The sea and sky are our shrine room.

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Interview with the lineage holders

Ngak'chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen were interviewed by Steve James of Guru Viking about our retreat centre, Drala Jong.

"The sea and sky are our shrine room.
The natural elements are our meditation."

The Aro gTér is a Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist lineage whose unusual characteristics make it singularly appropriate for many Westerners. The Aro gTér Tradition is principally concerned with transforming our experience of everyday being, rather than achieving an esoteric or spiritualised mode of existence. Our aim is to engender cheerful courage, perceptive consideration, sincere determination, natural gallantry, graciousness, creativity, and spaciousness.

The teachings of the Aro gTér descend from a lineage of enlightened women, beginning with Yeshé Tsogyel. She was the female Tantric Buddha, who, together with Padmasambhava, founded the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism. The Aro gTér is a small family lineage within that tradition founded by the female visionary Lama Aro Lingma in 1909.

The Aro gTér Tradition is now represented in Britain, America, and Europe by several Lamas and their senior ordained students. These teachers are Westerners, born and raised in our cultures. Accordingly, they may be better able to understand the practical concerns of Westerners than Buddhist teachers raised in the East. Nevertheless, they rigorously avoid incorporating elements of psychotherapy, 'political correctness', or New Age formulae into Vajrayana Buddhism.

The teachers of the Aro gTér Tradition are not monks or nuns. They are ordained Tantrikas whose lives are, in many ways, quite ordinary. They may have conventional jobs, or raise children. Many teach as married couples. Their wisdom is embodied in the ways they live everyday life. Facing the same life challenges as their students, they are able to offer advice that is grounded in personal experience as well as profound religious understanding.

The Aro gTér Tradition emphasises simplicity, clarity, and depth, both of practice and understanding. To wield the essential functions of Buddhism is our mode of practice. To grasp the essential principles of Buddhism is our mode of study.

The path presented by the Aro gTér Tradition is structured as a series of phases which allow a gradually increasing involvement and commitment as interest and understanding deepens.

For the general public, we offer talks, a course of classes, weekend retreats, weekly meditation groups, and a host of learning materials including a free on-line meditation course, books, newsletters, and several web sites. See our calendar to find events near you.

Aro gTér Tradition Members are provided with individual instruction from ordained mentors.

The Aro gTér Tradition apprentice programme provides a close personal relationship with a Lama or teaching couple, longer apprentice-only retreats, access to more advanced teachings, and membership in a warm, close-knit community. The number of students per Lama is quite limited, to enable frequent in-depth interaction.

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