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Exercising the Mind through Meditation

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F&BF

02 / 02 / 21

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up many risks to our health and wellbeing. The Fitness, Faith & Feeling Good festival, a project by the Faith & Belief Forum and Maccabi GB, is exploring a range of approaches to looking after ourselves at home during these challenging times, showcased by diverse partners from across London.

One organisation taking part in the festival is Jamyang Buddhist Centre, based in Kennington. Jamyang is part of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FMPT), a Buddhist movement and set of teachings.

We recently spoke with Cynthia, a trustee at Jamyang, who told us the fascinating story of the organisation’s home. Since the early 1990s, Jamyang has been based in the Old Courthouse, Lambeth’s former Magistrate Court. The former cells have been transformed into B&B rooms for retreats. A place where people once lost their freedom is now a place where Buddhists and the wider community try to find theirs. The courtroom is now a gompa (temple room) and other rooms have been turned into a café, which is open to all.

Among its public café and school visits (which attract around 300 children a year), Jamyang offers a wide range of services to the local and wider community. This includes Repaying the Kindness, which gives carers the chance to socialise and relax, taking part in activities such as tea tasting and museum visits. The centre also offers family days, death cafés, support groups and reading sessions, much of which has moved online during the pandemic. Also now online are daily meditation, prayer, and yoga sessions.

We learned from Janyang that meditation can be religious or secular. For Buddhists, this may include elements such as Samatha (concentration and focus) and Vipassana (asking yourself questions and developing further insight and understanding). Practitioners of these methods may also explore the ‘three poisons’ of Buddhism, which include attachment, aversion and pleasure.

For the Fitness, Faith & Feeling Good session, the London Mindfulness Centre at Jamyang will be sharing a secular mindfulness practice. Cynthia said that this is about becoming familiar with yourself, and that the meditation can be done on anything, such as breath, or even touch.

Most of us have accepted that we must exercise our body to remain fit and healthy. However, there is something else that is equally as important, exercising our mind.

 

Follow along with Jamyang Buddhist Centre’s mindfulness session, part of Fitness, Faith and Feeling Good, on Facebook and YouTube

Connect with Jamyang Buddhist Centre via their website here

Jamyang Buddhist Centre was recognised as a winner at the London Faith & Belief Community Awards in 2017

 

By Nicholas McDonald, Events Volunteer

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