Rigpa centres offer a range of courses and programmes for everyone – whether you want to learn how to meditate and develop compassion to overcome the mental and emotional challenges of daily life, or engage with a complete path of study and practice that follows every stage of the Buddha’s teachings and can lead to enlightenment.
The courses below are intended for those new to Buddhism. For those who wish to embark on the Buddhist path, contact your local centre to find out about a graduated path of study and practice.
What Meditation Really is
This unique course 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.
You will gain a genuine experience of meditation and all the tools you need to take the benefits into every aspect of your life.
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
Once we have established a basis in meditation and compassion, these are further deepened through the teachings on transforming the mind in compassion, or lojong, a set of practices unique to Tibetan Buddhism.
One special feature of lojong is the use of slogans, pointed instructions on the view and practical application of the Mahayana. These slogans are contemplated and put into action as a means of subjugating the self-clinging, based on a false conception of self, that is at the root of all suffering. Mind training practice is the profound reorientation of our basic attitude both toward our own self and toward fellow sentient beings, as well as toward the events around us. It is a radical transformation of our thoughts and behaviour: from a self-cherishing attitude to an altruistic attitude.
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.