The Beaufoy – A Review of 2018

Lama Ole Nydahl arriving in London

Lama Ole Nydahl arriving in London

As it’s been a while since we last updated our blog, we thought you’d all be interested to hear about some of the great developments over the last year from our wonderful London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre. 2018 was a busy year for the London Centre, and despite all of the many projects and events, the doors stayed open to the public every Monday and Thursday, offering introductory talks and meditation sessions. So let’s take a look at what took place in 2018.

1. The New Year’s Course with Lama Ole in 2017

An historic event took place in December 2017: our very first international New Year’s Course with Lama Ole Nydahl. 1,500 people participated in lectures and meditations that took place at the Kent Event Centre in Maidstone, just one hour’s drive from London. It was the first time that we in the UK had ever organised such a large-scale event, and it was evidently a huge success.

Before the course, we hosted a Christmas dinner for Lama Ole and 250 friends. At the time, we believed this event to have been the first of its kind in the Beaufoy’s Great Hall; we later found out that there had in fact been a Christmas dinner of a similar size held here during World War II, for the brave women training for war-time jobs at the Beaufoy.

2. The Open House event

In September 2018 we were invited to participate in the Open House architecture festival. This is an event that celebrates London’s buildings/landmarks and provides a unique opportunity to explore and learn about the city’s most compelling accomplishments of architecture and design. More than 800 buildings of every kind opened their doors for one weekend, including 10 Downing Street, the Royal Opera House and, of course, the Beaufoy Institute. Nearly 200 people visited us throughout the weekend. We organised tours around the building, an exhibition on its history, and an exhibition of Buddhist statues and paintings (called ‘thangkas’ in Tibetan). In fact, our visitors were so keen to learn about Buddhism that we were asked to provide an additional introductory talk followed by a guided meditation. Some of the visitors were former students of the Beaufoy Institute, and were very pleased to see how we are bringing the building back to life. A few people even returned some time later in order to join us for a meditation.

3. Update on the construction works

We completed the first part of the ‘Core & Shell’ works that began in 2015: we installed a central heating system enabling us to extend the heating supply throughout the building – our first warm winter in the Beaufoy! – and replaced the Annex windows.

In December 2017 we also completed the renovation of the first floor Annex. We built several new residents’ rooms and a beautiful dormitory that can host our many guests. For the moment, we have enough rooms for our diverse community members to stay in.

So what’s in store for 2019? More activity!

4. 25 years of Diamond Way in the UK

After meeting Lama Ole in Japan, Stephen James officially invited him to the UK to give teachings in Cambridge in 1994. Together with friends, he established the first Diamond Way Buddhist Centre in the UK. 25 years have since passed, and we are planning to celebrate this with a series of meditation courses and retreats starting at various centres across the UK. We are also planning to hold exhibitions and Buddhist film screenings for wider audiences in London.

2019 will also mark 45 years since HH 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje first visited London and performed the Black Crown Ceremony on at Friends Meeting House on Euston Road, the very hall where we also welcomed HH 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje on his first UK visit in 2005.

The 25th Anniversary celebrations will culminate in the 2020 course with Lama Ole.

5. UK Sangha in 2018

Across the UK there are currently 12 centres and groups established by Lama Ole, all of which are open to the public at least once a week. Except for London, these are all generally smaller groups. Friends from most of the UK centres meet together several times a year, for example at the UK Centres Meeting, which the Beaufoy has had the honour of hosting for the last few years, or at the annual Easter Retreat, organised by Buddhist friends in the North of the country. We also travel together: in December this year 35 people from the UK visited Copenhagen in order to help with the preparation of the Victory Stupa that will be inaugurated by Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche in 2019.

6. Great Hall

Our priority in 2019 is the refurbishment of the Great Hall so that we can use it as our main meditation space. Our aim is to create a lasting and representative place for the Karma Kagyu Lineage in the UK.

In order to have the Great Hall ready before 2020 we will simultaneously be fundraising and refurbishing the Great Hall. Our fundraising goal is £300,000, which would enable us to finish the basic infrastructure and create a space for inspiring Buddhist art. Our fundraising initiative has already begun in London, and through the events that bring us together and generate financial surplus, such as fundraising dinners.

7. Other plans for the future

We will be developing a large dining and social area on the ground floor of the Annex. Lama Ole has decided that there should be a special room in the Beaufoy dedicated to the Karma Kagyu protectors, which will house images and sculptures of our powerfully protective Buddha aspects. It will eventually be connected to the Great Hall, and will thereby also to the main meditation space. Lama Ole has requested Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche to advise us on this project.

Finally, we would like to thank everyone who has visited the Beaufoy or has helped us in any way at all in the last year. As a result of this shared effort and inspiration the Beaufoy is achieving its goal of making available the timeless and liberating methods of the Buddha.

We wish you all every success in 2019 and beyond!!

We hope you enjoy these impressions of some of the year’s events mentioned above (photo credit: Anthony Warner and Radek Zybura).

20171224-20-52-04-christmas-london-dec17-2 20171224-20-35-32-christmas-london-dec17 20171224-19-56-05-christmas-london-dec17 20171224-19-54-23-christmas-london-dec17 20171224-19-46-02-christmas-london-dec17-2 20171224-19-40-03-christmas-london-dec17-5 20171224-19-37-34-christmas-london-dec17 20171223-11-03-04-christmas-london-dec17 20171223-10-41-32-christmas-london-dec17 029_d1c0745 005_d2c4260 Lama Ole Nydahl New Year's Course, Maidstone



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