Happy New Year and welcome to the January newsletter. The doors to the Centre re-open at 5.00 pm this Wednesday (10th January) when we'll look forward to welcoming you back. However, earlier in the day, you can still join the community online at 8.00 am for the morning Shinay Meditation on our YouTube Channel.
While the middle parts of this month's newsletter might look a little familiar from December (there's only so much one can say about the same courses) we kick off this month's issue with a letter from Lama Zangmo with reflections on 2023, and finish with a blog from Katrina about the Dharma in Southern Africa. A fascinating story and well worth a read! The picture at the top of this newsletter is of the temple in Harare.
The Centre's ability to be open depends very much on volunteers - whether full-time, part-time, short-term or long-term. We welcome applications from all people, from those just taking first steps on or towards, the Buddhist path, through to those who have offered service before and are long time practitioners. The Centre embraces diversity, equality, and inclusivity efforts with the main requirement for all applicants is a good motivation. Supporting the Centre is a joyful way to incorporate Buddhist Practice into your everyday life and if this is something that you'd like to explore, please visit our volunteer page on the webste for more information.
The other thing the Centre needs to sustain itself is funds - not a terribly British thing to mention (least of all immediately post-Christmas!). However, like everyone else, we've seen rising costs, and in a building the size we've got the energy bill is....well, it's pretty big (think five figures)! If you're both willing and able to make a donation, whether that's a regular monthly donation or a one-off, we would be very grateful. Details of how to do so can be found on the website. Thank you in advance for any help you can give.
Resuming this month:
Lama Zangmo's drop-in course, A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path, resumes on Thursday evenings from the 11th January, 7.00 - 8.00 pm.
Module 3 of Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation starts on Saturday 27th January, 10.00 am - 3.30 pm. The final day of this course will be on Saturday 22nd June.
Finally, whether you can make it to the Centre this week (tube strike permitting) or not, we hope to see you soon. We hope you've had a great start to the New Year and that it continues for the next 12 months.
A Letter from Lama Zangmo
Happy New Year.
I hope 2024 will be a positive year, and you feel happy about how you have spent your time and efforts so far.
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 were also able to welcome 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 our Abbot Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche. Several long courses started at the beginning of the year, both of which continue in 2024, 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 attend the Kagyu Monlam and to take refuge with 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 six paramitas and is an uplifting practice in itself.....
To continue reading Lama Zangmo's reflections on 2023, just visit the website.
Tibetan Language Courses in the New Year
We have 3 Tibetan language courses starting in the New Year catering for beginners and upwards:
Beginners' Tibetan Language, term 2, kicks off on Wednesday 17th January. It's a continuation of the October 2023 Beginners Course and is suitable for anyone who already knows the Tibetan alphabet and the very basics of how to read.
In the Lower Intermediate Tibetan Language Course starting on Friday 19th January, students will expand their Tibetan vocabulary, reading and writing.
Finally, and also on Fridays from the 19th January, is a Chenrezig Text Study which is suitable for anyone who knows the basics of how to read Tibetan, even if it is only slowly. The aim is to enable the students to understand the word-by-word meaning of the text and become proficient in reading it, so they can start to use the Tibetan language for their own Dharma practice. This is not an advanced course, and it is not necessary to be a fast reader to join.
All of these courses are led by Drukthar Gyal: Druk was born in Tibet, grew up in India and did further studies in the United Kingdom. He is an experienced Tibetan language Teacher with excellent knowledge of Tibetan language, literature and Tibetan culture.
To attend any of these courses please book in advance on the Samye Dzong London website.
More courses in the New Year!
The hands in the picture may give you a clue about the first course we're going to mention...
Start the new year with a Meditation Weekend at Samye Dzong London on the 13/14 January. And if you a looking for an imaginative gift for a friend, it is possible to make it into a Weekend Retreat by booking accommodation and staying overnight.
A one-day Introduction to Meditation course with Joelle Peeters takes please on Saturday 20th January from 10.00 - 4.00. This course will introduce participants to 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. There will be meditation sessions interspersed throughout the day and plenty of time for Q&A.
Join us for Losar Tibetan New Year on 10 Feb. We will be celebrating from 2-4pm with prayers for the new year followed by Tibetan food and Tibetan butter tea.
Instructions for the Chenrezig puja will be given by Lama Zangmo on Sunday 11th Feb from 11.00 - 3.30 pm. Chenrezig is the Bodhisattva of Compassion and we recite this practice every Sunday evening at the Centre.
Finally, a weekend of Working with the Emotions on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February, 10.00 am - 3.00 pm. This weekend course will focus especially on how we can deal with emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and confusion and develop positive mindstates such as gratitude, appreciation and clarity through meditation and the way we think.