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June Newsletter 2024





Dear All,


Welcome to the June newsletter, and what an auspicious month it is for some of us. For example, I've just received my 60+ Oystercard. I feel like I've been given the Freedom of London - at least, after 9.00 am each day! Plus there's the news that Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche will be visiting the Centre in July - more details below - and....oh, lots of other things which you can read about. And now that Lama Zangmo is back from the UK Kagyu Monlam at Samye LIng (see photo above), we can start with the welcome return of....


Lama Zangmo's drop-in class on the Precious Garland of the Supreme Path which restarts on the 6th June.


There is also an opportunity to receive Green Tara Instructions from Lama Zangmo on Sunday 23rd June.


There is no Bad Meditation - I know, this may be news to some. And if you want to find out why it's true, just book a place and come to the Centre on Wednesday 12th June for an evening of teachings by Ajahn Brahmali. Please note that this event is organised by the Anukampa Bhikkuni Project who are also managing the bookings. Full details, including how to book a place are on the website.


For those of you who have been thinking about dipping your toes in the water of meditation, you have a chance to do so over four Wednesday evenings. Starting on the 5th June, Joelle Peeters is leading another Introduction to Meditationcourse. See full details on the website.


If you're feeling under the weather and would like a different perspective to Western medical approach,Dr Soktsang, the Tibetan Doctor, will be at the Centre on the weekend of the 15th - 16th June. See the website for more information.


Do you enjoy cooking? Sharing your care for other people through food? Happy to cook vegetarian and vegan meals? Then we have a position that might interest you! Samye Dzong currently has a vacancy for a resident volunteer cook. To find out more about this nourishing opportunity, please visit the website.


Finally, as we approach the longest day of the year on Thursday 20th June, let me wish you a happy Solstice - albeit slightly in advance - and we hope to see you at the Centre soon.


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 Lhamoand Gelong Thubten, and Thubten will give several talks over the weekend.


A detailed programme will be published closer to the time, and bookings will be opened at that time.


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 Lekthong in KSDLondon



We are delighted to announce that Khenpo Lekthong will be giving two days of teachings as Kagyu Samye Dzong London. These teachings will be across the weekend of the 8th and 9th of June.


On Saturday 8th June, Khenpo Lekthong will teach on the importance and benefit of reciting the Sutra in Three Sections, a practice that has been encouraged by HH the 17th Karmapa and is recited on a daily basis in the Centre. He will also explain the importance and benefit of the 100 syllable Vajrasattva Mantra.


On Sunday 9th June, Khenpo Lekthong will teach the Dharmachakra Sutra. This was the first teaching by The Buddha and explains the Four Noble Truths:


  •    The Truth of Suffering

  •    The Truth of The Cause of Suffering

  •    The Truth of The End of Suffering

  •    The Truth of The Path That Leads To The End of Suffering


More details regarding the schedule of the course will be posted on the event page closer to the date.


Khenpo Lekthong studied in Rumtek Monastery, H H Karmapa’s monastery in Sikkim. He is a Buddhist author and also speaks fluent English so will teach directly without a translator. When in India he translates for Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche, heart son of H H 16th Gyalwa Karmapa.


Book your place on the event page on the website.


 

Meditation Weekend with Lama Zangmo - 15th-16th June




Join Lama Zangmo for two days of meditation practice, and increase the benefits of meditation through the support gained from like-minded group endeavour.


Getting together with fellow practitioners gives strength and is an ideal environment where those who would like to sit more than they currently do, can be supported by the group endeavour of like-minded meditators.


The emphasis this weekend will be on silent meditation, focusing on the breath and walking meditation. It will be assumed that participants have already had some instructions and are familiar with shinay meditation. Lama Zangmo will give brief instructions at the beginning of the first day and reminders throughout the weekend.


  •    Each day is made up of multiple meditation sessions.

  •    Participants are welcome to join in as many sessions as they wish.

  •    Once a session has started, it is not possible to join.

  •    The sessions are open to all - the only requirement is to arrive before the start of a session. Please do not arrive late.


If you would like to make this a peaceful weekend get-away-retreat, you can stay overnight at the centre, enjoy the quiet reading room or do your own practice later in one of the shrine rooms and join the residents in our early morning meditations, see the website for details of our overnight accommodation.


To see the full details of the weekend, including the daily schedule, and to book your place, please visit the event page on the website.


 

Why I'm learning Tibetan


Lydia Polzer writes:


"I remember the first time I looked at an A4-page filled with Tibetan script wondering how I’d ever be able to see it as anything other than alien squiggles. How would those patterns of curly strokes topped with little dashes ever turn into sounds in my head, then syllables, then words I actually understood?


Learning a whole new alphabet made up of 36 letters, battling with unfamiliar pronounciations, puzzling over back-to-front sentence structures – I knew Tibetan would not exactly be easy to master. But Lama Zangmo always strongly encouraged all of us residents at Samye Dzong to try and learn the language. She told me once, that prior to going into her first retreat she had asked Akong Rinpoche how she should prepare. His one piece of advice apparently was “Learning some Tibetan would be very beneficial”.


I think, initially I didn’t believe I would get far beyond making sense of the alphabet and maybe reading puja texts from the Tibetan script rather than having to rely on transliterations. Perhaps, I thought, after that I might get to grips with some dharma related vocabulary. After all it would be quite helpful to know WHAT I was chanting AS I was chanting it. “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I’m no church-goer, but if ever I find myself in a situation where the Lord’s prayer is being said, the words have such an immediate impact on my mind. I wanted to relate to the refuge prayer, the Chenrezi text or the Green Tara praises in the same way. I may even have harbored some hopes of one day – in the long-distant future – being able to understand and even speak to someone like Drupon Rinpoche or Ringu Tulku in their mother tongue.

Over the years Lama managed to enlist various Tibetan Samye Dzong residents in this mission to impart on us their language skills. Akong Rinpoche’s nephew Jigme Dorje did an amazing job of teaching quite a few of us the alphabet. Patiently and persistently. Later Karma, a young Tibetan art student, tried his best to improve our conversation skills.


In January Drukthar Gyal, an MA student in politics and anthropology at LSE and resident at Samye Dzong since August 2023, started a beginners, an intermediate and a Chenrezig text study class.


Once I had learned the basics from Jigme, I joined Esukhia...."


To read Lydia's full article, visit the Community Blog on the website. A New Series of Tibetan Language classes will begin in September in Kagyu Samye Dzong London.

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