Lama Ole Nydahl and Jigme Rinpoche in London, April 2014

Fish-eye view of the Beaufoy, including the course marquee, from the Bellway construction site

Fish-eye view of the Beaufoy, including the course marquee, from the Bellway construction site

The first week of April 2014 was packed with activity and excitement as Lama Ole Nydahl and his team, followed by Lama Jigme Rinpoche arrived in London to stay at the London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre at the Beaufoy Institute. While we have previously recounted two important days (namely Lama Ole’s tour Reading, Oxford and St Albans and the public opening of the London Centre at the Beaufoy Institute), here we’d like to share some impressions of what went on during the rest of the time the two lamas were with us.

On 31 March a group of friends greeted Lama Ole Nydahl and his travelling group as they arrived from Hamburg at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. After a quick drive through London, everyone was dropped off at the Beaufoy and after settling in, Lama Ole was given a tour around the building to see the progress made since his last visit in April 2013.

Lama Ole arriving at Heathrow 31 March 2014Lama Ole Nydahl arrives at the Beaufoy, 31 March 2014Lama Ole inspecting works at the Beaufoy 31 March 2014Lama Ole with Steve James, surveying progress made on the Beaufoy restoration 31 March 2014Lama Ole in the Beaufoy's temporary carpentry workshop 31 March 2014Lama Ole and friends having lunch in the new lounge area 31 March 2104

Many people had already arrived from London, the UK and abroad to help with the organisation for the forthcoming Dharma course and to assist with final touches to the refurbishment of the areas which would be opened to the public in a few days time.

Affixing the new plaque April 2014Affixing the door number April 2014Freinds preparing the main hall to receive special guests April 2014

In the evening, Lama Ole Nydahl and all the friends present gathered in the main hall of the Beaufoy for Lama Ole’s teaching on Tilopa’s Ganges Mahamudra, and a chance to clarify their understanding by asking questions. Wednesday 2 April was another “project day” for Lama Ole, in which he spent most of his time either catching up with important communications with students and centres around the world, or working directly with the team of friends and volunteers in London who are engaged in the building and renovation works. In the evening, Lama Ole caught up on important national developments via the BBC, and afterwards guided a meditation on the 8th Karmapa for all present in the main hall.

Lama Ole teaching on the Ganges MahamudraLama Ole Nydahl outside the House of Lords 3 April 2014Lama Ole and friends outside the Houses of Parliament 3 April 2014

Thursday 3 April was a packed day. In the late morning Lama Ole Nydahl and some friends visited the Houses of Parliament where they were treated to a delicious lunch. Lama Ole seemed happy to be able to introduce the energy of the Kagyu protectors into heart of British democracy. After this, Lama Ole was met by a larger group of friends at the British Museum, to see the impressive Vikings exhibition.

Later that afternoon, Jigme Rinpoche arrived at Gatwick and was driven to the Beaufoy. In the evening, Lama Ole, Jigme Rinpoche and a large group of guests arrived at a specially hired theatre for a private screening to cast, crew and sponsors of “Hannah: Buddhism’s Untold Journey”. 5 years in the making, the film tells the story of the life of Hannah Nydahl, her husband, Lama Ole and their life bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the west. At the heart of the film lies a unique love story. From 60’s Copenhagen to the hippie trail, from Europe and North America, through the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and Russia, to being kidnapped by guerrillas in South America, the film portrays the path of a great woman at the forefront of a turbulent world. Hannah explores how the ideal of freedom in all its forms remains significant and why everything Tibetan should not be seen as holy. The film will be released later this year. After the private screening a reception was held in the Beaufoy.

Adam and Marta at the screening of Hannah 3 April 2014Inside the theatre 3 April 2014Guests inside the theatreReception at the Beaufoy 3 April 2014 2Lama Ole with the directors and editors of the Hannah movie 3 April 2014Reception at the Beaufoy 3 April

The next day, Friday 4 April at 1pm, representatives of the various UK Diamond Way Buddhist centres and groups gathered in the small meditation hall of the Beaufoy with Lama Ole and Caty to update on their current plans and progress, as well as having the chance to ask questions and seek advice related to the functioning of centres.

Friends from Scotland giving an update 4 April 2014Friends from Newcastle giving an update 4 April 2014Update from Liverpool 4 April 2014

At 3pm, the formal public programme commenced, with a teaching by Jigme Rinpoche on the meditation practice of Diamond Mind (Skt. Vajrasattva, Tib. Dorje Sempa). These instructions were particularly useful and relevant in connection with the initiation Rinpoche would give the following day, equipping those wishing to practice the Diamond Mind meditation with the best possible conditions for successful results.

Jigme Rinpoche teaching in London 4 April 2014Jigme Rinpoche and Lama Ole Nydahl in London 4 April 2014Jigme Rinpoche teaching in the marquee 4 April 2014

In the evening, Lama Ole taught in the marquee, giving his contemporary commentary to the 3rd Karmapa’s Great Seal Wishes. To round off the day, a fundraising gala was held in the main hall of the Beaufoy featuring games, prizes and the chance to support the project by buying limited edition bottles of Beaufoy Ginger Beer!

The following day, 5 April, following the public opening ceremony, there was a meditation session guided by UK Diamond Way Teachers, in preparation for the crowning moment of the day, the initiation of Diamond Mind by Jigme Rinpoche. 1,000 people came to receive Rinpoche’s blessing. After the initiation, there was a meeting with Lama Ole and Caty for the London sangha.

Meditation in the marquee 5 April 2014Jigme Rinpoche giving the initiation of Diamond Mind 5 April 2014Diamond Mind

On the morning of Sunday 6 April, the last day of the course, Jigme Rinpoche gave further explanations on the Ngondro, or Foundational Practices, of Diamond Way Buddhism. At the end of his lecture, as a parting gesture, Rinpoche presented to the London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre two very special gifts: an exquisitely crafted sculpture of the First Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, and a framed photograph of the 16th Karmapa performing the Black Crown Ceremony at Dhagpo Kagyu Ling in 1977, which had been signed personally in 1979 by the 16th Karmapa himself! Both of these gifts now stand in a prominent position on the new altar in the newly refurbished meditation hall in the Beaufoy. In the afternoon, Lama Ole gave the final lecture of the course, on the topic of Death and Rebirth.

Gifts from Jigmela on the new altarDusum Khyenpa16th Karmapa's signatureLondon sangha meeting 5 April 2014Jigme Rinpoche's lecture 6 April 2014Jigme Rinpoche and friends enjoying London April 2014

On the morning of Monday 7 April, Lama Ole and Jigme Rinpoche went on their respective ways to Ireland and France, leaving behind an exhausted but very satisfied course organisation team. The course had been the largest of its kind so far organised by Diamond Way Buddhism in the UK. Thanks to the tireless hard work and joyful effort of countless friends and volunteers, and the great blessing of our teachers Lama Jigme Rinpoche and Lama Ole Nydahl, it was an enormous success on every level.


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