We have had another eventful year in London at Lekdanling. Perhaps the most significant change over the past few months has been our ever increasing connection with the local community in Hackney, East London. Our Cultural Centre has become a hub for a range of open group events including a men and women’s support circle, plus other cultural activities such as voice, dance and healing workshops. These activities take place on the basis of a rental arrangement with carefully chosen individuals which at the same time provides additional financial support to Lekdanling. This has proved be be immensely successful largely due to our gifted on-site manager Ewa Michalec plus our dedicated team.
Continuing on from the SSIUK ‘Presence and Awareness in Daily Life’ series in 2021, this year we have been running another public series of modules on ‘The Gateway to the Teachings’ based on the open parts of the Precious Vase, in collaboration with the IG and the ATIF. This has been well attended and we are just about to start our 5th module based on Prajnaparamita over the weekend of 16-18th September. The whole programme is made up of six weekend modules with related practice sessions each Sunday and I would like to thank the many SMS teachers who have taken part and led individual sessions in this innovative collaboration which has been running for almost 2 years now. Many thanks also to everyone who helped to make this programme a success including the translators, moderators and the team at SSIUK who work tirelessly behind the scenes. It has to be said that Stoffelina’s sudden death has left a massive gap in all our hearts as well as in our collaborative activities as she was always such an enthusiast for promoting communication, innovation and cooperation. She is much missed!
Other highlights from the past year include a diverse range of lectures with high profile academics & speakers from across the globe. Please note that our popular SSIUK lecture series is ongoing and most of our talks and workshops are recorded and can be downloaded via our website or can be viewed on Youtube. We would also like to encourage you to join our mailing list and connect to our Instagram & Facebook pages … this is one of the best ways of keeping up to date with all our activities which we are expanding all the time. The full programme of our past activities can be viewed on our website within our latest brochure, posted on the home page. Find us at: shangshunguk.org
Another initiative this past year was our first Himalayan Photographic competition where the People’s first Prize was awarded at Losar 2022 having been chosen by the world famous photographer Clive Arrowsmith. We received literally hundreds of entries, many of which were of a very high quality, making the judging very difficult! Many of these exceptional images can be viewed on our website.
Lekdanling hosted Steve Landsberg in early July who taught a well attended short session on Chöd as well as a longer weekend on the obstacles that we can encounter during meditation and ways to deal with them. On the theme of meditation, I enjoyed visiting Dzamling Gar in July this summer and attending the Vajrasattva purification practice retreat which was led in an accomplished manner by Sebastien Remy. This inspired me to realize that it will be good to carry out more purely practice orientated retreats in London for the open public in the near future, together with offering time for discussion and questions. There are many new people in the UK who are showing an interest in learning about meditation, both the theory and in practice, and their needs should be met.
Kunselling, our retreat centre in Wales, has also been busy over the summer. We have enjoyed Yantra Yoga and Vajra Dance retreats with our UK teachers John Renshaw and Cindy Faulkner. Steven Landsberg visited us in July to lead sessions on the Seventh Lojong, Jnanadakini and Chöd. And in August, Igor Berkhin taught sessions on Dzogchen, contemplation and Prajnaparamita, including a day-off in which course participants went hiking in the local hills.
Upcoming SSIUK events for this autumn include the following:
(see our website shangshunguk.org for further details and booking)
September 16-18th – Gateway to the Teachings Module 5: ‘Prajnaparamita: The Perfection of Wisdom’ with Gabriella Schneider, Lukas Chmelik, Cheh Goh, Enzo Terzano & Julia Lawless.
September 22nd – The Khyentse Vision Project: The World of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Translating His Works: with Casey Kemp, Master of Philosophy in Tibetan Studies from Oxford University, now completing her PhD with the University of Vienna on the subject of luminosity in the Mahāmudrā tradition.
October 19th -The Writings of Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro with Dr Adam Pearcy
November 17th – Gesar, King of the Vajra Life with Dr. Gregory Forgues, Director of Research at Tsadra Foundation
November 26th an onsite evening with refreshments & momo at Lekdanling – Talk and Book launch by Khentrul Lodro Thaye Rinpoche on ‘Power of the Mind’ published by Shambhala based on the Mind Training teachings.
December 15th – The Early History and Publications of the Derge Printing House with Dr. Ben Nourse
We hope to see you online or onsite soon!
All good wishes,
Shang Shung UK Director