Rigpa offers a broad programme of courses, seminars and retreats designed to make the Buddhist teachings accessible and relevant to men and women of all ages, and from all walks of life.
What Meditation Really is
We all want to be happy. But often the relentless pace and challenges of life make it impossible to know where to look for happiness. Through the wisdom of meditation, however, we can find peace and contentment. To our amazement, we discover a profound stillness that is always with us, beneath the turbulence of all our thoughts and emotions. When we allow our mind to settle, quietly, in its own natural peace, then what happens is quite extraordinary.
This unique course has been specially developed by Sogyal Rinpoche after many years of teaching in the West. It brings together over 2,000 years of Buddhist wisdom and experience in a way that is authentic, accessible and completely relevant to modern life.
Led by experienced meditators, it offers a complete introduction to meditation and shows how it can unlock our natural confidence, compassion and creativity. It offers the opportunity to gain a genuine experience of meditation and all the tools needed to take the benefits into every aspect of life.
Sogyal Rinpoche explains that there is much more to meditation than saying mantras and burning incense
Loving Kindness Meditation
From the Buddhist point of view, love is the wish that living beings find happiness and its causes. In Buddhism, this love or friendliness is called also ‘loving kindness’, metta in the Pali language. It carries a sense of unconditional warm-heartedness and kindness, a kind of deep caring, tenderness, a good heart.
All of us have a natural capacity for love, but sometimes we find it difficult or challenging to try and connect with this basic capacity we have for love and care. Through training our mind in loving kindness, and friendliness—which is wishing happiness both for ourselves and for others—we will be expanding this natural capacity to reach beyond ourselves, beyond all limits actually, even to include people we don’t like.
We really need compassion at this point in our evolution. All around us we see and know for ourselves that we are experiencing greater loneliness, isolation, fear, stress, vulnerability of different kinds, uncertainty, disappointment, and a lack of social connectivity—and it’s our connections with people that really do matter the most. At the same time, we seem to be creating a world where it is harder and harder to show one another simple kindness. And so there has never been a time when we have needed compassion more, when we need to move from this notion of ‘us and them’ to one of just simply ‘us’.
We can actively cultivate compassion using techniques and practices from the Buddhist tradition, such as Meditation, Loving Kindness, Cultivating Compassion for oneself and for others, and Tonglen. The techniques, skills and knowledge learnt can be used simply to enhance one’s own beliefs (be they spiritual, religious or secular). As the Dalai Lama says: “Don’t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist; use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are.”
Cultivating Compassion – Patrick Gaffney – The Empathy and Compassion in Society 2012 conference
Turning Suffering and Happiness into Enlightenment
The Eight Verses of Training the Mind
These courses belong to the category of teaching known as lojong. The essential meaning of the term lojong is ‘training or transforming the mind’. In today’s uncertain world where fear and anxiety are so prevalent, these profound teachings offer everyone a way to take the difficulties of life onto their path of spiritual development.
In the foreword to Transforming the Mind by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, it says:
“The central themes of the lojong teachings include, amongst others, the enhancement of compassion, the cultivation of balanced attitudes towards self and others, the development of positive ways of thinking and the transformation of adverse situations into conditions favourable to spiritual development.”
Understanding the Spiritual Path
This course provides an essential overview of the Buddhist path. It also overviews the specific path followed within Rigpa. It includes topics such as what does it mean to be a Rigpa student, what is the role of the teacher, what does it mean to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and what is enlightenment.
This course is suitable for those who have completed the ‘What Meditation Really Is’ course
The All-Encompassing Path
The All-Encompassing Path is the essential programme for students of Sogyal Rinpoche who have completed the ‘What Meditation Really Is’ course; established a daily meditation practice; completed ‘Understanding the Spiritual Path’ course; read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying; and received teachings from Sogyal Rinpoche live at a weekend or longer retreat.
Rigpa Online Courses
For people who do not live close to one of our centres, Rigpa offers a full curriculum of courses in Buddhism, meditation and compassion online.