[Main ROKPA Homepage]

The aims of our charitable Trusts. How we started.
Kagy Samye Ling and Kagyu Samye Dzong centres in Europe and Africa
Resident and visiting lamas. Other lineage teachers and dharma helpers.
HH the 17th Gyalwa Karma, Urgyen Tinley Dorje. The illustrious Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
A useful collection of Buddhist teachings - theory and meditation.

The Buddha and his Teaching

A Buddha is not a saviour but a teacher. His teachings ("dharma") show us what to do in order to achieve the same state that he achieved. The dharma is perpetuated through the ages, as a living tradition of enlightened experience and as a philosophy, by those members of the Buddhist community who have themselves already achieved unmistaken insight. These are known as the realised sangha.

The Buddha's teachings spread from India throughout Asia, even reaching as far as the Greek empire at one point (Buddhist Greek monarch - Melinder). To the east, they reached what are today Japan, Indonesia, Mongolia and Russia, and countries (such as China, Burma etc.) on the way from India to these continental extremities. Today they are to be found throughout the world.

The teachings themselves are addressed to 3 different audiences:

... those wishing to improve their worldly experience, in this life and future lives, through a better understanding of the causal mechanisms of existence.
... those who recognise the limited, anguished nature of worldly existence, wish to free from it forever and who therefore seek a lasting peace and happiness.
... those who want not just the peace and happiness of liberation from worldly suffering, but all the myriad qualities present in total enlightenment. These qualities enable great benefit for all other forms of conscious life, as we can see from the life of Sakyamuni Buddha.

Each of us is unique. We have different needs and different aspirations. Among those who benefit from practising the Buddhist meditation techniques and way of life, one can distinguish three major capacities (yãna):

... the hinayana - the first two audiences mentioned above. The keypoints of their spiritual path are non- violence, pure ethics and meditation (mainly concentration meditation).
... the mahayana - the third audience. Their path, which has a broader ethical dimension and a wider and deeper scope of meditation, is underpinned at all times by a compassionate longing to achieve the ultimate potential of one's own existence in order to be truly capable of helping others.
... the vajrayana - a special development of the mahayana buddhism mentioned above. It is special on account of the very powerful, customised, meditation techniques which it employs. This third yana can only be applied when an excellent and properly-qualified teacher (Skt. = guru) teaches someone who has the required stability and qualities of mind.