our involvement

In summer 2001, two married British Lamas, from the Aro tradition of Nyingma Buddhism, came to Cornwall to give a retreat entitled “Songs of the Owl-Headed Dakini”. Ngala Nor’dzin Pamo and Ngala ’ö-Dzin Tridral, who lived in Cardiff with their two sons, gave teachings on the sutras from a Dzogchen perspective. James attended and took refuge, committing to the general promises of awareness and compassion with the refuge name of Wangdrüp Pawo given by the Lamas. In 2002, after attending another retreat with them, he sought and was granted apprenticeship with the Lamas, committing to regular practice and study. Since then he has attended regular retreats with them and their own small Sangha at their home, and with their Lamas, Ngakchang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, and their larger European Sangha at various centres in West Wales; also open retreats with all the Lamas.

In 2004, Sharon and Cassie (Cessair), having noticed improvements (!) in James, decided to attend a retreat with the Lamas and independently asked to become apprentices. Since then, we have been able to host the sangha and apprentice retreats in our home, much to our appreciation. The family had the delightful experience in summer 2010 of being together at James' ordination as Ngakpa Ké–drag Mi-kyö Drang–nyé Pawo having passed relevant tests and taken tantric vows. This recognises Tantric commitment to our Lamas and a commitment to maintain 14 root vows and practice as best as I can.

We hosted an open monthly meeting for local practitioners at our home, alternating with one in St. Just for a while, then we met solely in Penzance which is more accessible. We help organise the Lamas' retreats and teachings in Cornwall and Devon. hopefully we will meet again in Hayle.

2 pilgimages to Bodha with members of the sangha brought me into the presence of 2 great Lamas Künzang Dorje Rinpoche and his wife Jomo Samphel who expanded my understanding of the nature of practice and devotion just by being in their presence. A later trip during Cessair’s training programme which included 2 weeks in India enabled a personal meeting with Jomo Samphel and also with Tulku Sangngak Rinpoche who kindly gave me time to sit with hem.

To find out more about local practice, teachings and retreats, email James. See our contacts page, where you will find details of all Aro contacts in the EU and North America.

Retreats at our old home Midsummer 2008 and 2009

We were particularly pleased to host non–residential retreats at our home in 2008 and 2009. Our Lamas gave teachings in 2008 on The Path of Transformation and establishing Buddhist Practice as a way of life: how to transform ordinary experience into realised experience. They gave teachings on Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen in July 2009. We were also pleased to open our private sangha retreat for Sunday morning practice and informal lunch for the second time. For details of future events email James or check on published events.


Ngala Nor’dzin has written a book 'Spacious Passion' which explores the sutric teaching ‘The Four Thoughts That Turn The Mind To Practice’ from the perspective of Inner Tantra. It is available in digital form and as a printed copy, from Lulu.

Quoting from notes on Drala Jong, the UK Aro retreat centre, “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.”

Explore the Aro tradition at and where you will find details of events, people, teachings and an encyclopedia of the Nyingma Ngakphang tradition expressed through the Aro lineage. A good starting point might be about the Mother Essence Lineage today.

Events in all locations from US to Europe: the link offers a facility to refine your searches via country, event type and teacher, if any.

Frequently asked Questions about Meditation

Sign up for an online course in meditation. It is offered from a non-sectarian and non-religious perspective.

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A wonderful article on the Nature of Dzogchen by Düd’jom Rinpoche

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