Who are we?
We are a Buddhist meditation centre, based in Harrogate and serving the whole of North Yorkshire and the North East. Our name is Kagyu Dechen Dzong, otherwise the Yorkshire Buddhist Community.
What kind of Buddhist Centre?
This is a Mahayana Buddhist Centre and the Buddhist teachings we practice come from Tibet and originally from India. All Tibetan buddhist traditions transmit Mahayana (Great Vehicle) Buddhism. Essentially this means that the goal of practising these teachings is to achieve complete liberation from suffering for the benefit of all.
And the Hinayana teachings then, are they not important?
All Mahayana practices are based on the solid foundation of the Hinayana (Small Vehicle) teachings and are ineffective without them. The Hinayana re-orientates us from our most basic misunderstandings about our world. The Mahayana then deepens our understanding and makes it totally inclusive.
So ‘Kagyu’ – what does that mean?
Many traditions or schools arose in Tibet in the thousand years or so since it was introduced from India. The most important ones today include the Kagyu tradition, to which many great teachers both past and present have contributed. From the earliest days, the distinctive ‘mark’ of the Kagyu tradition was always its emphasis on ‘practice’ – meditation.
Dechen Dzong and its sister Dechen centres around the world were all founded by Lama Jampa Thaye under the direction of his own master, the Fourth Karma Thinley Rinpoche. Rinpoche is a master of both the Kagyu and the Sakya traditions. The Sakya school is famous for the huge number of teachings its masters are able to transmit, according to the needs of the student.
‘Dechen’ actually means ‘great bliss’. Not to be found in a bottle, however!
Dzong means ‘fortress’. So ‘Fortress of Great Bliss’. A literal fortress would be rather out of place in downtown Harrogate; but we are very lucky to be based here in the stunning environs of North Yorkshire where both natural and historical fortresses abound. You’ll be glad to know you don’t have to find a cave to meditate in!
Our meditation centre in Harrogate has a homely feel where you can enjoy a cup of tea and a friendly chat. Right now, following Government guidelines, we are meeting up in person as and when it is safe to do so.
We have local groups throughout Yorkshire which study and practice together whenever possible but also meet up together by Zoom. You can find one close to you but you are also free to get in touch with any of them. You are not limited by location, especially as so much is online.
We welcome everyone to our Centre and Groups. As things open up, are you are looking for a relaxed environment in which to try out meditation for the first time? What is meditation and what is Buddhism anyway? Maybe you want to go further and deepen your knowledge of Buddhist practice? Wherever you are coming from, we look forward to meeting you.
There is no cost for attending our sessions, whether in person or online. However, our Centre and groups are supported solely by donations which help us to stay in contact with you, ‘keep the lights on’ at our regular venues and enable us to host special events. If you feel you are receiving something of real value to you, donations are much appreciated.