Poem for Losar: Earth Dog Year

Earth Dog Year

Happy New Year from all of us here at Dechen London: Sakya Buddhist Centre, where we have recently been granted planning permission to operate as a Buddhist centre. This is a very auspicious start to the Tibetan new year. The image was painted by Jean Veasey, whose work on Tibetan thangka painting and astrology is still being exhibited at our centre in Notting Hill.


Poem for Losar (Tibetan New Year) Earth Dog Year by Karma Thinley Rinpoche


This poem for Losar for the Male Earth Dog Year was written by Karma Thiney Rinpoche, who is a master of the Sakya and Karma Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism and founder of the Dechen community, along with his Dharma Regent, Lama Jampa Thaye.


When dog protects treasured belongings,

         He’s called “Nor Sung”, The Jewel Protector.

When dog attacks mara-evil,

         He’s named after “ Sha Na”, Vajra Kilaya’s lead dog.

Family protector from primordial time,

         Dog is called “Drog Che”, The Friendly Dog.

Blesse by Milarepa, the hunter “Lok Chang Marmo,”

         Red Lightning-Runner, was liberated.

May best wishes for word-wide happiness

         Be completely fulfilled this Earth Dog Year!

Authored by “The Old One” (Karma Thinley Rinpoche)

Milarepa: Poet, Visionary, Meditation Master

Milarepa: Poet, Visionary, Meditation Master

Milarepa – who would become one of the greatest meditation masters of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition – was born to a wealthy family in Tibet in the year 1040. Even today, the life story of Milarepa is a striking example of how, through effort and determination, it’s possible to overcome immense difficulties and achieve great things.

When Milarepa was only seven years old, tragedy struck when his father died suddenly. The family estate passed into the care of Milarepa’s uncle and aunt – who promptly seized the family property for themselves, forcing Milarepa and his sister and mother into humiliating domestic servitude.

Milarepa’s Ugly Quest for Revenge

Milarepa’s mother was furious at such degrading treatment and became determined to exact revenge. Milarepa, at his mother’s encouragement, went to learn the skills to bring about their downfall. Finally, after over a year of training in dark arts, he managed to cause the collapse of his aunt and uncle’s house at a celebration, killing 35 people.

Getting Back on Track

Milarepa was soon overcome with great regret at the terrible suffering he had caused by his selfish act of revenge. He became determined to turn his life around, and sought the instructions of various Buddhist masters whose practices he tried, but without success. Finally, one of his teachers told him about the great master Marpa – a highly accomplished meditation master who had himself studied under great teachers from India and Nepal – and became determined to travel to meet him to receive teachings on how to achieve enlightenment.

Finding a Buddhist Teacher

Finally, Milarepa found and recognised Marpa, who would become his principal master. Milarepa felt great devotion to Marpa on seeing him and explained to Marpa that he was a great sinner, who now sought the spiritual instructions which lead to Buddhahood for the benefit of all beings.

Marpa eventually accepted Milarepa as his spiritual disciple, and bestowed a number of profound teachings on Milarepa, amongst which were certain special meditation instructions of the Vajrayana.

After the completion of his studies under Marpa, Milarepa left to enter into secluded meditation – but on his way discovered that his mother had died some time ago. This loss spurred his endeavours and, following the advice of his master Marpa, he entered into retreat in caves high up in the snowy mountains of Tibet.

Through deep meditation, Milarepa encountered many profound and sometimes terrifying appearances. Through his practice and contemplation, he gained deep insight into the true nature of mind and the appearances he saw, and developed the profound meditative realisation that all appearances are simply the manifestation of one’s mind.

Teaching Buddhism Through Poetry and Song

At the request of his own disciples, Milarepa transmitted his insights and realisation with others. He shared his teachings through the traditional formal methods, but also through poetry and song, and thus he continued a great tradition of previous masters before him.

Through these and other immense efforts, meditating for many years in solitude in very extreme conditions, Milarepa was able to overcome his troubled beginnings to achieve the level of Buddhahood in this very lifetime. His extraordinary example and accomplishments have made him a famous example whose fame continues to this day.

Lama Jampa Thaye, scholar and meditation master of the Sakya and Karma Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism, will be speaking about the extraordinary life of Milarepa at Sakya Dechen London on Thursday 1 March 2018 at 6.30pm at the event Milarepa: Poet, Visionary, Meditation Master


Tickets Still Available

Tibetan Culture in London’s Notting Hill

Tibetan Culture in London’s Notting Hill

The event space at Dechen London was transformed last Saturday to entertain and enrich the inhabitants of West London. Mouthwatering food, captivating stories and delightful dances celebrated the culture of Tibet. Those who attended were encouraged to try food prepared by members of the Tibetan community and the younger members were entertained with stories from the life of the Buddha. And then there was the dancing…

Tibetan Food

Delicious Tibetan Food

It was testament to the quality of the food that the mountain of delectable delights were devoured, with very little left over. This included Tibetan biscuits, called khapse, made from flour, eggs, butter and sugar. The khapse are moulded into different shapes before being deep fried. These are most commonly eaten at Losar and special occasions. They went down a treat with tea and coffee that was served throughout the day.

Tibetan Dancing

Tibetan Dancing

Following the feast there were stories for the younger generation about the life of the Buddha. This was led by Andrew, a more experienced member of the Buddhist community, provoking fascinating questions. This was followed by members of the Tibetan community singing and dancing, as can be seen in the video below (check out our Dechen London Facebook page for more footage of this event). Then people threw caution to the wind and joined in, stepping in time to both traditional and modern Tibetan songs. Both young and old tried their best to keep in time as the tempo gradually increased. From seven months to seventy years of age, the dance steps that were second nature to the Tibetans were followed and imitated with interesting results.

More Events at Dechen London

Look out for further events at Dechen London, including stories from the Life of Milarepa, art exhibitions from Jean Veasey and Molly van der Weij and traditional Thangka painting with Elliott Ripley. Click here to find Dechen London, or sign up to our monthly newsletter below for regular information on forthcoming events.

Business Networking in Notting Hill

Business Networking at Dechen London

Tuesday heralded the third business networking event at Dechen London where the crackle of business and deals being struck echoed throughout West London over steaming coffee and sumptuous cake. Thanks to the intrepid Cathie O’Dea from Knots Networking, estate agents encountered travel consultants and bookshop owners met property investors to discuss best practice and to support each other in running a small business in West London.

Specialist Bookshop with a Difference

The backdrop of tenth century depictions of Buddhist iconography and rows of books detailing the exploits of inspiring teachers of dharma was a unique environment to discuss generating leads, managing time effectively and how to run successful social media promotions without getting caught up wasting hours on cat videos.

Business in Notting Hill

60 Second Business Pitch

Each entrepreneur had just 60 seconds to introduce their business and what they were seeking from the networking event. This was followed by a general discussion and a chance to exchange business cards and promotional material, with the opportunity to make meaningful connections.

Networking is vital for small businesses to promote themselves and to find support from others in similar situations. Nothing beats the personal interaction and friendly conversations to prove you have something worth investing in. People invest in people rather than products, making networking a vital component in any advertising strategy.

Business Networking

Monthly Networking Event

Knots Networking is a monthly event open to local business owners to connect with others and to find support from like-minded people. What better way is there to spend a Tuesday morning than forging meaningful links with local businesses and to enjoy the ambience of Notting Hill’s most intriguing bookshop, offering specialist Buddhist books, exclusive prints, meditation and literary events.

To keep updated for all the networking and other events at Dechen London, enter your email address in the right column for our monthly newsletter, or below if you’re browsing on a mobile.