Festival's truth a hearty awakening

Buddhist teacher and translator Sonam Rigzin will appear at the conscious awakening O'Heart Festival in Tyalgum this weekend.
Buddhist teacher and translator Sonam Rigzin will appear at the conscious awakening O'Heart Festival in Tyalgum this weekend. Contributed

ONE of the highlights of this weekend's O'Heart Festival at Tyalgum village will be the appearance of renowned Buddhist teacher and translator Sonam Rigzin.

As a young man in India, Rigzin translated for many high lamas including the Dalai Lama, and has lived in Australia since 1982. In those early years he was a powerful voice introducing the Tibetan cause to Australian audiences, and was a founder of the Australia Tibet Council.

Rigzin combines an academic and practical commitment to Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan cause, with the ultimate in Australian larrikinism.

"We are so thrilled that Sonam will be participating in this year's O'Heart Festival,” said festival committee member Kirra Springs.

"He brings with him a depth of understanding and wisdom, and will be presenting considerations of truth and heart awakening, which is exactly what the O'Heart Festival is all about.”

Official translator for the Gyuto Monks of Tibet since 1994, Rigzin has helped the work of the monks become available to the Australian public through cultural public programs and school programs.

More than one million children know and love Rigzin as the person who has introduced them to feeling good about themselves and published CDs, film, and books.

The mystery and magic of the monks was made available through the ability of Sonam to translate theory and tantric practice into wise counsel needed by ordinary Australians.

This work would not be so well-known in Australia were it not for his dedication. 

Public talks and meditation sessions proved to be a popular and important component of the public programs. Humour has played a large part in this process plus a distinctly Australian vernacular. It is his fault that monks return to their monastery in India knowing and enjoying quite a lot about cricket, football and coffee.

On a more serious note, Sonam endured as hard an early life as anyone, which has left its scars. His life experience has made him particularly sensitive to and helpful towards those suffering illness, loss, depression and anxiety.

Above all, his gift to us is wisdom, delivered with deep empathy and humour when its needed. After 23 years travelling with the Gyuto Monks of Tibet, he plans to write a book and blog - his is a riveting story which is bound to be fascinating.

Rigzin will be appearing on both days at the festival, at the following places and times.

  • Rewriting suffering presentation: Saturday 11.30am-12.30pm, Outside Marquee, Tyalgum Hall.
  • Solving the problems presentation: Saturday 3-4pm, Outside Marquee, Tyalgum Hall.
  • Survival strategies guided meditation: Sunday 11am-12pm, Tyalgum Hall.
  • For more info on all of the presentations and talks on offer at the O Heart Festival this weekend head to

O'Heart Festival

Where: Tyalgum

When: August 26-28

Topics:  buddhism entertainment flutterbies music o'heart festival tweed entertainment tyalgum

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