A Garland of Jewels and long life blessings
It is turning out to be a wild, unpredictable and not particularly summery June this year. Fortunately, the weather did not deter over 100 people from coming to Bristol to receive teachings from Lama Jampa Thaye.
The day was well worth braving the elements for. In the morning, Lama Jampa gave the second part of a teaching by Chogyal Phakpa, one of the greatest masters in the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Back in the 13th century, Chogyal Phakpa became the principal master of Kublai Khan and many of the Mongol princes, travelling frequently to China to give teachings at court, as well as in the form of written correspondence.
This teaching, entitled ‘A Garland of Jewels’, is a letter to one of these princes, Gibek Timor, comprising a wonderful and accessible introduction to the Buddha’s teachings, outlined in 204 verses. It traces the Buddhist path by considering three types of practitioner: the person who wishes for happiness in this life and future lives, secondly, the person who wishes to be free from suffering and finally, the person who wishes to achieve Buddhahood to free all beings from suffering.
In part one, Chogyal Phakpa described how to live a good life, focusing on generosity, kindness, contentment and respect. In this part of the teaching, He explains the meaning of taking refuge from suffering in the three jewels: the Buddha, the teachings and the community of practitioners, and how to acquire true wisdom by hearing the teachings, reflecting on them and meditating so they become a lived experience. In these verses, he emphasises the importance of becoming learned so that we have an understanding of the whole path, summarised in the three trainings of moral discipline or ethics, meditation and wisdom.
During the afternoon, Lama Jampa gave the initiation of White Tara from the lineage of Shakya Shri Bhadra. White Tara is one of the three deities of longevity whose practice is renowned for bestowing the blessings of long life and thus increasing the opportunity for spiritual practice, as well as increasing wisdom to aid our understanding of the teachings.
Lama Jampa will return to Bristol to teach part three of ‘A Garland of Jewels’ on 5 October.