About Longchen

Welcome to the Longchen Foundation

Welcome to the Longchen Foundation, an international community of Buddhist students and teachers practising the teachings of the Mahayana Maha Ati (Dzogchen) tradition of Buddhism. The community, or mandala, is under the spiritual direction of lineage holder Rigdzin Shikpo.

Rigdzin Shikpo has been charged by his root teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche with revealing the essence of these teachings, which encompass the Hinayana, Mahayana and Secret Mantra Vajrayana vehicles and to establish an awakened society of teachers and practitioners in our western culture.

Rigdzin Shikpo’s vision is for the Longchen Lineage to be akin to the great lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, and last for over one 1000 years. The Longchen teachings are a modern day terma,  introducing Maha Ati to students in a framework suitable for the West.

When, in 1975, he was approached by HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche to set up the Longchen Foundation, they were very keen that the lineage should stay as close as possible to its source, so all texts are in English and use Sanskrit terms rather than traditional Tibetan ones. HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was the late great head of the Nyingma lineage in Tibet and Chogyam Trungpa was a Tibetan exile who was one of the first pioneers bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West.

At the core of the Longchen canon is the Lion’s Roar program, which arose from Rigdzin Shikpo’s wisdom as a way of reaching out to today’s students of Buddhadharma. It is a direct inspiration from the teachings of Longchen Rabjam. The Lion’s Roar provides an in-depth introduction to formless meditation: over a period of three years, the course is carefully structured with a series of teachings and special practices, based on the Maha Ati view, allowing the student to become more attuned to his or her direct experience, unravelling the layers of misconceptions that blind us from the ultimate nature of reality.

Maha Ati or Dzogchen

In the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Maha Ati teachings are the pinnacle of all the Buddhist teachings. They are said to be the most direct teachings on our true nature that exist. They were discovered by Garab Dorje and have been passed down in the Nyingma School of  Tibetan Buddhism for over a thousand years.  In the fourteenth century they almost died out but were revived by the great master Longchen Rabjam from whom our Foundation takes its name. Rigdzin Shikpo is a lineage holder of the ‘Longchen Nyingtik’ literally ‘heart drops of the great space,’ the heart essence of reality itself. The teachings are said to be ‘self-secret’ and it takes years of meditation to understand their subtlety.  A system of transmission from master to student has kept these teachings alive for generations and continues to this day in the Longchen Foundation.

The path of training, which is also the goal, is the Indestructible Heart Essence. Entry points include Path of Freedom events, The Lion’s Roar and Heart of Buddha teachings. Some happen at local and national group events as well as in retreat environments. If you’re not sure where to start, then why not try the video teachings on the main page or visit our meditation or teachings pages. Or check out our events calendar to find an event or teaching near you.

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