It’s all coming full circle for the Victoria Buddhist Dharma Centre.
The Buddhist master responsible for the start of Victoria’s first Buddhist centre is returning to the city for the first time in more than 20 years to teach how the principles of Buddhism apply to daily life.
To understand the importance of His Holiness Sakya Trizin’s impending visit, it’s necessary to go back to 1972, during a time when Buddhist sects were branching out of Tibet and heading west. Nearly 40 years ago, Trizin, a throne holder of the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism, sent Sakya Lama Geshe Tashi Namgyal to Victoria to teach.
“(Namgyal) had a really difficult time when he first came because nobody really understood what Buddhism was about,” said Terry Chantler, president of the Buddhist Dharma Centre. “He had graduated with the highest degree you can get in Tibet, but nobody really appreciated the significance of that over here.”
So Namgyal had to work as a janitor for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Within three years, he amassed enough of a following to start the centre, founded in the Mahayana tradition of helping others.
He taught in Saanich and Alaska, and was internationally recognized for his work, until his death in 2008.
Following his death, Namgyal’s son appointed Lama Jampa Tenzin to teach and lead regular meditation ceremonies from the Maplewood Road location.
On Aug. 16 and 17, Trizin returns to Victoria speak to the benefits of incorporating Buddhism in a daily routine.
“The ego is not such the great thing that we sometimes mistake it for,” Chantler said. “We have a fundamental approach to life that says: ‘here I am; here are the things that I want; these are the things that I don’t want,’ and we get all kinds of attachments and aversions to these things.
“Those pre-dispositions get laid down in the mind that basically determine what sort of a course you’ll have through life.”
He calls Buddhism a guide to learn wisdom and compassion.
Trizin will also lead an empowerment ceremony intended to develop the Buddha’s wisdom, compassion and power.
“(It’s about) putting a seed into the mentality to develop compassion and to clarify the mind stream on the other and to use those to deal with life’s circumstances,” Chantler said.
More on meditation
For a schedule of teachings and ceremonies with Lama Jampa Tenzin at the Victoria Buddhist Dharma Society at 3371 Maplewood Rd., visit www.victoriabuddhistdharmasociety.org or call 250-385-4828.
• How Buddhism Applies to Daily Life: Talk led by Sakya Trizin, Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Alix Goolden Hall, 907 Pandora Ave.
• Public empowerment practices: Trizin leads a ceremony Aug. 17 at 11 a.m., Church of Truth, 111 Superior St.
• Tickets to both are $23.50 and $50, respectively and available through the McPherson box office at www.rmts.bc.ca.