Christmas Round Up

Our precious guru H.H. Sakya Trizin, supreme head of all Sakya centres is continuing His retreat throughout this time.

H.H. Karmapa has returned to New Delhi having just led the annual Kagyu monlam at Bodhgaya with many Tibetan, Himalayan, Chinese and Western disciples.

Karma Thinley Rinpoche is in Kampo Gangra in Toronto. Unfortunately the severe snow storms brought down all electricity and heating but it has now been returned. Rinpoche is enjoying a peaceful Christmas.

Lama Jampa is spending these Christmas days in Newport Beach having completed some teachings at Sakya Samten Ling, Santa Monica. Itʼs a typical Californian Christmas.

Rinpoche and Lama Jampa send out greetings, blessings and best wishes and remind everybody to celebrate Christmas in the heart.

Lama Jampa teaching schedule confirmed for KIBI

Lama Jampa's teaching schedule at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) has been confirmed. Lama Jampa will give teachings on Mahmudra in the evenings from 17 to 21 March 2014.
During this time His Holiness Karmapa will also give the initiations of Manjushri and Amitayus and give teachings on Shantideva's Bodhisattvacharyavatara. Khenpo Tsering and Professor Sempa Dorje will also give a number of teachings.

Lama Jampa Thaye in New York

As Karma Thinley Rinpoche flew to Toronto, Lama Jampa and Dechen Dolma travelled to New York to attend a dharma teachers' 'get-together' called by Lama Jampa's friend Lama Surya Das from the Dzokchen Institute.

The event was hosted by the New York Insight Centre on Monday, 18 November and, as well as Lama Jampa and Lama Surya, attendees included prominent American teachers such as Jack Kornfield, Roshi Enkyo and Tulku Sherdor. So all the main streams of Buddhism in the US - Vajrayana, Therevada and Zen - were represented in the informal discussions that focused on "'taking the temperature' of contemporary dharma.

Two days later Lama Jampa met with the Tricycle editorial team at their office in Manhattan. In addition to discussing projects, the conversation between Lama Jampa, James Shaheen, Tricycle's editor, and all other team members ranged over the key factors at play in modern Buddhism.

Lama Jampa Thaye teaches in London

On Saturday, 9 November Lama Jampa Thaye taught the final part of the famous commentary by the Sakya and Kadampa master, Gyaltse Thogme Zangpo, on the Seven Points of Mind Training. Lama Jampa also bestowed the Initiation of Manjuvajra. These teachings were hosted in London by Sakya Dechen Ling.
Lama Jampa will travel to Manchester on 30 November to teach the first part of 'Discriminating Between Consciousness and Primordial Wisdom'  by Karmapa Rangjung Dorje and its accompanying commentary, 'The Lamp that Dispels Darkness', by Karma Thinley Rinpoche, as well as to bestow the Initiation of Amitabha.

Lama Jampa Thaye teaches in Santa Monica, California

On Friday, 25 October Lama Jampa Thaye arrived in California to bestow a number of teachings.

Lama Jampa's teaching programme commenced on Sunday, 27 October when, hosted by Yeshe Nyingpo, Lama Jampa taught the chapter on Bodhichitta from The Rain of Clarity. 

The next Tuesday evening Lama Jampa gave his first public talk in Santa Monica, hosted by Sakya Samten Ling, titled “Buddhism in Modern Times”. Many people came to hear the dharma for the first time and had an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with Lama Jampa at the end of the evening. 

The following Saturday, 2 October in Santa Monica, hosted by Sakya Samten Ling, Lama Jampa taught the first half of The Seven Points of Mind Training by Geshe Chekawa, together with the commentary by Gyalse Thogme Zangpo. Lama Jampa will teach the  second half of the Seven Points of Mind Training on 21 December in Santa Monica.

On Sunday, 3 November Lama Jampa gave the initiation of Gonkar from the Shangpa Kagyu lineage, which he received from Phende Rinpoche. Lama Jampa also gave the reading transmissions for the sadhana of Gonkar and the sahdhana of Tangtong Gyalpo Chenrezik. 

Lama Jampa’s next teaching is in London, England where, hosted by Sakya Dechen Ling, he will continue teaching The Seven Points of Mind Training by Geshe Chekawa, together with the commentary by Gyalse Thogme Zangpo, and give the initiation of Manjuvjra.

Tsedrup Tsok at Tegchen Legshey Ling.

On October 24, at the request of a group from Dechen in the UK, a "Tsedrup" prayer cycle and offering ritual of the long-life deity Amitayus was performed, for the long life and continuing good health of Lama Jampa Thaye, in the main temple of Tegchen Legshey Ling, Nepal. 

At the same time offerings were made to Karma Thinley Rinpoche, requesting him to make long-life prayers. Offerings were also made to all the sangha of Tegchen Legshey Ling.

20 Verses on the Bodhisattva Vow in Bristol

On Saturday 12th October Lama Jampa Thaye returned to Bristol to give the final instalment of Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen’s commentary on Chandragomin’s ‘The Twenty Verses on the Bodhisattva Vow’.

People travelled from all over the UK and from as far afield as Holland and Portugal to receive this detailed explanation of the fundamental aspects of the mahayana buddhist path.

Concluding the morning session Lama Jampa reminded everyone that to hear the teachings is only the first stage in a process: that this must be followed by detailed study and contemplation in order that we come to understand the full meaning of the teachings so that we may embody them in our lives.

In the afternoon Lama Jampa bestowed the initiation of Yellow Dzambhala, the wealth deity most commonly practised within Dechen.  He also gave the reading transmission for the practice.

Finally Lama Jampa reminded us that whilst our endeavours to practise and serve the dharma may be small, as our efforts are aligned with the aspirations and activities of great bodhisattvas such as His Holiness Sakya Trizin, we can be confident that nothing is wasted and great things will eventually result.

Lama Jampa’s next teaching will be in London on the 9th November when he will continue to teach Gyaltse Thogme Zangpo's commentary on the Seven Points of Mind Training and bestow the Initiation of Manjuvajra. For details click here.

30th Anniversary of Sakya Namgyal Ling

Lama Jampa Thaye visited Exeter on  October 10 to mark 30 years of Sakya Thinley Namgyal Ling.

The Exeter group was established in 1983 by Martin Samuel and Paul Rogers and has been fortunate to receive visits from Lama Jampa and other eminent Sakya Lamas such as HH Sakya Trizin and Phende Rinpoche.

Lama Jampa gave a well attended teaching to Dechen sangha from across the UK as well as people from other local Buddhist groups including Diamond Way, White Lotus and Theravadan sanghas. Entitled ‘Mind training for everyday life’ the talk was based on a teaching from the lineage of Atisha, who revitalised Buddhism in Tibet in the 11th century.

Lama Jampa began by stressing that the existence of different traditions of Buddhism was a cause for rejoicing and that we should hold, “in our hearts a sense of the uniqueness and preciousness of the different types of Buddhism because they have all stemmed from the extraordinary genius of the Buddha’s mind.”  He then continued with a precise summary of Atisha’s Seven Point Mind Training with great clarity and humour, presenting the essence of Bodhicitta, the central aspect of Mahayana Buddhism.  

Lama Jampa explained how mind training teachings (lojong) such as the Seven Points, are particularly effective for the practitioner because they distill the essence of  the whole of Lord Buddha’s teaching - morality, meditation and wisdom (the three trainings) - into short, pithy, practical instructions. 

Lama Jampa Thaye teaches in Stuttgart

Lama Jampa Thaye visited Sakya Dechen Ling, Stuttgart on the weekend of 29 to 30 September. During this time he taught  the fifth part of Nagarjuna's Letter to a Friend with Karma Thinley Rinpoche's commentary The Telescope of Wisdom. Lama Jampa also bestowed  the initiation of White Mahakala. 

Lama Jampa will return to Stuttgart in February 2014 when he will complete the Letter to a Friend and bestow the initiation of Green Tara. 

Lama Jampa Thaye teaching in Harrogate

On Saturday, 21 September, Lama Jampa Thaye made his autumn visit to Yorkshire in order to bestow the initiation of Sangdu Vajrasattva from the Guhyasamaja tradition and to continue his explanation of Dampa Sanjay’s ‘Hundred Pieces of Advice to the People of Tingri’. 

The initiation was given to sangha from all over the country and the textual teachings were open to the general public.  After the initiation, Lama Jampa explained that the initiation had been given particularly to benefit those practitioners who would need it to support their ngondro (vajrayana preliminary practices).

The visit was particularly auspicious as it closely followed the purchase of the new centre for Kagyu Dechen Dzong in central Harrogate which Lama Jampa blessed on Saturday afternoon. 

Lama Jampa Thaye at Conference on Padmasambhava

On Saturday, 14 September Lama Jampa Thaye delivered a paper on Sakya perspectives on Padmasambhava and his legacy at a Conference organised by the Shang Shung Institute. The Institute was founded by Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, the distinguished Dzok Chen master and scholar. It brought together some of the world's foremost experts on the field of Tibet and Padmasambhava.

Scholars attending included Dr Cathy Cantwell and Dr Rob Mayer both from the University of Oxford and Lama Orgyen Rigzin Dorje, as well as scolars from  Italy and Germany,

Lama Jampa gave a wide-ranging overview of the interaction between Padmasambhava, his legacy (principally the Nyingmapa tradition) and the Sakya tradition. Lama Jampa highlighted Padmasambhava's prophecy of the coming of the first three of the Five Founding Fathers of the Sakya tradition and also explored Sakya Pandita's detailed analysis of aspects of the Nyingmapa tradition in his famed book, The Elucidation of the Three Vows. Lama Jampa also highlighted the prominence of the Khon family (heads of the Sakya tradition) within the history of the Nyingmapa tradition, evidenced by the fact that Khon Lui Wangpo was one of the first seven Tibetans to receive monastic ordination from Shantirakshita in the 8th Century CE.

photo by Mike Farmer

Lama Jampa Thaye in Nepal

Lama Jampa Thaye and Dechen Drolma visited Tegchen Legshey Ling monastery here in Nepal recently to be able to take part in the 25th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the monastery being held this year, and to spend time with Karma Thinley Rinpoche who is in residence at the monastery.

On the morning of the 7th September Lama Jampa and Dechen Drolma arrived at the monastery, where they were received  by Karma Thinley Rinpoche and all the sangha members, all exchanging traditional auspicious white scarves in greeting. Many of the sangha had not seen Lama Jampa and Dechen Drolma since their last visit 10 years ago, and were happy to meet again after so long. After a substantial Nangchen style lunch hosted by Karma Thinley Rinpoche, Lama Jampa and Dechen Drolma walked to the nearby great stupa of Jarung Kasyor in Boudhanath, to circumambulate and pay their respects.

On the second day, Lama Jampa and Dechen Drolma accompanied Karma Thinley Rinpoche on a pilgrimage to visit the holy sites located around the town of Pharping, located about 10 miles south of Kathmandu, high up on the rim of the valley. Karma Thinley Rinpoche reminded us that the holy site of Yang Lesho, located in Pharping, is the place where Guru Padma Sambhava demonstrated enlightenment, and is thus like another Bodh Gaya for those who follow the vajrayana path elaborated by Guru Rinpoche, the second Buddha of this age. This site is also where Guru Rinpoche received and accomplished Vajra Kilaya before setting off to subdue all obstacles and bring the holy Dharma to the northern lands called Tibet. Pharping is also the location of an ancient temple sacred to Vajrayogini, the female deity particularly revered in both the Sakya and Kagyu traditions. Pharping is believed to have been the home of the Pamtingpa brothers from the Sakya Vajrayogini lineage The great master and translator Marpa, founder of the Kagyu tradition, is known to have spent a lot of time in Pharping during his travels in search of the holy Dharma. Karma Thinley Rinpoche has recently built a small retreat facility in Pharping, called “Pal Donag Tashi Ngedon Choling”, to be a suitable and comfortable place for the monks and nuns of Tegchen Legshey Ling to be able to practice longer retreats. Lama Jampa and Dechen Drolma visited the retreat centre for the first time, and were able to relax and enjoy the peaceful, spiritual surroundings.

On the third day of their visit, Lama Jampa Thaye and Dechen Drolma hosted a reception for Karma Thinley Rinpoche, Tulku Konchok Tenzin, Tulku Khedrup Gyamtso, Zopa Tulku, Tsepak Dorje Tulku, Venerable Lama Assi, Lama Kalsang Gyamtso, Lama Thubten Gyamtso, and all the ordained and lay sangha members of Tegchen Legshey Ling, to celebrate the 25thanniversary of the monastery. The reception was held at the beautiful “Yak & Yeti” Hotel in Kathmandu, famous for its beautiful gardens and sumptuous buffet lunches!

At the reception, Venerable Lama Assi thanked Karma Thinley Rinpoche for all his Dharma activities carried out ceaselessly over so many years; he then gave a brief outline of the history of the monastery, and thanked all the key actors that helped to bring the monastery into existence and who have also been continuing to generously contribute in many different ways to its ongoing maintenance and prosperity. In particular he highlighted and expressed appreciation on behalf of Karma Thinley Rinpoche and all the sangha for the constant substantial and generous support, from the very inception of the monastery, that has come from Lama Jampa Thaye and the Dechen group of Dharma centres under his direction. Venerable Lama Assi finally wished Karma Thinley Rinpoche the very best of health and long life, and a very hearty and auspicious “Tashi Deleg” to all the venerable and lay sanghas present at the celebratory reception.

In response, Lama Jampa Thaye firstly gave a brief account of how he first met Karma Thinley Rinpoche in 1973, and how becoming his disciple completely changed the course of his life. He pointed out that we all in Tegchen Legshey Ling and in the Dechen Dharma centres around the world are Karma Thinley Rinpoche’s spiritual children, and that Rinpoche is our master, great example and father, and Tegchen Legshey Ling is our spiritual centre. Lama Jampa thanked all who have been involved in creating and maintaining Tegchen Legshey Ling monastery, which is such a beautiful receptacle of the three jewels, and the fulfillment of Karma Thinley Rinpoche’s wishes and prayers to benefit sentient beings and uphold the holy Buddha-Dharma in the world. Lama Jampa wished all those present a long, healthy and happy life, thanked Karma Thinley Rinpoche for all his ceaseless Dharma activities and requested his blessings.

The fourth and last day of the visit was spent at the monastery with Rinpoche and at Jarong Kashor Stupa in Boudhanath. Before lunch the resident ordained sangha of Tegchen Legshey Ling gathered and made a doubled offering of the traditional long-life mandala and “Tenzhug” ritual to both Karma Thinley Rinpoche and Lama Jampa Thaye, wishing them long life and thanking them for their extensive Dharma activities. 

Dechen Summer Course at Sakya Changlochen Ling

In August Lama Jampa Thaye completed this year’s programme in France with a series of teachings and initiations at Dechen’s European Retreat Centre, Sakya Changlochen Ling.
On Sunday 18 August Lama Jampa Thaye opened a week of teaching on Sakya Pandita’s text ‘Elucidating the Thought of the Sage’ by bestowing the initiation of Chenrezik. This year the text covered Sakya Pandita’s extensive presentation of the Buddha’s teachings on the perfections of meditation and wisdom in the sutra traditions. The week also included daily practice of Chenrezik, and was brought to a close on Friday the 23rd with the initiation of Manjusri Arapacana.
On Sunday 25 August Lama Jampa bestowed the initiation of Vajrapani Bhutadamara to mark the beginning of a short retreat on this practice. Over the course of the following five days he gave the ‘lung’ (reading transmission) and detailed ‘tri’ (instructions) for the practice as well as leading daily meditation sessions.
As with all Dechen summer retreats, these few weeks were an invaluable opportunity for members of the international sangha to study and practice together. The centre goes from strength to strength, both in terms of its physical size, the range of facilities it offers, and most importantly the dharma activities taking place there. The beautiful, peaceful setting and the concentration of dharma activity has the power to refocus our lives, so that we leave the retreat with new energy and determination to put the teachings into practice.
Lama Jampa’s next public teaching is in Harrogate on 21 September where he will teach the second part of Dampa Sanjay’s Advice to the People of Tingri and bestow the initiation of Sangdu Vajrassatva. Click here for further details.
In other news, His Holiness Sakya Trizin entered a six month closed retreat on 4 September. Tomorrow, Saturday 7 September is His Holiness’ sixty ninth birthday. Dechen Sakya centres worldwide will be reciting long life prayers throughout the day to mark this happy occasion.