From 25-31 July 2013, the London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre was very fortunate to be able to host Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche for a program of teachings and transmissions at the Beaufoy Institute in Lambeth. Rinpoche is a highly respected lama of the Karma Kagyu lineage. He was ordained in Rumtek monastery by the 16th Karmapa, and is one of the few lamas who holds the title ‘Maniwa’, given to masters of the Loving Eyes (Skt. Avalokiteshvara; Tib. Chenrezig) practice who are able to encourage others to recite the mantra of Loving Eyes, OM MANI PEME HUNG, more than one billion times. Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche has led 30 “Mani Dhungyur” festivals in his homeland of Nepal, which are attended by thousands of students, in which a billion mani mantras are accumulated. Loving Eyes is the Bodhisattva of compassion, so the friends from London, the UK and abroad who gathered for the programme were particularly fortunate to receive teachings and transmissions related so closely to this most noble of qualities, from a master who embodies it so perfectly. London was one of the destinations on Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s 2013 tour of Europe.
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This April the new London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre at the Beaufoy Institute was fortunate to receive a visit from Lama Ole Nydahl. London was a surprise addition to Lama Ole Nydahl’s crowded schedule of worldwide travel. Lama Ole’s schedule for April included several “project days”, which are often used to focus on specific projects such as writing a book (for example the soon to be published “Fearless Death“). Because of Lama Ole Nydahl’s great enthusiasm for the new London Buddhist centre, which has gained international project status, he spontaneously decided to spend two of his project days working directly with the friends involved in the project and inspiring them with his personal example and teachings. Having heard about Lama Ole’s decision to come over, the friends in London quickly set to work preparing for the visit.
From 23-27 January 2013, Lama Ole Nydahl visited London for a momentous and action-packed visit. Arriving at Heathrow Airport at lunchtime on Wednesday 23 January, fresh from his winter tour of Russia, Lama Ole with his travelling group including Tomek Lehnert were greeted by members of the London sangha as well as Caty Hartung, who had already arrived one day previously. The main focus of the visit was the London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre‘s new home at the Beaufoy Institute in Lambeth, the sale of which had completed on the auspicious day of 21 January (a Guru Rinpoche day). Caty had already spent quite a lot of time the previous day with friends in London, sharing her decades of experience in building up Diamond Way Buddhist Centres, and helping to answer many important practical questions about the big project ahead to transform the building.
Today, 12/12/12, marks the end of the three-month statutory waiting period or “intermediate state” (Tib. Bardo), after which final approval for planning permission for the Beaufoy Institute could be confirmed. During this time the opportunity was present for a judicial review to be launched into Lambeth Council’s decision to grant Diamond Way Buddhism UK planning permission to turn the Beaufoy into our new Buddhist centre. However, no such appeal was lodged, reconfirming the satisfaction of all parties with Lambeth’s decision.
We are therefore pleased to share the delightful news that there is now nothing holding us back from completing the sale of the Beaufoy Institute and moving into our new home and headquarters in Lambeth’s future London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre, a big and representative centre for the Karma Kagyu lineage in South London.
We would like to show our recognition of the enormous amount of meticulous planning, hard work, compromise and personal sacrifice made by people too numerous to name individually, both from within the Karma Kagyu Dharma family, and from Lambeth’s community. It was these people whose unrelenting efforts – particularly from March 2012 when the planning consultation opened – led us to this triumphant result.
On the international Diamond Way Buddhism website, there’s a new article where you can read more about our project for a new Diamond Way Buddhist centre in Lambeth.
The “Victorious Banner” (Tib. Gyaltsen) was originally a military standard of ancient Indian warfare. Early Buddhism adopted the banner as a symbol of Buddha Shakyamuni’s triumph over the armies of Mara, the personification of obstacles on the path to enlightenment, whose demonic warriors bore it as an emblem. Legend says that this banner was placed at the summit of Mount Meru, the mythological centre of the cosmos, as a symbol of the Buddha’s victory over the entire universe. The top of the banner was surmounted by the “Wish Fulfilling Jewel” (Tib. Yidzhin Norbu), which is a famous epithet of the Karmapa…
July 2012 marked some of the most significant events in the history of the Karma Kagyu lineage in the United Kingdom: the Wish Fulfilling Jewel appeared once again in the UK, and a victorious banner was raised above the Beaufoy Institute in Lambeth. In the midst of the celebrations of the enormous success, after a long process of planning consultation, in planning permission being granted for Diamond Way Buddhism’s new London Centre at the Beaufoy Institute, H.H. 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje arrived in the UK for a momentous 10 day visit.
The “Space for Mind, Space for Art” exhibition was the first major exhibition the Diamond Way Foundation has undertaken in London or the UK. For the first time the exhibition linked the treasures of Tibetan Buddhism to modern art and local artists. It was held in Lambeth at The Spring from 28th May – 3rd June 2012, and was made possible by a number of donors and sponsors.
The exhibition aimed to build a rich and atmospheric experience for people to enter into the realms of the Buddhas and a contemporary art response. This came from local artists in Lambeth whose works were displayed alongside pieces of national significance kindly loaned by the British Council Collection.