Wish-fulfilling jewels in a pure land – news from France
Friday 18 August 2023 saw the culmination of two very special weeks of teachings and initiations at our retreat centre in France, Sakya Changlochen Ling. This year, the summer course opened with Lama Jampa, his family and over 100 students welcoming HH Sakya Gongma Trichen Rinpoche, making this His Holiness’s 14th visit to our centres across the Dechen community. On this occasion, His Holiness gave the rarely given and precious initiation of the female deity Red Saraswati, whose practice cultivates the wisdom to both understand the teachings and to realise the true nature of things. As His Holiness remarked, all the seen and unseen qualities on the Buddhist path arise from wisdom. We were all delighted to spend time with His Holiness and look forward to welcoming him again soon.
This event provided the perfect opening to a two week programme with Lama Jampa Thaye. The text for this year’s course was Lama Jampa’s book, ‘Diamond Sky: Preparing for Vajrayana’, a work bringing together the different ways of travelling the Buddhist path. In it, Lama Jampa begins with the story of dharma’s origins in India and the rich transmission of the different strands of teachings to Tibet from the 7th century. With confidence in the foundations, we then heard about the solid foundation and protection from suffering offered by the Buddha, his teachings and the sangha, further embodied in the vajrayana by the Lama. Then having awakened to the preciousness of our situation and how to use it positively to free ourselves from suffering, we heard how to raise our gaze to the situation of others, with an open heart and crystal clear understanding that cuts through our delusion of seeing ourselves and phenomena as truly real.
Finally, we heard how the skilful and powerful practices of vajrayana, poetically entitled ‘The Path of the Emperor’, can swiftly bring the Buddha qualities of wisdom, compassion and power to fruition, like a flower arising from a once dormant seed.
Woven throughout was the beautiful practice of White Manjushri, a very direct way of cultivating wisdom to support our studies. This lineage is from the Indian master, Mati Panchen, the old, illiterate buffalo herder who, through this practice, became a great scholar. Who attending could not take heart from such an example?
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To end the course, Lama Jampa then gave the initiation of Red Tara from the lineage of Vagisvakirti. Her practice attracts good conditions to support our dharma practice, so we can more quickly help others.
During our time together, we also had time to share delicious food, conversation, coffee and even a little music too.
As he wished everyone safe travels home, Lama Jampa thanked everyone for their efforts in both attending and helping with the course, inspired throughout by the blessings and example of our lamas.
As the blazing summer gradually changes to a golden autumn, we look forward to meeting again in this jewel of the Dordogne.