Welcome to the February newsletter, and happy Losar for next weekend (more about which below). I don't know about you, but as the days are getting lighter again, my spirits are lifting (it's light after 4.00 pm!!!). Journeying to and from work in the dark isn't much fun, but the winter solstice is past and traces of spring are emerging around us. The signs of new life remind me that there's plenty to look forward to and as we move towards spring, there's plenty going on at the Centre to look forward to as well. Now that should put a spring in your step! However, before we move onto that it's time for a....
BIG THANK YOU - to everyone who has sent us donations after reading about the size of our energy bills in the last newsletter. We know that everybody else is also experiencing an increase in their bills as well, and we truly appreciate your contribution to us paying ours. Thank you!
Opportunities at the Centre:
A vacancy is coming up for a residential volunteer. If you're interested in living and working in the community then please visit the volunteer page on the website and complete the appropriate online form.
Room to rent - if you are interested in living in the community, a small room will soon be available for a practicing meditator. Please get in touch with the office to find out more.
Dates for your diary
Online Death Cafe - Saturday 2nd March, 5.30 - 6.30 pm. The Death cafe is an opportunity to explore your unheard views on death and to listen and delight in the views of others on the same subject. The objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'. Being online, it's a case of bring your own tea.
Mantra Rolling and Statue Filling on Sat 13 & Sun 14 April
Drupon Khen Rinpoche, Karma Lhabu, will be giving three evenings of teachings on the 7th, 8th and 9th of May in Samye Dzong London, from 7.00 - 9.00 pm. This is prior to the 4th UK Kagyu Monlam which will be taking place at Samye Ling from the 11th - 18th May.
And now onto the rest of the newsletter.
Losar - Tibetan New Year celebrations
We wish you a Happy Losar for the Year of the Wood Dragon.
We will be celebrating Tibetan New Year on Sat 10th Feb and hope you will be able to join the Kagyu Samye Dzong London community for a day of prayers and celebration.
Everybody is welcome.
Schedule for the day:
9.30am Green Tara puja
10.30am Riwo Sangcho smoke offering puja in the courtyard.
12.30 pm Dhal and rice is available in the Tearoom
2pm Offering of 108 butter lamps in the courtyard, followed by offering of Katas and the Sangpo Chopai Monlam, The King of Aspirations, in the shrine room.
3pm Kapse, Dresil and Tibetan butter tea will be offered in the Tearoom, and there may be a Tibetan singer or two.
We dedicate these activites so that outer and inner obstacles may be pacified, and happiness and wellbeing may increase for the year ahead. May the light of wisdom dispel the darkness of ignorance.
Tibetan Medicine in Samye Dzong London
While most people have heard of Traditional Chinese Medicine, not so many are aware of Tibetan Medicine - something that was very important to our founder, Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche who studied it from a young age. You can read about the extent of Rinpoche's involvement with Tibetan Medicine in the book "Only the Impossible is Worth Doing" - which, if you don't have a hard copy, you can download for free.
Tibetan Medicine has been practised in Himalayan countries for over 1,000 years and uses a holistic approach to health and well-being. It does not offer a quick fix to relieve symptoms, rather it aims to address imbalance in the body and mind. It can be used on its own or in conjunction with Western medicine.
Tibetan medicine recognises the influence of dietary, psychological, environmental and lifestyle factors on the balance or imbalance of the body and mind, and it aims to achieve health through balance.
At Samye Dzong we are lucky enough to have Dr Lobsang Dhonden Soktsang visiting one weekend each month from his base in Edinburgh. Dr Soktsang came to the UK in 2001 at the invitation Rinpoche, and has extensive experience in Traditional Tibetan Medicine having studied and practised over the past thirty years in Tibet, India and the UK. He trained at the Central Medical Institute for Traditional Tibetan Medicine in Lhasa, Tibet, and graduated with a First Class General Medical Degree.
Dr Soktsang will be holding his next London clinic at the Centre on the weekend of the 17th - 18th February. To find out more about Tibetan Medicine, or to book an appointment, please visit Dr Soktsang's website.
Coming up in February
I have to admit that when Lama asked me to mention what's coming up at the Centre in February, and I saw the list, my mind did skip to The Element Song by Tom Lehrer! If I had to read this out loud. I'd be taking a deep breath....
An introduction to meditation with Joelle Peeters - a 4-week course on Wednesday evenings starting on the 7th February
Chenrezig Instructions will be given by Lama Zangmo on Sunday 11th February from 11.00 - 3.30 pm.
Working with the Emotions is a weekend course with Lama Zangmo on the 17th and 18th February
There is a Simply Meditation day on Sunday 25th from 11.30 - 4.45 pm.
Plus, don't forget:
The weekly group meditation sessions on Wednesdays from 7.00 - 7.45 pm
Lama's Thursday evening course, A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path, from 7.00 - 8.00 pm
Chenrezig Puja every Sunday from 7.00 - 7.45 pm and, last but not least
Online meditation at 8.00 - 8.30 am from Wednesday to Sunday. Join us on our YouTube channel.
Visiting teachers in March
Suddenly we seems to have visiting teachings on the move again, with three coming in March! This looks like a really interesting month at the Centre!
The ever popular Clive Holmes kicks off March with his weekend workshop "Better health through meditation - ancient wisdom for modern living", on 2nd and 3rd March. “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”
The weekend will incorporate visualisation, breathing methods and meditation exercises. Simple instructions on Self-compassion will be given.
The following weekend, 9th - 10th, Tara Rokpa therapist Sarah Wass is offering a workshop on "The Three Healing Lights: White, Red and Blue". One of Akong Rinpoche’s many accomplishments during his lifetime was his creation of the Tara Rokpa process. It is a series of relaxations, meditations and self development exercises.
The white, red and blue light visualisations can be practised as relaxations or meditations both during the workshop and also at home to help us deal with difficulties when they arise in our lives.
Finally, Alistair Appleton leads a weekend on "Liberating the Ego Loop" on the 16th - 17th March, which has the fantastically alliterative subtitle "Melt the mechanism that makes you moody!"
As Alistair writes, on his website:
"The Ego habit makes us suffer. Meditation breaks that habit. So much of our mental anguish and boredom comes from an endless loop of self-regarding thought and emotion."
Full details of Alistair's workshop and how to book can be found on the MIndsprings website.