Attendees of a weekend on Ngondro
Report by Dominique Side
Following Sogyal Rinpoche’s visit to Bhutan last May, and the extraordinary interest in his teachings there, a group of people has begun to meet regularly in Thimphu. All students are following What Meditation Really Is, with around 60 meeting on Saturday evenings and another 30 or so on Wednesday evenings. Rinpoche asked me to support the group, so during the months of June and July I have been leading most of the sessions briefly on audio or on pre-recorded video.
Rinpoche then asked me to visit the group in order to strengthen it and to help keep up the momentum until his next visit. It thus came about that I had the immense good fortune to visit Bhutan for two weeks at the end of July.
I started in Paro by working together with two teachers from Naropa University on a course in mindfulness and meditation for the staff of the Teacher Training College. Next I went to Thimphu where I began with a weekend of Facilitator Training, with 39 participants from both Thimphu and Paro. This was followed by a three-day course on Meditation and Health with 80 participants including doctors, nurses, school teachers, former drug addicts, psychiatrists and mental health patients. Finally I led the Introduction to Ngondro course over my final weekend with around eighty of the members of the Rigpa group. Many people wept with joy when Rinpoche joined us live through skype on the Sunday afternoon, sharing a teaching on Refuge from Lerab Ling and giving refuge.
The Thimphu group will now begin offering the Parallel Programme courses on ngondro alongside meditation, while in Paro a new Rigpa group within the Teacher Training College will start the first module of What Meditation Really Is in August. I have the distinct feeling that these genuine and warm-hearted people are already part of our family.