The tour began in Martha's Vineyard on Friday October 14 with a public teaching "Wise Compassion: Getting Love and Compassion Right”. Then over the weekend Lama Jampa gave two days of teachings on the Shentong Madhyamaka to the local Bodhi Path sangha.
Next Lama Jampa travelled to New York City to teach the first half of The 37 Practices of a Buddha’s Child to the Bodhi Path sangha in Manhattan. Composed in the 14th century by the great hermit and scholar Thogme Zangpo, this text serves as a wonderful introduction to dharma, as well as being a compendium to the entire path. As Lama Jampa said, “it touches the hidden spot. Utterly uncompromising, one cannot avoid examining one’s preconceptions and errors against the truth of the dharma.”
In the elegant surroundings of an apartment within Lexington Avenue brownstone building not far from Central Park, the Bodhi Path sangha greatly enjoyed Lama Jampa’s clear and extensive explanation of the text and appreciated his clarity when answering their many questions.
The following weekend saw Lama Jampa in Natural Bridge, Virginia to give the first half the Concise Lojong, written by the 5th Shamarpa, Konchok Yenlak. This lojong or ‘mind training’ teaching arose from the oral tradition, “handed from master to student in which the emphasis was on practice and transformation. This is upadesha (oral instructions): that received at the knee of the teacher.”
The teaching took place at the spectacular setting of Virginia’s Bodhi Path centre. Nestled between two national parks, the mighty Blue Ridge Mountains rise up to one side of the land. The centre was donated to Shamar Rinpoche by Jay and Carol, who bought a 500 acre horse ranch in the 1990s and gave 50 acres to the Natural Bridge Bodhi Path group. On the rolling wooded slopes of the centre’s land are a shrine room, Shamar Rinpoche’s house, various cottages which provide long and short term accommodation. The land is also adorned by a large stupa, with which Shamar Rinpoche was closely involved with the construction.
Lama Jampa’s extensive yet accessible presentation of the text included a few jokes, a story about Allen Ginsberg’s visit to Manchester, as well as the opportunity to ask many questions.
On the evenings of 24th and 25th of October, Lama Jampa was in Washington DC to teach the second half the Concise Lojong, written by the 5th Shamarpa, Konchok Yenlak. This section of the text dealt largely with advice as to how to maintain and apply our practice in everyday life. “Mindfulness is about guarding your intentions and vows by recollecting the state of your mind. As Shantideva said, ‘Mind is like a wild elephant’ and a moment after that my mind is off on some other indulgence. If we don't guard our mind we will never progress.”
As ever, the sangha appreciated Lama Jampa’s clear and erudite presentation of the text and the care he took to explain each point precisely and completely.
The tour ended in Chicago where Lama Jampa taught from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon on the 5th Shamarpa's Concise Lojong.