Tasting the Essence of Tantra
Tasting the Essence of Tantra
A four year meditation training program
Brimpts Farm, Dartmeet, Devon, UK
8 Residential long weekends
Starting January 2019
Fee for food, accommodation and facilitation
£250 per weekend
(A limited number of concessionary places will be available)
(Part of the proceeds will go towards a stupa restoration project in Lhadak)
One space is available
If you are interested please contact Rob
Tantra or Vajrayana is one of the most extraordinary aspects of Buddhism that emerged in India and became shaped and developed in its transmission through Nepal and into Tibet. Today this tradition is accessible to Westerners as Tibetan masters come to the West to teach. Many people are attracted to tantric practice but are not always able to make a deep connection partly because of its complexity and also because of the business of Western life. We may gain lots of intellectual knowledge about tantra but not know how to enable this to really touch and transform us. We need to practice in a way that addresses our particular psychological nature and difficulties. If we do not we may create a veneer of spiritual practice over hidden unresolved psychological problems. When practiced as a way of embodied meditation this need not happen, but that requires skilful guidance. Tantra is a rich and creative process that can touch us very deeply but to do so in must genuinely become our experience. We need to taste the essence of how tantra transforms us.
This series of retreats is intended to be a training in a way of tantric practice that emphasises an embodied meditation process that can deeply transform and awaken our nature. It will provide a practical ground of understanding and experience of the way tantra works. Rob brings together a unique blend of traditional understanding, meditation experience and Western psychology. This will be invaluable to both new and experienced practitioners to enable a deepening of the effectiveness of the tantric path.
To guide participants through a process of meditation training that deepens an embodied experience of tantra, not just intellectual knowledge
To bridge tantric practice and western psychological understanding as was Lama Yeshe’s aspiration.
To explore the way personal psychological and emotional process is integrated within the context of practice.
To deepen the relationship to the body and its felt sense within the process of meditation, crucial to tantric practice in cultivating a stable basis for practice.
To develop an experience and understanding of the nature of the energy-body, its relationship to the emotional body, and to the process of deity practice
To integrate body practices such as Kum Nye and the breath exercises associated with the practice of Tummo
To cultivate the practice of Mahamudra as the ground of awareness within which deity practice is based.
To develop an experience of key deities within Kryia tantra, exploring the nature of ritual and the deities role in guru yoga, healing and transformation.
During the course there will be a gradual introduction to the primary deity practices of Kriya tantra and to some of the foundations for the practice of Higher tantra. Each retreat will build upon the experience of the retreat before to gradually enable a taste of how tantra works. As the course progresses participants will be supported to establish an on-going meditation practice, and learn the processes of making offerings and other rituals. This program will be like an apprenticeship and will be basis for practice of the ngon dro as well as many aspects of of Higher Tantra.
Rob’s inspiration for this training comes from his years of study and practice guided by Lama Yeshe before his passing. Lama encouraged his integration of Buddhist and Western psychology creating a bridge for our Western experience. Rob's intention is to keep the flame of Lama's inspiration, vision and unique approach to practice alive through this training. His style of teaching is oriented to opening a dialogue around the material that is being explored. This is to maintain a spirit of exploration and creativity in the way tantra is integrated into Western experience rather than holding to rigid prescriptions of practice. Because of this, it is helpful to bear in mind that elements of the course may change as it unfolds to take into account what emerges as things progress and what is relevant to peoples experience.
Participants will need to have a sound basis of sutra understanding through the study of the Lam Rim and/or other teachings. They will need to have an ongoing meditation practice as well as some form of body practice. It will not be essential to have prior tantric empowerments although this course will be of great benefit to those that do. Participants will be expected to take refuge if they have not already done so and Rob will give this in the first weekend. Rob has been authorised by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to do this.
All participants will be asked to complete a simple application form giving details of Buddhist background as well as mental health background.
Numbers will be limited and so Rob will need to be sure that this training is appropriate for each participant. This will mean that he is likely to want to meet or speak with (via Skype if necessary) those he has not worked with previously.
Participants will be asked to commit to the entire series.
The course will consist of the following Modules:
Module 1: January 25-27, 2019
Becoming a stable vessel: In this module we will begin to work with the awareness of sensation, feeling and emotion within the body. This creates a sound basis of practice and a resource to help stabilise our relationship to our emotional life and the body. Within this we will explore the cultivation of a sense of definite emergence (renunciation) and refuge. This retreat will be supported by the practice of Shakyamuni Buddha. All participants will be able to go through a process of taking refuge.
Module 2: July 12-14, 2019
Awakening right intention: During this retreat we will begin to explore the healing of some of our wounding to our sense of self through developing compassionate presence. On the basis of compassion for ourselves we will develop the practices of Tong Len and the meditations for awakening Bodhicitta, the aspiration to serve the welfare of others, entering the Bodhisattva path. participants will be able to take an aspirational Bodhisattva vow. This retreat will be supported by practices associated with the deity Chenrezig.
Module 3: January 2020 Date to be clarified
Discovering the nature of mind: In this module we will bring together the insight of emptiness from Madyamika philosophy with meditation on the nature of mind in Mahamudra. We will look at the cultivation of the insight of emptiness and explore the stages for developing the practice of tranquil abiding and deepen the understanding of Buddha nature, Dharmakaya as the innate clear light nature of mind. This retreat will be supported by introducing the deity Manjushri.
Module 4: July 2020 Date to be clarified
The nature of Deity practice: In this module we will look more deeply at the psychology of deity practice and the sadhana developing our relationship to the sacred through prayers, offerings, prostrations and creating sacred space. We will look at the deity as gateway to our innate Buddha nature and how visualisation and mantra bring a taste of the deities quality.We will also explore the meaning and significance devotion and the role of the deity in guru yoga. This retreat will be oriented around the practice of Green Tara.
Module 5: Awakening the energy body: In this retreat we will shift attention to developing awareness of the energy body, introducing the processes of healing and purification and the significance of working with exercises such as Kum Nye and qigong. We will explore the nature of the chakras and their function and their relationship to our emotional life. There will be an introduction to the practice of tummo and its place within the evolution of tantra. We will look at the kind of energy problems that can arise in the body through meditation, as well as the roots of emotional problems and trauma and how this can be healed. We will explore the roll of an alchemical vessel in the process of transformation and healing. The practice of Heruka Vajrasattva will be introduced as a basis for healing.
Module 6: Working with the shadow: During this retreat we will begin to look at the transformation and purification of the shadow. We will go deeper into ways of working with the energy of our emotions and psychological patterns looking at their purification and transformation through symbolic ritual. We will explore the relationship between peaceful and wrathful deities, introducing the principle of transformation used in higher tantra practice. This retreat we will introduce the deity Vajrapani and the fire ritual of Dorjekhadro.
Module 7: The Masculine and Feminine: In this module we will begin to look at the outer inner and secret relationships between the masculine and feminine expressed in the nature of tantric daka/dakini and Jung’s anima/animus. We will begin to explore the significance of our search for union on a psychological and energetic level. We will look at the meaning behind the divisions of mother and father tantra and their psychological implications This process will be supported by deepening the practice of Heruka Vajrasattva looking towards the practices of Higher tantra.
Module 8: The Mandala and Visions of wholeness: In this final retreat we will begin to draw together elements of practice that have gone before into a more cohesive whole. We will explore the nature of the mandala as an important expression of the vision of wholeness and as a symbol of the homeostatic nature of the psyche. We will look at the 5 Buddha families and 5 elements and their contribution to our personal psychological experience of health and wholeness. During this week will also begin to look at the way forward in terms of individual practice and further personal retreat.
These retreats will be at approximately 6 month intervals and participants will be asked to maintain daily meditation practice between retreats, following the practices that have been taught. There will be mentoring support if needed to help address individual difficulties that may emerge in this process. Participants are encouraged to look at their own personal experience in this journey and take part in discussion around this as it helps practice to become more relevant to individual needs.
If you would like to attend it will be helpful to have a clear idea of your experience and background particularly in relation to the Tibetan tradition, as well as your meditation and retreat experience.
The Wisdom of Imperfection, The Psychology of Buddhist Tantra, The Courage to Feel, Preparing for Tantra, Feeling Wisdom and Tasting the Essence of Tantra, by Rob;
Introduction to Tantra, The Tantric path of Purification and The bliss of Inner fire by Lama Yeshe;
The Three Principle Aspects of the Path, by Geshe Sonam Rinchen;
An Ocean of Ultimate Meaning, by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.
The Gelug/Kargyu tradition of Mahamudra, by H.H.Dalia Lama.
The Awakening Body, by Reggie Ray
For further information or to apply please contact:
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org