FPMT News Around the World
By Mike Murray, Director of Jamyang Buddhist Centre
What does a Dharma center do when the Olympic Games come to town? Join in of course!
Team FPMT GB (Jamyang Buddhist Centre London’s homage to the UK’s Olympic team name), headed up by team leader and head coach Geshe Tashi Tsering, has won four golds so far.
The first gold goes to Geshe Tashi Tsering who is one of the members of the Buddhist Chaplaincy team at the Olympic Village and in the Olympic Park. This is the first time a member of the Tibetan diaspora has been involved in the games in such a way. He is thoroughly enjoying meeting people and talking with them and helping them, even if for us it seems a bit odd to see him in the Olympic volunteers uniform rather than the usual maroon robes. In between volunteering at the games, he led a retreat just outside of Graz in Austria. A very busy geshe!
Second gold goes to the monks of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery who started their five-day residency at Jamyang London on August 6. As part of our contribution to the London Cultural Olympiad running alongside the Olympics, they have very kindly agreed to create a sand mandala of the Buddha Akshobhya with Eight Goddesses of Good Fortune.
Why that one? His Holiness the Dalai Lama has given that initiation in UK and the Tashi Lhunpo monks created the sand mandala then. Also, the practice of Akshobhya, the seeing of the mandala and the recitation of his mantra is said to be a very powerful purifier of and antidote to anger. The monks are also giving a workshop, a talk and a performance of Cham, the famous costumed monastic dance of Tibet.
Jamyang has a particular link with Tashi Lhunpo as one of their key and highly revered teachers, Sera Mey Tsangpa Geshe Thubten Rinchen, is also one of the main teachers of Geshe Tashi Tsering and the uncle of Lobsang Palbar who works at the center.
The third gold goes to the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive (LYWA), one thousand of whose free books we are distributing in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to UK and for the Olympics. There is something extraordinarily joyous about being able to freely give high-quality, accessible Dharma books to people who show an interest, and the kind people at LYWA make this possible. At His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s recent teachings in Manchester, it was particularly noticeable that the FPMT UK stall handing out books for free meant that youngsters with not so much money were able to pick up a book and open their minds. An abiding image of our time at His Holiness’ teachings was the broad smile that came across one lurky teen’s face when in answer to his suspicious “So how much are you selling this for then?” we could say, “Nothing. It’s free. Please take it.”
The fourth gold goes to the Courtyard Garden Cafe, the community interest company set up by Jamyang to provide quality wholesome tasty vegetarian food in an inner city area not known for quality vegetarian food. The cafe team does an extraordinary job bringing a fun relaxing atmosphere to cafe-courtyard eating and getting the message out that eating healthy and veggie can be tasty and fun! Every meat eater we entice to have a veggie meal, cut down on meat eating, or cut it out altogether is a success for us.
With 158 centers, projects and services around the globe, there is always news on FPMT activities, teachers and events. Mandala hopes to share as many of these timely stories as possible. If you have news you would like to share, please let us know.