Manchester’s fashionable Northern Quarter was the setting for last week’s event around Lama Jampa's book Wisdom in Exile: Buddhism and Modern Times.
This was the fifth in a sequence of events promoting Lama Jampa’s book Wisdom in Exile: Buddhism and Modern Times, with Manchester at the end of a line of notable cities, including London, Los Angeles, Harrogate and Paris.
Lama Jampa was interviewed by Peter Popham, the South Asia correspondent for the Independent newspaper for over 20 years, and a best selling author of several books including two biographies on Aung Sang Suu Kyi. More recently he has returned to writing for theatre, his first great love.
Chapter One Books in Manchester
The setting of this book launch in a book store and coffee shop created a wonderful connection between the past and the present. In his youth, Lama Jampa, inspired by the music and lyrics of Bob Dylan, who cut his teeth in the coffee shops of Greenwich Village, New York, was led to the works of Jack Kerouac , and there discovered the timeless truth of the Buddha's teachings, which made sense of the natural spaciousness and clarity of mind that he had experienced as child.
Biography of Lama Jampa Thaye
In time, Lama Jampa came to study with some of the most eminent and accomplished Tibetan Buddhist masters of the 20th Century, most notably His Holiness 41st Sakya Trizin, His Holiness 16th Karmapa and Karma Thinley Rinpoche . Under their wise and compassionate tutelage and through his own great effort, he became a learned Buddhist scholar and accomplished meditation master. For over 40 years Lama Jampa has been sharing the treasure of the philosophical and contemplative practices that he has received from his masters, teaching in English the vast and profound Buddha dharma in the same authentic way.
Buddhism and Modern Times
During the interview with Peter Popham, the audience enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion covering both what Buddhism has to offer contemporary society and the current state of its transmission to the West from it's established lineages in the East.
Lama Jampa reminded us that despite all our successes in the material world, such as improved living standards and medical advances, there is a profound emptiness at the heart of many Western lives. Although there is so much to fill our lives, for many there is nothing that addresses the deepest concerns of what it is to be a human being and in particular the relationship between life and death. It is in these areas that Buddhism has much to offer to Western culture.
Transmission of Buddhism to the West
With regards to the current state of the transmission of Buddhism to the West, Lama Jampa explained how encouraging it was to see that many different Buddhist centres have been established in Europe and North America and felt there was much ground for optimism. However he went on to remind us that the success of the encounter between Western enthusiasts and Asian Buddhist Masters requires that we continue for some time - several generations in fact - to regard ourselves as apprentices and remain suitably humble about our levels of understanding and accomplishment. For example, it took around 400 years for Buddhism to be established in Tibet from India.
Q & A, Drinks and Jazz
At the end Lama Jampa took questions about proper understanding of the relationship between the student and Guru in Buddhism, about how to identify a tradition and teacher that suited you, alternative health, and the existence of octopodes!
Finally everyone enjoyed refreshments to the accompaniment of the music of jazz pianist, Steve Berman and the opportunity to buy a copy of Wisdom in Exile and to meet Lama Jampa.
Teaching Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje's Text in December
Lama Jampa will return to Manchester on the weekend of the 2nd December to teach ‘Pointing the finger at the Dharmakaya’ composed by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje. Full details on the Kagyu Ling website.