More than 60 people from all over Israel gathered last weekend at Kibbutz Kadarim, in the north of of the country, for the annual Israeli Rigpa retreat.
There were established students of Sogyal Rinpoche, newcomers who learned about meditation for the first time, and others who follow and practice other Buddhist traditions or religions, such as Judaism.
The teachings of Sogyal Rinpoche were presented by Andrew Warr, a Rigpa senior instructor. This was Andrew's sixth visit to Israel to hold the annual retreat.
Last year, the retreat was on "Loving Kindness". This year, Sogyal Rinpoche's recent teachings on the Profound methods of bringing forth the Nature of Mind were shared. It was marvelous to see how this series of teachings brought the deepest meaning of meditation to an audience regardless of the level of their experience. Many were deeply touched and inspired, some moved to tears several times.
One participant said: “Rinpoche's teachings are so vast and deep, that even if the next retreat would be identical to this one, I would still learn so much from it”.
Another student, who had studied meditation in other traditions, remarked how tremendously helpful this retreat was for him. He said that even though he had studied many meditation methods in the past, this time he understood the deeper meaning of what meditation is, and its profound purpose. About Rigpa Israel Rigpa Israel started more than 10 years ago. Although still a small group, it has developed over the years and there are now a number of students following Rigpa's Home Retreat and some who have just returned from Lerab Ling, Rigpa's main retreat centre, where they completed a three year retreat.
There are two groups that meet in Israel, one in Jerusalem and one in Zichron Yaakov. Next month the group hopes to hold its first Rigpa Youth event, hopefully to be followed by many more.
Even though the Rigpa Israel group is still quite small, Sogyal Rinpoche's book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, available in Hebrew, is widely known in Israel and is read by many. It is a source of inspiration to people of all traditions, especially when facing death and sickness, and in a part of the world where there is so much suffering.