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'. 


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

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.