On Saturday 6 February Lama Jampa gave the first of five teachings on 'Rain of Clarity' - the stages of the Buddhist path in the Sakya tradition. Attended by around 150 people from across the UK, this first session outlined the purpose of the text, which serves as a map to the destination of Buddhahood, from becoming a Buddhist through taking refuge and practising the path, up to the wisdom, compassion and power of enlightenment itself.
At the start of the teaching Lama Jampa explained that the text was written both as an introduction to, and a condensation of a great mass teachings, which are themselves frequently referenced in the text. It is also a book of definitions, with almost every paragraph defining a point of dharma. Through in-depth study and practise of such a text one can develop an intelligent understanding of the dharma, the crucial prerequisite for the development of spiritual qualities.
On this occasion Lama Jampa taught most of the first chapter, which covers all aspects of 'taking refuge' - how and why be become a Buddhist - and includes a detailed presentation of what we mean by faith in Buddhism.
In the afternoon, Lama Jampa gave the vajrayana initiation of White Manjushri, a deity renowned for increasing wisdom, from the lineage of Mati Panchen. Mati Panchen was an elderly and illiterate buffalo herder who, through the power of this practice, went on to be a great scholar, dedicating the rest of his life to teaching others.
The next part of ‘Rain of Clarity’ will be given in London on 12 March, with Lama Jampa returning to Bristol for part 3 in June.