Phil Brady, Chair of Trustees for both our own Kagyu Dechen Buddhism and our sister charity, Sakya Dechen Buddhism which is based in the south of England, came to Kagyu Ling to give a presentation about our London Centre. He explained the context of this centre within Dechen, and the unique characteristics and challenges it presents.
Phil started by saying that at the 2018 Dechen International Conference held in London, Lama Jampa declared that “all Dechen sangha have a stake in Dechen London – not only the centre co-ordinators and board members, but all the sangha (a community of Buddhists) in the UK, mainland Europe and North and Central America”.
Dechen London was established in 2005 at the command of Karma Thinley Rinpoche, and was initially located in Bayswater. A flat in Notting Hill was subsequently purchased and in November 2016 the present property was bought by Sakya Dechen Buddhism. Located on Chepstow Road in Notting Hill it is both a shop and a space where meditation classes and pujas can be held. It is owned and managed by the sangha.
It is important that Dechen have a presence in London as it is the national capital and a major global city. Chepstow Road may be seen as a stepping stone towards a larger London centre, and has been achieved despite the unique challenges of London prices and a culture of longer working hours.
In the less than 3 years since the purchase much has already been accomplished. The centre is visually very striking, hosts a weekly programme of classes and pujas and has also held several cultural events including two art exhibitions, several book launches and an Emily Maguire concert. Future plans take in a redesign of the shrine room to accommodate a new and larger Buddha rupa.
Phil’s talk gave everyone present an illuminating picture of Dechen London and how the phrase ‘one sangha, one dharma community’ so aptly describes how we can all relate to Dechen London.