A wellspring of answers on the Buddhist path

On Saturday 3 June, we welcomed Lama Jampa Thaye and family to Bristol for a glorious summer weekend of wisdom, blessings and joy. The first day opened with Part 4 of the great master Sakya Pandita’s ‘Discriminating the Three Vows’ at the usual venue of the Future Inn in the heart of the city. This work is taught in the monastic colleges within the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and in it Sakya Pandita skillfully points out the mistakes that can be made by having a simplistic view of such topics as karma. With great kindness and clarity, he gives a sophisticated and nuanced view of how to conduct ourselves as a Buddhist and why, freeing us from the burden of rigidly following rules that aren’t required or aligned with what the Buddha intended.

In the afternoon, Lama Jampa gave the initiation of the deity Manjushri Arapatsana, renowned for helping Buddhists to increase wisdom and thus travel more swiftly along the path. He also gave the reading transmission for this deity’s practice by Sakya Pandita, who was himself seen as the embodiment of Manjushri.


For Sunday’s programme of activity, the focus shifted to Sakya Buddhist Centre Bristol’s vibrant shrine room. The morning began with prayers to Chenrezik to help the cultivation of compassion, followed by a question and answer session on the dharma path. Questions ranged from whether Buddhists should take holidays (a resounding yes!), to how to understand experiences that arise in meditation and how to approach the Buddhist view of non-self. The packed shrine room was full of joyful attention and laughter as we all heard good advice on how to bring study and practice into all of our everyday life, along with realising that whilst meditators may look calm, a volcano may be simmering or even erupting underneath! During the day, Lama Jampa also gave individual interviews to those seeking advice on their own particular studies and practice.

Finally, we were delighted to be joined by Lama Jampa for our evening prayers celebrating the Buddha Day of Saga Dawa. On this day, we reflect on the enlightenment and mahaparinirvana or passing away of the Buddha and recite the beautiful prayer of offerings and praises to the Buddha and his 16 disciples or sthaviras (elders). These 16 chief disciples protect the dharma so that it continues to transform us even now after the passing of over 2,500 years.

As all things are impermanent so even such a weekend must come to an end. However, we look forward to gathering again at Sakya Changlochen Ling in France for our summer school in August, and to welcoming Lama Jampa back to Bristol in the autumn.

For more pictures click here.