I first met Lama Tilmann in 2007 at Madhyamaloka, which at that time was Triratna’s headquarters in Birmingham, where he had been invited to give a seminar on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation. I was asked to attend, and had a lot of dialogue with him, particularly about the value of long retreats. Talking to him inspired me (after knowing him for about 5 days) to ask if he would guide me in a long retreat. I spent over 3 years in retreat in France from 2008-11, practising under his guidance. It was an exceptionally valuable time, and I’m very grateful to him. Over those years we also became good friends.
Lama Tilmann is German, and is a leading student of Gendun Rinpoche (1918-97), a Tibetan yogi who came to the West in 1975. Under Gendun Rinpoche’s guidance, Lama Tilmann did 7 years of his own retreat, then spent over 16 years guiding men in the traditional 3-year retreats that are done in his Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, so he has a wealth of experience to share. These days he is based in a retreat centre he has established in the countryside near Freiburg.