the lotus represents our enlightened state

Cornwall Buddhists

Nyingma Tradition - lineage of Khyungchen Aro Lingma

The Nyingma Tradition

a beautiful statue of Padmasambhava

The Nyingma Tradition originates from Buddha Padmasambhava, who came to Tibet in the year 817 CE (AD) at the request of Chögyal Trisong Détsen. Padmasambhava—in collaboration with Shantarakshita and Trisong Détsen—built Samyé monastery, which became a principal centre of learning and the site where many of the texts that would make up Tibet’s vast Buddhist literature were first translated into Tibetan.

Padmasambhava is the Tantric Buddha – the second Buddha, who brought the teachings of the Nine Yanas of Buddhism to Tibet and the entire trans-Himalayan area. He founded the two sanghas: the red sangha of monks and nuns, and the gö-kar chang-lo’i dé, the white sangha or ngak’phang sangha of ngakpas and ngakmas, naljorpas and naljormas.

Padmasambhava gave widespread teachings of the three Inner Tantras to Yeshé Tsogyel and to his twenty-five principal disciples. These first Tibetan siddhas are renowned for their spiritual accomplishments.

The Aro Lineage

thangka painting

Aro is a Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist tradition whose unusual characteristics make it singularly appropriate for many Westerners. Aro is principally concerned with transforming our experience of everyday being, rather than achieving an esoteric or spiritualised mode of existence. Our aim is to engender cheerful courage, perceptive consideration, sincere determination, natural gallantry, graciousness, creativity, and spaciousness.

The Aro teachings descend from a lineage of enlightened women – beginning with Yeshé Tsogyel. She was the female Tantric Buddha, who—together with Padmasambhava—founded the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism. Aro is a small family lineage within that tradition – founded by the female visionary Lama Aro Lingma in 1909 (picture left). The Aro Lineage Lamas are Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, a married couple with one daughter, who live in Penarth, South Wales.

There are three distinct yet compatible approaches within Buddhism: self-liberation, transformation, and renunciation. Aro emphasises self-liberation and transformation, whereas it is more common to prioritise renunciation. more on the principles of the three yanas

Aro emphasises simplicity, clarity, and depth – both of practice and understanding. To wield the essential functions of Buddhism is the Aro mode of practice. To grasp the essential principles of Buddhism is the Aro mode of study. more about Aro

Dzogchen is ‘complete’ in that all other Buddhist teachings are contained within it. All Aro teachings—whether on Dzogchen, Tantra, or Sutra—are rooted in the Dzogchen perspective. Aro is quite unusual in teaching even basic concepts of Sutra, such as the Four Noble Truths and Five Precepts, from the point of view of Dzogchen

The lineage sangha is very active in providing a huge amount of information on the Internet, using a range of media and offers audio instruction and a free on-line course in meditation.

Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen

“The nine vehicles of the Nyingma School can roughly be described as the three vehicles of Sutrayana, and the six vehicles of Vajrayana – the three Outer and three Inner Tantras. The highest Inner Tantric vehicle, Ati yoga, can also be called Dzogchen. When Dzogchen is viewed as a path in its own right, we talk about the three vehicles of Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen, rather than about Sutrayana and Vajrayana. Sutra incorporates all teachings and practices of the path of renunciation with the experience of emptiness as their fruit. Tantra embraces all the teachings and practices that use symbolic method as the path of transformation. Dzogchen includes all teachings and practices that provide an opportunity for direct introduction into the experience of non-duality.” (Spacious Passion, Chapter II, ‘Sky Mind’)

Practice Groups

Monday evening practice alternating Yogic song and silent sitting, on the second and fourth Monday of each month 7.30p.m.—9.00p.m. No previous experience of Vajrayana practice or meditation is needed. We can intersperse discussion with practice to assist anyone new to the style of practice. Sessions are in the home of apprentices to Lamas of the Aro sangha at 22 Clarence St, Penzance. Occasional sessions will be held at 10, St. George's Road, Hayle. email dates of events Also contact.

In Sutric dön-pa it is the meaning of the words which is the focus. In Tantric dön-pa the words are used as a guide to visualisation. The melody is employed in order to give power to the words – to animate them.

Yang or Dzogchen Gardang are terms we usually translate as yogic song. There is no translation in English for these words as they do not equate to anything within Western religions or spiritual traditions. With yang there is no concept – it is a Dzogchen practice. The primary function is finding the presence of awareness in the dimension of the sound. For this transmission is required, both for the method and for the vajra melody of the yang. more on Yogic song.

Meditation, or “silent sitting” can take different forms depending on the practitioner’s development. We start with Shi-nè: a process of allowing any thoughts to arise, then letting them go. This is repeated continuously throughout the period of silent sitting. Guidance will be given to approach Shi-nè from different directions. The dictionary item on Shi-nè gives further explanation and depth.

Other events

Yogic song and sung mantra

Monday 29th October 7-9pm

Workshop with Ngakma Shézér Khandro

holding vajra and Chod drum

This workshop will introduce practices of yogic song and sung mantra. These practices will all be taught within the context of silent sitting meditation for which instruction will also be given.

In yogic song the subtle resonances of the dimension of sound can be discovered as a method of establishing presence of awareness and the songs function through essential energy to re-establish our innate vitality.

Yogic song is both a meditation practice in itself, and also a great support and complement to silent sitting meditation. In this workshop you will encounter a variety of songs, each with a unique melody, history, and application. No great singing talent is required, just an enthusiasm to learn.

‘The sounds of the vulture’s flight are methods of practice. The great white vulture, glides effortlessly above the reach and range of concept. Through these movements, Mind finds itself in its own free Space. The vulture has no fear of terrible heights, because the sky is her natural home.’ Khandro Déchen

Studio 2 at YMCA Cornwall, Alverton Street, Penzance. (Wheelchair accessible)

No charge, but a voluntary donation of £5-£10 will help cover the cost of venue hire and teacher travel.

Contact Chris Haydon

more details about this and other events on our Facebook page

25 years of promoting Vajrayana in the West

Saturday 17 November 1-8pm

The Buddhist charity Sang-ngak-chö-dzong invites you to a very special event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its formal establishment in 1993. So much has been accomplished since then, and this day of activities, talks and presentations gives us an opportunity to celebrate some of those accomplishments with you and to look forward to the future of the Aro gTér lineage in the UK and beyond.

We have secured as a venue Kings Weston House in Bristol. A truly splendid Georgian House, it is a Grade 1 listed building that was completed in 1719 and designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, who also designed Blenheim Palace. We consider a setting most suitable to the occasion and to a celebration of Vajrayana.

Our most ambitious public event to date, the day will feature an unprecedented range of talks, demonstrations and workshops. These will cover subjects including the history and future of Vajrayana Buddhism, and on relationship as Buddhist practice — the spiritual vivacity of vajra–romance and the poignant possibility of remaining in love forever. Talks will be presented by the lineage holders, Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, and by other lamas from the Aro gTér lineage. Workshops and interactive demonstrations will also be given by ordained practitioners on Buddhist crafts, dance and martial arts, as well as thangka painting and musical instruments of the (gloriously cacophonous) tantric orchestra. The day will conclude with an evening reception.


Aro Ling Centre in Bristol

Aro Ling is a Buddhist bookshop and meditation equipment supplier, offering teachings and retreats at Benjamin Perry Boathouse, Phoenix Wharf, Lower Guinea Street, Bristol, BS1 6TJ not far from Bristol City Centre.

Aro Ling is an idea: that openness and appreciation – life and art – are inextricably intertwined, and that the process of discovering that fact can be a joyful one, shared with friends.

booking enquiries.

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