Reading, Oxford, St Albans Buddhist groups host Lama Ole Nydahl

Lama Ole Nydahl in Oxford 2 April 2014

Lama Ole Nydahl in Oxford 1 April 2014

Having arrived in London for a week-long visit to the UK, on the first evening, Lama Ole Nydahl expressed the strong wish to make a spontaneous visit to as many as possible of the Diamond Way Buddhist groups in the close vicinity of London. A few phone calls later to discuss logistics, and a plan was made for the following day, Tuesday 1 April, to drive to Reading, Oxford and St Albans. The was the first time since Lama Ole Nydahl’s 2011 visit that he had visited groups outside the Capital.

After a late breakfast, Lama Ole, Tomek, Alessandra and four car-loads of friends, set off on the road. Arriving in Reading at 1.30pm, the travelling group were welcomed by the local Buddhist friends and shown into the current premises for Diamond Way Buddhism in Reading. It is a “key centre”, a rented room situated on the first floor of a building on London Street, one of the main roads leading to Reading’s town centre. Lama Ole blessed the meditation room by invoking the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Afterwards he gave Buddhist refuge to two newcomers to the group, answered some questions, guided a meditation on the 16th Karmapa, and finished by invoking Black Coat (the protector of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism) together with the friends gathered in the room.

Afterwards the travelling group got back into their cars and headed north to Oxford, winding through the picturesque country roads and fields of Berkshire and Oxfordshire in the cloudless sunlit afternoon. At 3.30pm, Lama Ole and entourage arrived at the Buddhist group in Oxford, in the shared house where several members of the local Buddhist community live and offer meditation each Sunday. Again, Lama Ole blessed the meditation room with the Five Buddhas and gave advice to the group. The beautiful sunny weather meant that everyone present could enjoy a picnic in the garden, where Lama Ole shared some of his experiences in establishing Diamond Way Buddhism in the West, as well as briefly clarifying his outlook on world affairs for the benefit of some visitors.

Lama Ole at the picnic in Oxford 2 April 2014Lama Ole and friends in Oxford 1 April 2014Lama Ole Nydahl at Oxford University 1 April 2014Lama Ole and friends in the Oxford Town Hall meeting room 2 April 2014Lama Ole and friends in Oxford Town Hall 1 April 2014Lama Ole, travelling group and friends in Oxford 1 April 2014

The travelling group and local Buddhist friends then set off for Oxford’s city centre, where they visited the room in the beautiful, ancient Oxford Town Hall where the group holds a public meditation evening each week. Here, Lama Ole guided the 16th Karmapa meditation and invoked Black Coat. The next hour was spent admiring the impressive architecture around the historic centre of Oxford, before setting off for St Albans.

Friends from St Albans await Lama Ole's arrival 1 April 2014

Friends from St Albans await Lama Ole’s arrival 1 April 2014

It was already near to 7pm and dark by the time the group reached the St Albans Group at their premises near the centre of St Albans. The group had prepared delicious refreshments, and warmly welcomed Lama Ole and his companions, as well as giving an update on the progress of the group and the development of Diamond Way Buddhism in St Albans since its inception and since Lama Ole last visited in 2011. When everyone was satisfied, Lama Ole blessed the meditation room by invoking the Five Buddhas and then decided to guide the meditation on the 8th Karmapa for all present. He explained that as many in the group were already progressing with their Foundational Practices, this would be useful as the next step in their practice.

Finally, after invoking Black Coat for the last time in the day, the travelling party departed St Albans for London, arriving near to midnight. Lama Ole was extremely happy to have been able to have the chance to make such a tour to smaller groups, as it is so rare that he gets the chance to do so in recent times. The day was a great example of cooperation between friends to maximise the use of Lama Ole’s time for the benefit of his students in regional groups.

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