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June/July 2023 Newsletter

Subject: Summer Closure begins after Chenrezig Puja on Sunday 30th July. The Centre re-opens on Wednesday 23rd August at 5pm.

Welcome to the June / July newsletter. I'm writing this on the day of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche's departure from the Centre and couldn't resist putting the "Lamas in the park" photo above. For me it encapsulates his visit - relaxed and happy. Ringu Tulku started his teachings on Thursday by saying "Well, I know what I'm supposed to be teaching tonight" and then falling silent, before asking the audience a few moments later "Why are you all laughing?" He then went on to deliver an amazing talk on transforming confusion into clarity which was incredibly structured and....with great clarity! It was wonderful to see so many people who were able to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Now because we're covering two months, I'd better mention the Summer Closure fairly quickly. The Centre will be closing after Chenrezig on Sunday 30th July and will be re-opening on Wednesday 23rd August. If you're going to be feeling a bit deprived of Dharma in that time, you can always book a place on Lama Zangmo's Summer Retreat at Samye Ling during August. More details below!

So many things have been happening of late that I was wondering if this was in danger of expanding from a newsletter to a full size magazine with glossy pages. However it has been contained to a manageable size. It's all about finding a middle way - emptiness isn't a great concept for a newsletter!!!

Now, to find out about everything that's happening, just read on.

David Bates

Newsletter Editor

News in Brief

The final part of the Introduction to Buddhism covers Cultivating Bodhicitta and takes place on Saturday 15th July, from 10.00 - 3.30 pm. We need to practice the Dharma with a recognition that loving kindness, compassion and wisdom are how we can overcome suffering, how we can benefit ourselves and others. Book online here to find out more.

The dates for Lama Zangmo's teachings on Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation to the end of the year are on the website. If you're on this course the final date for module one is 8th July. Module Two begins after the summer closure and these are the dates: 9th September, 14th October, 11th November and 9th December. Those who have attended the Introduction to Buddhism series will be allowed to join at this point, provided they are able to attend all the classes. Book you cushion for the second module here.

Many of you will remember the worry about the rifle shooting ranges that wanted to expand near Samye Ling. There was a campaign a while back to try to stop it being allowed so close to a Buddhist monastery; thank you again to all those who took part in opposing it. Well, this particular bad penny has returned with a new application pending. They don't quite seem to get why shooting high velocity weapons over considerable distances near a monastery is not a good idea! As and when we have more information about what you can do to help, we'll send out a separate email. Any support you can offer at that time to protect the peace and quiet of the Eskdalemuir valley will be very much appreciated.

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

On the 8th June, Thrangu Monastery in Nepal published the sad news of the passing of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, one of our most treasured and learned Kagyu Lineage Masters, which we reproduce here:

"To all those around the world who have a connection, direct or indirect, with the Lord of Refuge, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche: With great regret, we would like to share some sad news with you. On May 5, 2023, the fifteenth day of the third Tibetan month of the Water Hare Year, at the age of ninety-one, the Lord of Refuge Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, tutor to the Gyalwang Karmapa, displayed the appearance of ill health.

When his disciples requested him to go to the hospital, he refused at first but relented when asked again, and was brought to the hospital. At that time, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, out of his immeasurable compassion, spontaneously wrote a powerful long life prayer, instructed all the Kagyu shedras to perform long life practices on Rinpoche's behalf, and kindly gave much advice and guidance. The sanghas of all lineages and in particular the Kagyu monasteries inside and outside Tibet as well as many faithful students put great effort into long life practices. Guru Vajradhara His Holiness the 12th Chamgön Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche, Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, and other great lamas came specifically to see Rinpoche in the hospital. They showed inconceivable kindness by performing long life empowerments and life summoning practices as well as offering representations of body, speech, and mind and making extensive prayers.

Even so, Rinpoche was unable to recover, so he returned to his monastic seat, Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery in Namo Buddha. Finally, on June 4, the full moon day of the fourth Tibetan month, Saga Dawa -the sacred anniversary of the Buddha Shakyamuni, our incomparably kind teacher, passing into parinirvana- Rinpoche decided that he had completed his activity for this life.

At 1:30 PM, he lay down in the same posture as the Buddha Shakyamuni had lain in when passing into parinirvana and then displayed the appearance of his mind dissolving into the undefiled, luminous dharma expanse and passing into peace. Immediately, Kyabje Lodrö Nyima Rinpoche offered Rinpoche a reminder of the tukdam meditation.

The Gyalwang Karmapa instructed that, as Rinpoche needed to be in a peaceful environment, this news should not be announced for four days. This is the reason why no announcement has been made until now."

24 hour Green Tara practice - 29th - 30th July

You are invited to join us for Green Tara Practice dedicated to the long life, good health and activity of all our beloved Masters. Tara is known as “the Mother of all the Buddhas.” She is a manifestation of wisdom, the realisation of emptiness and compassion, and as such she is what gives birth to all the Buddhas. We practice Tara to overcome obstacles, including obstacles to long life and enlightened activity.

His Holiness 17th Gyalwang Karmapa has had numerous problems with his health. A while back Lama Yeshe Rinpoche wrote to all the Samye Dzong centres and asked us to accumulate virtue dedicated to His Holiness' long life, good health and ever-increasing Dharma activities. He said: "His Holiness is my own root guru and as Abbot I am asking all our centres to say prayers dedicated to His Holiness. You can recite Green Tara praises or mantras, White Tara mantras, Guru Rinpoche mantras or 100 syllable mantras, whichever is easier - and dedicate them all to His Holiness."

Our much-loved Abbot Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, is also no longer young; he just turned 80 this year. He has several health concerns, though fortunately his health is currently well managed and stable. However we need to do everything in our power to ensure our precious Lama Rinpoche lives for a long, long time, and that our precious Founder Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche returns swiftly to continue to guide us.

ThereforeTai Situ Rinpoche advised some time ago to have 100,000 Green Tara Pujas done. Kagyu Samye Ling has already sponsored these, but since we can never have too many prayers, and for all the reasons above, we will do a 24-hour Green Tara practice in Kagyu Samye Dzong London on 29th and 30th July 2023. We dedicate it to the long life, good health and activity of all our beloved teachers with renewed energy, devotion and dedication. We will also include prayers for the swift return of Venerable Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. The practice starts at 1.30pm on Saturday 29th July with full details of the timings of the pujas available on the website.

To help you become more familiar with the Green Tara Puja, we will be having a puja from 10am to 11am on our regular Simply Meditation days on the following dates:

  • Sunday 18th June

  • Sunday 9th July

  • Sunday 16th July

We hope as many of you as possible can join us for at least one of the pujas.

Lama Zangmo to lead a Summer Retreat at Samye Ling

While the Centre in London is closed, Lama Zangmo will be leading a retreat at Samye Ling, from 7.00pm on Saturday 12th August to 11.00am on Sunday 20th August. The focus of this retreat will be on the inspiring Dorje Chang Tungma, which is also called the Short Mahamudra Prayer and is chanted regularly in all the Kagyu centres. The text shows us how to apply ourselves on the spiritual path using the analogy of our body, saying renunciation is the feet of meditation, devotion is the head of meditation and non-distraction is the body of meditation.

Lama Zangmo will give instructions on the key aspects of the text, including meditation instructions, and look at the lives of some of the Kagyu Lineage Masters. Their inspiring examples show us the path to follow and the benefits that can be achieved. This is primarily a meditation retreat suited for those already familiar with meditation, and is a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in Dharma practice in the beautiful Samye Ling monastery in Scotland.

For more information and to book your place, please visit the course page on the Samye Ling website.

Wake up to Sleep workshop with Charlie Morley

On the weekend of the 22nd - 23rd July, based on his latest book Wake Up to Sleep, Charlie Morley presents a holistic approach to better sleep based on 15 years of teaching experience in over 30 countries.

Originally developed for British military veterans the workshop offers scientifically verified breath & body-work practices alongside the deep relaxation and lucid dreaming techniques that form the core of the Mindfulness of Dream & Sleep protocol. Essentially, by regulating our nervous system through the breath and the body we can transform trauma and integrate stress before bed.

Mindfulness of Dream & Sleep takes a non-pathologising approach to stress affected sleep supported by five core pillars:

  1. Sleep Awareness (learning how sleep works);

  2. Rest & Relax (yoga nidra/ hypnagogic mindfulness);

  3. Breath-Body-Mind (coherent breathing & chi gong);

  4. Transforming Nightmares (transforming trauma dreams);

  5. Lucid Dreaming (becoming conscious within your dreams).

From common work-related stress to the more serious effects of trauma, this workshop will teach you effective techniques to help you sleep better and wake up healthier.

For full information about this weekend and how to book your place, just visit the course page on the Samye Dzong London website.

The Third UK Kagyu Monlam - spreading the seeds of love and compassion

The Kagyu Monlam is an annual prayer festival where people gather to listen to Buddhist teachings and to pray for peace, harmony, well-being, and happiness in the world. The whole world. How fantastic is that! The UK Kagyu Monlam was held at Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre and began on Saturday 27th May at 2pm with a traditional procession around the Temple. Lama Zangmo took part wearing a beautiful ceremonial hat. The sun shone, and everyone joined in. It is a lovely way to see the Centre, its extensive grounds, and set a special intention for the week ahead.

This is only the third event in the UK and Kagyu Samye Dzong London were almost twenty strong in their representation of community volunteers and members. Thank you to everyone who attended for some, or part of, the event.

Twice a day participants attended a teaching titled ‘A String of Pearls; A Community Teaching compiled from the Wish-Fulfilling Jewel, the collected works of Glorious and Incomparable Gampopa, The Dharma King of The Three Realms’. Despite the immensely impressive title, the teachings were grounded in the most basic and fundamental of the Kagyu Lineage Dharma practices and invited participants to continuously consider practice motivation and review time spent in practice. The future of the lineage and the dharma rests with the diligence of students and practitioners. Serious stuff compassionately yet sternly delivered by Drupon Khen Rinpoche Karma Lhabu. Thank you, Rinpoche.

Each day, but the last, began with the Sojong Vows at 6am with two one-and-a-half-hour prayer sessions before each teaching. There was plenty of time to reflect and meet old friends. The week ended with a Marme Monlam Light offering in the evening at 7pm, but not before 80th Birthday celebrations with our precious Abbot with lots of treats to eat and share. May your health be excellent and your life extremely long! Emaho!

One participant describes their experience in the latest community blog.


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