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July / August Newsletter 2024





Dear All,


Welcome to the July newsletter, which I'll start with a sort of date for your diary - which is to say that the Centre's summer closure is coming up at the end of July. The Centre will be closed from Monday 29th July and re-opening on Saturday 31st August. I'm afraid you'll have to get through most of August on YouTube replays of morning meditations and teachings. However, before that arrives there is a pretty packed July with visits from Lama Yeshe and Khenpo Tashi on successive weekends, not to mention our own more locally sourced teachings which include...


An Introduction to Meditation with Joelle Peeters on Saturday 6th July, 10.00 am - 4.00 pm. Join Joelle for a day of meditation instruction especially suited for complete beginners and those who would like to refresh their knowledge and get more meditation experience.


An Introduction to The Buddhist Path with Lama Zangmo on Saturday 13th July, 10.00 am - 3.30 pm. The first formal step on the Buddhist path is taking refuge. This day will be an explanation of what it means to take refuge. Spiritual refuge is a protection that eventually leads to freedom from confusion and suffering.


Lama Zangmo also continues her Thursday night drop-in course, teaching on Gampopa's "The Precious Garland of the Supreme Path". This text succinctly outlines what we need to know at every stage of the path, and thus throughout our lives. It is suitable for anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of the Buddhist path. There is no need to have attended any previous sessions.


Volunteering - running all these events and maintaining the Centre takes a lot of time and effort on the part of our volunteers, whether they are full-time or part-time - but many hands make light work. It can also be a way of deepening your connection to the community. The Centre welcomes applications from all people, from those who have offered service before and are long time practitioners, to those just taking first steps on or towards, the Buddhist path. 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. It creates merit by offering service as daily work. In a building this size there is always something that needs doing and our volunteers do a pretty diverse range of activities from managing the office, helping run the tea room, cooking, cleaning public areas as well as preparing rooms. For those with more specialist skills and/or knowledge, there are other avenues to explore.


Date changes, Dr Soktsang, the Tibetan Doctor, will be at the Centre on the weekend of the 13th - 14th July, on on the first weekend that the Centre re-opens after the summer break - the 31st August - 1st September. For appointments please contact: dr.lsoktsang@gmail.com


Finally, while the Centre will be closed during August, there is plenty to look forward to in the autumn. We have a weekend visit from Donal Creedon, and Ani Semchi will be teaching "Drawing the Deity" - a course which can really help you with visualisation in our pujas - and lots more. Get out your diary and check our Events Calendar!


In the meantime, I hope you have a great summer, and I hope to see some of you at Lama Yeshe's weekend at the end of July.


All the best,


David Bates

Newsletter Editor


 

Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche to visit KSDL in July




We are delighted to announce that our precious Abbot, Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, will be visiting Samye Dzong London after what seems like such a long time. We invite you to join us for a weekend of celebration and events on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July.


Over the weekend Lama Yeshe Rinpoche will bestow refuge to those wishing to become a Buddhist by taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. There will be an explanation of what it means to take refuge and what to expect in the ceremony, and there will also be an opportunity for those wishing to take precepts, or wish to renew their precepts.


Lama Yeshe will be accompanied by Ani Lhamo and Gelong Thubten, and Thubten will give several talks over the weekend.


We very much look forward to welcoming Lama Yeshe Rinpoche again in Kagyu Samye Dzong London and we hope you will be able to join us to celebrate and pay respects and rejoice in all the wonderful years and guidance we have had from our Abbot so far. Save the dates!



 

Khenpo Karma Tashi - The Four Dharmas of Gampopa



We are very fortunate that Khenpo Tashi will be visiting Kagyu Samye Dzong London to give teachings on the weekend of 20th & 21st July.


The topic for the teachings will be The Four Dharmas of Gampopa:


“Grant your blessing that my mind may become one with the Dharma.

Grant your blessing that the Dharma may progress along the path.

Grant your blessing that the Dharma may clarify confusion.

Grant your blessing that confusion may dawn as wisdom.”


The Four Dharmas of Gampopa is the most concise teaching of all of Gampopa’s instructions and covers the entire path. It is also recited as a prayer and is considered to hold great blessings. Gampopa taught that for those who could not meet him in person, encountering his teachings will be equivalent to meeting him in person.


To read full details of the weekend and to book your place, please visit the event page on the website.


 

Living beyond labels: the example of a therapeutic




David Stevenson writes:


[Lothlorien] has 17 acres of land, including vegetable gardens, woodland and pasture land. The therapeutic element consists of working together to maintain the land, gardens and buildings, and in being together. It is a place where the usual divisions between the well and the unwell, between staff and service-users, are blurred; where everyone in the community has involvement in decision-making.


For me, this blurring of lines brings into clarity questions regarding the nature of wellness and illness. Can anyone claim to be 100% well, emotionally and psychologically? And is anyone unwell in isolation from the context of the world they live in? I would answer no to both these. This is not to deny that some of us are at times more fragile than others. Suffering is real, whatever its cause.


The experience of living in the environment fostered at Lothlorien enables me to see everyone as intrinsically whole, and not as a problem to be fixed, not as a medical label, a diagnosis.


The structure of the working week is an essential part of life in the community. Routine provides a stable ground, especially the fact that everyone can take ownership of the work, and retain some autonomy regarding which tasks they apply themselves to.....


What do people with mental health problems need?


While it is not possible to answer this question in detail with reference to an individual at a particular time, I believe it is evident that in general the answer is the same as for people without mental health problems: To have a purpose, to be valued and appreciated, to be known and accepted as a valid member of the human family."


David Stevenson a co-worker at Lothlorien Therapeutic Community in Scotland and has over 30 years experience working in the fields of mental health and social care. This is a selection of edited extracts from his article. To read the full article (which is well worth your time) in its' full and original form, please visit MAD IN THE UK.


 

Chai and Chats



Sarah Sheehan writes:


"If there was one job in the world I thought I would never find myself doing, it would be between becoming an orthopaedic surgeon, or cooking or baking for anyone other than myself. Further evidence of my atrocious ability in the latter can be found in school reports from my Food and Nutrition teacher who seemed overly supportive of me giving up her class to follow pretty much any other pursuit. So, there is something quite terrifying and comical in the fact that I now find myself managing our Tibetan Tearoom. But, in the words of Neale Donald Walsch, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” - that, at the moment for me, is the door of the tearoom.


So, in April this year, after two weeks of shadowing our wonderful Ira, the journey began! What I found to be most reassuring was the fact that with our super fabulous team, I was not alone. Firstly, with the combination of our current volunteers and residents, most of the cooking and baking is out of my hands - thank goodness! We have our wonderful Kat who has worked on creating a delicious array of sweet treats that range from vegan lemon drizzle and chocolate cakes, jammy coconut sponge cakes, and all sorts of cookies, muffins and more! And then together with herself, Joelle, Tom, Druk, Alex and others; the most delicious and wholesome homemade daals and soups can be served as well! And so, to my utmost relief, my role is more that of a taster, which I thoroughly enjoy. And while we are on the topic of soup, just a shout out in case you are not aware, we are now serving homemade soup and homemade bread on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings; which can be a lovely healthy dinner option before the 7 pm sessions...."


To read Sarah's full article, visit the Community Blog on the website.

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