Update on activities of Karma Thinley Rinpoche

Venerable Karma Thinley Rinpoche arrived in his nunnery, Tegchen Legshey Ling in Nepal at the end of April, and after staying there for several weeks he once again undertook the long journey to his homeland, Nangchen in Kham, in eastern Tibet.

Fortunately, improvements in infrastructure within China meant that this year Rinpoche could avoid the usual 700-kilometer road journey from the city of Xiningto Jyekundo, and made the journey instead by air, finally covering the last 200 kilometres by road to Sharda, which is the capital of NangchenCounty. Rinpoche stayed at his temple, Tegchen Chokor Ling, which is located in Sharda. Rinpoche’s two and a half month stay in Tegchen Chokor Ling corresponded to the height of the Nangchen summer, which meant he could enjoy warm days and cool nights, with light snow falling only once on the local mountain tops. This year there had been particularly heavy rain in the spring, which meant the grasslands and mountains of Nangchen were especially green and full of flowers. Many of Rinpoche’s relatives and old family friends who came to visit him are still nomadic, and they brought fresh yoghurt, cheese, milk and butter as offerings. The yoghurt has a thick layer of yellow cream on top, and Rinpoche says when the yaks eat flowers all day the yoghurt is even more delicious!

Karma Thinley Rinpoche’s uncle, Namkai Dorje, who lived for many years at Tegchen Legshey Ling in Nepalbefore he passed away several years ago, was the head of the ancient noble clan called Bongsar. Two years ago Namkai Dorje’s daughter Tsodi visited Nangchen and instigated a plan to construct a large stupa at the site of the Bongsar palace, which was located in the vast high grasslands called Drongsho, much of which used to belong to the Bongsar estates until 1959. This year the plans came to fruition, with a large group of Bongsar clan members pooling resources and organising the construction of the magnificent stupa, which was completed at the end of August. Two senior members of the clan stayed at the site and supervised the project, and a group of monks from the famous Bamram Kagyu monastery called Chodrak Gompa, experts in stupa construction, lived at the site for 2 months during the construction. The monks prepared all the special prayers, mantras and other materials that were to be placed inside the stupa; these include the large central ‘tsog shing’ which is the wooden central spine, and the many ‘tsa tsa’, which are small moulded stupas made from earth mixed with precious materials. Many ‘yang’ (prosperity) objects are also placed inside, such as grains, precious stones, medicines, coins etc, with the purpose of increasing prosperity and harvests in the area.

Even though the road to Drongsho is quite long and arduous, Rinpoche managed to make the journey up to the high Bongsar grasslands to visit the site of the stupa under construction. He was received by his relatives there and requested to bless the stupa and all the materials to be placed inside. The location of the stupa is also Rinpoche’s own birth-place, so he was very happy to be able to arrive there and to see such a wonderful representation of the indestructible nature of Buddha-mind being built there. The weather was perfect so Rinpoche also got to see all the familiar mountains and valleys, rivers and plains of his youth in all their summer glory.

To complete the construction of the stupa, a statue of Sakyamuni Buddha was placed in the niche, which is surrounded by a beautiful copper decorative ‘pata’. The golden ‘choskor choksum’ – the 13 Dharma wheels representing the path to enlightenment, was placed on top and it was completed with a copper umbrella canopy, above which is a moon, sun and wish-fulfilling jewel.

By the time Rinpoche and Kunga were ready to leave Nangchen at the end of August, the weather was cooler and snow was appearing in the high ridges. All the summer flowers were fading, and only the beautiful deep blue autumn gentians were carpeting the high plateaus and passes. They are now safely returned to Tegchen Legshey Ling near the great stupa of Boudhanath, Nepal.

Lama Jampa Thaye teaches in Yorkshire

On Saturday 8 September, Kagyu Dechen Dzong welcomed Lama Jampa Thaye for this year’s Autumn visit to Yorkshire.

On this occasion, Lama Jampa completed his teaching of Jamgon Kongtrul’s ‘Doha of Mahamudra’, which he commenced earlier in the year, and bestowed the Initiation of Manjusri Lion speech from the lineage of Dampa Sanjay.

Afterwards, Lama Jampa noted the extraordinary debt which we owe to Jamgon Kongtrul.  As one of our most recent fore-fathers in the ‘golden garland’ of lineage holders of the Dakpo Kagyu, Jampgon Kongtrul saved from extinction a great body of precious textual works and practices. Many of these now form part of our own shedra curriculum.

Lama Jampa then urged those present to read Jamgon Kongtrul’s biography (now available in translation) and alluded particularly to the many obstacles the great master surmounted during his lifetime, which we should take to heart as a source of encouragement in our own lives. 

Finally, Lama Jampa surveyed the extraordinary events of 2012, including the landmark visit of His Holiness Karmapa to Yorkshire for the first time. 

Lama Jampa Thaye's Activities in France

Lama Jampa Thaye has just completed a weekend of teaching on the Madhyamaka philosophical system at Dhakpo Kagyu Ling, the French seat of His Holiness Karmapa Thrinley Thaye Dorje. Around sixty five people, monks, nuns and lay people attended the teachings. Lama Jean Guy the president of the Dhakpo association gave a very warm introduction in which he referred to Lama Jampa Thaye’s role in protecting the Karma Kagyu tradition in England.

Lama Jampa has spent three weeks in France where he has been staying at Sakya Chang-lo-Chen Ling. During this time he has taught the first part of Sakya Pandita’s seminal work on Lam-Rim, Elucidating the Thought of the Sage and bestowed the initiation, tri and lung for White Tara Chintamanichakra one of the key longevity deities of the Sakya school. Following this Lama Jampa led a retreat on this deity.

At the start of his stay in France, Lama Jampa, attended teachings given by His Holiness Karmapa at Dhakpo Kagyu Ling. His Holiness’ programme which included several days of teaching from Shantideva’s text, The Way of the Bodhisattva culminated in the initiation of Chenrezik from the lineage of Atisha. Over 1,000 people attended the course. To view photo galleries of the events please click here.

Subsequently, Lama Jampa and Dechen Dolma travelled to Dhakpo Kundreul Ling, the main Karma Kagyu retreat centre in the Auvergne region. Here they spent time with His Holiness and received the initiation of Dorje Bernagchen.

His Holiness has now completed his European tour and will be returning to Delhi on Monday September 3rd.

Lama Jampa Thaye teaching at Tibet House US

On Wednesday December 19, during his winter visit to New York, Lama Jampa will teach at Tibet House at 7pm. Here he will present a discourse entitled,  ‘Zhentong and Rangtong. The Two Faces of Ultimate Reality: The Two Systems of Madhyamaka.’ This will be the second time that Lama Jampa has taught at this important centre for Tibetan Buddhism and culture in Manhattan. To view further details or register for this event please click here.

Dechen Summer Retreat 2012

The annual summer retreat at Sakya Changlochen Ling in France began on 19th August, when Lama Jampa Thaye started teaching Sakya Pandita’s renowned work “Elucidating the Thought of the Sage”.
Over 80 people gathered daily to hear this seminal text which clarifies the essential Buddhist teachings, tracing them back to their original sources. The first part of the teaching concluded on 24th August, and Lama Jampa will continue to teach this text next year.
The retreat is continuing until 31st August with daily meditation practice sessions on White Tara.
For most of the attendees, this was their first chance to see the considerable development of the property over the last two years, which has been supported so generously by members of the Dechen Community and beyond.
For further details about the project please click here

New Lama Jampa Thaye videos on Youtube

The second instalment of the videos recorded in New York with Lama Jampa Thaye is now available on his YouTube channel. In this second instalment Lama Jampa answers questions on the following topics:

  • Is yoga a Buddhist practice?
  • What is the importance of meditation in Buddhism?
  • What is the quickest way to achieve liberation?
  • Who was Sakya Pandita?

Please click here to view the videos.

Update on the activities of His Holiness Sakya Trizin and Karma Thinley Rinpoche

His Holiness Sakya Trizin has recently completed giving the Lamdre in Taiwan. He will remain in Taiwan until the end of July, following which He will be visiting Malaysia and the Philippines. 

Karma Thinley Rinpoche has been in Sang Ngak Phodrang in Zhonda, Tibet since early June. During this time many people have visited Rinpoche. He will return to Nepal in due course and then return to Canada for the winter months.

Visit of His Holiness Karmapa

His Holiness Karmapa visited our Kagyu dharma Centres in the United Kingdom last week from 8 to 13 July, travelling in an entourage which included Tsultrim Namgyal (who was the personal servant of the 16th Karmapa).
His Holiness arrived in Manchester on Sunday, 8 July, where He was welcomed to Kagyu Ling by Lama Jampa Thaye, Dechen Dolma and Kagyu Ling sangha members. On the Monday His Holiness travelled to Kagyu Dechen Dzong, Harrogate, and bestowed the initiation of Milarepa, one of the founding fathers of the Karma Kagyu tradition.
His Holiness gave a well attended public talk on the dharma in Manchester on Tuesday evening which saw an extensive question and answer session following the conclusion of His Holiness's talk.
On Wednesday and Thursday, His Holiness bestowed the major anuttara empowerment of Gyalwa Gyamtso, one of the principal yidams of the Karma Kagyu tradition. His Holiness emphasised the significance of the various vows acquired by attendees by virtue of receiving the empowerment, particularly the vows and pledges of the Vajrayana, and the necessity for understanding and scrupulously maintaining these vows.
His Holiness's visit concluded on Friday, 13 July when He departed for London for the next leg of His European tour where he was hosted by the Diamond Way Buddhist Centre.

Lama Jampa Thaye teaches in Sakya Dechen Ling, Stuttgart

On the weekend of 16 to 17 June Lama Jampa Thaye taught "The Friendly Letter” by Nagarjuna and its accompanying commentary “The Telescope of Wisdom” by Karma Thinley Rinpoche and bestowed the initiation of “Green Tara” (from the lineage of Atisha) at Sakya Dechen Ling, Stuttgart.

Lama Jampa will teach the next part of "The Friendly Letter" and "The Telescope of Wisdom" in Stuttgart later this year on 29 September.

New YouTube Videos: Lama Jampa Thaye

A new series of short videos with Lama Jampa Thaye was recorded during his recent visit to New York City. The first of these videos are now available on his YouTube channel; more will be uploaded over the coming weeks. In this first instalment Lama Jampa answers questions on the following topics:

  • The most important teaching in Buddhism
  • How to view people who cause us difficulties
  • The 'mindfulness movement'

Please click here to view the videos.

Lama Jampa Thaye at the Rimay Monlam 2012 and address to 'Space for Mind, Space for Art' exhibition

Lama Jampa Thaye has just attended the Rimay Monlam held at the Garrison Institute in upstate New York. The four day event, which was organised by Tulku Sherdor of the Blazing Wisdom Institute and Lama Surya Das of the Dzogchen Institute, was attended by five lamas and over fifty dharma practitioners.

This was the first Monlam to be held in North America and, like the monlams held by all four traditions in India, included recitations of the King of Aspirations Prayer, the Manjushri Namasangiti and the Aspiration prayer from the Bodhisattvacharyavatara.

On Saturday Lama Jampa gave a dharma talk on the universal wisdom of all Buddhist traditions. On Sunday a meeting between teachers was held where important issues facing dharma today were discussed. Lama Jampa also spent some time with Lama Surya Das discussing mutual old friends and plans for the future. Click here to listen to Lama Jampa's talk.

The Rimay Monlam came hot on the heels of Lama Jampa's address at a private viewing of the 'Space for Mind, Space for Art' exhibition hosted by the Diamond Way Buddhist Centre in London. Lama Jampa gave a wide ranging discourse on the significance of art within Buddhism. Video footage of Lama Jampa's address will be uploaded to his official YouTube channel shortly. Click here for more information on the exhibition.

Lama Jampa Thaye teaches in Harrogate, 19 May

On Saturday 19 May, Lama Jampa Thaye arrived in Harrogate for his Spring teaching visit.  Attendees came from from all over the United Kingdom to receive his teachings at a new venue at The Forum, in Harrogate Grammar School’s newly built sixth form centre. 

During the morning session, Lama Jampa began teaching the ‘Doha of Mahamudra’ of the First Jamgon Kongtrul;  in which this famed Kagyu master sets out the Mahamudra (Great Seal) as the basis, path and fruition of spiritual practice.  Lama-la will complete the transmission of this work during his autumn visit to Harrogate this year.

In the afternoon, Lama Jampa bestowed the torma initiation of Vajrakilaya from the Revealed Treasure lineage of Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa (1829-71). This initiation is from the cycle called Secret Essence.

In conclusion, Lama Jampa pointed out the auspicious conjunction for the Dechen sangha in Yorkshire of the transmissions of these two illustrious masters, Jamgon Kongtrul the Great (Kagyu) and Chokyur Dechen Lingpa (Nyingma).  

Together with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (Sakya), these compassionate teachers promoted and embodied the non-sectarian Rime movement which flourished in Eastern Tibet.  Through this, a huge body of textual teachings and practices - both famed and little-known - were collected, practised, commented upon and transmitted for the benefit of future generations of practitioners.

Lama Jampa Thaye visits H. H. Sakya Trizin in India

Lama Jampa Thaye visited India for 10 days in May to see His Holiness Sakya Trizin. Lama Jampa requested and received the major two day initiations of Sanjay Menla and Manjushri Arapatsana, both from the Collection of Tantras. His Holiness gave these initiations in Sakya Centre itself, so as usual this provided the opportunity for monks, nuns and lay people to attend. In fact, at the initiation of Manjushri Arapatsana around 1000 people attended as the local Tibetan dharma school brought all its children to the initiation. 

His Holiness also gave some private teaching in the Phodrang for two days. In attendance at these private teachings, as well as Lama Jampa, were the 3 dungseys from the Phuntsok Phodrang (Avikrita Rinpoche, Asanga Rinpoche and Abhaya Rinpoche) and the reincarnation of Tarik Rinpoche. His Eminence Ratna Vajra Rinpoche arrived back from Singapore in time for the initiation of Manjushri Arapatsana. 

Lama Jampa was able to have many discussions with His Holiness, Gyalyum Kusho-la, H.E. Ratna Vajra Rinpoche and Dagmo Kalden-la about future plans. Lama Jampa also met a number of old friends, including Lama Lekshey as well as people from the Phodrang Lama Jampa has known for over 30 years. 

Kirsty Chakravarti invited Lama Jampa to Tegchog Samten Ling, a retreat place she has built approximately 3 miles from the Phodrang,  where there are about nine monks from Gongkar Chode monastery in residence led by Lama Tenpay Gyamtso. Lama Jampa and Dechen Dolma went to see this beautiful place which also has a beautiful stupa and shrines dedicated to the lamas and deities of the Sakya tradition, as well as Atisa and Guru Rinpoche. 

His Holiness is now leaving for His tour of the far East, beginning with Singapore, followed by Taiwan, the Philippines and Malaysia, ending back in India in late August.

Lama Jampa Thaye teaches in Bristol

Lama Jampa Thaye visited Sakya Centre Bristol on 28 April. During the morning Lama Jampa began teaching Chandrogomin’s master work entitled ‘The Twenty Verses on the Bodhisattva Vow’, using the detailed commentary by Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen. This is the first time that either of these has been taught in Europe. Lama Jampa began by explaining the purpose and benefits of taking vows in general. He gave a brief explanation of the particular attributes of and relationship between the three levels of vows contained within the Buddha-dharma. The next part of the text will be given in Bristol in October 2012.

In the afternoon Lama Jampa bestowed the Initiation of Vasudhara from the collection The Hundred Sadhanas of Bari Lotsawa. This deity is associated with the increasing power or accomplishment of wealth.

On Sunday morning Lama Jampa and family attended the Green Tara practice at the Sakya Centre before returning to London.

Lama Jampa and Dechen Dolma are now en route to India to receive teachings from His Holiness Sakya Trizin. Lama Jampa’s next teaching in the UK will be in Harrogate on 19 May, when he will bestow Jamgon Kongtrul's 'Doha of Mahamudra' and the Initiation of Vajrakilaya. Please click here for further information.

Update on activities of Karma Thinley Rinpoche

On 24 April Karma Thinley Rinpoche stopped over in London on his annual journey from Canada to Nepal having spent several months this year in Canada. Rinpoche was hosted in London by Lama Jampa Thaye and Dechen Dolma.

Rinpoche will now spend the summer in Nepal before returning to Canada in the winter. Rinpoche is planning to visit Tibet with his attendant, Kunga, during this time

Lama Jampa Thaye in Mexico

Lama Jampa Thaye's 11 day visit to Sakya Dolma Ling (Mexico) in April was very successful. During his stay, he bestowed three initiations (Medicine Buddha, Chenrezik Mahamudra and White Saraswati), and gave two Mahayana teachings (Chim Namkhai Drak's Lojong, and Sakya Pandita's Answers to Nyimo Gomchen), to an audience of 35-45 students, of which around 25 are regular members of Sakya Dolma Ling. 

In a more private event for SDL members (a questions and answers session), Lama Jampa addressed issues of interest to them such as raising children, explaining the types of prayers that one can do throughout one's practice and ways in which people can help dying relatives/friends and animals. This was a particularly useful session. Finally, 34 people had audiences with Lama Jampa.   

Without doubt, Sakya Dolma Ling is profitting from the blessings of His Holiness Sakya Trizin's visit last year and Lama Jampa's annual visits to Mexico every year for the past six years, allowing it in this way to develop into a more established Dharma centre.

Lama Jampa teaches in West LA

Lama Jampa has just spent ten days in West Los Angeles where he bestowed a series of teachings. This visit marks six years of his dharma activity in Los Angeles and saw him, as is customary, give teachings at both Yeshe Nyingpo LA and Kagyu Donak Ling in addition to Sakya Samten Ling.

Yeshe Nyingpo, whose coordinator is Acharya Ed Heckermann, was founded by Dudjom Rinpoche in the 1980s. Lama Jampa gave the first teaching of his visit, a discourse on the Four Seals here on Saturday March 31. On the evening of April 4 Lama Jampa visited Kagyu Do Nga Chuling and gave a presentation on the qualities of the guru. Kagyu Do Nga Chuling was founded by the previous Kalu Rinpoche and the coordinator is Leroy Griggs.

Lama Jampa's visit culminated with a weekend of teachings at our Sakya centre, Sakya Samten Ling. Following a full day of teaching on the Khorday Yerme (The View of the Sakya Tradition)  Lama Jampa bestowed the initiations of Saraswati and Chenrezik Mahamudra on the Sunday afternoon.

The American sangha were very happy to be able to spend this time with Lama Jampa and all the teachings were very well attended. There was a real sense of community and collaboration evident between the three centres who continue to work well together and support each other in their respective dharma activities in West LA.