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.