The Lineage of the Siddhas
Venerable Seonaidh Perks
(Seonaidh, seated beside the center stone, teaching Anuyoga from Vajrayana teachings at Anadaire.)
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was Venerable Seonaidh Perks' root teacher. Seonaidh lived with him for seven years as his attendant, during which time they traveled extensively throughout the world. Out of this relationship of working and living together grew Celtic Buddhism.
Trungpa Rinpoche felt that a culture needed to deal with its own history, mythology and social structure in its relationship to Buddhism. He felt that these cultural aspects were difficult to see' because of their transparency, and that through investigation one could come to understand his or her cultural biases and their illusory nature. In Seonaidh's travels with Trungpa, particularly in Ireland, they had many long discussions about the early nature-based Celtic religion and also the Celtic Christian Church. Before Rinpoche's death in 1987, he told Seonaidh that he should go out on his own and start a lineage.
The archetypal deities of ancient Europe still exist in many peoples' psyche or mind. Seonaidh believes that these energies are actually based on or emanate tremendous compassion which has become overlaid with habitual clingings and fixations. The stripping away of this neurotic sludge is the starting point of Celtic Buddhist practice. Therefore, students and practioners engage in form and formless meditation practices as the foundation for Celtic Buddhism. These include calm-abiding, resting in the nature of mind, clear insight, and the "sending and taking" practice of loving kindness that develops a deeper altruism toward beings who may be in a state of suffering or confusion. Further practices at this time may include Deity yoga and the cutting through practice of Chöd.
The Celtic Buddhist Lineage
Much of Celtic Buddhism is rooted in the Tibetan tradition in which Seonaidh was trained. In addition to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Seonaidh considers both the 16th Karmapa and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche as his teachers.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was a leading figure in the Nyingma tradition. He was one of the foremost meditation masters of the Mahayana, Mahamudra and Great Perfection traditions of Vajrayana Buddhism.
John was given the task of attendant to Khyentse during his visits to Boulder, Colorado.
Rangjung Rigpe Dorje
The Karmapa is the head of the Kagyu lineage, to which Trungpa belonged. His embodiment of compassion was recognized by all who were fortunate enough to be in his presence.
John attended the seminary at which the 16th Karmapa taught. John also accompanied Trungpa on his overseas visits to the Karmapa at the time of his illness.
Current Lineage Holders of the Crazy Heart Lineage of Celtic Buddhism:
Peg Junge was empowered in September of 2003. She brings the Dharma to the workplace by bringing her business and organizing skills to institutions and small businesses.
Bill Burns was empowered in May 2004 as the Lineage Holder of the Stream of Celtic Mysticism. Bill is both a lifetime artist, composer/musician and meditation practitioner. He has completed many paintings synthesizing Tibetan thangka painting with celtic design.
Hugh Curran was born in Ireland and presently resides in Surrey,ME. He has been a Zen practioner since the mid-sixties and assisted Philip Kapleau at Rochester Zen Center. Hugh presently teaches in the Peace Studies Program at the University of Maine and is an activist on homelessness and peace issues. He was empowered in September, 2004 on Caterpillar Hill overlooking Penobscot Bay in Maine.
Confessions of a confused mind:
Still feeling my way into the question of spirituality (and for that matter, life); attracted to Buddhism for its basic teachings and philosophy, with guidance to find one’s own path; attracted to the Celtic aspect as an interesting overlay of exploration with its dreamlike familiarity and perplexing strangeness—and the wonder of both.
This particular constellation of people and ideas challenges my desire for comfort and ordinariness (the latter of which has proven illusive to find, much less settle into) and poses an interesting question in considering how to live one’s life.
My daily practice is Jin Shin Jyutsu self help. It is a profound yet simple practice of holding fingers, shoulders, or other body points to balance energy. It is clear to me that in order to be of any help to others, I must first work on myself. Another current practice is trying to understand the drop of personality within the ocean of primordial energy in all its displays, and trying to gain awareness of both my negative and positive responses to that array.
I am inspired by the thought that one day I may develop enough clarity to express myself through the beauty of stained glass. And that I may learn enough Jin Shin Jyutsu self help to translate that benefit to others.
Dr. Newcomb Greenleaf was brought into the lineage in 2005, but it took him a long time to genuinely and wholeheartedly embrace this calling without giggling. He sees Celtic Buddhism as Earth-embracing, Earth-centered, as finding the sacred in the ordinary. He hopes that Celtic Buddhism gives birth to powerful myths and changes our relationship with our Mother. We can realize that we are not separate from our environment, because we have never left it, and we can see that the land on which we dump our waste is just as sacred as the awesome vista of Yosemite or Katahdin. Among Newcomb's favorite practices are those, like the Earth descents of Reggie Ray, that let our awareness give in to the acceleration we call gravity. He likes to dance.
Brian Schwartz is committed to retaining his curiosity about being a human being on earth and is most grateful for the primordial friendship of Aurthur and Gesar. He has a Master's Degree in Buddhist Studies from Naropa University and was a member of the first graduating class of Marlboro College's MBA: Managing for Sustainability program. He is currently working in the Bronx learning the way of plants.
Sarah Kilts is a writer, poet and musician. Raised in a French-Canadian/Irish Catholic family in Northern Vermont, she discovered Buddhist teachings as a teenager, and has been engaged with the Buddha Dharma ever since. She has a degree in Cultural Anthropology and Writing, and has studied in Kenya, Uganda, India, Nepal and Tibet. Sarah has been a student of many teachers from different lineages within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She has received transmission in the Dzogchen Teachings of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. Her practices focus on integrating spirituality into the many aspects of her daily life. Sarah plays bass and sings in the band Diablo's Dust, with her partner Thom. To hear their music, visit: www.myspace.com/diablosdust
Venerable Thom Kilts was ordained with his wife Sarah in Ireland. He has a lifetime of Buddhist training in both secular and monastic settings. He has a masters degree in Buddhist Studies and has been granted Master of Divinity equavalencies from both the Association of Professional Chaplains and Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. He is certified by both agencies as one of the first Buddhist board certified chaplains and teaching supervisors. He has worked in the professional chaplaincy world for most of his life. While Director of Spiritual Care in the bay area of San Fransico, CA, he struggled with an illness that forced him to leave his occupation and move close to the Anadaire Center in Vermont. After a couple years of recovery and discovery he has been diagnosed with a chronic illness and through experimenting with different medicines has finally found one that has allowed him to return to work. Now Thom lives with his family in Brampton, Ontario, Canada where he is starting a new clinical pastoral education program in one of the most religiously and culturally diverse regions of Canada. He is now certified by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care and affliated as an associate professor with the University of Toronto. Thom is also a musician and has released a number of albums along with his wife as the band "Diablo's Dust." Thom is working on a book that uses the celtic understanding of anam cara as a model of professional spiritual care for Buddhists. He is available in the Toronto area for traditional Buddhist teaching, as well as our community contact for those interested in pursuing chaplaincy as right livelihood.
Thom has been appointed as the Director of Celtic Buddhism for Canada.
Ozay Rinpoche and Ahiranta were recognized as lineage holders of Celtic Buddhism in September 2010, following a vision given to Ven. Seonaidh Perks.
Ozay Rinpoche is a well-known personage on the Internet where he works as an Ego Slaughterer. Before ‘slaughtering egos’ Ozay spent some time in prison where he started a vigorous discipline of Bible reading and meditation practice. This process allowed Ozay to escape his imprisonment --not from the cell he was in but from the imprisonment of the mind, reaching enlightenment in 1982. Ozay then gave this non-experience the words "I have completely realized my-self" .Ozay remembers many life-times and recognizes many people around him from those former lives. As Gurdjieff, he always wanted to come and stay in England but was refused entrance into the UK on many occasions. This unfulfilled desire manifested in this lifetime by Ozay being born in London around the corner from J.G.Bennett, a life long pupil of Gurdjieff.
While growing up in Wales Ozay's father died when Ozay was at the age of 18 months. During the first three years of his life, Ozay never spoke a single word, preferring to remain in silence. From his Welsh Celtic father and Spartan Greek Cypriot mother, Ozay inherited a strong determination and developed a deep love for the outdoors and physical endurance. He was not interested in being intellectually educated and he subsequently left school at a very young age.
Ozay Rinpoche and his wife Ahiranta divide their time between Sweden, England and Wales. They are building a retreat center in Sweden and they also have a piece of land in Wales on which a future spiritual center might be built. Ozay presently explains to others the process of escaping their inner captivity. Ozay Rinpoche's story is told in his first book, Freedom! Escaping the Prison of the Mind. website: www.ozayrinpoche.com
Ahiranta was born into a Catholic family of 8 in a small Dutch village. Upon remembering her former life, she clearly experienced feelings of being born in the wrong place. She has memories that go back to a very young age and former life times. Around the age of 6 she had a vision in which she saw a man who cradled an ill Ahiranta in his strong arms, taking her with him. This vision became reality when Ahiranta met Ozay Rinpoche. He was the man she had seen in that vision so many years ago. Ahiranta and Ozay Rinpoche shared a mutual recognition of each other.. They had experienced many life times together in different roles: husband and wife, brother and sister, as friends and as enemies.
Ahiranta did her inner-work under the guidance of Ozay Rinpoche through the process of reasoning, self-observation, contemplation and meditation. Ahiranta shares her experiences and insights through the Internet and her writings.
Sister Gryphon was empowered as a lineage holder in July,2011. Sister Gryphon is the Abbess of Glen Ard Abbey and the Director of Shambhala teachings in the Celtic Buddhist Lineage.
Sister Gryphon trained and lived for 8 years at Zen Mountain Monastery where she took postulant and novice ordination vows. She then lived as a mendicant monk for several years taking various jobs and wandering, visiting other spiritual teachers and centers. In 2009 she met Seonaidh Perks and in 2010 received final monastic ordination vows in the Celtic Buddhist Lineage. Sister Gryphon also holds a degree in veterinary medicine and has trained and practiced holistic and herbal medicine. She has also trained with Tom Brown,Jr. in wilderness skills, living with the Earth, and has completed scout training. She is currently living in the woods of Howland, Maine and is in the process of creating an abbey and training temple there. www.celticbuddhistmonks.org/
Matilda Rose Padma Perks was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She became a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, taking refuge in 1990 and living at Shambhala Mountain Center from 2000-2001. There she completed both Seminary and Meditation Instruction training. Tillie went to the University of King's College in 1999, and received a BA in Philosophy from McGill University in 2006. When she is not traveling with her avant pop band, Valleys, she lives in Montreal. Her current practice is Rigden Ngondro.
Sophie Octavia Pushpa Perks was born in 1979 at the Kalapa Court in Boulder, Colorado, the residence of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche where her mother and father were servants. At her birth Trungpa recognized Sophie as an incarnation of G.I. Gurdjieff. In 2000, Sophie became a student of Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche and Jetsun Dechen Paldron. She worked for eleven years at the Santen Tse Retreat Center in Mussoorie, India, the Lotus Garden Retreat Center in Virginia, and traveled worldwide with her teachers. Sophie accomplished all the preliminary practices in both the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. She currently resides in New York City where she is a caregiver for private clients.
Richard E. Johnson, Sr grew up on a dairy farm near Dublin, Texas. At the age of fourteen, while standing in a corn field, he decided to become a minister. He attended Texas A&M, Sam Houston State, Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology, The University of Texas, and the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. from which he holds various degrees. His life work has been primarily as a psychotherapist, a college teacher and an Episcopal priest.
He began his Buddhist life in 1968 at San Francisco Zen Center, and that practice has continued unabated, deeply influencing his life and work. He currently teaches part-time and works as an Associate Priest of two parishes in the Bangor, Maine area where an important part of his work involves leading meditation groups.
He is married, has four grown children and seven grandchildren.
Tom Oflaherty is an ordained ronan monk in the Soto Zen tradition and an ordained minister (Church of Human Secularism). He came to Buddhism through Jack Kerouac and the Beats, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Ven. Samu Sunim and Ven. John Perks. He is always guided by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama and describes his practice as steeped in the Siddha tradition -- an unhomed wandering monk who teaches by example and with compassion.
Bill Scheffel : My affiliation with Celtic Buddhism grew from a long-term friendship with Seonaidh, beginning when we were both attendants to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Celtic Buddhism has been like discovering cousins I didn't know I had, an ancestry I am already part of. Gassho.
Ven. Ty H. Phillips, MA, is the co-founder and director of Metta Home and School for Children in Cleveland, Ohio. TY holds a master's in psychology and is also a certified meditation and yoga teacher.
Ven. Phillips has spent the better part of the last 15 years studying comparative religion and was a formal student of Goswami Shastananda and an informal student of Satguru Shivaya Subramiyaswami. Upon completion of these studies Ty felt called to his spiritual home in Buddhism. He has studied with various teachers in both Japanese Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. Ty is currently studying with the Sri Lankan Thereveda master, the Ven. Badulle Sangarathana.
Ven. Phillips' future dharma projects in coordination with Metta Home will be a college and free clinic; Metta Institute of Mind Science and the Metta Free Clinic.
You may contact Ty at: email@example.com "
The Venerable Eido McIntyre, an Australian of Celtic Irish descent, was empowered as a Celtic Buddhist monk by Venerable Seonaidh in November 1, 2012. After finishing University where he studied philosophy, psychology and religion, Eido was ordained to the rank of Ovate in The Caer Witrin, a now defunct Druidic Order.
Eido's spiritual path lead him to Soto Zen where, after years of practice and study, he was ordained as a Soto Zen Priest by Zen Master Hogen Yamahata of the Open Way Zen (Japan) Tradition. Hogan San gave Eido a mission to work among the marginalized, alienated and disadvantaged in society. Following his Bodhisattva Vows, Eido works in two psychiatric hospitals and a serious offender correctional center. He teaches Meditation and gives Dharma Talks to the residents, inmates and some of the staff. Eido was empowered as a Lineage Holder on May 15, 2013. He is also an ordained Minister of the Worldwide Church of Agnostics.
Ken Ketchum is a typical child of the sixties, an American baby-boomer, confused wanderer, coward who had the immense good fortune to be attracted to some bright orange paperbacks on a bookstore shelf: Meditation in Action, Myth of Freedom, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. Trained in the Vajradhatu and Shambhala teachings of the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche at Karme Chöling, helped to raise a family in Vermont, and on and on. Please get in touch for more details if you like!
Meeting Major Perks recently seemed to open up a line to the heart, to reveal the next step in the endless process of realizing the teachings in this world. Ven. Seonaidh makes the teachings real; human, fresh, warm, ungraspable. I pray for his continued vigor, bliss and long life. I feel proud and humble to be asked to join in somehow with his appearance. At this point, speaking personally, Celtic means connected to the seamless ordinary magic of the world. Through this connection, our good heart wakes up and starts to sing. Ultimately, reality has no owner and no experiencer. Nevertheless goodness manifests always. This is easy to say. How to practice? Let's just proceed.