Good news! We had such a successful karma yoga weekend last weekend, accomplishing many tasks, that this weekend we will only have 1 day of karma yoga. I will be at Khandroling Sunday, October 23, 9am - 5pm, to coordinate and help on projects to finish getting upper and lower Khandroling ready for winter. It's amazing how much can be accomplished when we work together!
Working on Rinpoche's cabin will be the priority, so if you can help with that great! Other tasks include splitting wood for retreat cabins, organizing tools and work space, plus more!
We have some funds available for lunch, please contact me if you are willing to cook or go shopping for the workers for Sunday lunch.
This morning I read Miranda Shannon's account on the closed Tsegyalgar East Facebook Group about yesterday, Sunday October 16, at the end of a busy Karma Yoga weekend, when a number of us gathered to do a full moon Puja/Shitro to benefit those who died recently in our community, and to spread Nary's ashes. It was a beautiful, warm and peaceful day. Attached are a number of pictures taken by John Shannon.
Mary Gilliland, author of the forthcoming poetry memoir We Are All Immortals, has taught writing at Cornell University and at Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies, the Dalai Lama’s seat in North America. She has been Stanley Kunitz Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and a featured poet at the International Al Jazeera Film Festival in Doha. Her poetry has also appeared in AGNI, Hotel Amerika, Notre Dame Review, Poetry, Stand, and The NOW Awards: The Best Innovative Writing. Mary has been a Chöd practitioner since 1992.
Sarale Lizdas has generously offered, as usual, her willingness and efforts to organize karma yoga weekends to help our Geko prepare Khandroling for winter (yes, it is really coming). There is also possibility to stay in the dormitory in exchange for karma yoga if you are coming from farther away. We can also include some practice collectively in the weekend.
Please see below for activities and dates.
Fall weather is here and there is much to do on Khandroling to prepare the land for winter. I have been speaking with Jeremy, and as a way to support him and finish up the projects for the season, I am organizing 3 karma yoga weekends for Oct, once the road is paved. Nary used to help with many of these activities, so now our Gekod needs some extra support and hands on the ground. What a great opportunity to come together as a community and help each other out!
Anyone is welcome and everyone has something to contribute. These are the weekend dates: Sat - Sun Oct 15 & 16 Sat - Sun Oct 22 & 23 Sat - Sun Oct 29 & 30
Activities: Getting the roof of Rinpoche's cabin finished is the priority, if anyone can help in any capacity with that project it would be much appreciated. I will coordinate other workers for other tasks so Jeremy can focus on the roof.
Other activities include: Packing up pond kitchen, taking down screened in kitchen tent, putting tools away, walking around land to collect tools, tidying up Vajra Hall for the winter, putting away prayer flag poles, chopping wood, and more! If you are unable to help with the more physical jobs maybe you could use a car to transport things back to schoolhouse or lower khandroling, collect money and cook food for workers, make coffee, make a fire in the fire pit or maybe someone has another idea.
Steve Landsberg driven to Rinpoche's cabin by Sarale in the AV
Here at Tsegyalgar East most of us living nearby are rarely idle. Between Khandroling and the Yellow Schoolhouse numerous events take place each week. One of the major fundraisers/projects this year at Tsegyalgar East was to support the paving of the road at Upper Khandroling from the Mary Lyons Parking Lot to the top of the hill. Not only will this allow visitors and participants to have direct access to the Vajra Hall that houses the Universal mandala but also allow heavy equipment to have greater access to maintain our infrastructure. The heavy equipment is now at work as you can see here---It's Happening!
Dump truck unloading gravel for pavement sub-grade
Many Thanks to the donors who made this important project happen but we still need additional funds to develop upper Khandroling further--from a well to composting toilets in the cabins. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to make your restricted donation.
New paving on road looking up from the gate in the parking lot
Poetrymind Readers meet each month in Shelburne Falls for a monthly Meditation and Poetry Writers Group you can read about here at http://www.tsetso.blogspot.com
Photo of Poetrymind monthly meditation and writers group by Jacqueline Gens
Joe Arak has been writing poems on the back of envelopes, cereal boxes and in notebooks with unnumbered pages for many years. He currently runs a marketing business based in Amherst, meditates at Shambhala Center in Northampton, and looks for poetry wherever his mind takes him.
Terry Carter - I am a visual/performance artist, and made up my first poem around six. My mother wrote it down as I dictated. As a young adult I did extensive traveling throughout the U.S creating images & prose in my sketch book as I traveled and experienced the world. During that period I attended a couple semesters at Naropa Institute in Boulder Colorado. It was at Naropa I got first hand exposure , often sitting in on the readings of such great Beat Poets as Diane DiPrima, William Burroughs , and Allen Ginsberg . In resuming my love of prose I've attended classes & workshops taught by regional poets including Verandah Porche, and Jacqueline Gens. In my later work I often attempt addressing political merged with personal , and contemporary social issues.
Jacqueline Gens is the co-founder of the New England College MFA program in poetry, the first poetry only MFA program in the US, which she co-directed for a decade. For many years she worked for the late poet Allen Ginsberg and at the Naropa University. Now retired she conducts meditation and writing workshops and is an avid blogger at Poetrymind in addition to overseeing the Khandroling Paper Cooperative, a unique artist collaborative emphasizing contemplative arts affiliated with the Dzogchen Community located in Western Massachusetts.. Kichung Lizee is a Korean-born American artist and Buddhist practitioner who uniquely blends Eastern calligraphy and Western thematic materials. She has taught and exhibited internationally and curated many exhibits bringing together Eastern calligraphers and Western artists. She was honored with a special award in 2008 at the Seoul International Calligraphy Biennale, Korea, and has been a featured artist at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA, the Jordan Schnitzler Museum of Art, Eugene, OR, and the Turchin Center for Visual Arts, Boone, NC. She makes her home in Western Mass. Barbara Paparazzohas an MFA in Poetry from New England College and has published poetry in numerous journals. Her chapbook The Red Silk Scarf is from Shivastan Press.
Other readers include Jim Bauerlein. Join us for a frog's view of Basho's Pond and sound of Haiku and other poems for a lively evening. Mill 180 Park is East works newest venue with hydroponic plants, a gallery, a bar, and indoor Urban green for kids and adults.
SOME of Sheryl's imagery in the Gallery Photos by Kathleen Mulligan and Naomi Zeitz
For Nary No! Wait! Don't go yet What about the raspberries? Will they taste as sweet? We will think of you In all the summers to come, Their juice on our lips. from Paula Barry on Facebook
[Nary's raspberries on lower Khandroling Farm, summer 2016, photo by Jacqueline Gens]
'Uncle Nary' was so good with kids. Our little Goma Devi also had a sweet connection with him. They would check in and chat everytime they would see each other around the Gar or Khandroling. Goma keeps the little jade buddha, that he gifted her for her 4h birthday, on her bookshelf here in Hawaii.
When we first heard Nary was in the hospital dying Goma was sad, but today when she learned that he had left his body, this was her response: "It is fine. He is going high into the sky to receive many more teachings from the Buddhas now. And maybe he will come back as a little child." :) I love how Nary was able to enter everyones dimension - young and old. Have a safe journey.--Laila Reis
Goodbye this time around, Nary. Nary Mitchell had a very beautiful and peaceful passage around 2pmSeptember 29, 2016, at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield MA. He was surrounded by his loving, warm and kind family and many loving practitioners. We shared stories of Nary's life, his childhood, his deep relationship with the earth, trees, oranges and things that grow, and his many incarnations - more warmth and sweetness could not have been asked for. We all sang the Song of Vajra after the life support was removed. Good journey our dear Nary. We love you still. --Naomi Zeitz
Reflections on Nary: Big Mind, Big Heart I first got to know Nary through Santi Maha Sangha Base classes, although I'm not sure why he attended them. There was probably nothing I taught that he didn't already hold in that vast mind of his, which retained all knowledge. I also appreciated his sweetness, and how, in class when I'd move to calm his effusive outflow of information, he'd smile and gently acquiesce. I eventually understood how he balanced that tremendous energy of his brain with simple physical labor, quietly and continuously contributing toward the stability of our gar.
Although I miss his presence very much, I can only imagine his big heart and mind, unleashed from the restraints of his physical body. --Lynn Newdome
Nary helping us assemble the motor for the "Critter" our Hollander Beater
Photo by Jacqueline Gens, October 2012
From the outset of Khandroling Paper Cooperative back in 2012, Nary was a great friend to us. He was the brawn behind our operations assisting us in numerous demos and open studios, workshops and event set-ups. Over the years, I was able to share an ongoing conversation with Nary on some of my favorite topics--everything from conspiracy theories to alien societies. He was a fountain of esoteric knowledge borne out of voracious reading. Our KPC members loved hanging out with him.
Nary on Lower Khandroling with KPC folks and visiting Nepalese artist Milan Rai,
Left to right: Nary, Sheryl Jaffe, Milan Rai and Kathryn O'Connor
photo by Jacqueline Gens
One of the last conversations I had with Nary was a consultation about an apricot seed from Tibet that Chogyal Namkhai Norbu had given me over a decade ago which Rinpoche said I should plant at Tsegyalgar. I asked Nary if that seed was still viable and he said that it could "awaken" through a process of cooling it in the refrigerator and then peeing away the outer covering. We shall see.
[Nary's small hugel Kulture bed on Lower Khandroling Farm,
Summer 2016, photo by Jacqueline Gens]
Nary's vision for the land was in the moment with his many creations and graceful attentions - a bent arbor supporting a fragile shoot; a hugel kulture mound of glossy edible greens; small magical edifices here and there bringing order out of a riotous New England landscape. Thank you Nary for your proliferation of inspired seeds in our midst. --Jacqueline Gens We only met Nary fairly recently, maybe 6 months ago. He housesat for us while we were away and took care of our dog Cooper and our plants (both inside and outside). His wisdom and tenderness with plants was astounding. While we were away he found odd and end starts around our property and planted them in the garden just so they would have a chance. One of these is a lovely grape vine that we enjoyed tremendously all summer and we now think of as a living memorial to Nary. Of course, Cooper adored him too -- he bought him hot dogs for treats! We will miss him. ---Barbara & Woody Paparazzo
[Tatiana, Max, Miranda and, of course, Nary in discourse. Photo by John Shannon]
Nary and the Shannons
"On Thursday, one of the most amazing and sweetest men I knew left this world. Nary, I will always remember the great memories we shared together. You meant a lot to me, and I thank you for all the lessons you taught me. I will never forget you, my friend. R.I.P Nary <3 #love#remembrance" --Liam Shannon
Nary, my friend, I am so lucky to have known you for so long.
Whether you knew Nary for years or just a few hours, he quickly became a fast friend. He was always ready to share his vast knowledge (our children referred to him as Narypedia), teach, help and encourage us every step of the way, inclusive of colorful long narratives he curtailed when requested. Nary nurtured life.
Nary was a wild yogi, and a quiet force to be reckoned with. His work ethic was unsurpassed, and his contributions to our community were of massive scale. Nary leaves us great beauty through his countless plantings around the schoolhouse, lower Khandroling and Vajra Hall, and evidence of his great strength and tireless efforts through his work on Vajra Hall and all the other too numerous projects to mention. Work and service to the community was Nary's practice, and he achieved it gloriously.
This past week, I heard a myriad of Nary stories and numerous mentions of "how he was like an uncle/brother to me." Nary was a gift to us all, and his presence will be greatly missed. --Miranda Shannon Nary in Baja circa 2005 doing what he did best....work on the land -courtesy of Laurel Bellon Facebook.
Some earlier manifestations of Nary's magic as recorded in this blog since 2012:
An assemblage of plants behind the Yellow Schoolhouse
Nary inoculating birch logs with mushroom near the Vajra Hall
A wild flower stand on Upper Khandroling
Nary bought and erected this Greenhouse for the Lower Khandroling Farm
Nary at the newly erected Upper Khandroling Gateway sign designed by Kathy McGrane
Putting all those wood chips to good use after the clear cut on Upper Khandroling
Photos by Jacqueline Gens (2012-2016)
Helen Baker on Nary:
Helen Baker of Baker's Country Store laughing when speaking of all
the interesting Community
people she has met over the years
Earlier today, I stopped by Baker's Country Store in Conway, MA for lunch as this is one of my 'long' days in the yellow schoolhouse-- papermaking with friends in the morning; a little karma yoga in the basement (our KPC adopted site); a round of practice in the Gonpa, later a puja happening. Most days lots of comings and goings. Baker's is the Conway town hub and also our community go to when we need a quick snack or meal. Many people in our international community have walked through it's doors.
On this day, I spoke with Helen Baker about Nary's death. She heard the call come in at the fire station (her husband being fire chief) not knowing it was about Nary when he first collapsed on Khandroling but then later heard that it was him for whom the initial multi-town distress call came in. Multiple towns repondd to Jeremy's sumons for help. She was very sad to hear this-- as she said, because she was very fond of Nary. According to Helen, Nary was a frequent customer at the Baker's Country Store arriving most every evening to make a few purchases just as she was closing the store. More often than not, she was in the process of locking up when he showed up usually with a joke pointing to his watch. She said she was more than happy to accommodate him because of his warm-hearted and good natured approach and that she already missed him. Just one more small snapshot of Nary's impact on people and his rare quality of wholesome goodness emanating outwards. Thanks Nary for all whom you touched in our midst! ---Text and Photo in 2014 by Jacqueline Gens
Neal Murray sent over this photo that Nary took of Joe Zurylo working in the Tsegyalgar road sign last year. Needless to say, even small projects like this require a high degree of collaboration, attention to detail, and effort. Nary was always ready to participate. "Found some shots that Nary took of Joe building the Khandroling sign "house" on the memory card of the camera I loaned to Nary (actually gave, but given back to me by his brother)".--Neal Murray
[Photo by Emily Luhrs Eye of Rinpoche's special tree on Khandroling, 2016]
It's been about four years now of my steady blogging for both the Community and Khandroling Paper Cooperative. That's my personal bliss in relating to Tsegyalgar East, which for me has been a fruitful and abundant feast of possibilities for over two decades or what we call in our parlance, "potentiality." This Community IS my bliss -- warts and all! When recollecting Nary's great gift of working tirelessly in our midst, I was touched by Naomi's dreamof Nary working in the garden with the flowers and plants and seeing his experience through his eyes, and it was so very beautiful. And so it is a kind of dewachen. Each one of us is a prism reflecting our own vision of dewachen. We need to remember this about each other. In chronicling Community life here at Tsegyalgar East, I try to reflect this vision. When I look at these photos I do not see tensions or problems but great joy in our common destiny. Our mutual dedications and gratitude to our Teacher Chogyal Namkhai Norbu never fall short. Each one of us carries a unique and brilliant spark of pure vision. Naturally, there will always be tensions and deeply embedded patterns, stale narrative of old grudges whose origins are barely remembered or foolish when brought into the light of day. Sometimes we are thick with these childish rivalries like a big noisy family where everyone is fighting for a seat at the head of the table and throwing food at each other. A wild but colorful clan of sorts! It's never too late to develop a few table manners. This said in homage to the late Kathy McGrane who once left me a gift of a book by Miss Manners, which I well deserved in retrospect! It's been my experience over the years that when something is emerging with a positive force, this is a fragile moment when all hell breaks loose. The so called Maras love these moments. Remember the story when the Buddha was about to attain enlightenment and the Maras assailed him in full force. What did he do? He sent them missiles of flowers instead of sharp arrows. I would suggest that we too are on the cusp of becoming the Community we are meant to be. Such confusion invites all sorts of negativity and provocation. Nonetheless, we can each hold our shared transmission in the unique manner suitable for each one of us. It's up to us. No doubt I am already "preaching" to the choir. However, the poet in me surrenders to this notion of pure vision in the realm of possibilities spoken so clearly by my favorite poet Emily Dickinson-- here in one of my favorite poems: I dwell in possibility -- A fairer House than Prose__ More numerous of Windows-- Superior for Doors Of Chambers as the Cedars Impregnable of eye And for an everlasting Roof The Garlands of the sky Of Visitors -- the fairest For Occupation --This The spreading wide my narrow Hands To gather Paradise -- Poem 466 May all beings discover the paradise of their true nature Jacqueline Gens Tsegyalgar East
Recently on the Tsegyalgar East Facebook Page, Fred Klarer has been posting passages from Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's teachings. You can join this closed Facebook Group called Tsegyalgar East at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/16183889932/
An Early photo of CHNNR teaching in the Group House on Parsons Road, Conway MA,
left to right Michael Katz, Christiana de Falco, Rochelle Hood,
Paolo Simonato, Kathy Smith, and Gennaro Palladino. Photo Courtesy of Chritiana de Falco
“I think one of the most important things for all practitioners, new and old, is that we discover our ego through practice. The principle is not that we only talk about contemplation. Instead, sometimes we talk too much about contemplation and we really live in a kind of fantasy. . . . In the real sense, what we apply and how we are is full of ego. . . . Of course, if we are really in the knowledge of contemplation, when we are integrated our ego disappears. But many times it seems that the ego of the practitioners is becoming stronger and stronger. This means that the practice is somehow not working and is not becoming real. For example, in general we need to say, “Please respect each other, or respect other people!” If we are really practitioners, having knowledge and understanding of Dzogchen, it is not necessary to continuously repeat this like a prayer. In general, a good practitioner automatically manifests this quality. However, some practitioners have not yet realized this condition in a concrete way. I’m not criticizing, but it depends on you. You observe yourself and then you may discover. I‘m not saying everybody, but in general many people are manifesting that kind of attitude. If someone says, “Oh, you have a very strong ego, etc.,” then you immediately feel criticized. That is not a good solution. Even if your teacher tells you these things, you must discover it by yourself. Otherwise you always remain the same.
The best solution is that we remember the function of the mirror. If we look in a mirror, we can see how our face looks. If we have some defects on our face, we can discover them by looking in the mirror. If someone says, “Oh, you have a defect on your face,” you are not happy and you experience it as a kind of criticism. Looking into the mirror is useful; so we must observe ourselves very often and we really need to work in this way. It is very important that we try to be in our knowledge and understanding in a concrete way. Then there is at least something to integrate in our existence. . . . Of course, it is important and useful that we learn different kinds of techniques and methods. If we use and learn them for training in a concrete way we can also have different kinds of experiences. These experience help very much for progressing in our capacity of knowledge, understanding and also for having realization. But the main point is that we follow the path in a correct way.
Some people have said to me . . . “Your students are not very humble, they are arrogant.” . . . I do hope it is not true. . . . If we have this kind of attitude and you manifest in this way, it means that you are not really integrated with the teachings. Therefore it is very important that we try to do something more concretely instead of living in a fantasy. Sometimes people follow the teachings for two or three years and instead of developing clarity and making real progress in their knowledge, they progress to establish a kind of ego by developing all kinds of fantasies. I think this is really not so very useful. Since the beginning I have continuously tried to communicate how we have to follow the teachings by observing ourselves and by really integrating this knowledge in our existence. Sometimes people find it difficult when I’m teaching in that way, because when I teach something . . . Explaining that you chant something and after this you should do this or that, it somehow seems to be easier. However, that is not really Dzogchen teaching.
The teaching of the Dzogchen principle is that you discover your real nature. Then, relatively speaking, with your potentiality you become responsible for yourself. If I tell you to do this or not to do that and you follow in that way, then you become totally dependent on me or my teaching or a particular method. . . . You have to have the feeling of total freedom. That means also to be free from me, from my teachings and transmissions. However, . . . you should also know why you are following my teachings and how to follow my transmission. The reason for this is that in order to discover and get into your real nature, you have to be free. For that purpose I transmit many methods of how to have different kinds of experiences. Thus it is very important that you clearly distinguish the real teaching, what you need and how to apply it. . . . Our commitment since the beginning is that there is a relationship between teacher and student, students and students, and a connection for collaboration with each other until the total realization.
Therefore until we have achieved total realization, we need to collaborate with each other. Of course, if somethings does not correspond with the real condition of the teachings and its knowledge, then we must not repeat it. -- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, [The Yoga of Prana for Clarity and Emptiness,
pp. 26 - 29]