Tuesday, 17 April 2018


Over the weekend of 23th – 25th February, Annie welcomed a dozen or so of us into her cosy front room to hear Tsering Paldron give a teaching on Patrul Rinpoche’s text entitled ‘The Nine Considerations and Criteria for Helping Sentient Beings’, referring also extensively to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche’s teaching commentary on the text, given at the Purelands Retreat Centre at Samye Ling in 2007.
Tsering’s style was open and inviting, and our little group responded readily to her invitation to interrupt, ask questions, make comments, and there was an easy to and fro among participants.
The text is aimed at bodhisattvas, but Tsering assured us that we were all potentially bodhisattvas, whatever we thought of our attainment level! The text is directed therefore towards us.
As is suggested in its title, the ‘Nine Considerations…’ are rooted in action, and the choices we have to make in order to be most effective in the samsaric realm in which we operate.
The first of the ‘Considerations’ therefore directs us to examine ourselves. We must accept that we are ‘trainee bodhisattvas’, not even yet at the stage of the ‘First Bhumi’, and protect ourselves as one might protect a tender plant, from over-ambitious notions of ‘helping others’. Thus, if an action might be good for others but not good for ourselves, we should refrain, as in our frail state we might well not be able to withstand the consequences.
The second Consideration concerns the status of beings. The implications of this were a surprise to many of us, imbued as we are with notions of the absolute equality of all beings. But no, in the traditional view of these teachings, we are told to privilege ‘higher beings’, so that if an action would harm these but benefit lower ones (their life-span also comes into play here) we should not act. Humans versus mosquitoes and bed-bugs.
Several of the Considerations presented a real conundrum to a Western way of thinking. How do we know that an action will benefit (or not) ourselves or others in the next life? The ‘Consideration of vows and non-virtue’ sets us out on the lonely road of deciding for ourselves whether a certain negative action (stealing, killing, sexual misconduct, uttering falsehoods, for example) can be justified in the name of the higher interest of benefiting other beings. The scope for simply feeding the ego and self-deception is obviously very great.
Likewise, generosity is not as simple as giving away what one has. We should always be asking ourselves how, or even if, this is going to benefit other beings. A further complication is the question of long- or short-term. If we give to a drug-fuelled beggar in the street, might we not simply be putting off the day when the addiction will be squarely faced?
And so on and so forth. It soon became obvious in the course of the weekend that this apparently simple text was strewn with pitfalls and that, most especially, what it was doing was confronting us with our responsibilities in the sphere of action. Buddha never told us what we should do in such-and-such a situation; he knew in his infinite wisdom that the cultivation of a pure and compassionate heart was the key to right action. There are no ‘Commandments’ in Buddhism, no ‘Thou shalt’, ‘Thou shalt not’. Every act is unique, and draws on reserves of discrimination and ethical thinking cultivated over numerous lifetimes. It is for us to use these reserves, even though we are not at the level of seeing that is informed by Emptiness. At the same time, every being is unique, and each must learn to know him- or herself before ethical conduct is possible.
Tsering negotiated this forest of sometimes apparently impenetrable complications with skill, knowledge and unfailing good humour. We thank her warmly for sparing the time in her busy schedule to come and give us this profound yet eminently practical and rooted teaching, while regretting for her sake the snow episode that closed down Dublin Airport and prevented her from returning for her next engagement! We thank also, and equally warmly, Annie, for her hospitality and indeed for making the visit happen.
Pat Little
Arklow, 02/03/2018
Tsering will be teaching next weekend in the UK, to celebrate the 5th anniversary of  Bodhicharya Kent on 22nd April, at the Heugenot Museum, Rochester.

Catching up on the latest news from Bodhicharya

We are very happy to announce that Ringu Tulku Rinpoche will be returning to Ireland this year. He will be in Dublin for four days Friday 10th - Monday 13th September, and Dzogchen Beara 14th - 16th September.

You can register your email address at Bodhicharya.org to receive the latest news for  Ringu Tulku's  travel schedule or go directly to  https://bodhicharya.org/ringu-tulku/schedule/
Very occasionally Rinpoche has to make changes in his schedule, we will  do our best to keep you notified on this page as well. The programme details are not yet fixed, and Dzogchen Beara have their own website where  his teaching topics will be made public when decided.

The Teachings Archive team have been working hard for many years to make Rinpoche's talks available at https://bodhicharya.org/teachings/archive/ and there are new ones being added all the time.  It is a fantastic resource, including translations into languages other than English;  Ringu Tulku has given hundreds of teachings that have almost all been recorded  since his first visit to the West, some topics have been repeated many times, but each has its own signature and freshness, and each warrants a separate hearing.

The most recent is the teaching on the topic How to Be a Good Scholar-Practitioner  given by Rinpoche at Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal, at the request of Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche on 6th April 2018, and as a public talk it is freely available.  It is a really informative and helpful talk for anyone who has any doubts or questions about balancing their practise with study and reflection, and includes anecdotal accounts of traditional tibetan styles of practise within Buddhist schools and sanghas in the past, as well as discussing how we Westerners perceive and understand the concept of Practise.  

Some talks on the site request a login, and some are restricted teachings, requiring access
permissions from Rinpoche himself. 

Lastly - in a separate post, is an account from contributor Pat Little of a recent visit and weekend teaching in Dublin with Tsering Paldron who runs Bodhicharya Portugal as well as teaching in other Bodhicharya Centres.

Annie Dibble, Dublin.  April 2018

Friday, 2 March 2018

Regular Online Teachings from Karmapa to Begin Today - Chotrul Dawa

Ringu Tulku has received good news today form His Holiness Karmapa:

'The Karmapa Foundation Europe have been requesting His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa to grant a regular set of teachings online so that we can all study and practice together where ever we are. We also requested that HH would kindly lead us step by step so that we can learn and practice in a systematic way and eventually can form a curriculum for Dharma Study and Practice that we can use in all the Dharma Centres as well as groups that are not Buddhist but like to study and practice Dharma. His Holiness has most graciously agreed to start a monthly teaching starting from today on Chotrul Dawa, the auspicious day on which Buddha helped countless beings with his display of miraculous manifestations. The time will be at 8pm Central Europe time. The date has come as a surprise and without much notice in advance but we will try to make sure that these teachings will be available online for many days so that people can listen time and again as well as be translated in many other languages. These teachings will be available in English translation today'. 

KARMAPA FOUNDATION YOUTUBE CHANNEL:  https://www.youtube.com/KarmapafoundationEurope

TIME:        8 pm      Continental Time 

GMT -     UK, Ireland and Portugal 7pm    tonight 2nd March 2018

Please look for further notices on our KFE website and Facebook page etc.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

A Fresh Look at Tonglen - From Bodhicharya Publications

Radiance of the Heart: 
Kindness, Compassion, Bodhicitta

To bring you some warmth this wintertime, Bodhicharya Publications is very happy to announce the publication of a new Heart Wisdom book.

Radiance of the Heart presents Ringu Tulku’s teachings on Kindness, Compassion and Bodhicitta. Following on from the publication last year of the Lazy Lama booklet Lazy Lama looks at Loving-Kindness, this text develops this core topic further. Drawing on five teaching sources, the text first encourages us with a practical look at how to bring kindness and compassion into our daily lives. Ringu Tulku discusses themes of meditation and the practice of tonglen; and answers a wide range of questions.

The text then looks towards kindness and compassion from a more ultimate perspective: Ultimate Bodhicitta, the heart essence of enlightenment. Embodying such understanding brings an ever purer expression of kindness and compassion, imbued with deepening wisdom. Thus, the text aims to present a wide-ranging, but pithy, contemplation of this subject, central to the hearts and lives of us all.

Copies will be available in February and you can pre-order your copy from Bodhicharya Publications here in the Book Shop.


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 bodhicharya.ireland@gmail.com

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