A Letter from Yeshe Tungpa- Seonaidh Perks

The Vision of Celtic Buddhism


Recently, there has been some controversy concerning the role of Buddhism and Celtic cultural heritage. Some students have wanted to emphasize their Celtic culture and make their own paths, fitting Buddhism on the backburner. It’s important to know what our lineage gurus have said on this subject.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche said “Cultural attachments are the most difficult things to transcend or give up.”

Orgyen Kusum Lingpa said, “Buddhism is like gold, and Celtic is like bronze.”

Therefore, it is important to understand that in the Celtic Buddhist lineage, our ground is always Buddhism—the way of the Buddha and the Buddhas and gurus of the lineage.

It has been said that there can be no realization without devotion. And that devotion is the meeting of minds of guru and the student. That is how Dharma is transmitted. And in order to develop or foster that lineage, one has to have devotion, which goes beyond critical, logical, debatable, intellectual thinking.

Tilopa did not debate Dharma with Naropa. Naropa did not debate Dharma with Marpa. And Marpa did not debate Dharma with Milarepa.

Celtic Buddhism is not a debating society. It is a living lineage of the transmission of enlightenment between gurus and students.

If Celtic Buddhism is to continue, one should understand this. If it is not to continue, which is certainly okay, we are not interested in it becoming an organization such as Boy Scouts, Big Brothers, or Big Sisters. While these organizations do present good paths within society, Celtic Buddhism is not visible in that society, other than in its display of compassionate action. Tantra has always been kept secret. And should continue to be kept secret.

I am not going to bother to inject here the current sexual fascination with guru/student relationships. Tantra has always been related to sexual passion. And because of that, it can lead to much misunderstanding and corruption, when putting it in the realm of conceptual bindings of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

One should realize that Tantra is alive and electric. It will either turn you to toast, burn you up, or transform you, in whichever way you choose or do not choose to work with it and with your guru.

You may be doing wonderful things, dancing round the Maypole, playing with the dralas, having fantastic meditational experiences, visiting celestial realms, you may even wish to solidify these states by wanting to make paths out of them and give them names, like Drala Priests, Ladies of the Dance, or Masturbators of the Universe—while all these states may be fascinating, essentially they are the display of the maras.

 Celtic Buddhism is the Tantra of the Slap in the Face with the Slipper between Tilopa and Naropa. It is that instant of realization, nothing else!

The ability to return to the discipline of compassion for all beings is the continuum of the breath of the lineage. That is why Kukkuripa, while visiting the God realm, looked down and saw at the cave entrance his dog waiting for him to return. When he saw this his heart broke open and he shed tears, and he left the celestial realms to return to his yearning bitch dog and the cave.

According to our friends, the Chinese and Tibetans, this New Year is the Year of the Earth Boar. Which, dependent upon your abilities could be a wild ride or you could lead the piggy home to a fantastic barbecue.

In any case Jolly Good Luck! and Much Love, Yeshe Tungpa


P.S. I hope everyone is able to continue doing the Ekajati practice as I had been told recently that it is helping.

P.P.S. If your aim in Celtic Buddhist is not to be a Tantric yogi, but instead to follow the Bodhisattva path, that is completely acceptable, but it should be clear in your own mind.



Some News from the Riverbank House Recovery, Laconia, NH...





Thomas Oflaherty

Aug 30, 2018, 10:07 AM (1 day ago)

Our Spiritual Mentor Residency Program


He lives by the motto “May I serve to be perfect.  May I be perfect to serve.”

You might find him around the neighborhood weeding the garden or guiding meditation in the yoga studio.  As we might expect of a Buddhist monk, Lama Tomas wears colorful robes and multiple strings of prayer beads.  But he is also heavily tattooed, and he enjoys the occasional cigar.  He claims over 2700 Facebook friends and sports a unicorn hood ornament on his little car.  And he lives among residents in the big house at 96 Church Street.  To the delight of our entire community, Lama Tomas aspires only to be of spiritual service to the men and families of Riverbank House, our first Lama-in-residence.


A life-long seeker and student of Buddhism, the Ven. Lama Naomh Tomas received ordination on June 26, 2014.  His spiritual lineage stems from the Order of Celtic Buddhist Monastics.  His commitment to a simple life of service has taken him to an eclectic mix of communities.  He has ministered to the elderly and dying homeless in Panama.  He has led outreach and Refuge Recovery meetings at the Anadaire Celtic Buddhist Center in Saxtons River, VT.  And most recently, he has come home to Riverbank House as our community’s resident spiritual friend and mentor.



When he was fifteen years old, Tomas felt drawn to Buddhism.  He met with his first teacher, a Chinese Buddhist monk, over regular lunches in Boston’s Chinatown.  A busboy acted as interpreter. After years of seeking, learning, practicing, and voracious reading, Lama Tomas sought to fulfill a promise made to him by his spiritual teacher: “You will find out who you are.”

In the tradition of simple service, for years Tomas traveled from Vermont to regularly guide the Riverbank House community in Buddhist practice on Wednesday afternoons.

“But,” he says, “We don’t live life on our own terms. Everything changes.  Nothing is permanent.”  Riverbank House was calling to him with its undeniable and indescribable aura of hope and promise.

“Then,” he says, “the saddest moment of my life, the death of my son (by suspected overdose), created an opportunity, a mission, a call to heart-work.”  Noah’s death presented “a very pure opportunity to make a difference with men who are young, who are working so hard to stay alive.”

“Drug use can feel like the way to – until it gets in the way of – spirituality,” the Lama says.  He has made it his mission to be the compassionate presence that invites men to experience a real and lasting peace without drugs or alcohol.

And he doesn’t hesitate to sprinkle blessings upon us all as he celebrates having finally found who he truly is.



Bill Scheffel

"Our dear friend Bill Scheffel took his life on July 8, in Boulder, Colorado. This is such sad and disturbing news. Bill was a devoted student of the Vidyadhara, a wonderful poet and documentary filmmaker. He will be sorely missed.

Bill Scheffel was a graduate of Naropa University, where he received an MFA in creative writing in 1994. He taught Chance, Synchronicity and Mind-writing for ten years in Boulder and throughout the U.S, and classes in creative non-fiction and poetry at Naropa University for many years. His own writing teachers include Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and Diane di Prima, among others. Bill became a student of CTR in 1976, and began to teach Shambhala Training in 1980. He also taught the Shambhala Meditation Practicum at Naropa University from 1991 to 2004."


Yeshe Tungpa talk at Karma Choling

Yeshe was invited to participate as a guest speaker during the June Shambhala Household Program at Karma Choling Meditation Center in Barnet, Vermont. The program was led by Lady Diana Mukpo based on the Shambhala Household teaching presented by Trungpa Rinpoche. 

Yeshe was Trungpa Rinpoche's attendant and was involved in the process of setting up and establishing the Kalapa Court. Part of Trungpa's teachings involved imparting the creating of uplifting households to help establish Shambhala culture and enlightened society as a whole.


yeshe talk at KC4.JPG
Yeshe and Lady Diana Mukpo.JPG

Yeshe Tungpa and Lady Diana Mukpo