FAQ 2017-04-20T18:58:21+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds (JBCL) is a  meditation and study centre founded in 1996 under the spiritual direction of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. We are a non-residential centre run by staff & volunteers. We aim to provide a peaceful place for meditation as well as a community of support for contemplation and the in-depth study of Tibetan Buddhism. We support the work of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and are affiliated to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) which is based on the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Our aim, as a registered charity, is to make Buddhist teachings available to everyone, of any faith or none, who requests them. The geographical area we serve is mainly the North of England but some students travel to JBCL from all over the UK.

We regularly host Geshe Tashi Tsering, the teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London. We are also fortunate to host other highly respected teachers – both lay and ordained – from the FPMT network.

A note about our name: Jamyang is the Tibetan name for the wisdom aspect of the enlightened mind. Another translation of the word Jamyang (or Manjushri in Sanskrit) is Gentle Voice.

The FPMT is an international non-profit organisation following the Mahayana Buddhist tradition through teaching, meditation and community service. The FPMT is a worldwide network of over 160 Tibetan Buddhist centres, monasteries, nunneries, hospices, publishing houses and related activities. The FPMT was founded in 1975 by Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-84), one of the first Tibetan Buddhist monks to bring Tibetan Buddhism to the West. The FPMT continues today under the direction of Lama Zopa Rinpoche with the inspiration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. See www.fpmt.org

We rent space in an office building, 31 St Paul’s Street, Leeds LS1 2JG, on the first floor above Gap Personnel. We are round the corner from a lovely park.

We moved into 31 St Paul’s Street in August 2011 from No 21 St Paul’s Street. We had moved into No 21 on 28 December 2008. We were previously based in Suite 39, Sunshine House, Whingate Business Park in Armley from April 2005 until December 2008. For 4 years prior to April 2005, JBCL was located in Harehills in the home of a previous Director, Jan Metcalfe.

For more than twelve years many people have served and dedicated themselves in large and small ways to help JBCL flourish in Leeds. In particular we rejoice in the wonderful work of our four previous Directors: David Midgley, Jan Metcalfe, Gabrielle Hamilton and Wendy Ridley. JBCL has come a long way and there is much to rejoice about. The community continues to further establish JBCL as a wish-fulfilling jewel for the people of Leeds, for future generations and for all beings.

Long-time students of Buddhism, Jan Metcalfe and David Midgley, met in 1994 at a course held at Shenpen Thubten Choeling Centre in Herefordshire. The teacher was Geshe Tashi Tsering on his first visit to the UK before taking up the post of resident teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London. David had lived in Leeds since 1988. Jan’s sister, Joan Sowry, also lived in Leeds and wanted to know more about the Tibetan Buddhism her sister had become involved in! So for the next 2 years, Joan and a small group of interested people met in David’s front room, to meditate and discuss Buddhism.

In 1996 Lama Zopa Rinpoche visited Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London and the decision was taken to establish the Leeds group as a FPMT Centre. Lama Zopa appointed David as the first Director. In 2000 Jan moved from London back to Leeds and when Lama Zopa visited Leeds in April 2001 she was appointed as Director. Ven. Mary Reavey was appointed as the Spiritual Programme Co-odinator in 2002. In 2005 Lama Zopa appointed Gabrielle Hamilton as Director of JBCL followed in 2008 by Wendy Ridley, and in 2015 by Kerry Prest.

We meditate, study and discuss. Our programme includes weekly evening classes on how to meditate, ongoing philosophy classes, and pujas (chanting ceremonies). We run two lunchtime meditation classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Apart from that the Centre used mainly in the evenings and at weekends. There is a small multi-media library and a bookshop. Twice per year we organise residential weekend retreats at suitable venues.

At weekends we host a variety of visiting teachers who cover a variety of Buddhist topics. This includes Geshe Tashi Tsering, the teacher at Jamyang London, who now teaches 3 or 4 times per year in Leeds. He teaches in English and is well-known for his ability to make Buddhist teachings relevant to contemporary life. He created a two-year study programme called ‘the Foundation of Buddhist Thought’, which he taught in Leeds when the centre was in Harehills.

A wide range of people from all walks of life come to JBCL – from primary pupils to pensioners. What we have in common is an interest to study how our minds work. Anyone is welcome to drop in for some quiet space and instruction on how to meditate, or to take advantage of highly-qualified teachers.

JBCL is a small non-residential centre run by two paid staff and many volunteers.

Our centre and other activities cost about £1,000 a week to run. Our teachers do not get paid, but we cover their expenses – a city centre location is expensive and some of our teachers travel a long way. We do not get any grants, and rely almost entirely on donations. If you want to support us, please donate towards the cost of these classes, or even better become a friend of the Centre and donate regularly.

Suggested donations:
• £3 for a lunchtime class
• £6 for an evening class
• £25 for a day class
If these are too much for you even the smallest donation makes a difference. Most of all, we hope you enjoy the classes, and benefit from them. Our only source of finance are donations from people attending events and from people who choose to become ‘Friends of JBCL’ and who make a commitment of time or money.

The formal structure is lead by the Director – Kerry Prest. Spiritual Programme Coordinator is Fiona Oliver. We are currently without a Centre Manager. A wonderfully diverse group of volunteers help with the day-to-day running of the Centre.