Sunday, December 30, 2012

Season's Greetings from Tsegyalgar East

A Message From the Yellow Gakyil

Dear Tsegyalgar East Members and Friends,

On behalf of the Tsegyalgar East Gakyil, in the spirit of the holidays, we would like to thank everyone for your generosity and collaboration during 2012. As you know, Tsegyalgar East's membership drive is well under way. This is a time when traditionally the Yellow Gakyil looks forward to create our 2013 budget. There is so much to anticipate in 2013---our retreats with Chögyal Namkhai Norbu; a renewed commitment to further the mission of Shang Shung Institute; the completion of the Vajra Hall project as we begin to plan our 30th anniversary celebration in 2014; new community initiatives such as the Khandroling cooperative and papermaking endeavors; and explorations to bring you online practices and a dedicated SMS study group.

By now all members should have received a letter and 2013 Membership Application Form. As you know, membership fees provide Tsegyalgar's life blood allowing us to maintain and sustain Rinpoche's Dzogchen Teachings in North America. Memberships are on a calendar-year-basis and it's vital that members renew early in the year. This is especially true again in 2013 when Rinpoche will conduct both general and Santi Maha Sangha retreats in June. Planning for these events is already underway and most of the expenses associated with them occurs prior to the events. Your early renewal is important to making the retreats a success.

Membership in the Dzogchen Community in America has many benefits including reduced fees to attend retreats (non-member retreat fees will be significantly higher this year), access to the online Mirror, discounts on the use of personal retreat cabins and access to Rinpoche's regular series of webcast teachings. While most members select the "Ordinary Membership" category there are membership rates available for those with reduced incomes, families and those who are able to provide greater support. The cost of an Ordinary Membership amounts to just .71 cents/day.

The easiest way to renew your membership is online at:

or download a membership renewal form and submit by mail:

As shown again and again our community life together is far more than annual reports and budgets. It is in our mutual sustenance during these fragile times. Membership helps sustain us as we work together to create a vibrant and supportive community who share the great blessing of our master's transmission.

Best Wishes and Happy New Year to all during this holiday season!

The Yellow Gakyil
Al Daggett
John La France
Vern Harrington

Friday, December 28, 2012

Celebrations and Simple Gifts

On December 24, 2912 Tsegyalgar East hosted an old fashioned Yankee swap for both kids and adults along with a pot-luck dinner to celebrate the holiday.

Since many of the children are in grade school, it seemed appropriate to integrate with a more Western approach to celebrating the season. Parents, neighbors and friends of the community joined us for a lively gathering.

A few weeks prior to this event, Joe Zurylo met the kids at a local X'mas tree farm in Ashfield, MA where they selected a tree and brought it back to the Schoolhouse Gonpa for decorating.

 See slide show below:

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Literal Meaning of "Tsegyalgar"

Recently we asked Jim Valby, a third-level Santi Maha Sangha teacher in the US Dzogchen Community, what is the meaning of the name Tsegyalgar since many people ask. His generous reply below outlines the meaning in depth.
Tsegyalgar (rtse rgyal gar) is the name Rinpoche gave to our Conway-area Community in the late 1980's after we (probably Lauri Denyer-Marder) found the sacred land in Buckland.  John Foster has some interesting stories about purchase negotiations while loggers wanted to harvest trees on the sacred land.  Within an hour after a ganapuja up near the current vajra hall, Rinpoche, sitting in front of the special boulder, raised the funds necessary to purchase the sacred land of Khandroling.

rtse means peak
rgyal means victorious
gar means encampment

Tsegyal is an abbreviation for the dzogchen semde lung named
"Tsemo Chunggyal ~ rTse mo byung rgyal ~ The Supreme Peak"
in the collection of Tibetan terms compiled by Adriano Clemente and Jakob Winkler.

The essence of the knowledge of this sem-lung is transmitted by Rinpoche in the secret 9th rigpai tsalwang on SMS Level Two. I will lead an SMS Level Two practice retreat at beautiful Dejamling in southern France from April 20-27, 2013 where we will study & practice these profound teachings.

I have several editions of this text plus Vimalamitra's commentary.  One of my 20 book projects is to translate the root text with Vimala's explanations. 

In about the mid 1990's, for about 7 sessions, about 8 vajra brothers & sisters began studies of classical Tibetan in our yellow school library by trying to translate the beginning the rtse mo byung rgyal.

Individuals new to the community often find it challenging to translate the meaning of the many Tibetan and Sanskrit terms used. There are several publications to assist in this process.
 DRAJYOR: Tibetan Phonetics for the Dzogchen Community (Tibetan Cultural Series 22, Shang Shung Editions, 2006). Purchase Here.

March 3-5, 2013 Drajyor Course at Tsegyalgar East  
The Drajyor phonetic transcription system was devised by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in order for students who do not know Tibetan to be able to easily pronounce the Tibetan practice texts of the Dzogchen Community. In this course, the Drajyor system will be explained in relation to the Tibetan alphabet, drawing detailed examples from two commonly used practices of the Dzogchen Community. This course is open to all who are interested in the teachings and practices of the Dzogchen Community. We will be studying the following texts:  Ganapuja
Instructor: Fabian Sander

The collection contains all series of Guruyoga, Yidam transformation practices, all series of Ganapuja, long life practices, purification practices, protection mantras, and Guardian invocations as well as Medicine Buddha mantras, the Naga rite, Sang, and Serkyem.
It is an essential tool for Dzogchen Community practitioners and is available in the following form: Printed book with MP3 CD

There is also a new glossary that we will add to this list once we have further information. 

A Walk in Beauty: The New Road Connecting Lower Khandroling to Upper Khandroling

Early this fall following our summer retreats, the Tsegyalgar Gakyil initiated the first phase of clearing the proposed road between Lower and Upper Khandroling. A small crew including Joe Zurylo, Nary Mitchell, Vern and Ben Harrington, our geko, David Hayes chain sawed away the perimeter of the road through the forest and then chipped the debris, thus saving thousands of dollars of additional costs before the road excavation even began. This preliminary work took about 6 weekends for the crew to finish. Most of the crew also worked during the week on the Vajra Hall.

Recently, I managed to catch the excavators on a gorgeous day in early December as they finalized the road especially a steep portion which required dump truck loads of gravel and earth. The road itself is stunning with a wide gentle slope through a fine hardwood forested area. Traversing this road allows individuals to experience the beauty of the forest on Lower Khandoling.There is something magical about these parts as anyone knows who has been here.

Midway up the road, there is a divergence to the RIGHT if you are walking UP from East Buckland Road on Lower Khandroling or to the LEFT if you are walking down from Barnes Road near Upper Khandroling (across from the Colonel's pond). At this juncture, a path or old logging road leads one to the Mary Lyon parking lot or to another path that heads down to the Lower Khandroling farmhouse.

One of the most important aspects of this project is to have a road that does not disturb our Khandroling neighbors on Barnes Road leading up to the retreat land. During high impact times like organized retreats, the neighbors in the past have been subjected to dust and traffic on a road they generally covet as being very low impact. Now we are able to come and go without disturbing them during high impact times. Although slow to develop, it's been worthwhile to consider carefully the location of this road for maximum use such as allowing for additional parking areas along the way and rest places to enjoy the woods.

As ever,  thank you to all those who offered their energy to make this project happen!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Welcome to the Tsegyalgar East Community Blog

We look forward to serve our greater community and interested individuals in the lineage of Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen master, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu with topical articles, news and connections to engage us in the vast mandala of International Dzogchen Community as it manifests in North America. Best Wishes for the holidays and please become a "follower" to receive notice of all our posts.