Sakya Pandita

A Boat for all Beings: Mahayana teachings with Lama Jampa Thaye

Last Saturday we welcomed Lama Jampa, family and fellow Buddhists to the Future Inn in Bristol for a day of Buddhist teachings.

Amid the unseasonable warmth, around 100 people gathered from around the UK and beyond to listen to part 5 of Sakya Pandita’s master work, ‘Discriminating the 3 Vows’ and to receive the vajrayana initiation of Mahachakra Vajrapani.

In this instalment of the text, Sakya Pandita describes how to clarify misunderstandings about the vow of the bodhisattva, the promise to become a buddha not for ourselves but for all beings. This aspiration arises through the recognition of our profound connection with others, through our common wish to avoid suffering and to experience happiness. In this chapter, Sakya Pandita covers such topics as the different lineages of the vow so we know how to take and maintain them properly, the different aspects of the vow – imbued with compassion and wisdom, and how to train to keep our promise alive.

Introducing the morning’s teachings, Lama Jampa also commented on the role of this text for us as Buddhists in the West, receiving it outside of the traditional and structured setting of a monastic college. As beginners in the dharma, it may not yet be possible to understand all that is contained in the text, however by receiving it now, it will be there for us when we can most benefit from it. Hence, it is important to be flexible in receiving teachings, taking what we can from them now, and then coming back to them as we progress along the path.

In the afternoon, Lama Jampa gave the initiation of Mahachakra Vajrapani, from the lineage of Marton Rinpoche. This buddha, the most powerful of all the forms of Vajrapani, is the embodiment of the wisdom of all the buddhas and all magical power is concentrated in him.

As the leaves fall and the year turns, we look forward to welcoming Lama Jampa back to Bristol in January next year.