Featured Centers, March 2020
Heruka Centre London & KMC London
Kadam Dharma appears in the capital city
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche tells the story that when he was invited to become Resident Teacher at Manjushri Centre in the UK in 1977 he remembers flying over London and thinking, 'There are more people in this single city than there are in the whole of Tibet!'
From that moment Venerable Geshe-la held in his mind the intention to bring holy Kadam Dharma to the people of London.
Gradually, people began to travel from London to listen to Venerable Geshe-la's teachings at Manjushri Centre in Cumbria. One day, some of them met with him and invited him to teach in London. Venerable Geshe-la happily accepted, saying he was extending his activities in Manjushri Centre to London.
To begin with, Venerable Geshe-la would travel to the capital every few weeks to give weekend and day courses in rented venues, but it soon became clear that a permanent center was needed, so Venerable Geshe-la encouraged the people to look for a suitable place.
Heruka Kadampa Meditation Centre
After Venerable Geshe-la had completed his three-year retreat in Tharpaland Scotland, he sold the property and dedicated all the money to building new centers. For this purpose, he created the New Centres Development Fund, the forerunner to the International Temples Project, which he started with the proceeds from the sale of Tharpaland. It was with assistance of these funds that the purchase of the first center in London was made possible.
One day while in London, Venerable Geshe-la visited an estate agent's office where he saw a brochure for 13, Woodstock Road in Golders Green. After visiting the property he declared it was ideal and the purchase was arranged. He called the new centre 'Heruka Centre', later to be named Heruka Kadampa Meditation Centre.
Venerable Geshe-la opened the center on October 17, 1992 and since then it has flourished as a major Kadampa Buddhist center in the UK.
On one occasion following a weekend event with Venerable Geshe-la at the center, a magazine article noted that, "Venerable Geshe-la provided such a joyous event for so many people and now it really seems as if his visit to London has generated infinite good fortune for Dharma in the south."
How true this statement has proven to be!
The present day
Heruka KMC has grown considerably over the years, acquiring a number of adjacent properties on the way, and is now a thriving Kadampa Buddhist center with a substantial residential community offering classes, courses, events and retreats for beginners to advanced meditators.
All three programs, the General Program, Foundation Program and Teacher Training Program are taught at the center.
The center also holds classes in various locations across north and central London.
For more information on the center and its program visit: https://www.meditateinlondon.org
The Resident Teacher, Kadam John McBretney, has been a disciple of Venerable Geshe-la for many years. He is widely respected for his kind heart and pure example.
KADAMPA MEDITATION CENTre LONDON
Befoe long, Venerable Geshe-la founded another center in London, this time in the south of the city. Dorjechang Centre started in a modest terraced house in Wimbledon with a meditation room at the front where regular classes were held. But Venerable Geshe-la had a much bigger vision for this centre, including a Temple and city meditation spaces throughout London. With these developments in mind, he renamed the center Kadampa Meditation Centre London.
The Kadampa Temple in MOrden
First to appear was the Kadampa Temple in Morden, which was opened by Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong, Spiritual Director of NKT-IKBU, in August 2016.
With a capacity of 200 people it is now a thriving center hosting courses, empowerments, retreats and regional events such as Dharma Celebrations.
For more information on the Morden Temple and the full program of courses, visit the KMC London website.
The Resident Teacher at KMC London, Gen Kelsang Togden, first received teachings from Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche in 1994 at Manjushri KMC in the English Lake District.
He is greatly admired by his students for his practical knowledge, warm presentations, and powerul teachings, as well as his natural joy and sense of humour.
Watch a video of the Temple being opened by Gen-la Dekyong:
Kensington City Space
With the vision for a Temple for London realised, the next step was to begin opening city meditation spaces that are more central and easily accessible for city workers and dwellers.
A venue for the first city space was acquired in Kensington and opened in December 2017 by Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong. It is now a thriving centre in the heart of London with Gen Togden as the principal Teacher.
For more information on the Kensington center and its full program of courses, visit the KMC London website.