Photographs from His Holiness Karmapa's UK visit 2017

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Greetings to the Bodhicharya Sangha, in Ireland and beyond.  At this year's virtual Summercamp,   hosted by the Tsering Paldron and the Portuguese Sangha, with an Irish/Finnish technical team, Rinpoche was able to give teachings on Je Tsongkhapa's text, The Principle Aspects of the Path, under the broad title of 'Training and Path.'  Practice and dialogue sessions were hosted via zoom by various members of the international sangha in Germany, US, UK,  Ireland, Finland and elsewhere  according to timezones and availability. There was a daily social breakfast which is continuing: please please see below.

The team hosted webinars and dialogues,  and question and answer sessions with Rinpoche–who is currently based in Gangtok–throughout the week. The whole week provided a marvellous international forum for people to meet and exchange ideas as well as connect with Rinpoche as if he was in our own homes. It also served to connect folk with each other on every continent across the world, from New Zealand to India, to Colorado and Brazil, South Africa and Europe; many who might for various reasons otherwise feel fearful and isolated giving a strong sense of unity and hope. 

The Irish Bodhicharya Sangha, facilitated by Ani Karma Trinley Paldron (Pat Murphy) met daily to practise the short White Tara Sadhana  adapted by Tenga Rinpoche and  the subject of a commentary and reading transmission  by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche in June 2020, which can be accessed in the Bodhicharya Archives.  

There will be a regular practice session for White Tara every Sunday morning at 11 am UK/ Irish time beginning 9th August 2020.  

Karma Trinley also hosted an evening discussion group throughout the Summer camp and this will continue on the first Tuesday of the Month, 7-8pm UK/Ireland, 

Karma Trinley for access to White Tara and discussion groups.

Andy Lowe for access to the monthly Zoom breakfast meetings. ( 2nd Sunday each month). All Bodhicharya Sangha are welcome to join these sessions wherever you are. 

Friday, 24 July 2020

Applying formal practice into daily life is the most needed skill for a Buddhist practitioner. In happy times and challenging times, how can we make use of our training and bring all circumstances into the Path. Ringu Tulku Rinpoche has kindly agreed to teach on this most essential topic for five days, from 29th of July to the 2nd of August.

As you know, due to the Corona virus outbreak, this year’s Bodhicharya Summer Camp in Portugal was canceled. We are now very happy to announce that Rinpoche has kindly agreed to teach online for five days, on the topic of “Training & Path“. There will be a session a day, with time for questions & answers too.
Like every year, the online Summer Camp will be accessible to everyone, even to those who do not have a deep knowledge of the Buddhist path and did not attend previous years’ sessions.

29 July to 2 August – 3 pm BST [Ireland and UK]

Summer Camp fee includes a collective offering to Rinpoche but, if you would like to make a personal offering to Rinpoche, along with a message, please go to the main website
If you miss a live session, recordings will be accessible through the archives.

Discussion groups
Rinpoche suggested that Summer Camp participants could gather in smaller groups, for group practice and further discussion on the topic. the local English and German-speaking Bodhicharya groups will be holding these and practice groups  during the five days of teachings.
Please see Summercamp website to register for a discussion group.

Hours are given in local time.
Registering for Rinpoche’s teachings doesn’t automatically enroll you for the discussion groups. You will have to choose which group you want to join.
For other languages, please check the French and Portuguese webpages.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

How to face difficult times


Friday, 17th July 2020 - Sunday, 19th July 2020

3pm GMT/UTC each day (visit the Archive to find out local times)

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche has very kindly accepted a request by Lama Guelongma Tsondru, of Samye Dzong Spain, to teach on the topic of How to face difficult times.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Philippe Cornu: The Lockdown Bardo Part Two . On Consumption, Climate and the Creativity.

Philippe Cornu, ‘La Crise Covid-19: une opportunité pour changer?’  (An opportunity for change?) Second of two Television programs in the weekly series ‘Sagesses Bouddhistes’ (Buddhist Wisdoms), Sunday 14th June 2020

In his second broadcast on France 2, Philippe Cornu considers the implications for change in the present situation, indicating a radical solution which could come out of the current disorientation. 

He began with a consideration of the fundamental Buddhist idea of interdependence, in which the coming-into-being of a phenomenon causes the self-destruction of other phenomena and so on ad infinitum. In this way all phenomena are both transitory and interdependent: it is impossible to consider one element without reference to the whole, and to all the individual phenomena that have contributed to its coming-into-being. This applies, naturally, on both the personal and the collective level. 

Although it is in Buddhism that we find this philosophy developed to its most sophisticated level, it is to be found elsewhere, for example in the Stoics, in Spinoza and, perhaps most radically, in the 18th century Scottish philosopher Hume.

The present crisis, argues Cornu, is a direct result of a market philosophy in which everything has become delocalised, and we have become dependent on a global economy over which we have no control. This vertiginous situation was perhaps necessary to oblige us to reflect on the implications for the future, to examine where present suppositions are leading: for example, the implications of a world subject to the demands of the GNP, to growth at all costs. The very concept is nonsense, declares Cornu: how can we have infinite growth in a finite and closed world? Why do we always want more, when more will never be enough? But behind this will to endless expansion there is an increasingly obvious vulnerability, because we have not recognised our place in the whole, we have not taken account of interdependence. Here Cornu evokes the well-known French ecologist and writer Pierre Rabhi who, living on and from the land, claims that we should be aiming at a ‘sobriété heureuse’ (a happy sobriety), learning to do without many of the gadgets and accessories that the market increasingly tempts us with, claiming that the very survival of humanity is at stake. The astrophysician Aurélien Barrau, engaged also in the politics of climate-change, is right to be warning the world in increasingly urgent fashion of the dangers of our current way of life. We need more scientists of his calibre, argues Cornu, and we should listen to what they are saying. It is nothing short of a transformation of our civilisation that is necessary, he declares, enumerating the areas that need our urgent attention:

·      Our food. Without necessarily becoming totally vegetarian, we should limit our meat intake, firstly thinking of the animal suffering that is involved in their rearing, slaughter and consumption. Animals should be allowed to “have a life”: we eat them only because our minds ‘make them into things’ (the French is “chosifiés”), rather than our companion living beings on this earth. Let us reflect on the old adage ‘we are what we eat’.

·      The rearing of animals for slaughter consumes an enormous amount of water, an increasingly rare resource, and also cereals, which could be better used to feed people. The present agro-alimentary system is disastrously wasteful, and contributes to the destruction of the environment.

·      Transport. This is another destructive aspect of our current civilisation that calls for a revolution in the way we think. In France at least, we should no longer think of taking an internal flight when there is an alternative train service, even if, paradoxically, the train can be more expensive. This is a choice we should consider making on an individual basis, as is the rather automatic way in which some of us still take several long-haul flights per year, with no thought of the cost to the environment.

·      Water is an increasingly scarce resource, with some communities already desperately short of it, having to walk one or two kilometres to fetch it. We should think of that as we take a shower that lasts for half an hour, or draw a bath of water. We must learn to respect it as something precious and essential to life. As such we should pay for it ungrudgingly as individuals. The glaciers are already receding at an alarming rate, and as a result less water is being channelled into the rivers. The time may come when we have to pay for clean air too!

During lockdown, paradoxically, we have been able to appreciate nature better: we can hear birdsong once again, the animal world no longer fears us in the same way and ventures out into the space that we had occupied. The animals that humans accuse of being responsible for the Corona virus were never intended to be consumed by humans. Their habitat is deep in the forest, from which they have been driven by deforestation. Being more respectful of our environment is one of the reflexes that we must develop if we want to survive into the future. 

To the interviewer’s question as to how we might reinvent human creativity, Cornu replied that this must become much more interior. We must stop projecting our desires outwards, as if we were somehow outside nature, a stance that betrays our belief that nature is there to be manipulated by us. We are also responsible for sterilising and impoverishing nature, in the form of the soils in which we grow things, leading to loss of nutrients and hence the increasingly poor quality of the food we consume. Humans are in fact the virus of the planet, whose multiplication and heedless behaviour destroy their environment.

If we do not want to be this virus, we must learn to think differently, turning inwards in order to make better contact with others – not just other humans, but animals, plants, nature in general, so that this planet may once more be good to live on. 

Since the pandemic, we have become accustomed to take leave of people with the formula ‘Take care’, and in fact, without care for oneself, we cannot take care of others. The first thing to cultivate is a good relationship with oneself.

In these two short talks, Philippe Cornu gave a thoroughly convincing demonstration of the way in which Buddhist philosophy reaches into every aspect of our lives, and a powerful plea for a more caring attitude towards the planet we occupy and towards the other creatures and natural phenomena with which we share it. Cease wanting more – material goods, space, entertainment, things outside ourselves – and rather look inwards to reacquaint ourselves with the essential. In this way we may ensure a future for the planet.

Pat Little

Saint-Geniès de Malgoires, 19/06/20


Part two of the original interview can be viewed  here           










Monday, 22 June 2020

Hope Together: Philippe Cornu, ‘Espérer ensemble’, Television program in the weekly series ‘Sagesses Bouddhistes’ (Buddhist Wisdoms), Sunday 7th June 2020

Pat Little, a Bodhicharya Ireland member who is presently living in the South of France, has reviewed a recent discussion televised in two parts on French television, in which Philippe Cornu  reflects on the recent lockdown from a Buddhist perspective. In part one he considers it as a bardo of  opportunity:

'In this broadcast on France 2 Philippe Cornu, a well-known Ethnologist and Tibetologist, teaching at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) considers the present situation, with France just coming out of lockdown in the context of the pandemic COVID 19, and gives a Buddhist interpretation of the situation.
He defines the lockdown, which has made people all over the world reconsider themselves and the context in which they live and have their being, as a ‘bardo’, an intermediate stage involving a rupture with a past state and also with a future, just beginning, the whole experience causing a certain amount of fear and apprehension. The French lockdown has in some respects been more severe than that in other countries in Europe, with the requirement to produce a signed form stipulating for which of certain approved options one is leaving one’s home, for a period of not more than one hour, this form controlled by the police, who are empowered to impose quite substantial fines for irregularities. It is understandable therefore that many people have felt that they were no longer in control of their own lives. And with the French predilection for philosophical debate, the media took up the cause with great enthusiasm, broadcasting hours of analysis by well-known figures, but also phone-ins where citizens could express their opinions on the cause, political handling and ultimate outcome of the arrival of the virus that has caused so much distress and thrown so many lives into chaos.
The definition of this state as a ‘bardo’ is therefore readily comprehensible, and helps to give meaning to it.
Cornu emphasised from the beginning the particularity of the space-time nature of every ‘bardo’, every one being different, and involving a profound rupture with the past, a confusing loss of reference-points in which all old habits are reviewed and many discarded.
There has been much questioning therefore of the nature of ‘freedom’, or ‘liberty’, the first of the trio of the revolutionary ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ which, dating back to the Revolution of 1789, is still the underlying benchmark of French political life.
But Cornu questions the meaning of ‘freedom’; does it mean the freedom to do exactly as I want to, the freedom to go out and about, to go and watch a football match or visit friends and relatives? Cornu puts a Buddhist slant on what real freedom means, defining it as an interior attitude, a view of the whole that does not require the physical act of going anywhere at all.
At this point the interviewer asked Cornu what place the concept of ‘hope’ occupied in Buddhism, to which he replied that ‘hope’ did not hold an especially privileged place in Buddhist thinking, any more than its opposite, ‘fear’, since both operate on the level of the emotions, which perturb our minds and prevent us from seeing things as they are. A Buddhist approach requires us to look at our emotions, rather than espousing them. Beware, he advised; the emotions always have something to sell you! Behind them there is nothing, and the only power they have over us is that which we grant them.
The really important question, given the destabilising nature of this ‘bardo’ experience that no one was expecting is: how can we put it to positive use? 
One element, probably the first in importance for most people, is the social one: physical isolation was experienced, sometimes in a traumatic way, depending on circumstances and the nature of the individual. But, counters Cornu, physical distancing from people does not prevent a feeling for the social element. 
On the contrary, it allows one to see and understand better one’s responsibility for other people: since we all can be carriers of the virus, keeping one’s distance and wearing a mask is, paradoxically, a manner of paying attention to the well-being of others. We should not see it from an egotistical point of view: “I am deprived of the company of the other”, but rather: “I am doing this for all other people I come across, whether friends or strangers”. 
We have, of course, during this period, learned to communicate in a different way. Liberal and creative use has been made of the internet, videos etc., but we should not think that the devices of the new technologies are a replacement for physical contact; they simply help us to get through this period. The ‘bardo’ is not the end of the journey, but a trial, an ordeal that can be gone through with serenity given the right attitude.
It is a learning experience ideal for seeing the concept of interdependence in action at every level:
·      As we have seen, on a personal level, I can be a carrier of the virus. I must therefore show a sense of responsibility towards others. In Asia (Cornu has spent a lot of time in Japan) everyone wears a face-mask as a matter of course.
·      On a national and world level, economic activity has slowed almost to a halt, and this will have a dire impact on the economy of almost every country, as well as being a destabilising factor for years to come.
·      On the future of the planet, it is clear that Mother Earth did much better when we were not in a position to pollute. We humans breathed better, animals began to react and to come back into ‘our’ territory, and to readapt to a planet which had become over-populated with humans.
As this is a long-term trend, we need to prepare in advance for dramatic changes in life on earth, changes which happen in time.  
As the programme drew to a close, Cornu asked the fundamental question: can we hope for change in our behaviour in the long term? He answered his own question in Buddhist fashion, by claiming that it all depends on the capacity of each individual for inward change. He suggested that we should use the time we have to change our patterns of over-consumption, of restless frenzy in our behaviour, of our attitude towards time in which we must have everything, immediately. On the other hand, looking inward will reveal the riches we already possess. We must become conscious of the illusions on which our societies are built, as we are constantly drawn towards the attractiveness of the spectacle that is before us.
Philippe Cornu’s short talk was a good example of the qualities that this weekly programme often demonstrates, and the ‘Union Bouddhiste de France’ is to be congratulated in producing such a consistently high quality of reflection for those lucky enough to be able to tune into it.
Pat Little

Saint-Geniès de Malgoires, 10 June 2020

Part one of the original programme in French can be viewed here.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Teachings on Tara. 15th -18th June 2020

An image of White Tara and mantra drawn by the 17th Karmapa
Orgyen Trinley Dorje

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche will teach from the text 'A short daily practice for White Tara', composed by Benchen Tulku Tenga Rinpoche, from Monday 15th June - Wednesday 17th June, 2020.
You will need to register for the teachings at the Bodhicharya teachings archive.   The times and dates for the teachings are as follows:                                                                                                           
Monday, 15th June 2020 – 14:30 pm GMT   3:30 BST                                                                   Tuesday, 16th June 2020 – 14:30 pm GMT   3:30 BST                                                           Wednesday, 17th June 2020 – 14:30 pm GMT   3:30 BST
The teaching will include an explanation of the practice, time for questions and answers, permission and a guided practice. Each of the three teaching sessions will last approximately 45 minutes.
These  teachings are sponsored in part by Bodhicharya Publications.   
On Sunday 14th June Rinpoche will host another Q&A session for students studying the Bodhicharyavatara.
Rinpoche also continues his regular commentary on the Bodhicharyavatara Ch 7 Diligence on Tuesdays (apart from 16th June) and Fridays each week. Register on the  website for updates. 
Offerings to Rinpoche can be made through the website.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche will be giving three teachings on the Medicine Buddha Sadhana on Monday11th May
Tuesday 12th May
Wednesday 13th May
at 2.30 GMT / 3.30 pm Irish time
The selected root text is Karma Chagme's
Sadhana of Bhaisajya Guru
Wednesday's session will include a reading transmission (lung) and empowerment (wang)

Please go to to register for attendance.

Rinpoche's teachings on Bodhicharyavatara continue to be uploaded twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

This is a direct link to the place you can make a donation for the teachings during this time.