Saturday, 26 September 2015

Retreat Centre Appeal : Treasures - Bone Ornaments

There are many Vajrayana treasures in the care of the Aro Tradition which are seldom on public display either to dedicated practitioners or members of the public.

These treasures are the art-works and ritual objects from Tibet which have been passed to the spiritual directors by their teachers and which they have bequeathed to Sang-ngak-chö-dzong.

Some of these items are of immense value—both intrinsically and financially—and we are concerned to safeguard them for the future. In addition to these spiritual treasures – the spiritual directors Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen have a private collection containing numerous valuable shrine items which could be made available to the charity and the world at large if there were an appropriate setting.

Whilst not every treasure of the lineage is appropriate to be on constant open display, there are thangkas, costumes, shrine objects and many other items which need a permanent home in Drala Jong’s shrine room.

The Drala Jong project seeks to create a home for the Aro gTér Lineage. Please see the Appeal page for more information about the Drala Jong project and how to help.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

A car boot sale, Fundraising for Drala Jong

Continuing a theme of 'every bit helps' in the art of fundraising, £83.10 was recently raised and donated to the Drala Jong Retreat Centre funds by Ngak'chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen at a local car boot sale.

They gathered together various objects including a number of horse related items, both being keen equestrians and a selection of the very lovely streptocarpus plants that Khandro Déchen cultivates to create a living display.

We welcome any fundraising initiatives and projects to our shared efforts.

The Drala Jong project seeks to create a home for the Aro gTér Lineage. Please see the Appeal page for more information about the Drala Jong project and how to help.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Teaching a Tibetan Exercise system, Fundraising for Drala Jong

There are a number of small, incremental, consistent activities that members of the Aro gTér Lineage sangha are involved in to raise funds for Drala Jong. One of these is that Ngakma Sang-gyé A-tsal donates £10.00 from every private Jong-dar chèd pa /sKu-mNyé class she teaches.

sKu-mNyé means massage of the psychophysical body and is one of the remarkable systems from Jong-dar chèd pa, a constellation of Tibetan exercise systems from the Aro gTér Tradition.

Sang-gyé teaches sKu-mNyé currently on a one to one basis either in a Pilates studio or people’s homes in the smart, urban bustle of West London. She has been a student of Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen since 1993 and was ordained as a Ngakma in the gö kar chang lo’i dé in 2000 When encountering the Aro gTér lineage with its valuable teachings of physical practices she began to practice sKu-mNyé, eventually becoming an approved teacher.

A former dancer and actor, turned massage therapist, she has been working with her body to a high degree for many years, and now she brings all that experience to her current work as a rTsa-mNyé (Tibetan massage) practitioner and qualified Pilates instructor as well as Jong-dar chèd pa  sKu-mNyé instructor. There are as yet not many who do teach this remarkable system and Sang-gyé does so with a remarkable insight, precision and clarity. It contains a range of movements from really quite gentle to complex, strenuous and demanding; requiring balance and fitness. The variety and depth of Sang-gyé’s training means that she is able to make them accessible to many, facilitating a gradual building up of the strength, stamina and flexibility required for the more demanding exercises.
Once Drala Jong is established, workshops and teachings in Jong-dar chèd pa including sKu-mNyé will be able to be made available there to anyone who wishes to deepen their practice and understanding of them. Currently classes are also taught at Aro Ling in Bristol and Cardiff. For more information on sKu-mNyé see Moving Being, by Khando Déchen.

Sang-gyé can be contacted for classes and workshops in London and
Bristol at 07552576121

The Drala Jong project seeks to create a home for the Aro gTér Lineage. Please see the Appeal page for more information about the Drala Jong project and how to help.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Pilgrims Progress, Fundaising For Drala Jong.

Chris Haydon's wonderful account of his fundraising walk:

Fairly recently I became an apprentice within the Aro gTèr tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism. It is very important to me that this unique blend of traditional Nyingma practice and our modern Western culture is able to survive and flourish. To that end I see it as very important that a centre is established to act as a base and provide continuity and focus. This is the Drala Jong project to purchase land and buildings on a modest scale in a peaceful and vivid rural setting. I wanted to do something to help bring this to fruition.

I had read Ngak'chang Rinpoche mention that he thought pilgrimages to sites of particular significance to the Aro gTèr tradition in this country would be beneficial, and one such site is Bird’s Rock (another being Southerdown). Since I have no time constraints I felt a walk to Bird’s rock from my home would be a great endeavour, I also had doubts about whether I was up to it. Like many plans that hatch in my imagination, this one might have been put on indefinite hold, but it seemed to have an impetus of its own, and importance outside ‘the Chris project’. When I mentioned it to my teachers they were immediately enthusiastic and supportive, and so I felt I had to see it through.

It took a while to get my fitness levels up to a level that would permit an average 15 miles of walking day after day. By early spring I felt more confident and took the plunge by publicising my plans and starting to gather route information and to book accommodation. I set off in late April and for a while entered a new dimension, that of the homeless itinerant wanderer.

The goal was so far ahead that each day I saw only the path I was walking and the changing scenery around me. The first thing that struck me was the richness and energy of the British countryside in Spring. It was a veritable feast for the senses and, as well as banquet of outrageous colours and visual forms, there were smells and birdsong and feelings of pleasant fatigue in  the body. The route up through the SW peninsula is one I have driven close to many times, but at walking pace it all seems very different. There is time to appreciate the old farm buildings, crops and animals, wild flowers, woodland and even the transport infrastructure of railways and roads, from a new perspective.

It was nice to take stock at each high point of the ranges of hills behind and ahead. It was actually possible on a couple of occasions, in clear weather, to see Dartmoor and the hills of S.Wales and all the intervening ranges. Seeing where I had come from and where I was headed grounded me in the landscape. The weather was predominantly warm and sunny with wonderful clear blue space overhead and only occasional rain that was usually a welcome blessing. Approaching Bristol and in the Hafren forest were the only times when I became totally soaked. Crossing the Severn Bridge gave further exposure to elemental forces, this time wind that made it impossible to walk upright and in a straight line.

The scenic highlights were almost too many to catalogue, Dartmoor, Exmoor, The Brendon Hills, the Somerset levels, the Mendips, Wye Valley, the Black Mountains and the scenery in mid Wales approaching Snowdonia all stand out as delightful places.

In a way I was sad, as the goal approached, that it would end but excited at reaching the destination and meeting the lineage holders Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen and my own teacher and other apprentices who had all travelled to celebrate my arrival and to make a joint ascent of Craig yr Aderyn.

On one level being with one’s lamas and fellow sangha members can seem like normal social activity, but beneath the radar of conventional mind all sorts of transmission is taking place. It would be nice to be able to recount this, but unfortunately impossible to describe. I am in any case a simple dolt who probably only appreciates a small fraction of what is happening at any one moment. Nevertheless the ascent through the special setting of that place in the company of lamas and the subsequent drive back to Cardiff are experiences I will long cherish; and I would warmly encourage anyone else, who is so minded, to seek out a similar type of endeavour. I met many kind and interesting people along the way as well and was reminded that we are all begininglessly enlightened beings inhabiting a wonderfully perfect world.

Now it’s all fading into the past. When I look at the route on Google Earth I wonder “did I really do that?” Amazingly I must have!

The Drala Jong project seeks to create a home for the Aro gTér Lineage. Please see the Appeal page for more information about the Drala Jong project and how to help.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Retreat Centre Appeal : Yoga - sKu-mNyé

Vajrayana Buddhist lineages commonly contain several systems of physical yoga, used both as a focus for meditation and for secondary benefits such as general health and wellbeing.

Three such from the Aro gTér lineage are A-tri, sKu-mNyé and Trul’khor (yantra yoga in Sanskrit).

sKu-mNyé in particular has been taught by a number of our qualified teachers both to Buddhists and those interested in personal fitness on retreat and at evening classes.

The Drala Jong project seeks to create a home for the Aro gTér Lineage. Please see the Appeal page for more information about the Drala Jong project and how to help.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Spacious Passion

Spacious Passion
By Ngakma Nor’dzin

Ngakma Nor’dzin Pamo explores the Sutric teaching of ‘The Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to Practice’ as vividly relevant to our everyday lives: the extraordinarily precious opportunity to live as an honorable human being; the experience of impermanence that pervades our existence as an opportunity to awaken; the emotional and psychological patterning which dominates our lives; and the seemingly endless cycle of dissatisfaction in which we imprison ourselves.

This clear, direct and incisive commentary will be enjoyed equally by those who are new to Buddhism as well as experienced practitioners.

For more information about Spacious Passion please see and for other books, please see

The Drala Jong project seeks to create a home for the Aro gTér Lineage. Please see the Appeal page for more information about the Drala Jong project and how to help.