What is Buddhism?
The name Buddhism comes from the word budhi which means to wake up and thus Buddhism is the philosophy of awakening, of reaching one’s full potential. This philosophy has its origins in the direct experience of the historical Prince Siddhartha, who became known as the Buddha after he himself awakened to the true nature of reality. He was 36 years old, and he dedicated the rest of his life to teaching his path to enlightenment. Buddhism is over 2,500 years old and has about 300 million followers world-wide.
What is the Karma Kagyu tradition? Top
Tibet has four major traditions, Nyingmapa, Kagyupa, Sakyapa and Gelgugpa. They differ in their emphasis on learning through study and practice. The Dalai Lama is head of the Gelugpa tradition, (and spiritual guide of the Tibetan people). Our tradition is the Kagyupa (Karma Kagyu) Lineage (known as the Practice Lineage) which was passed to the Indian Saint Tilopa (988-1069) who transmitted the teachings to Naropa (956-1041). From there the lineage passed to Tibet with Marpa the translator (1012-1097), his disciple the yogi Milarepa (1052-1135), to the monk Gampopa (1079-1153) and then to the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa(1110-1193). From there to the present day there is an unbroken transmission lineage – from master to disciple – as it is currently being passed from the 12th Tai Situpa (our spiritual head), to the 17th Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorje (b.1985).
Do you have to be a Buddhist to visit the centre? Top
Not at all. Everyone is most welcome. It is not necessary for you to be a Buddhist to visit the centre or to talk to the resident teacher. Our meditation teachings are open to all and are frequently attended by non-Buddhists.
How can I become a Buddhist? Top
Becoming a Buddhist is known as ‘Taking Refuge’, which means committing yourself to the Buddha as your guide, his teachings and the Buddhist community. This is done in a short private ceremony with a qualified teacher during which some traditional lines are repeated three times, a tiny lock of hair is taken, and a Buddhist name given. Some study and thought should be given to the notion of becoming a Buddhist so that you know what you are doing. Lama Rabsang, of course, welcomes enquires and is qualified to perform the ceremony. The whole ceremony takes about an hour. For more information: Refuge
Can I get help with my practice? Top
Yes. The centre was established specifically so that there are qualified teachers available for individuals in their practice. One to one teachings and retreats, either in groups or solitary, can be arranged. The individual retreats could be guided by the resident teacher and all necessary transmissions can be arranged.
What is meditation? Top
Meditation is an ancient technique for calming the mind, offering some space to put your life in perspective, sharpen your concentration and clarity. It certainly isn’t brainwashing, daydreaming or dulling the mind.
Ultimately the master of meditation will understand the very nature of the mind and reality itself.
Can anyone come to the centre? Top
Everyone is very welcome to visit. If you wish to organise a visit outside of the group times, simply phone and arrange it with a centre member. Otherwise come along to one of the meditation sessions. School visits can be arranged.
How much does it cost? Top
There is no entry fee, or charge for visiting the centre or seeing the teacher.
For courses there may be a suggested donation that goes towards the costs, this varies depending on the course but suggestions for donations can be found on the home page. If you feel unable to meet the donation it is not a problem and should not dissuade you from attending a course or teaching.
Do we actively seek conversions to Buddhism? Top
Absolutely not. There are vows against forced or coerced conversions because the Buddha said that unless it comes from the heart of the individual first, then there is no true commitment. So we are just here. That’s all. If you wish to use what is on offer, you are welcome.