3 days at Jampa Ling Buddhist centre in Cavan help recharge the batteries
I’ve just spent 3 days at Jampa Ling Buddhist centre 2 miles from Bawnboy in West Cavan. I’d been thinking about going there for over a year, having heard a very favourable account about the place from a friend. Then, due to start out on a new job, I finally decided to make the time and go, to think and meditate, to re-organise my brain and my heart, to re-evaluate my priorities in life.
The ingredients to Jampa Ling are simple: a house in the country, a genuine welcome from staff and residents, cheap comfortable accommodation, 3 square meals per day and optional participation in the 3 daily meditations. All for 32 euros.
Jampa Ling welcomes people to Owendoon, a restored 19th century building, surrounded by woods, gardens and lakes. The only rules, I was told, are no killing, no stealing, no argumentative talk, no drugs, and no sexual misdemeanours.
It used to be:
“Oh Stony Grey Soil of Monaghan(Cavan)
The laugh from my love you thieved…..”
As a symbol of how much Ireland and the world has changed since Paddy Kavanagh wrote those lines about neighbouring Monaghan, Bawnboy Co. Cavan is now home to an important figure of Tibetan Buddhism: Panchen Otrul Rimpoche.
Jampa Ling (meaning ‘place of loving kindness’) was set up as a charitable trust in 1992, under the spiritual direction of Panchen Otrul Rimpoche.
Although traditionally very uninvolved in the outside world, the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, and the colonisation of Tibet and the destruction of Tibet’s monasteries, has led to Tibetan Buddhism establishing itself in exile around the world.
So there I was. Arriving to have an intent look at myself, who I had become, in this my 31st year.
What are my values?
What do I believe in?
What kind of thoughts am I having?
How are my actions?
Am I sincere?
Am I honest, Am I going in the right direction? What is the right direction?
I’m not a practising Buddhist, or a practising anything. My own experience and thinking led me to abandon Catholicism as based mostly on arbitrary dogmas and unquestioned authority. I based my own behaviour on non-religious principles of justice and ethics, and out of this was also very politically motivated. Yet after a while, these seemed to provide an ever unsteadier guide for my personal morality.
I have met people who at this point in their lives have either abandoned all serious questioning and principles and embraced materialism, just gave up, or actually regressed to a fundamentalist belief system, like 6-Day Creationism etc.
My own spiritual transmitter has always remained on, though it’s rarely been pointed consistently in any particular direction. I have experienced the personal disintegration that persistent doubt and question can bring, accompanied by a lack of spiritual practice. I have questioned my motivations, values and actions until I doubted anything that I might do, which has led to intense loneliness and depression.
In the last 2 months, I have again begun to re-focus….part of my renewed strength and focus has been a fervent faith in the sense of life, in the sense of striving, in the sense of developing oneself, in the sense of contributing to the world, in the sense of doing ones best. Recognizing how some people seem to use spiritual beliefs to cop out of thought and analysis, it has, nonetheless, always been clear to me that life IS a spiritual experience. The confusion I experienced was in how to develop that understanding into everyday life.
Part of the spiritual path seemed to suggest opting out of community/political involvement.
Part of the political part seemed to suggest opting out of one’s own spiritual development.
NOW, I feel that spiritual practice is an integral part of taking responsibility for who your are. You can’t be fully involved in the world without it.
In the past I’ve experienced a certain self-defeatism at the heart of many left-wing beliefs, for many it serves as a cop-out of personal responsibility, “it’s the system that’s to blame, not people, or their actions”.
What are people’s actions based on? Their personal morality/ethics.
What are people’s personal morality/ethics based on? They system? Which system?
I don’t pretend to be giving answers here, just raising some questions, that I will tackle in future articles.
Subjectively speaking, this weekend I have re-affirmed my commitment to social justice, but also my commitment to spiritual advancement.
I have realised that, for myself, without the daily commitment to spiritual development, and deep dedication to consciousness and awareness in all my actions, it won’t work out. For me that is….
I go back into the world, with renewed strength and vigour, to elevate myself, my own actions, thoughts and behaviour, to build a life that reflects this, and to work with compassion for the elevation of all living beings.
Jampa Ling Centre is open to everyone, whether Buddhist or non-Buddhist. Length of stay varies from days to weeks, and visitors are free to establish their own daily programme or join in the daily meditations.
To arrange a stay phone 049-9523067
(The stated aims of Jampa Ling are:
- To preserve the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and culture through teaching meditation and practice
- To work for peaceful co-existence between all living beings
- To create a meditative and educational environment, in which people can find peace and loving-kindness
- To promote inter-faith dialogues at a deep spiritual level and work for harmony in Ireland
To encourage conservation of the earth’s natural resources and to develop an awareness of the oneness and interdependence of existence. )