-gritties of dying · Dying well in Buddhism · The role of the chaplain · The modern funeral director: a holistic approach · The stages of death: a Buddhist perspective · The origins and benefits of Death Cafes You are welcome to come along for all or part of the day, which is open to all the family and is free. Our previous events were very popular and we would like to welcome you again this year after the long hiatus of the years of lockdown. The day is rounded off with a light offering and prayers to remember loved ones. Our Tibetan Tearoom will be open throughout the day. Full details of the schedule and details of speakers for the day will be updated on our website closer to the time.
A Mount Meru of Rice: can cooking be Dharma?
“Handle even a single leaf of a green in such a way that it manifests the body of the Buddha. This in turn allows the Buddha to manifest through the leaf. This is a power which you cannot grasp with your rational mind. It operates freely, according to the situation, in a most natural way.” Dōgen, How to Cook Your Life: From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment Looking back over the past few months at the Centre, we do seem to spend a lot of time cooking; special meals for teachers (including a week of amazing food with the Tashi Lhunpo monks); daily lunch for volunteers and residents; baking for the tearoom; making dhal and soup for our weekend visitors; as well as for ourselves and each other when we meet in the kitchen of an evening. Emaho! Cooking gives so much happiness. The cook and the consumers, when joyful, transcend the rational mind and fully inhabit the moment. A mandala offering of sorts. At least, that’s how I feel when cooking for and with, the very special people at the Centre. It makes sense, then, that cooking joyfully for everyone becomes a practice. When teachers and friends enjoy the dishes... To read the rest of Katrina's article, visit the Samye Dzong London blog.