By Shyamal Sinha
Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds is an organisation devoted to the study and promotion of meditation and Buddhist principles throughout the North of England and elsewhere, whilst preserving the Buddhist Mahayana tradition through study and reflection. We are committed to creating harmony and helping all beings develop their full potential of infinite wisdom and compassion.
Our organisation is based on the Buddhist tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa of Tibet, we honour the work of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and are affiliated to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).
Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds (JBCL) has acquired its first permanent premises in the northern English city of Leeds, which it plans to develop into a new 33,000-square-foot (3,000-square meter) Buddhist community center from which to offer teaching, meditation and mindfulness classes, and to engage in various community outreach projects.
Founded in 1996 under the spiritual direction of Lama Zopa Rinpoche (b. 1946), Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds is an organization devoted to the study and promotion of Buddhist meditation and principles. JBCL, which has been providing meditation and mindfulness classes and residential retreats in Leeds for more than 20 years, states: “We are committed to creating harmony and helping all beings develop their full potential of infinite wisdom and compassion.” (Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds)
JBCL plans to spend about two months renovating the property—Clyde Works, originally a textile mill constructed in 1935 in the district of Holbeck—which will house a cafe, bookshop, and charity shop for the general public, a meditation hall and a library with reading areas, as well as accommodation for visiting teachers and volunteers, office space, and a function hall that external community groups and charities will be able to rent. The space is scheduled to open on the weekend of 27–28 April.
“I’m absolutely delighted to hear that Jamyang Leeds has acquired a property in Holbeck,” said David Lascelles, the Earl of Harewood and a patron of the project. “For some years now they have provided an oasis of calm for many busy people in a very busy city and having their own home will enable them to continue doing so for a long time to come. It’s good for Jamyang, good for Holbeck, and good for the people of Leeds, Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike.” (South Leeds Life)
JBCL was founded as part of the lineage of the Tibetan teacher Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), whose activities led to the reformation of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, and is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international non-profit organization established in Kathmandu in 1975 by Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935–84) and now headquartered in Portland, in the US state of Oregon. Lama Zopa Rinpoche is currently the spiritual director of both the FPMT and Jamyang Buddhist Centre, which describes itself:
As a non-residential centre run by volunteers and two members staff, our aim is to provide a peaceful place for meditation and a community of support for the study and practice of Buddhism. . . .
We regularly host highly respected Buddhist teacher—both lay and ordained from the FPMT network. As a registered charity, our aim is to make teachings available to anyone who requests them. . . .
We offer weekly meditation classes, suitable both for beginners and those with meditation experience, as well as a dynamic programme of courses. We run residential retreats three times a year and on some weekends there are group practice sessions where we try to work more deeply on purification techniques. Everyone is welcome to attend our classes and courses. (Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds)
JBCL also conducts outreach work, including interfaith events in the region, and offers Buddhist chaplaincy services to support to the North East Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Foundation Trust and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals (NHS Trust) Chaplaincy Service.
Among its aspirations for the new community center, JBCL aims to continue to develop and expand the breadth of Buddhist teachings and outreach activities offered, targeting a 20 per cent increase in attendance by offering more retreat services and expanding secular teachings and practices into new areas, including courses on mindfulness for businesses. JCBL also plans to introduce more well being activities, such as yoga, to complement its core philosophy and mission.
All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives. Dalai Lama.