Thursday, August 25, 2016

Khaita at Khandroling and Beyond by Naomi Zeitz

[Photo by F Dallorto]

From July 28th to August 16th, 2016, the Shang Shung Institute of America and the Tsegyalgar East Dzogchen Community were fortunate to host the visit of two wonderful Khaita dancers and recently authorized and excellent instructors, Salima Celeri and her daughter Yanchen. Both came to us from Merigar West, Italy, for a first time visit to the US, which included a few days in NYC and a grand finale visit on the way to the airport to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. Yanchen is a skilled basketball player as well and aficionada of the sport, so we were very pleased to be able to offer her a final (this time) American burger and a visit to the place where basketball was invented on the way to JFK airport! 

What we offered Salima and Yanchen was quite limited compared to what they gave to us. Each day during the week long Dzogchen Community festival on the land of Khandroling at the Vajra Hall, Salima and Yanchen spent two and sometimes a little more hours singing and dancing with us and with great precision, patience, and compassion, explaining all the dances, their meanings, the mudras and steps. Following the festival on the land, those who felt the pull and magic of Khaita, spent four hours a day at the Vajra Hall continuing the training and deepening their experience.

The Khaita experience culminated with a performance of three dances in a small city nearby on one of the hottest days of the year. This was the testament of the capacity of the instructors who formed a very joyful, cohesive and even somewhat graceful group of dancers out of an interesting mix of capacities and willingness. In English we have an expression of someone who can “make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”. They succeeded!

[Photo by Kathleen Fekete]

Salima and Yangcen have a charming mix of joy, humor, discipline and great skill, as well as a lot of patience and kindness. They are also so lovely to watch when they dance, and that alone becomes a powerful inspiration to learn and perfect the dances. Also their love for Khaita, for Rinpoche and his beautiful creation, for the meaning, mudras and movements of each dance, shine through and also create a very fertile ground from which their students can grow and blossom.

For them both, I am sure this praise will be too great and embarrassing, but for us the gratitude for their time with us and the gift of Khaita, as well as their devoted and special presence in a place that can become a little frozen like its long winters, is somewhat inexpressible. Khaita became the living, breathing, joyful expression of the value and meaning of the land of Tibet and the wish of our Master to carry on this culture and the teachings through movement and song. We only hope that this small and dedicated bunch of Khaita dancers in this out of the way corner of the globe can continue on the legacy of our precious Master.

[Photo by F Dallorto]

To learn more about Khaita Dancing at Tsegyalgar East visit the following post:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Recap of our Summer Celebration on Khandroling

For me, an illuminating aspect of the Summer Celebration was that people came from so many places. Living near Conway, I'd come to think of Tsegyalgar East as the folk I see regularly. Learning that participants were from all over the States - Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Oregon, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada - was eye-opening. I came to recognize our Community as a broader group than I'd known. From all over, we're connecting in our practice of the Dzogchen teachings.

SMS teacher Lynn Newdome

The Stupa at Upper Khandroling

Naomi, Yantra Yoga teacher , leading a session in the Mandala Hall

Shang Shung presentation with Naomi Zeitz, Will Shea and Anasuya Weil

Salima and her daughter, Yangcen, teachers of Khaita Dance

Tim, our secretary; Red gakyil member, Amanda; and 
Yantra Yoga Teacher Naomi with monlam candles

Tuvi and participant

Jeremy our Geko 

Mark, Luke and Francine checking out the Auction items

Marit, Michael, and Efrem

Lunch time Origami Karma Yoga for 2017 paper parade float for Khaita dancers with Diane, Nancy and Brenda, Khandroling Paper Cooperative instructor

More to come......

[Photos by Kathleen Fekete. 2016]

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Marilyn McArthur Publishes Article in the Online Publication OVERCOMING MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Marilyn McArthur, a member of the Dzogchen Community, has just published an article "Deformable Me" in the online publication, OVERCOMING MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. To read the article and also to link to other articles by Marilyn on the topic visit the current issue of 

Marilyn is a Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) instructor in the US. Meditation is one of the central elements of the OMS Recovery Program, alongside diet and supplements, exercise, vitamin D and, if need be, medication.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Karma Yoga from a Distance --This Week's Lotus Production

Over the week-end I made a few Lotus Blossoms to further our Lotus Blossom production required  for our Summer 2017 participation in the 250th Anniversary of Conway, MA. I am not the most handy person but found the process relaxing. And my lotus blossoms improved in quality the more I did one. To read about this Community project visit here

If anyone would like to learn how to make these and needs a supply of pre-cut paper and twist ties, please contact the Khandroling Paper Cooperative to request materials and to record your hours towards Karma Yoga. By the summer of 2017 we will need thousands for our paper float and to distribute to by-standers attending the parade. 

The Lotus is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism. Over the year we will explore the many aspects of the Lotus throughout the history of Buddhism. 

Photo credit: Marit Cranmer

The Garland of Jewels that Connects US

Visit the online Mirror, International Newspaper of the Dzogchen Community at   for an interview with Chogyal Namkhai Norbu on the amazing jewelry he creates to benefit the building of the Dzamling Gar Gonpa.

Grace Engelman Says Good-bye to Shang Shung Institute

Hello everyone,

Yesterday was my last day interning at SSI. I was sad to leave, and I feel as though I've grown attached to this place and invested in its future.

I wanted to thank all of you for welcoming me into this community with kindness and teaching me so much. I had wonderful conversations and experiences with all of you. The knowledge you have passed on to me related to non-profit work and Tibetan culture has been invaluable. I have learned how to write press releases, how to edit WebPages, and how to research and write policies. I have learned about Dzogchen and about Rinpoche's teachings. I got to see Khandroling and walk through the beautiful woods there. I got to attend an Open House and experience Yantra Yoga for the first time.

My main project over the course of this internship was putting together accreditation documents with Caroline, Bret, Will, and Heidi. I am excited to hear how the process continues, and I truly believe that it is possible. We now have a solid base to build on.

I'm grateful for this internship and the skills and knowledge it has given me. And I am thankful that it led me to meet all of you. I believe that SSI was exactly where I needed to be at this point in my life. I had valuable time to reflect on my interests and passions away from college, and I was deeply influenced by what I learned here.

I was told to provide you with some feedback about the internship, but I honestly cannot think of much that I would change. I can, however, tell you what I enjoyed! One of the aspects that I appreciated most was that I received guidance and support from Caroline and others while I was also given the chance to do a lot of independent work. It was a great balance between collaboration and independence. I also appreciated that Caroline made sure that I was exposed to many different types of work; I gained a comprehensive set of non-profit skills. And working on the accreditation process gave me a clear and grounding focus through it all.

Thank you for the time and openness and knowledge you have shared with me this summer, and thank you for trusting me to work with you. Whether you are on the SSI board, or I met you in the office, or I spoke with you on the phone, or you are part of the Dzogchen community, I am grateful to have shared time with all of you. This truly is a special place and community, and I want to stay connected.

I'm using my personal email to send this instead of my intern email so that you can contact me when I'm at college. Please feel free to reach out about anything.

Many thanks again!
With much appreciation,


Monday, August 8, 2016

Khaita Dance Course August 9-13, 2016

Learn Khaita Dances: Practice of Presence and Joy in Movement

Date: August 9th-13th, 2016.

with Khaita instructor Salima Celeri

Shang Shung Institute Public Event
Location: Vajra Hall, Khandroling, East Buckland Road, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Please note some modifications:
Tuesday through Friday
10am - noon
5:30 - 7:30pm ( for working folks)

Saturday August 13
10am - noon
Noon. Ganapuja
Late afternoon performance in Noho (details to be announced )

We have already been dancing some with Salima and Yangchen and it has been wonderful. We hope you can join us!

All are welcome!

Payment by donation.

Hope to see you there!

Co-sponsored by SSI USA and DCA

For more information & to Register:

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Last Minute Summer Celebration Details

Dear Sangha,

Our Summer Celebration (July 30-August 7) is quickly approaching! We are writing to share details about food options, opportunities for Kunye massage, and the parking situation. There's still plenty of time to participate. Click here to register.

If you have questions, please let us know. We hope to see you soon for practice and fun!

Anastasia Ezequelle
Retreat Coordinator
Tsegyalgar East Summer Celebration

LUNCH will be available from Sunday July 31st through Saturday August 6th for an additional fee.  Below is a brief menu. The menu below has been slightly revised. PLEASE VISIT Here for the updated menu.

Summer Thai Rolls

Please click here for more details and to reservation. We can not guarantee there will be extra food available if you do not reserve now.

Day 1Sunday, July 31
Falafel with pita, shredded greens and tomato including yogurt Taztziki, and a Tahini dressing, Fruit salad
Day 2, Monday, August 1
2 large Summer Thai rolls with baked tofu, rice noodle salad, mint, carrot sticks and avocado, marinated broccoli/cauliflower salad, peanut or alternate sauce, dessert chocolate brownie
Day 3Tuesday, August 2
Calzone with vegan sausage and grilled vegetables with cheese, salad with Italian dressing and fruit
Day 4Wednesday, August 3
Tibetan Momos (30% being donated to ASIA); Wheel view farm 
Beef Momo with Asian coleslaw, Veggie Momo with Asian coleslaw

Tibetan Momo

Day 5Thursday, August 4
Indian wrap, carrot salad, and cookie
Day 6Friday, August 5
BBQ tempeh sandwich on hoagie roll, pasta salad with pesto, watermelon
Day 7Saturday, August 6
Cheese Empanada or wrap with rice and beans, Mexican Avocado salad with lime dressing, side of sour cream, fruit tart for dessert

[4 oz. sides of meat will be served daily for an additional charge to be paid on site]. 

Menu may be subject to change according to weather or availability of ingredients. 

KUNYE MASSAGES will be available on TuesdayWednesday and Thursday by Yeshe Tsomo, she is a graduate of the Shang Shung Institute and is a current Practitioner of Tibetan Medicne and Specialist in KuNye Massage Therapy (LMT7439). Massages are available at Khandroling or the Schoolhouse in Conway. 
You can book directly with her by phone at 413-336-4962 or email at .

PARKING is available next to the Mandala only if you have a 4 wheel drive.  There is additional parking in the usual parking lot, the Future Gompa site has also been cleared for additional parking.  There will be signs clearly marked throughout the land to assist you.

We do remind you that the roads are narrow and there is minimum pull off sites.  Please keep driving up and down the land to a minimum.

Friday, July 8, 2016

News from Shang Shung Institute, July 2016

July 8, 2016
Dear Shang Shung Institute of America Friends and Supporters,
Thank you so much for your support, energy and time over the many years. Your efforts for the Shang Shung Institute of America are crucial to accomplishing the mission of deepening the knowledge of and preserving Tibetan culture here in the U.S. Please make a donation or renew your membership today.
As you know, we are currently celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Shang Shung School of Tibetan Medicine in Conway, Massachusetts, and we have updates about many other recent and upcoming activities below.
Join or Renew Your Membership Online:
or call us at 413-369-4928
or email us at

About 60 participants and volunteers joined organizer Lauri Denyer at Shang Shung’s July 2nd Open House. The even took place at the yellow schoolhouse in Conway, Massachusetts. Participants came together to learn about mindfulness and meditation, Yantra Yoga, the Dance of the Vajra that Benefits Beings, and Khaita* Joyful Dance, and to enjoy a lunch of traditional Tibetan food prepared by Yeshe Tsomo. Dozens of community members made the event possible, and participants came from as far away as New Jersey and Buffalo, NY.

Here are the upcoming events that we are looking forward to in the Summer of 2016:
  •          Dance of the Vajra that Benefits Beings with Bodhi Krause – July 16-17
  •          Introduction to Yantra Yoga with Naomi Zeitz – July 23-24
  •          Khaita* Joyful Dances: Practice of Presence in Joy & Movement - August 9-13
  •         Tibetan Language with Tenzin Norbu – August 25-30
We hope you will join us for these events, and spread the word about them. More information can be found here: interested individuals can always contact Shang Shung at (413) 369-4928 for more information.

This summer Shang Shung is fortunate to haveIntern Grace Engelman with us! Grace is a freshman at Brown University, and served as the student liaison to her high school’s Board of Directors. She is working with us on the process to seek accreditation for the School of Tibetan Medicine, and to publicize our many cultural events, as described below.


A new class just started the Four-Year Tibetan Medicine program. With this new class, we have a full house - a class of students in each year of the Four-Year program. In addition, preparations are underway for the start of the Three-Year Advanced Tibetan Medicine Program.
Menpa Phuntsog Wangmo has been much in demand this year. Amid her rigorous schedule of live teaching and recording lessons for the Shang Shung School of Tibetan Medicine, Menpa Wangmo recently gave these public talks:
·         Public talk at the Conway Historical Society in Conway, Massachusetts on March 22, 2016, as seen in an online video from our partners at Frontier Community Access Television;
·         Public talk at the Chesterfield Council on Aging in Chesterfield, Massachusetts on April 10, 2016;
·         Keynote address and panel presentations at the annual Integrative Medicine Conference in Barcelona, Spain on April 15-17, 2016, on Cardiovascular Diseases: A Dialogue between Conventional, Homeopathic, Tibetan, Chinese and AyurvedicMedicines;
·         A well-attended week-long seminar on Hospice from the Traditional Tibetan Medicine perspective in April 2016, as seen in The Mirror;
·         A well-attended Master Class entitled Tibetan Medicine: Theory and Practice, on May 10, 2016, at the Cultural and Scientific Center of the Universidad Peruana CayetanoHeredia in Lima, Peru

Your support is crucial to these successes. Please make a donation or renew your membership today!

Steven Landsberg - Shang Shung Institute of America hosted Steven Landsberg May 14,, 2016 for a public talk in Northampton, Massachusetts, called Beyond Hope & Fear: The Application of Presence, co-sponsored by SSI and the International Dzogchen Community in America.
Yeshe Tsomo – Continuing our efforts to provide opportunities for people in the area to experience traditional Tibetan culture, Yeshe Tsomo gave a wonderful two-day seminar on Tibetan cuisine at the United Congregational Church in Conway, Massachusetts in May, 2016. This session featured a rare, traditional baked momo or dumpling.
Khaita – A contingent of Khaita* dancers fromKundrolling and Tsegyalgar participated in the 10th International Dance Parade in New York City on May 21, 2016. As reported in The Mirror, “…there were dancers from 147 organizations representing 81 distinct dance styles from the US and other countries, totaling over 6,000 participants.” This was a wonderful opportunity to bring Khaita to a larger audience in the U.S., and the spark that was lit continued online, as the video posted on the Shang Shung Institute’s facebook page now has 12,000 views!

Here are the upcoming events that we are looking forward to in the Summer of 2016:
·         Dance of the Vajra that Benefits Beings with Bodhi Krause – July 16-17
·         Introduction to Yantra Yoga with Naomi Zeitz – July 23-24
·         Khaita* Joyful Dances: Practice of Presence in Joy & Movement - August 9-13
·         Tibetan Language with Tenzin Norbu – August 25-30
We hope you will join us for these events, and spread the word about them. More information can be found here: interested individuals can always contact Shang Shung at (413) 369-4928 for more information.

Your support is crucial to continuing the dissemination of Tibetan cultural traditions in the United States. Through your membership, we are able to provide invaluable programming like Traditional Tibetan Medicine, Khaita, Vajra Dance, Yantra Yoga, Tibetan language and arts.
Join or Renew Your Membership Online:
or call us at 413-369-4928
or email us at

With many tashi delegs,
The Shang Shung Institute of America

*Khaita is promoted by the Shang Shung Foundation – International Institute for Tibetan Culture, in collaboration with Shang Shung Institute of America

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Join us for our 5th Annual Khandroling Paper Cooperative Workshop July 27, 28, 29, 2016

This year's workshop will be dedicated to Transformation taught by Sheryl Jaffe and facilitated by members of our Paper Cooperative on our beautiful Lower Khandroling Farm property in Buckland, MA.  Whether one is a total beginner or a seasoned artist in search of a particular project, this annual workshop outdoors under our tents is the place to immerse yourself in the magical process of papermaking.

TITLE: The Frog and the Lotus
WHEN: July 27, 28, 29, 2016
TIMES: 11:00 AM-5:00 PM
LOCATION: 160 East Buckland Road
COST: Recommended donation $90-$125 or according to your circumstances

Transformation will be the theme for our 5th annual Papermaking workshop. As we transform fibrous leaves and inner bark into beautiful sheets of translucent papers with decorative inclusions for artwork, letters, cards and lanterns we will explore the possibilities inherent in the medium. Just as the lowly frog waits for the kiss or the Lotus blooms out of mud, the fibers will be diverted from compost heap to the cooking pot and our paper making vats to be transformed into handsome unique sheets that capture the moment. We work together collaborating to cook, rinse, beat, couch and press wet freshly made sheets. We will have multiple sizes of molds on hand and a Japanese su-geta to try. 

[Sheryl and Brenda preparing to beat knotweed cooked fibers 
for a special project for local artist Paul West who attended the 2014 workshop]

The "Critter" (above) will be on hand to grind up our cooked fibers or rags and to supply newly made pulp for our larger scroll moulds.

Sheryl using a traditional floating Nepalese mould to make large scrolls.

Bring an open mind, lunch, a waterproof apron, and some flat cardboard to take home your sheets. If you like bring inclusions to add to your pulp such as fibers, threads, flower petals, pine needles, etc. Come for one day or all three!

Visit our previous KHANDROLING workshops below:


For further information about the cooperative and our summer/fall schedule of workshops and open studios, visit our blog at

Visiting Lower Khandroling Farm

The other day at our picnic on upper Khandroling we were gifted with vats of raspberries from Lower Khandroling's farm coop now ripening. So on July 4th, our American Independence Day, I embarked at the height of midday to pick some. Little did I know that I would be stuck in the honking cacophony of blaring fire truck horns and whirling police sirens in a parade to celebrate this holiday. I imagine that the kids were enthralled or utterly terrified on the sidelines of the parade on the shoulders of parents and in strollers.  For my own part, I enjoyed integrating with the harsh sounds of alarm.  

Approaching the turnoff to East Buckland Road, the scent of new moan hay was in the air as my windows were rolled down due to the fact my vintage 1995 Civic Honda has no air-conditioning. 

The first thing I noticed when arriving at that peaceful East Buckland Road farm residency of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu was a very flourishing Hugelkulture bed planted by Nary Mitchell established near the raspberry rows.

This bed built on a mound of debris exuded fertility in a riot of vegetable plants that we hope to replicate on upper Khandroling with the left-overs from the clear cut forestry debris from a couple of years ago. 

So come out to the farm to pick berries or work with Nary who is out there most days. You can let him know a day in advance through our Geko Jeremy at

Progress on the Repairs for Rinpoche's Cabin on Khandroling - A Message from Tsegyalgar East's Gakyil

It is summertime and there is much activity on Khandroling, Land of the Dakinis! Our hard-working Geko, Jeremy, other volunteers, and Karma Yoga helpers, have been working to make repairs to the cabins on the land.

Currently, a new roof is being installed on Rinpoche’s cabin, thanks to the efforts by Jeremy, Nary, Jim Smith, and many others.

We need your help! We would like to finish the repairs as soon as possible. 
Our fund-raising goal is $25,000. We have thus far collected about $5000. 
We want to thank all of you who have helped thus far. There is still plenty of possibility for joining in the efforts and participating. 

Can we add your name to the list?

Please participate with your donation so we can reach this important goal. Fully functional cabins allows more practitioners to do retreats, practice, and visit our precious Khandroling land

To help us by fulfill Rinpoche’s vision for Khandroling, please offer your donation here:
Karma Yoga is another valuable way to participate. If you’d like to assist with Karma Yoga,please write Jeremy at: 

"Each individual's contributions are like the many drops that make an ocean, because if you want to do something you must have collaboration from the whole group and then everything becomes very easy." - Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

With gratitude,
Tsegyalgar East Gakyil

All donations are tax deductible. The Dzogchen Community in America, Inc. is a legal non-profit 501c3 organization. Donors may refer to Publication 78, which provides a partial list of organizations recognized by the IRS as eligible to receive tax-deductible donations.