David Bates writes:
"When I first came across Samye Dzong London in 1998 I was completely unfamiliar with Tibetan Buddhism and, in all honesty, looked on it with a little suspicion. However what kept me coming back was the feel of the community - wholesome and right.
Later that year, when I left my job, I decided to volunteer at the Centre for a couple of days a week - cooking in the mornings and clearing up the garden in the afternoons. Some 18 years later I'm still here volunteering - preparing the email newsletter and helping with the website in particular.
So what's kept me here all this time? I suppose that first and foremost there is the satisfaction of making a difference to something that I think is profoundly worthwhile. In the days when I did less meditation than I do now, I referred to the Chenrezig Puja at the weekend as my "one guaranteed hour of sanity each week". If anywhere provides some respite from the sometimes overwhelming busy-ness of modern life, it's the Centre. I know what difference it's made to me and I like supporting it so that others can benefit too.
Friendship, community and mutual support - you can't volunteer in a place like this and not make friends fairly quickly. The people who volunteer here are generally friendly and helpful: we've all got a common purpose in working for the Centre and over the years, when trouble has come my way, the community has always been there for me.
The path and the lineage - when I first came across Buddhism, it just made sense to me but putting the teachings into practice isn't as easy as reading about them. At the Centre we have the wisdom of Lama Zangmo, and regular visits from some pretty amazing teachers. This is a real privilege, and one which is only possible because there are volunteers to run the Centre and keep it open."