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with Geshe Samten

A shrine or alter in Tibetan Buddhism is a physical representation that reminds us of the qualities that we want to develop. It also acts as a base in the presence of which we can meditate, make offerings to the Buddhas, do purification practices and so on. Many Buddhist have a small shrine at home, a quiet place to reflect on the teachings and engage in their own spiritual practice.

On this workshop, Geshe Samten, a monk from Kopan Monastery in Nepal, will explain how to set up a shrine and the meaning behind the different elements before explaining the preparatory practices to meditation that prepare our environment, bodies, and minds to be open to the presence of the enlightened ones.

Geshe Samten will also show us how to make water bowl offerings that help us to develop a generous, giving state of mind and get the best from our meditation practice.

In the afternoon Geshe Samten will teach kriya mudras (symbolic hand gestures used in a puja or prayer ceremony) before leading us through a Tara sadhana. A sadhana is a text describing a guided meditation that helps to strengthens our connection with the enlightened qualities of all the Buddhas.

Tara embodies the enlightened qualities of swift compassion and awakened activity. She is a source of protection and relief from negative karma as experienced by ordinary beings in samsara (cyclic existence). She protects, nourishes and supports all beings as a mother does for her children.

Tara can be understood on many different levels. First, she was a person who generated bodhicitta — the altruistic intention to attain full enlightenment in order to benefit all living beings most effectively—and then actualized that intention by becoming a Buddha. Second, she is a manifestation of awakened qualities – love, compassion, joy, equanimity, generosity, ethical discipline, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom. Third, she is our own potential in its future, fully purified and evolved state. A meditator may alternate between these understandings, using them as needed to cultivate his or her own good qualities and call upon the support of Tara to swiftly pacify obstacles on the spiritual path.

Suggested workshop donation £25

Classes and workshops are offered freely at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds so as many people as possible can benefit. We do not get grants and all donations go towards the cost of running the Centre. You can donate at the start of the workshop or online by clicking the link on the right.

Geshe Samten with a baby owl.