Welcome to the September newsletter, and if you're wondering what I got up to while the Centre was closed, just look at the picture above - if you squint hard enough you'll spot me on the front row next to Ani Lhamo. It's been a busy few days since I got back on Monday, so you'll have to wait for the October newsletter to read my account of Lama Zangmo's eight-day retreat at Samye Ling.
The first thing we have for you this month is a date for your diary. We will be welcoming Drupon Khen Rinpoche on Monday 16th October, when he will give a talk entitled Faith and Intelligence in Buddhism from 7.00 - 9.00 pm. More details closer to the time.
And a little closer in time is our next Introduction to Meditation course with Joelle Peeters. This runs over four Wednesday evenings starting on 6th September at 6.30 pm. Following on closely from that, Lama Zangmo will be resuming two of her longer term courses and welcoming new students: A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path resumes on Thursday 7th September at 7.00pm. This is a drop-in class and the text is suitable for those who are both new to Buddhism, as well as to students of the Dharma.
Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation - module 2 starts on Saturday 9th September. Please register if you attended Module One and wish to continue. If you attended the Introduction to Buddhism course, OR HAVE A BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF BUDDHISM, you may also register. If there's one thing you can say about the titles of Tibetan texts, it's that they don't undersell themselves! Regarding Wish Fulfilling Jewels - Impermanence is one of the three marks of existence and we've had experience of that with some of the practical equipment used at the Centre. Below you will find a Wish List of sorely needed or worn out items in Kagyu Samye Dzong London and if you are able to help us replace any of the following, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the office. Many thanks for any help you can offer.
Dehumidifier for the laundry
Secondhand Buddhist books (only Buddhist books please)
Office chairs/reception chair
Breadmaker and kitchen scales
Garden tools (esp. secateurs and trowel), gloves, canes and twine
And now for the rest of the newsletter. Best wishes, David Bates Newsletter Editor
A Handbook for Hard Times - with Gelong Thubten\
Join us on Saturday 16th September, from 2.00 - 3.30 pm, to find out about the new book by Gelong Thubten - A Handbook for Hard Times. It's based on the Tibetan Buddhist ‘Lojong’ teachings and is written in a style accessible to all. Thubten explains how life’s difficulties are an opportunity to enhance our meditation practice and unlock our inner strength. Embracing our suffering can lead us to a deeper level of compassion and wisdom as well as the discovery of unshakeable inner happiness. The book offers a roadmap to fearlessness, with helpful meditation advice as well as practical exercises. It includes instructions for the compassion practice of ’tonglen’ and methods for bringing loving-kindness and wisdom into our daily lives. To see the full details of this course and book your place, just visit the course page on the website.
An Introduction to Meditation with Joelle Peeters
Running over four Wednesday evenings from the 6th - 27th September from 6.30pm - 8.00pm, this course is led by Kagyu Samye Dzong London Resident Joelle Peeters. Joelle is a long-time Tibetan Buddhist practitioner approved by our organisation to lead and guide meditation practice at the Centre. This course is for people who are new to meditation and will introduce 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. A regular meditation practice can bring a greater sense of inner peace and can help to calm an overactive mind, as well as bring more understanding in a deeper sense of who we are. This is an In-Person ONLY course and will not be online. For full details and to book your place on this course, please visit the course page on the website.
Changing the Habits of a Lifetime, with Clive Holmes
After something of a gap, we are delighted to be welcoming Clive Holmes back to the Centre on the weekend of the 23rd - 24th September, 10.00 am - 4.00 pm each day. Some say the whole purpose of meditation is to restore balance by letting go of the harmful habits that cause us suffering. We can learn to change the ones that are unhelpful and shift our attitude in a helpful direction. This course will be practice and experience based. We will be exploring new horizons within our minds to help us accept and transform those habits that limit our freedom. We will see how many of our harmful habits arise from an "innocent mistake" whereby we take everything too personally, too self-importantly. Through mainstream exercises including those of self-compassion, we can awaken a fearless and mature attitude, We'll use meditation as a method to let go of what is not useful and to adopt what is healthy in our lives. For more details and to book your place on this weekend, just visit the course page on the website.
Embracing Death and Dying
We would like to invite you to join us on Saturday 30th September for our annual event Embracing Death and Dying: A Celebration of Life Through Reflection on Death', organised by the Samye Dzong London Bardo Group. This is an opportunity to explore and reflect on death and dying through a number of talks and workshops hosted by excellent speakers. To give you an idea of what to expect on the day, below are some of the topics covered in our previous events:
The role of hospices in caring for the dying
Wills and probate: the nitty-gritties of dying
The role of the chaplain
The modern funeral director: a holistic approach
Dying with confidence: a Buddhist perspective
The origins and benefits of Death Cafes
You are welcome to come along for all or part of the day, which is open to all the family and is free. Our previous events were very popular and we would like to welcome you again this year after the long hiatus of the years of lockdown. The day is rounded off with a light offering and prayers to remember loved ones. Our Tibetan Tearoom and SHop will be open throughout the day. Full details of the schedule and details of speakers for the day is on our website.
Community Blog: Moments with Birds
Katrina writes: At Holy Isle there is this little Carolina Wren with one short leg and a twisted foot. It is a friendly bird, and clever, gathering where the good folks at this beautiful Retreat Centre sit for breakfast, lunch, tea and evening soup. We never spoke, but s/he was never really far away. In the garden s/he hopped and skipped across my wellies, sat on the wheel barrow or hid under the greens waiting for me to turn the soil as I weeded. S/he was not the only bird to keep me company. A small gaggle were always within eyeshot. Their joyful noise lifts my spirit. At home in Zimbabwe I am lucky to live in a suburb with big yards, trees and gardens and I always wake with the morning bird call.... To read the rest of Katrina's article, visit the Samye Dzong London blog.