Chogye Jamchen Buddhist Centre

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Chogye Jamchen Buddhist Centre

Chogye Jamchen Buddhist Centre

Main School Vajrayana
Sub School Tibetan, Sakya
Founded 2000
Contact Infotmation
Victoria 3103
Country Australia
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Phone (03) 9857 3612


Moira Brown, the founding president of Chogye Jamchen Buddhist Centre’s, hosted the visit of Venerable Khenpo Migmar Tsering (the 2cd Abbot of Sakya College) in the year 2000, which was a great success. Following the visit to Melbourne by a number of other Sakya Dharma teachers during that same time period, some of the students who had attended these various teachings started meeting in their own homes to participate in White Tara, Green Tara, and Chenrezig practices. With the increasing interest in Sakya Buddhist teachings in Melbourne, and a gradual increase in the number of people attending, there emerged the need to create a more formal centre for the Melbourne Tsarpa Sakya community, so they could meet for practice and host teachings.

To this purpose a core group of Melbourne Sakya students under the guidance and direction of yuthok Lama Choedak (who had started providing some teachings in Melbourne around the same period) helped establish this new centre as an incorporated association, and subsequently approached His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche with the request for him to provide his blessing and a name for this newly established Dharma centre. With his support this newly created centre was called Chogye Jamchen Choe Dzong (Chogye’s‘Fortress of the Great Loving’), with His Eminence as chief patron, and Moira Brown as the founding president, and Lama Choedak as its Spiritual Director. Subsequently the home of Ani Tsedron and Venerable Thupten Lekshe (TL) in Austin Street Balwyn became the initial base for practice.


A year later in mid 2001, Jamchen Buddhist Centre hosted the Melbourne visit of His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche. His Eminence and entourage stayed at Austin Street Balwyn giving many precious teachings and initiations, and imparting many blessings for the success of Jamchen’s activities. During this visit His Eminence gave Lama Choedak the honorary title of “Lochen” (great translator) for his efforts in Australia and his significant contribution to the Dharma over years.


From 2002 the weekly practice and meditation program at Jamchen Buddhist Centre started attracting more students, and with an increasing number of visiting teachers being hosted and several annual visits from Lochen (the translator)Lama Choedak being hosted, a decision was made to use a large rented room at the Kew Community Centre for some of the larger events. Soon after, in 2003, the Jamchen group had grown to a size where it was necessary to rent a self contained premises, and the organization leased its first building. During this important founding year of Jamchen Buddhist Centre starting to function as an actual physical entity from its own premises, His Holiness Sakya Trizin (the supreme head of Tibetan tradition in spirituality, only second to His Holiness Dalai lama) visited Jamchen in 2004 at the new location in Balwyn and blessed the centre’s shrine and provided teachings, as well as giving his blessings for the success of the centre’s future activities while under the patronage of HE Chogye Trichen Rinpoche.

Following this Jamchen invited a number of Dharma teachers, including the visit of His Eminence Ludhig Khenchen Rinpoche to Melbourne. His Eminence and entourage stayed at Jamchen and gave many teachings and blessings. Later that year Jamchen also hosted the visit of Acharya Lama Jamyang Lekshey(the current Sakya Centre president and the Abbot of the Sakya Centre in India). In 2007 Jamchen provided much needed financial support for the tour of Australia by His Holiness the Dalia Lama by jointly underwriting the visit. That same year Jamchen hosted various teachings in Melbourne by Her Eminence Jestsun Kushola (the elder sister to HH sakya trizin), who stayed at the Balwyn premises and imparted many teachings and blessings.

From its inception in the year 2000, Jamchen Buddhist Centre gradually evolved into a busy and vibrant Buddhist centre, and eventually became one of the larger and more active Melbourne Buddhist centre’s by the year 2008. In its new multifaceted function it hosted regular visit by eminent Sakya Buddhist Teachers, and provided a teaching and practice venue for the wider Melbourne Buddhist community. As such it organized regular events and teachings, and provided a facility for weekly dharma practice for its members and other Buddhist practitioners. During the same time period Jamchen established a good reputation in the wider Melbourne community for its non-sectarian and non-denominational ” Meditation” courses.

As Jamchen Buddhist centre grew and became more active, it gradually became necessary to have a prominent resident teacher and a spiritual director who was permanently available at that location. Its then Spiritual Director was residing in Canberra and could only visit Melbourne a few times each year. With the increased teaching program required at Jamchen and the more frequent courses and events being provided to the community, Jamchen needed to have its own permanent resident teacher.


In December 2008, at the invitation of Jamchen Buddhist Centre and its then Spiritual Director Lochen Lama Choedak, His Eminence the 6th Zimwock Rinpoche was invited to come to Melbourne from his residence in Switzerland, in order for him to take up the position of Jamchen’s new resident teacher. HE Zimwock Rinpoche, as the most senior Tsarpa lineage holder since H.E. Chogye Trichen Rinpoche had passed away in early 2007, now gave the centre its new relevance as a major seat of Tsarpa Sakya teachings in the west. Regular weekly teachings were now being provided from that location by HE Zimwock Rinpoche, and students were being provided with weekly meditation instruction and a structured path of Buddhist study and practice.


During HH Sakaya Trizin’s visit to Melbourne in 2009, the Spiritual Directorship of Jamchen Buddhist Centre was transferred from Lama Choedak to HE Zimwock rinpoche. This occurred after extensive consultation with HH Sakya Trizin, about the needs of the Melbourne Sakya community, and the teachings requirements of the wider Dharma students. This transfer of spiritual directorship was conducted under the auspices of HH Sakya Trizin as the head of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, and with the agreement of both Lama Choedak and Zimwock Rinpoche. Due to a number of other priorities in recent times, Lama Choedak had needed to focus more and more of his time on the affairs of his own main centre in Canberra, all of which made it more difficult for him to provide the close direction and management that the large Melbourne based Jamchen Buddhist Centre required. Because the availability of HE Zimwock Rinpoche as a senior lineage holder Tulku and resident teacher, Zimwock Rinpoche could now provide his exclusive attention to the needs of the Melbourne Buddhist community, thereby providing the centre with a clear direction for continued growth according to the needs of the Melbourne Buddhist communityas well as in the broader.


Under the guidance of His Eminence Zimwock Rinpoche as its spiritual director, Jamchen Buddhist Centre has expanded and attracted many new students, and now offers a diverse weekly Dharma program that includes regular Dharma teachings from a senior lineage holder in the Sakya tradition, and provides a venue for the study of key Buddhist texts. It also serves an educational function for learning to read and write the Tibetan language, and has an active regular schedule of meditation instruction and practices. The centre also celebrates Buddhist holy days throughout the year including: full moon rituals, the Tibetan New Year (Losar) and commemoration of key events of the Buddha’s life, such as his birth and enlightenment. Guidance is also available regarding individual’s personal spiritual practice, and intensive periods of study and practice during the traditionalBuddhist retreats” (being from several days, week, or even months or years). The centre is active in its support of pan–Buddhist programs in Melbourne (including events such as VESAK) and this year hosted the Snow Lion Buddhist Festival (a fundraiser for victims of earthquakes and natural disasters in Tibet), as well as collaborating in important inter–faith activities with other spiritual traditions in Australia, above all Rinpoche has unique way of mindfulness meditation which has not been discovered or taught anywhere.