A letter from Gen Zamling about his activities since he's been away.
Greetings from Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Center in the Lake District of England! This lush, verdant region of the United Kingdom is home to the Mother Center and main temple of the New Kadampa Tradition, and also where I've been spending the past three weeks of summer. After a two-year break due to COVID, I and nearly 200 other Resident Teachers from around the world have reconvened and fully immersed in an Intensive Teacher Training Program which includes classes, guided meditations, teaching skills, and group discussions on the precious Buddhist text Meaningful to Behold: Becoming a Friend of the World, written by our Founder and Spiritual Teacher, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. This book is a sublime treasure which reveals the compassionate trainings and actions of a Bodhisattva, a person motivated by strong compassion to attain the full awakening of his or her mind (Enlightenment) in order to bring profound happiness, peace, and wisdom to our troubled world.
The classes, meditations, and prayers of this Intensive Teacher Training Program take place within the walls of the Temple for World Peace at Manjushri Center, but the activities we’re involved in here extend globally. One example is the Kadampa Art Studio. I had the great good fortune to volunteer there three afternoons a week, where I and about 20 other volunteers from all parts of the world worked together to produce beautiful Buddhist works of art destined for shrine rooms and temple exteriors from Brazil to Singapore. My involvement was quite brief, yet I was acutely aware of the interdependent relationship of many kind hearts and skilled hands working together to produce representations of peace, purity, and inspiration for everyone who will behold them for years to come. (As a side note, the Studio door is always open to good-hearted volunteers who have some time to give!)
Perhaps the most impactful part of the annual Program for me is reconnecting with my Sangha of Resident Teacher friends from all over the world, who devote their time and energy to sharing their love of meditation and Kadampa Buddhism with others. It is arguably the most harmonious reunion there is – with everyone supporting and caring for one another, sharing experiences and helpful advice. For me, this assembly of Bodhisattvas embodies the teachings from Meaningful to Behold very well. They are true friends of the world. They inspire me to continue improving myself so that I can continue to help others around Chicago and the Midwest.
Finally, thank you to Venerable Geshe-la who created this wonderful annual program for the benefit of Resident Teachers and everyone; may I repay your great kindness by putting into practice what I've learned this year and sharing it from my heart with others.
Gen Zamling will be back and teaching in Chicagoland in mid-August.