London Buddhist Center
The London Buddhist Center is the largest Diamond Way Buddhist center in the UK. The Diamond Way is well represented in Buddhism in the UK, with several Buddhist centers and meditation groups in towns and cities around England and Scotland. For many years, a small house in Holborn, central London, had taught meditation classes, hosted Buddhist teachers, and served very well as the representation of Diamond Way Buddhism in London. As it was one of the smaller Buddhist centers in London, the group of meditators had outgrown the place and felt the need for a new center.
There are many fascinating stories behind how the now over 600 centers in Diamond Way Buddhism were found, built, or acquired. The London sangha had "found" this particular building two or three times over the years, but never realised that it was possible for the group to take on such a big project. In 2011, the Beaufoy Institute was rediscovered, and the group was ready. Inspired by other great Buddhist centers around the world, they presented Lambeth Council, the local authority in the district of London where the Beaufoy Institute is located, with a detailed offer to buy and a planning application, which were accepted. In autumn of 2012, the group got official permission to renovate the Beaufoy Institute as the new center for Diamond Way Buddhism in London. The plans that Diamond Way drew up for the center stressed the benefits of a Buddhist center to the Lambeth community. A collection of Buddhist statues and thangkas from the Diamond Way Buddhism Foundation and private donors was exhibited close to the Beaufoy, to introduce Diamond Way Buddhism to the local comunity.
With generous support and expert advice from the Diamond Way Buddhism Foundation, the Beaufoy is being carefully renovated and will open to the public in 2014. It will be some years before the London Buddhist center fulfills the potential of the Beaufoy building, with several stages of renovation and sensitive transformation planned. Since the idea to establish a representative center in London goes back to HH the 16th Karmapa, all our Karma Kagyu lamas were very pleased that the project to buy the building completed successfully, with Lama Ole Nydahl ceremonially opening Lambeth's newest Buddhist center (and London's largest) in January of 2013. Lama Ole stressed that the place is "A living piece of culture," and being very conscious of what we have inherited, the history of the Beaufoy and the role it played in education and charitable works will be preserved, alongside its new role of offering the people of London access to the Buddha's highest methods for coming to know the freedom and joy of the true nature of mind.