Lama Jampa gives Buddhist teachings in Harrogate
In Harrogate for the weekend of 9-10 September, Lama Jampa continued with teachings on Gampopa’s Jewel Rosary of the Supreme Path, completing another five chapters of the text.
A Joyous Occasion
The weekend was a truly joyous occasion with many attending a Buddhist teaching event for the first time. Some reflected on how profound these teachings are for people and others expressed gratitude for the clear, direct, point by point explanations given by Lama Jampa; many said how wonderful it was to be there listening to words of such clarity and gentle wisdom.
A time for old friends to catch up and new friends to be made - a meeting of sangha from so many places.
Before beginning with the transmission of the text, Lama Jampa made a number of introductory points.
A Little Buddhist History
First some history, describing how all the many branches of the Kagyu school trace their origins back to Gampopa, who was from Dhagpo and hence the name Dhagpo Kagyu.
What is the Nature of the Text?
Second, talking about the the nature of the text, Lama Jampa explained that it is neither a set of detailed instructions for a course of meditation nor a detailed examination of the philosophical teachings of the Buddha. The clue is in its name: like a rosary upon which beads are strung together, the Jewel Rosary of the Supreme Path is,
A text which is composed of many individual lines of advice about how we are to understand and implement the Dharma in our lives.
Who is the Text Suitable For?
Thirdly on the suitability of the text for different types of people, Lama Jampa showed how its expression of the essence of the dharma in an undisguised, pithy and memorable way makes it equally suitable to newcomers and to experienced students of Buddhism:
So that is the nature of this style of text and as I say it’s for everybody: even if one has heard the dharma many times one finds fresh expressions of it in this teaching, and if one hasn’t heard the dharma very much one could not hope for a better presentation of the fundamental core of how we are to practise the dharma.
Bringing Together Two Streams of Dharma
Fourthly and finally Lama Jampa talked about how the work reflects the two streams of dharma which Gampopa famously united both in his life and his teachings. The first stream is the gradual way of practising the bodhisattva path through focussing on training in compassion and wisdom and so on, which was brought to Tibet by Atisha. The second stream is from Milarepa and emphasises the teachings on Mahamudra which allow us to settle in and recognise the nature of our minds.
So these two approaches, one kind is the gradual way of practising the path and one is a kind of more spontaneous and immediate way, Gampopa harmonised them in his own life and thus became an extraordinary realised master as well as a scholar, but someone with profound realisation, and that has been the kind of style of the Kagyu ever since, this blend of gradual training and direct recognition of the nature of mind. So we will see both these two approaches blended together in Gampopa’s text.
Following this detailed and inspiring introduction Lama Jampa continued with teachings on the next five sections of the text.
It is hoped that Lama Jampa will return to Harrogate early in 2019 to complete the text.