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Both mindfulness and compassion can be practiced in their own right from an entirely secular paradigm, to bring about feelings of happiness, joy tranquillity and connectedness. When practised in a Buddhist context however, the aim of mindfulness is to become aware of the states of mind that cause suffering, this is known as insight. Once one can see clearly, it is possible to bring about complete cessation of suffering as described in the Buddha's primary teaching of the four noble truths. This is known as enlightenment. 

The Buddha, after attaining enlightenment approximately 2500 years ago, dedicated the rest of his life to teaching others how to free themselves from suffering. These teachings (the dharma) spread widely throughout India, into the rest of Asia, and the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal & Bhutan.  During the 19th Century, Buddhism began to appear in the West. Becoming more popular during the 1960s counterculture, growing exponentially after the Chinese occupation of Tibet, when many highly realised Lamas fled, including the His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.  In 1967, two of these Lamas, Akong Rinpoche and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founded Samye Ling in Scotland, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the West. Chogyam Trungpa later moved to America teaching Tibetan Buddhism to Western students from within the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, as well as presenting the "Shambhala teachings", a secular rather than religious approach to enlightenment.

Our weekly drop-in classes are led by Rachael and include teachings and discussion on Buddhist philosophy and how to apply Dharma to our Western lives, whether you consider yourself a Buddhist or not.


Rachael has been practicing Buddhism primarily within the Tibetan tradition since 2006. She has studied with all three major lineages: Gelug, Kagyu and Nyingma to a high level. She is a trained teacher within the Shambhala tradition and teaches regularly at the London Shambhala Centre. She continues to deepen her own practice within this tradition, acknowledging Chogyam Trungpa as one of her main teachers as well as working closely with her guru Lama Lena, an internationally reconised teacher of Direct Mind Perception meditation (Dzogchen & Mahamudra) and a lineage holder of several Tibetan Buddhist traditions.  

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