Photographs from His Holiness Karmapa's UK visit 2017

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Ringu Tulku Interviewed on RTE for Sunday Spirit

Rinpoche's visit to Dublin included several radio interviews - one of which was held following a public talk during his visit to Our Lady's Hospice at Harold's Cross, Dublin and was webcast last Sunday, on RTE Sunday Spirit Radio.

The interviewer Niamh MacManus managed to elicit a rarely told story about Rinpoche's recognition at his home in Tibet by a very high lama, Jamgon Kongtrul of nearby Sechen Monastery.  When Rinpoche was a tiny baby, so ill that his parents were in fear for his survival, Jamgon Kongtrul was called to the house and he took on the sickness himself:  and  Rinpoche - as well as Jamgon Kongtrul of Sechen both survived. Jamgon Kongtrul became Rinpoche's personal spiritual guide.  Rinpoche also speaks of his impressions of the hospice here in Dublin, work done at his centre in Berlin; about the meaning of mindfulness, and the Dalai Lama's preference for ancient India's Nalanda University's inclusive transmission of all schools of Buddhism. In response to a question about compassion, he identifies greed and over-consumption as the destroyer of humanity. The earth of course, he says, will recover and survive.  The interview lasts approximately 10 minutes, click on the link above to listen.

There's another interesting interview by Roisin Ingle with Rinpoche, and that podcast is available for a further three weeks from today.

This morning also, Pat Kenny speaks to Ani Choedrun of the Palpung Buddhist Centre Co Cork, on being an Irish Buddhist nun. See Newstalk with Pat at 10 -12.30 today, also be available later as a podcast.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche in Dublin 2015

RINGU TULKU’S VISIT TO DUBLIN this year was originally planned for 27th – 30th July, organised and co-hosted by Bodhicharya Ireland and Dublin Samye Dzong, and each has an integral part to play. Rinpoche almost always stays at Dublin Kagyu Samye Dzong; in the early days it was in an old terraced house on the railway estate which hosted so many Buddhist luminaries from all traditions and when teachers visited we all squashed into the tiny panelled shrine room (formally a kitchen and parlour to the extended family of a train builder) to listen to the teachings from the previous Kalu Rinpoche,  Akong Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsutrim Gyatso, Pema Chodron, Lama Ganga Rinpoche and Gyaltsap Rinpoche, amongst many others.  In 1984 Rob Nairn was to begin his early teaching courses on mindfulness here, Akong Rinpoche and Edith Irwin introduced the very first Tara Rokpa Therapy courses, the Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche stayed and gave a White Tara Empowerment while he was preparing to establish Jampa Ling in Co Cavan.  Ringu Tulku, on his first visit to Europe in January 1990 gave teachings both there and at Kinlay House, Dublin, on the origins of Buddhism and Vajrayana.   Later again, a group of monks from Tashi Lumpo stayed while drawing up a Kalachakra Sand Mandala at the Douglas Hyde Art Gallery at Trinity College, causing great amusement as they queued for the no 78 bus to town each morning.

Ringu Tulku in the kitchen of the old
ON THAT FIRST VISIT Ringu Tulku Rinpoche spent three weeks with us, and brought with him some copy books to correct - belonging to his students at the institute of Tibetology in Gangtok. We were surprised that he left them behind - pages of beautifully scripted Tibetan writing that were both exotic and intoxicating to our imaginations and it seemed strange that once marked they were no longer of use to the students, or him, and he asked us to dispose of them.  That year also, KSD was asked to contribute to a new school text book on world religions, this coincided with his visit, and Rinpoche obliged by posing for photographs- saying prayers from a Buddhist text, and teaching ‘Buddhist disciples’, to illustrate a chapter for the Irish religious education school curriculum. 
RINGU TULKU continued to visit KSD and Dzogchen Beara in Co Cork, twice each year for several weeks at a time, until 1994 when KSD moved into Kilmainham Well House, the current premises, (so called because the water source of the ancient well of St John, divined by Akong Rinpoche, runs underground through the garden and now boasts a Holy Well of its own).   Kilmainham refers to the church of St Mhaighneann  who was a 7th century  Irish saint known to have built his abbey very close to the current Samye Dzong Buddhist Centre and live there, with 27 disciples.
IN 1994 Ringu Tulku was the first teacher to formally visit and give a teaching in the new Dublin Kagyu Samye Dzong; it was on the Four Noble Truths, an appropriate first teaching for a brand new start, and he was accompanied by Uncle, who by then was already 70 years old. 
Kilmainham Well House during the mid 1990's
Following on from that, Rinpoche visited every year, interest grew, and the new much bigger shrine room quite quickly became too small for his visits.  This prompted the start of a regular public talk organised between members of Rigpa Dublin and KSD at various venues in town, settling finally at the Writer’s Centre,  in Parnell Square, and coinciding with some students indicating that they’d like to form a group dedicated to Ringu Tulku’s teachings and personal projects. In spring of 2008, Bodhicharya Ireland  formally  came into being.  Rinpoche was clear, “no new premises please -  just dedication to practice, support for each other, help with publications, Rigul Trust, Rinpoche’s visits, and anything else that needs doing  in a practical sense. Above all, no quarrelling, learn to bring everything onto the Path as your practise.”

ONE WEEKEND of Rinpoche’s next visit to Dublin was dedicated to Bodhicharya, and held in the Hilton Hotel Kilmainham,  close to public transport and KSD: weekday teachings remained with KSD, who also host Rinpoche and his travelling attendant. In fact all of the preparations and organisation is shared, it is not a matter of separation, but of co-operation, meaning that individual energies can be directed where they are best placed and roles are clear.
The current pressure on Rinpoche’s time is growing, as more and more requests come in for his teaching, the more so since His Holiness 17th Karmapa has emerged as an extraordinarily powerful spiritual leader, and it obvious that Rinpoche’s own absolute dedication to the Gyalwang Karmapa for all these years has been instrumental in opening the way for the Karmapa's recent visits to Europe and America.  Last year Rinpoche's Dublin visit was cancelled so that he could attend to those preparations.

THIS YEAR, 2015,  Rinpoche was originally destined for only four days in Dublin because of demand on his time elsewhere, so the Bodhicharya Ireland event had to be re-invented. The theme for his visit this time was on the Bardo, and for the four nights at Kagyu Samye Dzong  he taught on each of the four Bardos.   Bodhicharya Ireland organised two outside teaching events and several media interviews. We wanted take the opportunity to make the Buddha’s teaching on, 'life as preparation for death' accessible to a wider audience, to bring the no nonsense, down to earth practical advice  into a public arena where people could listen comfortably and ask questions.  We approached Our Lady’s Hospice in Dublin Harold’s Cross and asked if they’d like to participate,  and they invited Rinpoche to meet staff and give a talk.
Ringu Tulku was also invited  to give a talk on the internet Bardo of  Googlat their Irish
headquarters.   There were also two media interviews planned, including a podcast interview with Irish Times journalist Roisin Ingle.  During preparations for an already busy visit, about three weeks prior to his expected date of arrival, Rinpoche wrote to say he would stay in Dublin for the  weekend as well, so please could we organise some Bodhicharya talks for those days.
Happily the Hilton had conference rooms free, the Bardo teachings were extended to Friday at KSD, and a programme was set up for Saturday all day and Sunday morning; a community meal for Saturday night and a picnic to Kilruddery House and Gardens on Sunday afternoon.

The internet Bardo of Google
RINPOCHE ARRIVED on Monday 27th July attended by his brother Kalsang, in time for the first teaching that evening, and unusually, so many people came along a second room with an audiovisual link had to be set up  to facilitate everyone. He chose to speak on the Four Bardos: 1. The bardo of this life;  2. The bardo of dying;  3.  The bardo of dharmata and  4. The bardo of becoming.

AT THE HOSPICE  on Tuesday afternoon, there was first of all a private internal event,  when Rinpoche met and spoke with staff and patients, answering questions on the Buddhist approach to life and death, and he gave a talk on the work of the spiritual care and hospice work that is at the heart of his centre in Berlin. The attending hospice residents and staff were deeply moved by the encounter, and the question of fear quickly came centre stage in the ensuing dialogue. One person was also very curious to know about Rinpoche’s background, where he lives, and who with, and he happily let it be known that he lives still with his mother brothers and sisters in Gangtok: thus Ursula Bates, in her  concluding thanks, was able to quickly point out that this made him a real Irish Mammy’s Boy,  causing delight for everyone.   Rinpoche was also welcomed with a tour of the Hospice wards and Ani Choedrun, director and resident nun from Palpung Ireland Buddhist Centre in Co Cork accompanied him, making valuable connections for her role in Buddhist chaplaincy. We hope that the connection will hold strong.

THE PUBLIC TALK that evening was held in the Hospice conference room at the Education, Research and Training Centre, staying with the theme of living and dying: almost 140 people came. Anne Marie Ellison from the North West Hospice, Sligo, and a personal student of Rinpoche’s, welcomed him and gave a short introduction, before inviting him to speak. The audience had many questions, and it was abundantly clear that the Buddhist ethos, that of holding the view of living as a preparation for death, is very close to the heart of Christianity, which is of course the essential spiritual ethos of the Irish Hospice Care system.  Rinpoche created an open atmosphere in which the parallels could be explored through questioning and skilfully guided discussion.

THE GOOGLE event took place on Thursday morning, when Rinpoche dialogued with Ciaran Cooke: some simple questions put by Googler Egle Kaceviciute were tossed around and expanded.  The limit for the host room was 50 people, but somehow 100 were squeezed in, a further unfortunate 50 people were disappointed.  The whole talk can be followed here, thanks to Egle. Again, it was a lively session with an engaged audience who asked pertinent questions around mindfulness, meditative ambition, and job satisfaction.

GOOD IN THE BEGINNING, GOOD IN THE MIDDLE, GOOD IN THE END,  at the Kilmainham Hilton, was a topic open enough to expand on, according to the audience. These are known as the Three Noble Principles, and are the essence of dharma practise: the title refers to a classic text by Patrul Rinpoche, but is also widely used in other contexts to refer to the focus we must keep when engaged in any task and in this case includes how we begin and live our life, and face our death.  Again, the room filled to capacity for these teachings and the talks brought plenty of questions and discussion. The event raised substantial funds for the Rigul / Nepal Earthquake appeal.
On this day also, the news came  that His Holiness the 17th  Gyalwang Karmapa was to visit Germany once again, in only three weeks time, which meant the Kagyu Monlam planned for Paris on the weekend of 4th – 6th September would have to go ahead without
Ringu Tulku.

RINGU TULKU HAD SUGGESTED that on Sunday afternoon we take a picnic in the country as he doesn’t usually have time to see much beyond Dublin when he comes.
Rinpoche and Kalsang and a party of Bodhicharya sangha visited Kilruddery House and Gardens, home to the Brabazon family and the  illustrious Earls of Meath and Ardee. So we drove a few miles south of Dublin for a walk, a tour of the house, and afternoon tea in the Orangery. Unfortunately the walk was curtailed because of rain, but not before we checked out the Sylvan Theatre set into one of the lawns in front of the house, and the formal gardens that were designed in the 17 century by a gardener poached from Versaille.  The house tour was informed and fun, led by Paul’s mum-in-law Lady Lavinia, who had grown up there and knows its secrets.  Rinpoche and Kalsang managed to get some sound out of a pair of ancient and dusty Tibetan horns, and see at first hand how the Anglo Irish Earls of Meath have lived for 400 years before it became necessary to open doors to the public.
Lady Lavinia the tour guide
Finally to the Orangery where there was tea in silver teapots, with homemade lemon drizzle cake, strawberries and cream, and a photo opportunity with Bec’s mum and dad, Lavinia and John Jobson, and their nephew, the present Earl and his wife, Lady Meath and their young family.  The Orangery, still full of Italian marbles and plaster work  but minus orange trees, was built on funds raised by the sale of  a previous Lady of Meath’s tiara.  To make up for the loss of her noble headgear the parapet decoration was designed as a replica of the spent headdress.
Bodhicharya Ireland,  Finland,  Bristol, Kathmandu.
A busy, short but richly beneficial week was over, and on the following day Rinpoche and Kalsang flew off to Portugal and the Bodhicharya Summercamp. 

Annie Dibble 
September 13th 2015

Friday, 11 September 2015

Nurturing Compassion

All of the teachings by Gyalwang Karmapa given in Germany 2014 have been translated and edited, under the guidance of the Karmapa himself. 500 copies (108 pages) were printed and published by the Karmapa Foundation Europe, in time for the Karmapa's return visit to Germany and a small number remain for sale at the Bodhicharya Berlin shop.   Bodhicharya Ireland also have a few, available for a donation to KFE - contact us by email if you would like one, - first come first served - 10 euro per copy + p&p.
Nurturing Compassion is also currently available to download as a PDF file here on the KFE page in five languages. 
The book/PDF has been translated, edited, designed and published by Bodhicharya and KFE volunteers, and all donations received for the book will be used by the Karmapa Foundation Europe to help further the work of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa.

Irish Times Podcast: Roisin Ingle Interviews Ringu Tulku.

While Ringu Tulku was in Dublin he paid a visit on 31st July to the offices of the Irish Times, a major national newspaper,  where popular columnist Roisin Ingle interviewed him.  Here they discuss Rinpoche's flight from Tibet as a child, friendship with the Dalai Lama,  the Four Reminders,  The Lazy Lama,  WeChat conferencing and much more.

Click here for Interview with Roisin Ingle of the Irish Times

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Dalai Lama in the UK - some tickets remaining for 02 London.

Following a really enthusiastic welcome at Glastonbury this summer, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who was 80 this year, will be again teaching in the UK, the tour begins at 02 Arena on the 19th September and continues to Oxford and Cambridge.
His incredible gift of love for the world is shared through messages of peace and harmony.
The Dalai Lama will be accompanied by eminent psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, who will chair the public event at 02 Arena.

There are some tickets left for the O2 Arena talk - click on the link below for details.



13:00 - 15:00


"Compassion is a marvel of human nature, a precious inner resource and the foundation of our well-being and the harmony of our societies." The Dalai Lama
"Compassion" and "well-being" are everyday terms – but how often do we stop to think about what they might really mean?
With his customary warmth and humour, and drawing on his decades of life experience and extensive practice of meditation, the Dalai Lama will share what compassion means to him and how this understanding can enrich our lives.
"When compassion, or warm-heartedness, arises in us and shifts our focus away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door. Compassion reduces our fear, boosts our confidence, and brings us inner strength. By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection with others and a sense of purpose and meaning in life."
The Dalai Lama will give this talk mainly in English. There will be an interpreter on stage to translate from any Tibetan into English. BSL interpretation will also be available.


Daniel Goleman, science journalist and psychologist, wrote "Emotional Intelligence". His new book is "A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama's Vision for Our World," which outlines the positive steps we each can take to create a better future. He is on the board of directors of the Mind and Life Institute, and a co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.
To learn more about A Force for Good click here

Monday, 7 September 2015

Retreat with Donal Creedon, An Tobar, Co Meath 2015

The annual retreat of Bodhicharya Ireland was held, as has become habitual, in this well-situated and welcoming house belonging to the Holy Ghost Congregation, near Navan in Co. Meath. Seventeen
retreatants, both familiar faces and new ones, met to explore through meditation sessions, Dialogue, shared meals and shared silence, the overarching theme of ‘On Being Hurt’.
The silence began as we retired for the night, and continued until midday the following day; a fruitful silence, however, which, while stilling the chatter, allowed the present moment to become full and vibrant. With such an approach, everyday activities such as eating become practices in themselves.  Not that the ‘chatter’ could be any less rewarding, and the exchanges over meals and during rest periods allowed us to get to know each other better and were, for the new members of the group, an essential way to feel included.
Walking in the woodland park that surrounds the lake, one of the joys of ‘An Tobar’, partook also of this dual function: sometimes it was a venue for the walking meditation which formed an optional part of every meditation session, sometimes an occasion for personal exchange. The wildlife – birds, small animals – was a source of delight, featuring in the literary productions which were a notable by-product of this retreat.
The introductory session on the first evening went straight to the point, as Dónal presented the journey of enquiry into our own minds that was the purpose of our coming together. Particularly in the Mahamudra and Dzogchen, he told us, the central issue is the nature of the self; if we understand the nature of mind, we cut through the ignorance that is our samsaric condition. The goal is the realisation of the natural state, unfabricated, and the flowering of our natural goodness, which is the true meaning of being human. It is not a question of achieving a state that is fundamentally different from what we are, but rather realising what is there already. Such a state is true liberation, and depends only on our minds, on the way we interpret our experiences, which we normally interpret as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
At this point Dónal also explained briefly the purpose of the ‘Dialogue’ sessions which would take place every evening. Essentially, these were to be an exploration of questions that concern us – in this case, given the overall theme of the retreat, we would explore firstly the question of ‘hurt’ – without pre-judgement or reference to previous knowledge or to outside authority. This approach is not separate from meditation, in fact: in Dialogue, I just look, without preconceptions regarding the object of my looking; in insight meditation, I proceed without previous knowledge of what I’m contemplating. It’s the same uncontrived movement from complexity to simplicity.
The following day, Dónal established the routine that was to become our daily journey for the following six days: at 6.45am, an hour’s personal meditation before breakfast, then the rest of the day split into sessions, each of one-and-a-half hour’s duration, where one half-hour was usually dedicated to walking meditation. During the first session, Dónal went through the basics: the importance of posture – without letting this become an obsession, simply acknowledging the intimate association of mind and body – and then the essentials of meditation which he defined as something ultimately very simple:
Don’t follow thought of the past
Don’t invite thoughts about the future
Just rest with the present.
He emphasised that it is not a question of suppressing thoughts, rather of not following them. We must be aware of thoughts when they arise, but then rest naturally with them. To aid focussing the attention, the meditator can either concentrate on the whole body, resting naturally with whatever comes up, or on the breath, not seeking to change it in any way
That is the first (‘shiné’) stage of meditation, but ‘first’ only in the sense that until your mind is quiet, you can have no hope of seeing it truly as it is. There is then a second stage, ‘lhaktong’, or ‘insight’, where the meditator examines the thoughts or phenomena that have arisen. What does it mean to ‘rest the mind’? During this stage, it is important not to try and draw conclusions, or define the thoughts. You must just look at your experience, without altering it. And look at the resting mind, framing the question ‘What is this mind? How is it? What is happening to it?’ If the mind is confused, don’t judge, just note that fact.
In this approach to meditation, the Mahamudra, thought is thus not something to be banished, and the arising of thoughts is not to be looked on as failure. Rather, thoughts are to be harnessed as part of the process of looking at the mind. You work with what is there. Lest there were a danger of our thinking becoming solidified, however, Dónal gave us a teaching one afternoon on the Heart Sutra, the ‘Essence of Transcendent Knowledge’, in which Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezi), speaking for the Buddha, gives Shariputra a teaching on emptiness and the interdependence of all phenomena.
In the course of the week, during the meditation sessions as well as outside of them, we endeavoured to put into practice these precepts and principles, realising that ultimately each person was on his or her own, and that the Path was a matter of experience, not the following of codified rules of practice. Interestingly, however, the set routine for each day helped rather than hindered this openness of approach.
After the meditation sessions, tea, and then Dialogue. Discussion of this kind, without reference to outside authority, previous personal experience or anecdote, without looking for a remedy to what would normally be looked on as a problem, or even a conclusion to the discussion, is more difficult than you might think; the mundane mind’s need for clarity of purpose, a road-map and the sense of having arrived (or not) at the destination is sometimes overwhelming. But these were useful exchanges, if only that they demonstrated the multifarious ways in which the mind works, and the numerous subterfuges it adopts to try and dig itself unsuccessfully out of a hole.
Then, after supper, Chenrezi or Metta practice, both devoted to the cultivation of loving-kindness and compassion, in which the bringing to mind of known individuals going through particularly acute suffering, and thence to the whole universe of beings, prevented the moment from becoming inward-looking.
On the last evening, after Chenrezi, we sat round informally for a sing-song, which included the reading and reciting of texts, either published or springing immediately from the week’s experiences together. It was apparent that the atmosphere had been conducive to creative effort, the fruits of which were always relevant and enjoyable, sometimes humorous, sometimes more sober and reflective. A fitting end to the retreat.

For a truly inspirational week, we would like to thank the Holy Ghost Congregation for their welcome; Annie, Eimear and Eddie for the efficiency of their organisation of all practical details; the alchemist-in-the-kitchen Colette whose ability to turn disparate ingredients into delicious and sustaining meals never ceased to amaze; and most of all Dónal for sharing his wisdom with us with such generosity of spirit, for his constant encouragement, and for guiding us patiently on the Path.

May all beings have happiness.

Pat Little


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

HH Karmapa to visit Bodhicharya Berlin

HH Karmapa once again visited Bodhicharya Berlin on Sunday 6th September 2015. His Holiness gave a brief teaching for this special occasion entitled "Heart Advice". This webcast is currently unedited, and the talk begins at 54 mins in. Please see