Twice a year there is a large Buddhist Festival at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre in the Lake District. This gathering is attended by thousands of practioners from all around the world. For them it is a special holiday where they can learn more about Buddhism, meet fellow practioners and receive teachings from senior teachers such as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who is the spiritual director of all New Kadampa Centres.
The Spring Festival, by Vicky Pugh
The experience is best described in the words of one of the students from the Skipton Class who attended the festival.
“The Spring Festival at Manjushri Buddhist Centre, was a unique and rewarding experience for me. As a festival newcomer, I was a little apprehensive, as I did not know what to expect! Although I have been attending the GP meditation courses in Skipton for almost two years, my knowledge of the Buddhist practices is still developing and I expected to feel out of my depth being surrounded by such experienced and respected practitioners. I needn’t have worried, as I received such a warm welcome from everyone, both lay and ordained, and as usual, Tsewang, Ann and all my friends from Buddha Land were at hand to clarify the teachings for me.
Camping in the surrounding woods was another fantastic experience. I was amazed by the huge number of overseas visitors and the courtesy displayed by all. Being such a light sleeper, I found plenty of opportunities to practice patience and the positive side of being awake at 5am is that you do not have to queue for the showers! Never one to go hungry I was delighted to discover that the food, served in the huge dining marquees was of the usual excellent standard I have begun to associate with the New Kadampa Buddhist Tradition, despite being prepared for thousands of guests. Thank you Pascale for helping to chop the onions at 6am!
It was a wonderful experience to witness Geshe-la teach, I felt very priviledged! Geshe-la emphasised that self grasping ignorance was the root of all our suffering and how important it was to have faith in order to maintain a peaceful mind. Not yet being accustomed to Geshe-la’s accent it was particularly helpful for me to attend Gen-la’s reviews following the teachings. The Vajrapani empowerment on the Saturday was an uplifting experience and I felt very fortunate to be part of something so special. I had such a lovely time that I was sad to leave on the Monday.
As well as spending time with my friends from Buddha Land and Kashyapa centre in Bradford, I met some lovely people from all over the world! I returned home tired and happy and already looking forward to the Summer Festival in July!”
[This article was published in the July 05 News Letter]