Thursday, 30 April 2015

Join Chris Haydon on his walk to Bird Rock

You can stay up to date with Chris's Drala Jong Fundraising Walk via his event page on Facebook. You can join him there, see his photographs and send him encouraging messages.

On Wednesday he reported "A fantastic day's walk into Exmoor, and just past quarter distance completed. Today's highlights included nice scenery, Tarr steps, a stag crossing my path, the Exmoor hunt, sky sign, and an upgraded room."

If you feel so moved, you can donate money via Totalgiving. It would be wonderful to see him reachi his target of £3000.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A sparkling meadow

The centre will bear the Tibetan name ‘Drala Jong’, which means ‘Sparkling Meadow of Primal Iridescence’. Of this name, Spiritual Directors Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen write:

‘Drala Jong innately exists in human beings. ‘Drala’ is the appreciative faculty which exponentially enlivens people the more they engage with the world. Appreciation is the key to enjoyment and to the delighting in the enjoyment of others. When we learn to appreciate phenomena our sense fields ‘Jong’ begin to sparkle and a sense of generosity is born which connects us with others. Although Vajrayana Buddhism is by no means unknown in the West – the sense in which enjoyment and compassion are mutually interdependent remains unexpressed. We would like Drala Jong to be a place where human beings could discover the pleasure of existence – the pleasure that animates the sense fields and revitalises the Arts – and the art of living.’

As a venue Drala Jong will be used for:
  • Talks, courses, and retreats – from single evenings to week long residential events
  • Public teachings for Buddhists and non-Buddhists on healthy, happy personal relationships; embracing emotions as a basis for meditation; physical yogas, Buddhist art, thangka painting, woodcraft, metal work, ceramics, dance, and music.
  • Private teachings for qualified Lamas and their personal students.

In the longer term we also intend to:
  •  House a library of books, audio-visual teaching recordings, texts, art, and photography pertaining to non-monastic Buddhist practice – and, to provide a venue for study by practitioners and academics, adults and children.
  •  Found a teacher training centre for the next generation ngak’phang teachers, as well as shorter courses on counselling and therapy influenced by Buddhist psychology.
  • Establish a residential care centre for ageing practitioners to grow old in dignity and company – whilst providing opportunities to learn from their experience and insight.
Please see the Retreat Centre Appeal page at

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Walking from Cornwall to Bird's Rock in Southern Snowdonia

Hi, my name is Chris Haydon and I am taking on the challenge of a 300 or so mile walk from my home in Torpoint, Cornwall to a place in North Wales called Craig-yr-Aderyn or Birds Rock.
300 miles equals 100 leagues in old units, or about 100 hours of actual walking time. It also represents a distance of 555 Km.

The project I ask you to support, should you wish to sponsor me, is to raise the cost of buying and setting up the Drala Jong retreat centre. The target to raise is £500,000 and currently about a third of this amount has been achieved.

There are, and have been, many attempts to translate the complex rituals and practices of vajrayana Buddhism into a form that is more congruent with modern western society. Some have been more successful than others. Aro is fairly unique in that it is a relatively small lineage which emphasises traditional teachings that work well in a modern context and which furthermore seeks to ensure that these precious teachings can survive in a modern world. In order to achieve this there is a need to establish a physical base for disseminating these teachings, arts, and crafting skills and preserve the artifacts associated with them. A place that will help establish and develop this tradition in the UK.

For more information, and to donate, please see 100 Leagues and Total Giving

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Drala Jong Retreat Centre Appeal

The Aro Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism wishes to establish a permanent centre in Britain to make this rare strand of Buddhism more accessible to people in the home country of our lineage holders Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen. We intend to raise £500,000 to establish a centre capable of hosting residential and non-residential events. Open to interested people every day of every week – and run on a financially and environmentally sustainable basis – it will provide unique facilities.

This will be the fulfilment of the vision of HH Düd’jom Rinpoche, the most remarkable Tibetan Lama of the 20th Century and Head of the Nyingma Buddhist Tradition, who gave instruction for the establishment of our organisation in 1977. In following that instruction over the last 30 years, the Aro tradition has:

  • established the world’s largest online library of images and information regarding the endangered Tantric ngak’phang ordination – established in Tibet in the 7th Century.
  • ordained the first female ngakmas and naljormas outside the Himalayan region in the 2,500 year history of Buddhism
  • contributed to housing, healthcare, and education for Tibetan Lamas and Tibetan children living in exile in India and Nepal.
It is now time for the tradition to have a permanent home in Britain, the country where our work began.
People endeavour to improve the world in different ways: through improvements in diet, physical and mental health, housing, and education. Our approach encourages joyful interpersonal relationships. Happy marital relationships ensure that children grow up in an atmosphere free of mutual psychological damage. Although we are a Buddhist charity, our teachings are open to anyone. At heart, the logic of our tradition is simple: world peace begins in the family. If children have positive rôle models in terms of their parents’ relationship, they are more likely to grow up as kind balanced individuals. This provides a self-perpetuating positive influence upon the world. 

Please see the Retreat Centre Appeal page at