Our Buddhist teachers
The realisation, knowledge and authenticity of the teacher is of the greatest importance in Buddhism. We are very fortunate in London that many of the highest lamas of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism have visited and taught here.
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa
Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, and the spiritual authority for all the hundreds of Diamond Way Buddhist centres worldwide, as well as many more monasteries, institutes of higher education, and lay Buddhist centres. The 16th Karmapa was known as the King of the Yogis due to his exceptional spiritual realisation. He was respected and called upon for advice by spiritual as well as political leaders. The 16th Karmapa passed away in 1981, and Thaye Dorje was subsequently found and recognised as his reincarnation, the 17th Karmapa. Karmapa travels the world giving teachings to the public and his students. He has a unique vision of peace through education and literacy, youth and intergenerational learning, and non-material values.
Karmapa has given teachings and empowerments on several occasions in London, and on the most recent of Karmapa’s London visits he toured the then newly acquired Beaufoy Institute, our new Buddhist centre.
The 14th Shamar Rinpoche
The Shamarpas are the highest lamas in the Karma Kagyu lineage after the Karmapas themselves. The 14th Shamar Rinpoche (Rinpoche is a title of respect in Tibetan) recognised the 17th Karmapa in accordance with tradition. Shamar Rinpoche founded an international association of Buddhist centres, the Bodhi Path, and often found time to visit Diamond Way centres as well. The 14th Shamar Rinpoche Mipham Chökyi Lodro passed away on 11 June 2014, just a few days after he had visited us in London to bless the centre and give us the traditional reading transmission for our main practice texts.
Lama Jigme Rinpoche
Lama Jigme Rinpoche is the brother of Shamar Rinpoche and the nephew of the great 16th Karmapa. He was asked by the 16th Karmapa to be his representative in Europe, a job that he has carried out faithfully ever since. He now represents the 17th Karmapa. Lama Jigme Rinpoche runs a network of Buddhist centres in France, and also travels widely to teach. Rinpoche helped us to secure our bid for the Beaufoy Institute, and was one of the guests of honour at the public opening. We always look forward to his visits, when his busy schedule permits.
Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche
Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche was ordained as a monk by the 16th Karmapa, and spent many years in traditional meditation retreat. A highly respected Buddhist master, Rinpoche has several monasteries in Nepal, and also travels and teaches in Europe. Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche has visited London several times to give empowerments and teachings. On his most recent visit to London, he gave an empowerment on Chenresig, a representation of the compassionate aspect of the enlightened mind.
Lama Ole Nydahl
Lama Ole and his wife Hannah Nydahl were requested in 1974 by their teacher the 16th Karmapa to start Buddhist centres in the West in his name. They started more than 650 lay Buddhist centres around the world. Lama Ole, who was recently awarded the UNESCO prize for peace, travels the world constantly, teaching his students and the public. Lama Ole said of our project to buy and renovate the Beaufoy Institute as a London Buddhist Centre:
“This is a living piece of culture; it’s a wonderful place. It’s a union of idealism and human growth, and all the other values that are really important. The way we see the world; what we experience – whether we’re happy or unhappy, if we have something to share, or if we don’t have it. That’s the really important thing.”
Hannah Nydahl, who passed away in 2007, was an accomplished Buddhist teacher and translator. She is now the subject of an award-winning film, “Hannah: Buddhism’s untold journey“.
Diamond Way Teachers
Our liberated teachers secure the authenticity of the teachings that we practice, and show by their direct example the development of mind’s unlimited positive qualities. And since they cannot be everywhere at once, we also rely on experienced friends to guide meditations and give talks. Lama Ole has asked several of his students to teach on his behalf. You can usually find one of them giving the introductory talk on a Thursday.