Sunday, 31 December 2017

New Year Message from Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

Wishing all my friends Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 
May you feel love, kindness, purpose and inner peace.
May each day be a festival, and each moment a time to enjoy.
May we do something each day so that we can be proud of ourselves because we know that it is good for many.
Ringu Tulku.  Sherab Ling Monastery. December 2017

Friday, 29 December 2017

A review of The Main of Light, a new book by Dónal Creedon

Dónal Creedon, The Main of Light: Common Ground and Dividing Lines in the Teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti and Buddhism

2017, Dónal Creedon, 143 p.  Printed in Poland by Amazon Fulfilment, Poland Sp. z o.o, Wroclav 

This work is the fruit of Dónal Creedon’s many years of study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism, and of his long-standing engagement with the teachings of J. Krishnamurti. He has spent many years in intensive retreat, and currently leads retreats in Europe and South Africa as well as India. He was also resident Buddhist scholar at the Krishnamurti Centre in Varanasi for a number of years, and it was during this period that the present work was conceived and executed in draft. Many readers will know him personally through these retreats, and The Main of Light will focus and give added depth to their experience of his methods.

The title of the book is taken from a Shakespearean sonnet, with an additional perspective given by Seamus Heaney. The study is organised into 15 chapters, and there are helpful biographical notes referring to the main figures of Buddhism referred to or quoted, and a Glossary of Tibetan terms. Of great interest, too, are four interviews with Ringu Tulku Rinpoche.

From its handsome cover, depicting a stylised Arctic Tern, its annual migration of thousands of miles an image of the journey to be undertaken by anyone setting out on the path, to the last pages, this book is an invitation to explore in a journey of the mind, with its hardships and its glimpses of the beauty beyond, a journey that that can have no preconceptions.

Dónal’s main aim in this study is to discover what binds and what opposes the major, though controversial, 20th century figure Krishnamurti, and Buddhist masters, many from the Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions. Both identify suffering as the main characteristic of human existence, and their analysis of what causes this suffering is very similar according to Dónal: craving, impermanence, attachment and ignorance (essentially the absence of self-knowledge).

An interesting discussion emerges from this notion of the ‘self’, a key concept in Western psychology. But whereas in the Western tradition, this organising principle of the psyche is essential to psychic health, for both Buddhism and Krishnamurti, this ‘solidifying of the self’ leads to dualism (the self versus the other) or to ‘the ‘heart of confusion’ as Trungpa puts it. It is an urgent message, in which Krishnamurti and Buddhism seem to speak with one voice, at its most powerful in the last chapter: to attain realisation, it is not necessary to ‘go’ anywhere, it is rather a question of a transformation of the way I see things, notably myself. It’s then that the fear and the conflict fall away; I no longer need to defend myself from ‘the other’, produced by a dualistic split. What I perceive as my ‘self’, distinct from other selves and the universe at large, is an illusion.

Divergences are seen, however, as soon as the issue of ‘path’ is evoked. For Krishnamurti, ‘truth is a pathless land’, and he has nothing but scorn for all religions and philosophies (including Buddhism), that claim to point ‘the way’, as removing us from the reality of our own immediate experience; we have already defined our destination. Buddhism, on the other hand, in its conception of the ‘noble eightfold path’ of mainstream Buddhism, or the ‘bodhisattva path’ requiring the cultivation of effort and attention, gives a broader perspective.; that the radical and immediate transformation of the mind is a possibility is not refuted; but Dónal questions whether many individuals are capable of making this quantum leap, as one who has ‘reached the roof without the benefit of a ladder’. In any case, the concept of ‘path’ can be viewed quite superficially, whereas in the Vajrayana, result – the ‘end of the path’ – is seen to be there in the individual all the time: ground, path and fruition are the same.

The same divergence is seen in respect of the one who ‘points the way’, the teacher or the guru, equally rejected by Krishnamurti, insofar as the teacher is transmitting the known through concepts couched in language. But Dónal is aware of the superficiality of this judgement. According to the tradition, for instance, Mahamudra cannot be taught, because ‘it is absolute truth and therefore cannot be expressed in words or concepts’. He is also mindful of the many contradictions in Krishnamurti’s approach: spurning books, he spent much of his life writing and publishing; refusing the notion of the teacher as authoritarian, he willingly drew into his ambit a large number of followers for whom his authority was not to be questioned.

It is clearly impossible in such a brief account to do justice to what is a very tightly-conducted argument covering teachings of vast profundity, but those who have had the privilege of hearing Dónal’s teachings and benefiting from his meditation instructions will recognise the authentic voice of the true meditator, single-minded and self-less in its quest. This is no dry, scholarly tome, but an existential call to action. In his concluding remarks, he questions whether it is useful to compare and contrast, since ‘the more important question is what is our own view and what is the basis or ground of this life? What is my life as I actually live it? Do I walk with the breath of truth in my eyes and on my very breath? Perhaps only by going deeply into these questions […] can we find out, and that is what Krishnamurti and Buddha have urged us to do’.

Pat Little 
St-Geniès de Malgoires, 16.10.17 

Dónal Creedon leading a group  retreat
at the Tara Rokpa Centre, Groot Merico, S. Africa.
December 2017
Pat Little has studied for many years with Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and Dónal Creedon and is a regular contributor to this blog. She has written extensively on the French philosopher and mystic, Simone Weil, also on Samuel Beckett and various French writers, including Albert Camus. With a keen interest in Postcolonialism, especially as it applies to French West Africa, Pat has published work on Cheikh Hamidou Kane and other writers, and also on education under the French colonial regime in that area. She currently lives between France and Ireland, except when travelling in India.

The above review of Dónal's book was first published in Bodhicharya's e-magazine - Many Roads, in November 2017, it has been condensed by Pat Little from her much longer (unpublished) academic critique. Details if you are interested can be received by emailing us at

The Main of Light by Dónal Creedon is available through Amazon.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

A response to retreat with Donal Creedon at Teach Bhride

Five of us tumbled out of the car at Tullow; after overdue flights, we were nearly late for the start of the retreat.
As we walked towards the long grey building one of us was heard to say that his Catholic past was reaching out to oppress him. But it wasn’t like that at all, the building was light and full of flowers and friendliness.  Bedrooms were light and bathrooms plentiful, food good, and the staff were an absolute delight.  They could not do enough for us.  The retreat organisers had everything calmly and competently in hand.
As a long time sitter at the feet of Donal Creedon, I knew what to expect, teachings – and lots of sitting.  We had both in abundance, based on Ringu Tulku’s book, ‘Like Dreams and Clouds’*.   I particularly valued the guided meditations in the afternoons.  There is a quality in Donal’s retreats that comes from the fact that he is always there, quietly, unassumingly, definitely present.  He calls it ‘holding the space’, and this is exactly how it is.  We sit, and wander off to meditate in the garden (full of the most beautiful and unusual trees), and when we come back, there he always is.  It gives a quality to the retreat that I have not found in others where the teacher comes and goes.
Each evening, there was a dialogue/discussion, mostly on the theme of the retreat, which was ‘Sorrow’.  The Gerard Manley Hopkins poem Donal chose to illustrate his theme was perhaps a bit challenging, especially to non-English speakers, with its archaic language and sprung rhythm, but we touched deeply on the subject on a couple of the evenings.
It was a pleasure to be with people from so many countries all with the same purpose, and of course the always lovely Irish.      
 Hilary Hawker  
Group retreat dialogue 

*Like Dreams and Clouds, Emptiness and Interdependence; Mahamudra and Dzogchen’ Ringu Tulku Rinpoche 2011.  Bodhicharya Publications Heart Wisdom Series
Also available from Bodhicharya Ireland €10 +€4 p&p to the Eurozone.

Photos: Romain Ricard, Balthazaar de Andrade,  Hilary Hawker.                                                                                                                

Monday, 11 September 2017

URGENT Helping Barbuda Islanders in the Hurricane Torn Caribbean

Our dear friend Rinchen who runs the Caribbean Bodhicharya Sangha on Antigua has been sending updates following the passage of Hurricane Irma which totally flattened neighbouring Barbuda Island, everything is gone. Some help has come from Venezuela, planes have airlifted survivors to Antigua, which is a twin island to Barbuda, and where members of Bodhicharya are providing homes and shelter however they can. Rinchen sent us a link to a bona fide website where donations can be made to help with foodstuffs and clothing to begin with.

Rinchen mostly lives and travels by boat, and remarkably both he and the boat are safe, and the damage to Antigua was less than anticipated, he was able to meet with his meditation group on Antigua last weekend, as planned.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Summercamp teachings 2017 . White Tara as a basis for meditation practice.

A meditating owl at White Tara,  Summercamp Portugal

The Summercamp teachings  this year were  again in Portugal, the week was relaxing and  Rinpoche privileged us with a very helpful  teaching on the short White Tara sadhana by  Tenga Rinpoche. A review of  Bodhicharya  Summercamp can be found on the  Bodhicharya International website.

at the beach,  Soutelo, Vila Verde,  Portugal

Rinpoche's schedule this summer has included
accompanying His Holiness Karmapa in London,
and presiding over two separate weeks of Monlam (wishing) prayers, one in Kamalashila, Germany and a second  in Paris  at the Bois de Vincennes Pagoda.

 some of the Irish sangha with Ringu Tulku
[photos - Minna Stenroos, Francois Henrard, Mary Callaghan.]

Rinpoche at Vincennes Pagoda Monlam

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Changes to Rinpoche's Travel Schedule

View this email in your browser

Dear Friends,

As many of you have noticed, Rinpoche's planned travel schedule from 22nd August to 22nd September has been cancelled. This is so Rinpoche can attend Mahamudra Teachings in India. Thank you for your understanding.
You can see Rinpoche’s complete Travel Schedule here:
Travel Schedule
Photo: Karma Changchub.
Copyright © 2017 Bodhicharya

Friday, 28 April 2017

Fantastic news, Karmapa UK visit moves to new larger London venue to accommodate more people

Due to very high demand for tickets, and many disappointed people, the organisers of the visit of His Holiness 17th Gyalwang Karmapa  to the UK in May have found a larger venue at the Battersea Evolution, South London, which means there are to be more seats available. The tickets you have bought for the Hilton will be valid, and a fresh quota of tickets will go on sale on the evening of Tuesday 2nd May via  to accommodate those of you who were disappointed.
please read a message from the event organisers here .