The London Retreat

Photo by Clive Arrowsmith

Photo by Clive Arrowsmith

It was in October 2013 that Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche last gave a retreat in London. A year and a half later and Rinpoche returned last weekend to the Irish Center in Camden to bestow upon the participants Ati Evolution teachings. It was a sell out!

It was a true joy to hear Rinpoche teaching again with such clarity in his characteristically powerful and unmistakable style. There were both new and old students and it was clear by the end of the retreat that everyone left with a palpable feeling of having learnt something new. Rinpoche taught, as always, with reference to all the vehicles within Tibetan Buddhism.  He touched upon the various views of the different paths of Sutrayana, Vajrayana and Dzogchen and the various subsections within them. He spoke about the passing of time and impermanence and spoke at length on the first statement of Garab Dorje and the importance of experiencing and then remaining in the the state of contemplation.

Rinpoche elucidated the importance of everyday presence and gave the example of life being very similar to driving a car. If we drive a car and become distracted we crash.

On the final day Rinpoche generously gave the lung and some explanations for numerous secondary practices that are used in the Dzogchen community. Practices that can help to reduce negativities, increase long life, improve our capacity as practitioners and many more.

However as always he reminded us that the number one most important practice is the practice Guru Yoga and if we have time the Song of Vajra, and above all do our best.

Photo by Clive Arrowsmith

Photo by Clive Arrowsmith

There were wonderful demonstrations which many students old and new got involved with; Vajra Dance on the Saturday, Yantra Yoga on theSunday and two sweaty sessions of Khaita Dance on both days. A truly joyful time!

Fundraising thrived at this year’s retreat. Due to the great kindness of donations the ASIA stall was a hive of activity with many people donating as much as they could in exchange for goods from Nepal in order to fundraise for Nepal. Donation buckets were literally overflowing with coins and finally Rinpoche, having donated his very own pendant with Özer Chenma and the Longsal symbol embossed on either side, all meant that £4,500 was raised for Asia. A truly outstanding amount that will be used directly to help the people of Nepal. This seemed to me to a mark the truly compassionate activity of all that attended the retreat.

Photo by Raf Portas

Photo by Raf Portas

There was a comprehensive presentation showing some footage and the architectural plans for the new London Center. There was a lively and competitive auction that raised a whopping £4,903 to help fund the next stage of this vital and historic project.

With the London Center emerging, it was wonderful to witness the depth of love that the community has for the Master, the collaboration of the team, the support and dedication of so many Community members, from the UK and abroad, seen and unseen.

Thanks again to everyone involved for your efforts to enable us all to receive these precious teachings and most of all thank you Rinpoche.

Jon Kwan

Download PDF