Welcome to the November newsletter - a tad later than we'd normally send it out, but a lot's happened recently - not least Lama Zangmo's 70th Birthday Party! I can't believe that was two weeks ago already! More about that below.
We've also received a letter from Ani Lhamo regarding what we can do to support the health and long life of Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche. This will change the way we do our livestreamed meditations in the mornings. You can read the full letter and details of the changes we are making in this newsletter.
Finally, if you want to see how humans often act contrary to nature, check how busy you are at the moment. While the rest of the natural world is winding down for winter it seems that many of us are, if anything, gearing up with more activity. That's certainly the case in my workplace - and I can't say that we're exactly short on things to do here at the Centre. But hopefully some of our activities will help you get some respite from yours. We've got some great workshops coming up and, of course, there will always be meditation sessions. Don't just do something - sit there!
News in Brief
Winter Closure - the Centre will be closed from Monday 19th December and will be re-opening on Saturday 7th January.
Where's Lama Zangmo? - well, she's at the Centre until the end of this month but after that will be spending the whole of December in Africa which means that....
The last teaching for 2022 on A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path will be on Thursday 24th November, resuming again on Thursday 12th January, 2023. This is a course that you can drop in for, so if you've missed the teachings so far, don't be deterred from attending now. Click here for full details of the course.
Courses coming (very) soon - There may not be much of the year left, but we still have some treats in store for you! Let's start with....
The online Death Cafe - this Thursday, 17th November. Please note the online bit!
The Monthly Ngondro Practice Group takes place next Sunday, 20th November and again Sun 18 December from 2.00 - 5.00 pm. In-person only.
A Lucid Dreaming Weekend Workshop with the ever popular Chalie Morley takes place on the 26th-27th November. In this immersive workshop Charlie shows us how to transform the third of our lives that we spend asleep by learning how to dream lucidly and sleep consciously. Open to complete beginners (as well as seasoned lucid dreamers) the workshop will include everything you need to learn how to lucid dream and to wake up to your fullest potential.
Learn about Melting Anxiety into Freedom with Alistair Appleton on the weekend of the 3rd-4th December - both in-person and online. Book your place on this workshop via Alistair's own website.
And finally...Don't just do something, sit there! Yes, your final chance to join us for a day of Simply Meditation takes place on Sunday 11th December. This is an opportunity to spend time in silent meditation practice. 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.
Green Tara Prayers for Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
As you know, our much-loved and hugely respected Abbot, Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, is no longer young. He also has several health concerns though fortunately he receives excellent health care and his health is currently well managed and stable.
Nevertheless, we need to do everything in our power to ensure our precious Lama Rinpoche lives for a long, long time. To support this Vajradhara Chamgon Tai Situpa has advised that we have 100,000 Green Tara Pujas done.
Samye Ling has already sponsored these - but of course we can never have too many prayers, so we ask all of you who already practice Green Tara to please continue doing it, as often as you can and with renewed energy and dedication. Anyone not familiar with the prayers can recite the Tara mantra ‘Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha’.
You are most welcome to share this request with anyone who has a connection with Lama Rinpoche.
With very best wishes,
If you would like to join in prayers for Lama Yeshe Rinpoche's long life and good health, we will recite the Tara Praises and Tara mantra and Lama Yeshe's long life prayers in our live online morning meditation session five days a week.
You will find us on the KSDLondon Youtube channel which goes live a few minutes before 8am from Weds to Sun inclusive.
Lama Zangmo's 70th Birthday Celebrations
“It was wonderful to see so many Dharma friends, we should thank everyone who came and who sent messages.” Lama Zangmo said to me. “Maybe you could write something”. Such an easy thing to say…such a difficult thing to do – condensing such an amazing event into a short newsletter article! But here goes…
For those of you who were there – do I really need to say anything other than “Wow, what a day!” And then direct you to the slide show above to relive some of the memories.
For those of you who were unable to be there…Well, check out the slide show of course, but rather than just listing what took place and who was there, I’d rather say something about how the day felt to me.
So many people put in so much effort to make Lama’s 70th Birthday celebrations something really special and meaningful. The planning, preparation, cooking, baking decorating that I saw going on in the Centre was done with joy and a real sense of gratitude for the fact that we have Lama in our lives. Everybody pulled together. But it wasn’t just people in the Centre – it was also those who provided the live music we had on the day. It was great to see Rob again with his Irish pipes this time, and Kathryn on the cello with two of her friends on guitar and flute. OK, I’ll have to hold my hand on this one as well having led a rendition of “On the Sunny Side of the Street” with audience participation no less!
There were also a great many messages and personal tributes not just from those who were here on the day, including Gelong Thubten, and the Ven. Fabienne Pradelle from the nearby Jamyang Buddhist Centre, but also pre-recorded videos from sangha and Dharma Centres around the world.
Then there were the more personal anecdotes from Lama Zangmo’s sister Karen, and there was her friend John, whom she has known since she was 18 living on a houseboat in Amsterdam.. To prove it there was the photo of (then) Elise up a ladder with long curly hair. It was such an old photo that the colour had drained away and it was in black and white!
But aside from all these contributions, a party’s not a party without people turning up for it, and many people made, in some instances, considerable efforts to be here on the day. In terms of actual numbers all I can say is that it was well over a hundred, and that comprised faces old and new. People who had been there in the early days of Carlisle Lane; people who have moved well away from London and travelled a long way to be here; and what this gave was the most amazing feeling of warmth and a true reflection of the size and strength of the community that has built up around Samye Dzong in the 24 years that Lama Zangmo has been running it.
When Lama Zangmo spoke, she commented that what’s been built here isn’t something she could have done on her own – it’s been a team effort over many years. What I’d add is that team effort took place because of her presence and influence. In terms of the sowing of good seeds, the warmth and sense of community that was present at her 70th birthday party is possibly the greatest tribute that could be paid to anyone.
Lothlorien Therapeutic Community
Lothlorien Therapeutic Community is a rural community for people with mental health problems, situated in South-West Scotland. Since 1989 it has been run by the Rokpa trust, an international charity founded by Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche of Samye Ling Tibetan Centre in Dumfriesshire. As a therapeutic community we aim to help people develop their strengths and work towards recovery through shared experience of community life. At the heart of the community is our 17 acres of land, including vegetable gardens, woodland and pastures where community members are encouraged and supported to work on a daily basis.
The community consists of up to 12 residents with mental health difficulties and 2 voluntary co-workers, living across 2 houses. We have 6 members of the Core Team, 3 of which live on the premises. Staff are qualified and experienced mental health and general nurses, social workers, trauma and holistic therapists, mindfulness practitioners and horticulturists.
When choosing new community members, we welcome applications from people looking for personal development and change in their lives. We currently have 4 places available to join our community. We also welcome applications from people who are currently detained in hospital.
If you are interested in joining our community please see our website for more in-depth information and application forms. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on Lucy@lothlorien.tc or 01644 440602.