This autumn, something very exciting is happening at the center, which means that we are entering a new phase of the center’s development. We will have our very own “resident teacher”. Venerable Michael Yeshe has been asked by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to come to Sweden and teach.
Venerable Michael has a very unique background. He has a Greek father and a Belgian mother, but he grew up as a monk from the age of 7 at the Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal under the guidance of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa. At the age of 13, he started at Sera Jey Monastic University in southern India, where he studied Buddhist philosophy and psychology for 18 years.
The fact that the center gets such a qualified teacher means that we will be able to offer a completely different level of our teaching. We are currently working on the autumn program and among the news are regular meditation evenings led by Venerable Michael on Thursdays, a new round of Discovering Buddhism and several weekend retreats. We hope you find it as exciting as we do that a really washable Buddhist monk will be teaching at the center!
I myself have only met Venerable Michael once before. In 2014, I traveled with my wife Maria and our then six-year-old daughter Tara in a motorhome along Australia’s east coast, from Brisbane in the north, down to Melbourne in the south. Along our journey, we took the opportunity to stop at various FPMT centers ( Chenrezig institute up in the jungle in the north, Langri Tangpa in Brisbane, Vajrayana Institute in Sydney). In Melbourne we visited the fantastic Tara Institute . We had to park our motorhome in the yard outside and we participated in the teaching for a few days. There we met Venerable Michael Yeshe, who lived there and worked as a translator for the head teacher Geshe Doga. Venerable Michael invited us to breakfast. His openness, kindness, consideration and fine manners were almost overwhelming. The next morning we invited back and arranged breakfast in our camper. I still have a memory of him sitting and playing cards with Tara.
It was very nice to get to know Venerable Michael. It quickly became clear what a deep understanding he has for Dharma and refreshing to hear him speak very openly and honestly about the challenges he himself experienced in his own practice. What struck me was what an amazing bridge he was between Western and Tibetan culture. He himself said that he felt both a Westerner and a Tibetan, which gave him a unique opportunity to be a link between these cultures.
A new phase for the center, as I said. I hope and believe that many will appreciate and benefit from Venerable Michael’s teaching and being inspired by him as a person. We will start the fall with an open house and a welcome party for Venerable Michael. The date for this will be 29 August. Keep an eye on the website for more details. I hope to see you then!