A garland of wise advice in Bristol

On 5 October, around 100 people from across the UK gathered to hear Lama Jampa Thaye teach part three of  ‘A Garland of Jewels’. This text, beautifully written in 204 verses, was composed by the 13th century Sakya master, Chogyal Phakpa for the Mongol Prince Gibek Timur and surveys the whole of the Buddhist path, from a beginner to enlightenment itself.

In this part, the text focuses on the practice of the Mahayana, the Great Vehicle, underpinned by the motivation of bodhichitta or the wish to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all beings. The text talks through how to open out, without partiality, to all beings without limit or exclusion through the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion, the recognition of the beginningless nature of mind and the acknowledgment that all beings suffer needlessly, as enlightenment is present in nature of mind itself. Lama Jampa explained that we may think that it is natural to be in samsara, the cycle of birth and death, but actually it is samsara that is wrong, the natural state is the buddhanature. All that is necessary is to clear away the illusions and wake up to our true nature through the path of compassion and wisdom.

In the afternoon, Lama Jampa gave the vajrayana initiation of Namgyalma (Ushnishavijaya in Sanskrit), one of the three main Buddhist deities of longevity, along with White Tara and Amitayus. She is also associated with the development of transcendental wisdom. Revering and meditating on Namgyalma grants the mundane accomplishment of preserving and strengthening life energy, and the profound accomplishment of transcendental wisdom.

The following morning saw a well attended and insightful question and answer session with Lama Jampa at Sakya Buddhist Centre. In just over 45 minutes, we heard advice on topics as diverse as organ donation, climate change and protection cords to the process of rebirth and how to stay connected with the Buddhist path.

Lama Jampa will give the next part of the text, focusing on the practice of the six perfections, in January 2020.