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Goodbyes can be hard! This week our Padmalila leaves us for something new. We’ve loved having the excuse to reflect on the last 7 years, her service and the very beginning of Lama’s. And we thought we’d share the lovely story.

Padmalila first started going to the Buddhist centre in her 30s. After a few months of learning to meditate at the urban centre she decided to go on her first retreat. It was at this time, in the beautiful wintry setting of Sidford, that she knew she was a Buddhist.

Padmalila has been living in Buddhist community for over 21 years, studying and striving on her Buddhist path, 11 years ago Padmalila was ordained as an order member in the Triratna Buddhist community. In her time she has been a Nursery School teacher, studied art degrees, completing an MA in the subject too. However she began to feel that as well as living with other Buddhists she would like to work alongside them too, in an environment supportive of her Buddhist practice. She met Abhayanandi who was then still Claudine, and they both had the idea that a charity shop would be the best way to make money for the London Buddhist Centre. Bethnal Green has had a rich history of Team Based Right Livelihood businesses that have supported the LBC over the years - in 2010 Friends Organic was just closing down and so the intrepid pair set up the shop in the space that the much loved organic shop had been.

Padmalila admits “We set up the shop not really knowing how successful it would be, I had never set up a business or even worked in a shop before, except the odd day here or there.”

”It was so exciting that we made a profit much quicker than we had expected with a new business.”

And flourish it has! Since opening, Lama’s has been able to consistently support the LBC and its activities but the success is far more than financial. The shop has become a local institution, the customers are a melting pot that reflects the whole community of Bethnal Green. This is an important aspect for Padmalila as she can often be found having a chat with one of the regulars.

“Another important aspect for me is the relationships I have built with customers, many of whom have been coming since we opened.”

So what’s next for Padmalila? She’s taking a well deserved break which will include some traveling. It’s been a long-held wish to do some walking on the pilgrim’s route to Santiago De Compostela. And we’re so pleased to know that her most lovely of qualities - interacting with people - will play an important part in the next chapter of her life.

“I’m thinking of re-training as a counsellor or a birth/death Doula”

Exciting times ahead for Padmalila, we all wish you well and thank you for helping to set up such a wonderful place that has given and continues to give other women who want to deepen their Buddhist practice through Right Livelihood such a rich opportunity.

The team here at Lama’s Pyjamas and its many loyal customers will miss Padmalila dearly and would like to thank for her many years of service and for taking that first leap into the unknown!

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