Samye Dzong is homed in a former Art Deco cinema, and on entering the foyer the serenity and calm is immediately tangible.
Lama Zangymo who runs Samye Dzong London, was the first person in the UK to be honoured with the title of Lama by her organisation in 2001.
She was asked by Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche to help to run Kagyu Samye Dzong London in 1998, which under her guidance established itself as a much needed Dharma Centre in the capital city, providing a full and varied programme of teachings and events throughout the year.
The Anniversary celebrations included a visit from Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche who gave some wonderful teachings on raising children and ‘Dharma in the City’. He explained that children should be shown by their parents the importance of kindness and compassion towards others. As for ‘Dharma in the City’, we are all so bombarded with technology, phones and computers that it is hard to quieten the mind. Lama Yeshe has a delightful sense of humour and confessed that he refuses to have a mobile phone and read any emails which ramble and do not get to the point quickly!
The Tashi Lhunpo Monks gave a stunning performance of their sacred dances including a demonstration of 39 Mudras or hand gestures for awakening and spiritual benefit. Afterwards I spoke with them and showed them pictures of their visit to Chalice Well in 2006 for a ‘sand Mandala destruction ritual’. They smiled as they recognised themselves and remembered the garden fondly.
As I left the Samye Dzong Centre, I looked around and noticed some housing estates surrounding the park onto which it looked out. I wondered the extent to which having such a place which teaches and encourages the Buddhist philosophy of Loving Kindness and Compassion had knowingly or unknowingly positively affected the lives of those who lived nearby. It must do, I thought, how can it not.