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December Newsletter

 'Compassion is not a luxury'


So said Geshe Sherab in his wonderfully down-to-earth teaching on December 3rd. And as we shake our heads in sadness and horror at the latest news bulletins, it's hard to deny this. If our tired planet and all its inhabitants are to have a future worth contemplating, we must find a way to develop our inner resources - with compassion at the forefront.

But these same news bulletins can also bring us hope. Witness the courage and altruism of those who risk their lives daily to bring medical help to complete strangers; victims of war, natural disaster and diseases such as Ebola. 

We humans are capable of extremes of both love and cruelty, it seems. From the Buddhist perspective, it is only a matter of what we choose to do with our minds. 

So why not make a commitment to join the heroes? Your first New Year's Resolution could be to work to enhance the compassion in your own heart and mind. Some inspiration from Geshe Tashi in December's Gentle Voice:

'Compassion is so central to us, not just as Buddhists, but as human beings that are striving to make our world a better place for us all to share. If we do not attend to developing and nurturing our compassion, then whatever realisations we may have, whatever insights we may gain, will not be worth that much. In the Buddhist context, compassion is central to achieving our life's purpose, to really developing our Bodhicitta that will be the driving force that leads us to enlightenment for the sake of all.' 
We have some suggestions below to help inspire you, the first from Vajrapani, our sister centre in California:

Meditate with Us in January

Help spread compassion around the globe!
After last year’s success, we have decided to make our community compassion meditation a free annual event.
Last year we had over 90 meditators who generated over 54,000 minutes of compassion. That is over 900 hours of compassion. This year we are looking for dedicated meditators who can help us find out just how much compassion we can create together.
Help make the world a better place for everyone by creating a collective energy of compassion!
You can sign up any time between now and December 31st.

What's the commitment? To meditate on compassion for 30 minutes per day, five days per week, for the entire month of January. That's it!
Do I have to meditate at a certain time? Our community is located all over the world and there is no set schedule: you can meditate any time of the day that suits you.
How much does it cost? Participation is free. The only thing you need is time to sit and meditate.

Can I get help? If you need inspiration for your practice, meditation leader, Scott Snibbe will be providing weekly audio meditation guides on different themes related to compassion.
This year we will also have a discussion forum available for you to talk about your meditations. Get advice and share your progress with other meditators!
Join Us! To participate in our month-long community meditation sign up here. 

‘Living with compassion is the very essence of life, the best life to lead, the most important thing you can do.’
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, The Joy of Compassion

A Meditation

If you can't manage the commitment above, why not sit with these words from Shantideva's 'The Way of the Bodhisattva', meditating on whichever verse speaks to you on any particular day:

May all beings everywhere
Plagued by sufferings of body and mind,
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
By virtue of my merits.

May no living creature suffer,
Commit evil or ever fall ill,
May no-one be afraid or belittled,
With a mind weighed down by depression.

May the blind see forms
And the deaf hear sounds,
May  those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.

May the naked find clothing
The hungry find food;
May the thirsty find water
And delicious drinks.

May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy,
May the forlorn find hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.

May there be timely rains
And bountiful harvests;
May all medicines be effective
and wholesome prayers bear fruit.

May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their ailments,
Whatever diseases there are in the world,
May they never occur again.

May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed:
May the powerless find power
And may people think of benefiting each other.

Awakening Mindfulness: Practical Approaches to creating a Healthy Spiritual Life

Wed 14th January 7.30pm
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN
Suggested donation to cover costs: £7 at the door
  
We are delighted that Ven Amy Miller has agreed to include us in her current European tour. She has taught in Bath on two previous occasions, and was a great joy each time.

Ven Amy first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in the spring of 1987 during a course at Kopan Monastery in Nepal. Since then, she has spent a great deal of time engaged in meditation retreats, study, teaching, and Buddhist centre management throughout the world. Prior to meeting the Dharma, Amy was a political fundraiser in Washington, DC. 

Ven Amy was ordained as a Buddhist nun in June 2000 by the great Tibetan master, Ven. Choden Rinpoche, and has been teaching extensively since 1992. Her teaching style emphasises a practical approach to integrating Buddhist philosophy into everyday life. She is happy to help people connect with meditation and mindfulness in an effort to gain a refreshing perspective on normally stressful living. 

PS Ven Amy is also teaching at Saraswati Buddhist Group - our sister centre in Somerset. See their website for more details

Regular Classes

Our new year starts with a new Discovering Buddhism module on Wednesday 7th January, when we will be exploring the topic 'How to Relate to a Spiritual Teacher' led by Andy Wistreich and Shan Tate.
NB: Due to Andy's other teaching commitments, this module will be taught every week for 6 weeks (excepting 14th January), rather than fortnightly as previous modules have been taught. If you have problems attending every week, we plan to record  the teachings and make them available on our website asap.

On Wednesday 25th February, we plan to start a new 6 week meditation course: 'Opening the Heart', aimed at developing qualities of love, compassion, joy and balance.

All of our regular classes are suitable for people who are new to Buddhism, and also those who wish to deepen their experience within a lively and supportive community. It is more productive if you can attend the complete course each time, but it is also fine to drop in when your circumstances allow.

All these classes are held at New Oriel Hall in Larkhall, Bath, BA1 6RA, from 7.30 pm till 9.15 pm.  More details to follow on our website,

More dates for your diary:

2015
Fri - Sun Feb 27th-Mar 1st: Geshe Tashi: Karma: How we Create our own Reality
Fri - Sun March 13th-15th: Ven Robina Courtin: Living a Life True to Yourself
More details on all of these events to follow - but put them in your diary now so as not to miss out. We will keep you up to date as we approach these and other visits.
             
   Geshe Tashi                            Ven Robina Courtin

NB: parking in Bath can be very difficult and expensive so it may be easier to travel by public transport, or Park & Ride. All the venues are in  the centre of town. Further details of parking or transport can be found here

Volunteer opportunities

We would still love a volunteer to help us with our technical challenges. If you would like to help, even for a short time, please contact Sandra: Tel: 01373 670 985, or admin@jamyangbath.org.uk. Just to walk us through a challenge the  first time would be great. Thanks.
Meanwhile, we are about to launch our new website. We apologise in advance for any glitches during the transition time, but are happy to announce that we should be able to upload recordings of all the talks given by visiting teachers, including Geshe Sherab's recent talk on compassion.

Oh, and of course, a very merry Christmas to all our readers!
You have received this email because you have given us you email address at one of our events. We hope that you will be happy to stay on our mailing list to hear our news and forthcoming events. You can however unsubscribe at any time using the link below.
If you have any thoughts on how the newsletter could be improved, please let us know via the website
Jamyang Bath Buddhist Group is affiliated to the FPMT
Spiritual Director: Lama Zopa Rinpoche
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