Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bingo Night Planned for May 5, 2013

On Sunday May 5th @ 6 PM, Tsegyalgar East will host a Cinco de Mayo Pot Luck Dinner & Bingo Night in the Schoolhouse Gompa. If you have items to donate, drop them off in the gonpa on the table in the back with lots of goodies you can also view.

At our previous Bingo Night last year in 2012, we had lots of fun with both kids and grown ups playing.


For further information, contact either Tom Burton (,  or Dave Hayes (, the Geko

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Interview with Lauri Marder

The following interview was conducted by Jacqueline Gens with Lauri Marder, artist and one of the founding members of Tsegyalgar East. Her work appears on walls, outdoors and in a variety of other media.

JG….Lauri, can you talk a little about what it was like to grow up in family where both your parents were  practicing artists?

My mother made many paintings of sort of frightening images, sometimes as self-portraits, based on imagery from Indian art and also from Tibetan thangkas- of which there were several in the house, as well as statues and ritual objects. She was quite interested in the principles of energy, and talked about this quite a lot.

My father, Ted Denyer, on the other hand, had quite a different interest in spiritual matters. For him, that was part of art itself- the seeking of truths. So he sought to find the calm and spacious state in his paintings, creating a dimension on the canvas of color and form, a reality which reflected his felt sense of inner reality, which he also firmly believed had a valuable existence outside.

JG…. In your experience do you find that the artistic process has a spiritual dimension and how would you describe those qualities.

LM...I was fascinated by the saints- and painted images on the walls of my room at home of St Sebastian, full of arrows, and looking a bit like Mick Jagger, people tell me, and John the Baptist, based on a guy I knew, as well as lesser known saints- and one of Jesus of which only the head remains. What I was left with, from my parents’s interests, was a realization that somehow humans could embody something divine, despite the apparent complete craziness of the human condition, namely mine. I still believe this.

They sent me off to art school and the first thing I did was to try to meditate, sitting as instructed, on a folded blanket, referring to a yoga book that my father had been using to get the family to practice yoga with, some years before with little success. I found I was not very interested in art for art’s sake, very quickly. Actually I already knew that- I did not want to be in art school, I wanted to be a waitress so I could begin real life. But that never happened. Real life happened but I was not a waitress. It was all real life.
In the early seventies, we found the Gurdjieff work-  Many of the artists and musicians in our Group were discouraged about pursuing their art form, and gave it up for many years. And they and others also used this creative energy to fuel their practice of awareness. That is what Mr Anderson told me, “Don’t make art- use this for your Work- it’s the same energy!” This could be useful but you have to know how to transform the energy and have very strong intention.

JG….When I first encountered the Game of Liberation, I was deeply touched by your illustrations of all the dimensions. Can you talk about how that project came to be and the various stages it took to complete it.

LD….The Game of Liberation was something I participated in through the kindness of Rinpoche, who allowed me to try. “You can try,” he said when I asked if I could work on it. Before me, a whole group of artists, some very very skilled ones like Glen Eddy and several Russians, had been working on the game board for some time, but all their work  burned in a fire in Russia. So suddenly there was nothing left. And someone had to start again. I worked for about five years collecting information about various aspects of it and making sketches and little paintings ( I lost all my work too, at one point).

JG…. It seems that many people when they connect to the Teachings experience a desire to make art of some kind. Why do you think that is so?

LM….I think art is a capacity of humans, and that everyone has it in them; they just have to find out how to  do it.  That was one of the gifts I saw artists have, when I interacted with my friends, growing up. They were always interested in a family of artists, and wanted to do it themselves - to work with color, to make things, to have a chance to invent a new dimension of reality and be in it that way. So some of them did take inspiration from being able to do that with my family and me.  All my family’s friends at that time were artists also, so it seemed entirely normal to have a studio in the house and to do a lot of painting and individual work along those lines. Giving people a feeling that this is normal and quite easy was good.

JG…Has Ursa Major Gallery nourished your own artistic process?  What was the reason behind your opening a gallery?

LM.....And I guess that is what I want to do with the gallery. I began showing my father’s work, then some of friends and family in the community and around, and some Tibetan works. Now I am hibernating, the gallery is closed for the season,  and I wish to do some of my own work but it’s hard to get to because there is so much else to do, so time is passing. The gallery really gave me a new lease on life- it’s a way to interact with others, to give something to both the artists and the local community. I see having it as a creative act in itself. It’s a work in progress.

For a review by Louise Landes Levi of Ursa Major's most recent show, Indestructable Mirror: Modern Tibetan Painting, visit here.

Photo credits: Lauri Marder, Charlotte Knox

For upcoming exhibitions, visit Ursa Major Gallery


Saturday, April 20, 2013

{photo of Rinpoche with his grandaughter courtesy of The Mirror)

Early Registration Deadline

May 1, 2013 - "Early Registration Deadline" for Retreat with Choegyal Namkhai Norbu - June 7-12, 2013

Tsegyalgar East, Conway, MA, USA

The deadline for Early Registration for the retreat entitled "Khordas Rangdrol" from the Dra Thalgyur, is May 1, 2013.

Retreat Fees are as follows:

Pre-Registration-prior to May 1, 2013
Non-Members: $600
Members: $300
Meritorious Members: No Charge

Registration after May 1, 2013 (including On-site Registration)
Non-Members: $630
Members: $325
Meritorious Members: No Charge

Reduced Fee for First Time Attendees (non-members only):
If this is your first retreat, the first day is Free. Each additional day is $25/day.

Please go to the online retreat registration page to register early: Register Online

Khandroling Coop Update

Khandroling Coop Update
On Thursday afternoon April 18th the founding members of the Khandroling agricultural coop, Yuchen, Nary, Joe and Paula met to discuss the plans for this coming growing season as well as how to invite the participation of other interested community members.
To inform everyone about the project what follows is a report on what has been done thus far as well as the plans for the future:
  1. BEES:  Two beehives have been purchased and painted, along with all required tools and equipment. Yuchen and Paula have taken a course on beekeeping and will be responsible for the bees.  The Bees will arrive at their new homes next weekend!  An electric fence has been purchased to keep the bears out.  We will install it this coming Sunday, starting late morning. 
    Everybody's welcome to join the fun!
  2. GARDEN:   We plan to plow 2-3 acres of the field to the left of Rinpoche’s house.  The preparation of the soil has been carefully considered and soil tests showed the need for a 'regenerative approach'. This kind of approach will start to reactivate the soil and its nutrients so to rebuild the biological capital of the field and inform us as to how to apply holistic and organic farming methods in the garden field and orchard as well.
We will plant many varieties of vegetables, as well as an experimental patch of barley (in the hopes of making Chudlen with our own honey and Tsampa flour). 
There will also be a patch of flax for the Paper making cooperative, along with other paper seeds, and some desirable flowers. 
Once the planting begins everybody is very welcome to participate and share the fun.
To date we have purchased all the necessary machinery: a disc harrower and a seeder, seeds, and various types of organic soil enhancers etc.
  1. ORCHARD:  We will purchase approximately 20 fruit and nut trees to begin our orchard.  We will also buy a pump and collection tank for water for the gardens. 
  2. MUSHROOMS:  Nary and Joe have begun a successful shitake mushroom project on Upper Khandroling. 
MARKETING: we bought and starting to explore possible specific products to present in the future farm stand.
We will also look into getting certified as an organic farm.  
All expenses have been so far covered by the founding members as well as a few private donations! We're more than grateful for that!
As you can see we have big aspirations!  
There are many other projects to consider, but for now we have decided to begin with these four projects.
Success is a journey, a process, not a destination. While walking the journey we hope to learn from our mistakes. Mistakes do cause pain but they also provide an excellent opportunity for growth. Out of every disaster comes the chance to be reborn.
Our hope is to do something for the community so that we all may become more self-sustainable. 
We also hope to be able to slowly expand so that we may eventually make a profit through the sale of our products, thus becoming a more sustainable community that does not depend only on the Retreats and teachings to pay our bills.  
We invite anyone who is Sincerely Interested in this project, to contact Nary at the Farmhouse #625-6522. What we will expect is that you put in a minimum of 10hrs work each month, beginning May 1st., finishing after the first hard frost, or Dec.1st whichever comes first. Call 2 days before you are able to come to work so that we can fit you into our work schedule.  
In return committed people will be able to partake of the bounty of the garden.  Regardless of the commitment, anybody will be able to purchase produce at a minimum price.
To close, although we are very committed to this project, we have not felt the need to incorporate into a legal COOP entity yet.  We think it makes sense to wait until we begin making some profit.
In the very near future we'd love to invite all interested people to come to Khandroling so we can meet together, enjoy the beauty and energy of Khandroling together, and imagine and plan for our future together.
Coop team.

Monday, April 15, 2013

An Open Letter from Yuchen Namkhai about the Khandroling Coop

Dear Friends,

First and foremost I want to apologize for the missed communication of these past months.

I find an apology can be a very cathartic act. It can mend fences and build bridges besides acknowledging and, at the same time, releasing emotional tension.

Since our last meetings in fall 2012, many things have started to take form.
The initial featured idea of the creation of a Khandroling Cooperative has been cultivated and nurtured throughout the past winter, and a team of committed people manifested.

These ‘Coop-people’, share these values: the care of people, so that human needs for survival, for nurturing connection and spiritual needs can be met; the care of the environment, so that the sacred land that’s supporting our human species can be preserved and steward responsibly; a sustainable and viable approach in pursuing these activities, so to give economic support to the DCA, and enhance community building worldwide.

At a practical level, we envision Lower Khandroling as a small farm run by an independent worker cooperative. Independent because we believe we need to rely on a core of committed, accountable and self-funded people to start the foundation of a culture of sustainability, transparency and accountability,  and selfless service to pass on to future generations saving this burden to the Community.

Farming involves working with nature, with the land so that food can be grown to feed other people. It's a way of life that can surely be enjoyed by those who like to get their hands dirty and want to help others at a very basic level. Farming is also a great way to educate ourselves on the interdependency of all living things in nature.

We believe the potential for tensions and obstacles is always high due to the complexity of our interdependent human relationship and condition.
In an interdependent relationship, all members may be emotionally, economically, ecologically and/or morally reliant on and responsible to each other.

Acknowledging interdependence, we embrace sustainability as the capacity for long-term maintenance of well-being, which has ecological, economic, political and cultural dimensions.

We don't live in a vacuum; everything we do has an impact on the world and the people who live on it. The same can be said for sustainability. Often, a single aspect, say environmental, can interact in various ways.

In 1987, the Brundtland Commisions of the United Nation defined sustainability as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
To become a sustainable coop and community in general, we need to find a balance between the three main and overlapping aspects that breaks up sustainability (sustain-ability):

We believe the actions required are: educate people to self-reliance and selfless service, support local community people by securing food and creating opportunities, engage the worldwide Community and create new networks.
At its best, the worker coop would help financially support Khandroling, inspire the DZ International Community to replicate and follow the model, mentor and educate people interested in self-reliance and selfless service so to build bridges into future generations.

We welcome the term culture to connote a process of ‘cultivation of the soul and improvement of the mind,’ using the agricultural metaphor described by Roman orator, Cicero in his "Cultura Animi."

We celebrate the term education, coming from "ex ducere" in Latin, to "lead out" or bring out knowledge and skills within people to be transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, research and above all mentoring.

Together with you, we believe we’re crafting a new vision.
More updates will follow shortly!

For more info, please don’t hesitate to contact our team leader Paula Barry at


Khandroling Coop Coordinator

[photo by jgens, 2012 fall coop meeting with Yuchen at the farmhouse]

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

News from the Khandroling Cooperative

[Photo by JGens:: Joe Zurylo, Yuchen Namkkai, and Nary Mitchel]

The Khandroling Cooperative team would like to give credit to Yuchen Namkhai
for her enthusiastic vision to create sustainability at Khandroling. She has actively supported all efforts to bring to fruition projects that will benefit the well-being of the
community well into the future. She's a great inspiration!
Last Sunday we met to check out the used equipment we recently purchased to make sure it fits to the tractor. The farm is still snowed in which will soon morph into 'mud season' but as soon as we can we will start to planting process. For now we are in the planning stages and  making preparations, purchasing seeds and concocting additives for soil nutrition. 

To this aim we plan on cultivating about 2 acres on the farm at Khandroling.
One acre will be devoted to an orchard primarily along the steeper slopes which
are not suitable for crops. The rest will be divided into 4 plots containing Flax
and flowers for the paper making project, barley for the eventual use in Chudlen along with our own honey, medicinal herbs for medicine program. The largest plot will contain
a community garden for vegetable production.
To this end we decided to purchase some real farm machinery to minimize our labor, we now own a set of second hand disk harrows which are used to level  the furrows left after plowing, a hiller which constructs raised beds used for row crops and a tiller  (picture below) which cultivates the soil between the rows keeping the weeds down. Once the veggies begin to come into season we will send ou notices to every one and folks can come and "pick your own" at a nominal cost per pound.

 The Harrow Slices Deep
                                         through the thick sod
                                   its noise and scent a call
                                         for the crows
                                   a feast in the making
                                        sushi wrapped in field grass
                                   the crows come, strut and caw
                                        like a teenage homey
                                        bopping out on a Saturday night
                                   they strut and they caw
                                        no discourse on the virtues of veganism
                                        no singing or chanting mystical words
                                        from places and times past
                                    the crows just are
                                          in the place of the great what is  

poem and article  by Joe Zurylo

If you would like to participate and join the cooperative team to develop lower Khandroling, contact team leader Paula Barry at We meet irregularly but anticipate meeting more frequently as the Cooperative evolves. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How does the Dzogchen view resonate or challenge your world?

Everyone one is invited to answer this question in the comments section. Be brief with lots of "for instances" instead of abstractions and have fun. How do the Teachings inspire your life--your work, family life, relationships, interests, art, etc.?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tibetan Elemental Astrology

The following article about Tibetan Astrology is reprinted from The Mirror, Issue #24.  All past issues are available in pdf format to purchase as a download. Visit

ELEMENTAL ASTROLOGY or Jungtsi is the oldest field of knowledge originating in Tibet. It mainly uses three kinds of symbols: the 8 parka or trigrams, the 9 mewa or numbers and the 12 animal signs. The various combinations of these three symbols with the five elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, are the framework for astrological calculations. The parka are the oldest astrological symbols, while the mewa, the numbers and the animal signs are based on the trigrams.

The parkha or trigrams symbolise the cycle of increase and diminution that rules life both in the external world and within the body once a particular realm and its inhabitants has come into being. This cycle is determined and moves on the basis of the combination of the elements so that when the elements are harmonious there is increase, when they are not in harmony diminution, culminating in disintegration, begins. The origin of the trigrams or parka is linked to the ancient culture of the Bon, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. Nowadays, astrological calculations based on the parka are common practice in all the new schools of Tibetan Buddhism, such as the Gelug, the Sakya and the Kagyu as well as in the ancient Nyingma school. Modifying their terminology to suit the Buddhist frame of thought and language, these schools also adopted many rituals of the pre-Buddhist Bon culture - for example the rituals of the gtos, the mdos , the yas and the glud as well as the ritual of the sang (during which juniper and other fragrant herbs are burned for different purposes, including the propitiation of local deities).
But despite such wide and conscious appropriation from the Bon culture, there was a time in Tibetan history when the culture and the followers of Bon were widely persecuted by the Buddhists mainly for political reasons. Since most of the Tibetans were fond of Bon rituals and often took recourse to them, the newly introduced Buddhist culture had no choice but to assimilate them in some way. In this process of assimilation, unwilling to acknowledge the Bon origin of elemental astrology and other rites, they considered the elements of astrology and rites resembling those found in the Indian culture to have been imported from India, while those resembling the Chinese culture to have been imported from China.
However, many astrological and ritual features were unique to Tibet and were not found in either China or India. For this reason they acknowledged them to have originated from or been systematized by a historical figure called Kong tse phrul gyi rgyal po whom the Buddhists, later on, considered to be a manifestation of Manjusri, the boddhisattva who represents wisdom. Since Kong tse phrul gyi rgyal po was born 600 years before the Buddha, it was difficult for them to call him a Buddhist, so they did not say that he was a Buddhist nor admitted he was a Bonpo. During the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries some Tibetan scholars began to claim that the parka came from China. In the 18th century lcang skya rol pa'i rdo rje , and the Mongolian scholar Thu'u bkvan cho kyi nyi ma and other scholars, mistakenly identified Kong tse phrul gyi rgyal po with Confucius, saying that they were one and the same person. However, many reasons prove beyond any shade of doubt that Kong tse phrul gyi rgyal po and Confucius were two different people. ( This topic was more fully discussed during Prof. Thubten Phuntsog's conference at Merigar on January 17th 1998.)
In my opinion when we research the ancient origins of a particular type of knowledge, it is hard to speak of it exclusively in terms of knowledge belonging only to a particular group of people. Astrology in particular is a very ancient discipline which is common to many groups of peoples. For example in most parts of the world, people refer to the days of the week, Sunday, Monday etc., with the names of the planets. Of course different languages uses different words for the planets, but they clearly refer to the same thing; for example, in English we say "Sunday", in Tibetan, Za nyi ma, or 'the sun day or planet'.
In elemental astrology the days are also associated with the elemental properties, for example Sunday with Fire, Monday with Water, Tuesday with Fire, Wednesday with Water, Thursday with Wood, Friday with Metal and Saturday with Earth. Before the people of Tibet had a written language they indicated the days of the week with symbols. For example in Tibet Sunday was symbolised by a drawing of a sun, Monday by the moon, Tuesday by an eye, Wednesday by a hand, Thursday by a wooden purba or three bladed wooden dagger, Friday by a sword or trident and Saturday by a penis.
Now let us see how the Bon texts explain the origin of the parka by means of a mythological tale which represents the process of the formation of the world in eight stages:
1.    the stage in which the pure part of the elements manifested as space;
2.    the stage in which the impure part of the elements manifested as earth;
3.    the stage in which the mountain arose to connect space and earth;
4.    the stage in which the wind through the stoney valleys of the mountain arose;
5.    the stage in which fire was produced by the movement of the wind;
6.    the stage in which the meeting of wind and fire brought about the rain;
7.    the stage in which wood or the tree arose, based on the interaction of wind, fire, water and earth.
This process as well as the outer world is symbolised by the drawing of a golden turtle, whose head represents the direction south.
1. The pure essence of the elements emerged from the mouth of the turtle as vapour and transformed into the 'old father of existence' (Sipa yab rgen ), the first and most ancient trigram, Khen, symbol of the sky. He is described as a old man with white hair, dressed in yellow silk, riding a dog and holding a crystal wand in his hand.
2. The impure aspects of the elements emerged as the dung of the turtle and fell and became 'old mother of existence', (Sipe yum rge ma) Khon, the second trigram that symbolises the earth. She is represented as an old lady with white hair the colour of a conch-shell, with a hundred wrinkles on her face, dressed in white silk, holding a hoe in her right hand and a wooden stick in her left and riding a sheep.
3. The old father and mother of existence married and from their union came the eldest son, the third trigram, Ghin, who symbolises the mountain connecting sky and earth. The eldest son is represented by a figure resembling a monk, holding a sacred book in his hands and riding a rose-coloured ox.
4. Then the wind blowing through the stony mountain valleys gave rise to the fourth trigram called Zon. This trigram is symbolised by the eldest daughter represented as a young woman dressed in yellow silk, riding a dzo, and holding in her hands a balloon-like round bag made of skin.
5. The action of the wind produced the fire element symbolised by the trigram Li which is represented by the youngest daughter of the old father and mother of existence. She is rosy in colour, with a horse's head, dressed in red silk, holding a ladle full of blood in her right hand and a torch in her left.
6. From the encounter of air and fire arose the sixth trigram called Kham which is symbolised by the grandson of the old father and mother and represented as a black-coloured man, with long hair, dressed in black, holding a leather ball full of water in his hand and riding a black pig.
7. Then from the interaction of the fire and wind arose the rain which fell thus originating the trigram Zin symbolised by the tree. The trigram Zin is represented by the grand-daughter who is greenish in colour, dressed in green silk, riding a green donkey, with her hands crossed on her chest and holding a plant.
8. Through the function of the element fire which melted the earth, its pure essence, metal (gold, silver, copper, etc.), manifests, associated with the trigram Da. The trigram Da is the youngest son of the old father and the old mother and he is represented by a young warrior wearing a helmet and armour, holding a sword and a lance in his hands and riding a goat.
Therefore making a brief summary - the first trigram, Khen, is the father, Khon is the mother, Ghin is the elder son, Zon is the elder daughter, Li is the younger daughter, Da is the younger son, Kham is the grand-son and Zin is the grand-daughter.

According to the tale, the trigrams Kham and Zin came about in this way. The elder son, Ghin wishing to find a bride, circled Mount Meru, the 'axis mundis' three times in a clockwise direction; Zon, with the same wish circled the ocean three times in a counter clockwise direction. The two of them met in the midst of a vortex of wind in the country called srin po gdudg pa can gyi yul, which means 'the country inhabited by wild cannibals', in a place called ye le dgung sngon or 'primordial sky'. In the midst of the vortex they did not recognise each other and engaged in an incestuous relationship. From their union was born a son, the trigram Kham, and a daughter, the trigram Zin.
This incestuous relationship was a tragedy that caused a disturbance among various classes of non-humans, in particular between the Devas and the Nagas, who became drunk with mental confusion (because existence had been defiled by the incestuous relationship) and coupled between themselves thus giving birth to the Eight Classes of demons and gods. Following this the beings of the six classes of existence were born, the hell beings etc., and illnesses and suffering arose among these classes.
This suffering which struck the inhabitants of the world came to the attention of the old father, the trigram Khen, who called out asking what was happening. A reply came from the sky saying that what was happening was the result of an incestuous rapport of the elder son with his sister and that it would be beneficial if the family did not remain together but split up to reside in the eight directions. Li, the younger daughter, with the wish to reconciliate the family, approached the old father, Khen, apologising for the misunderstanding between the two trigrams, Ghin and Zon. which had caused the suffering troubling the world. The old father, however, misunderstood her words, got angry and the problems within the family did not come to an end so the members of the family took up residence in the eight directions. Each one took his or her property to their direction and these belongings (including rocks, pieces of wood and so forth) were the very substances that, later on, became used in the rites to pacify the damage caused by an unfavourable combination of the elements or of the trigrams.
Finally the old mother, who was born in the earth sheep year, died at the age of 226 in the wood dragon year. She was buried in the earth the following year, that of the wood snake. At that time there was no funerary ritual to appease the Eight Classes and to balance the elements of the family, and, as a consequence, the old father who was born in the earth dog year and lived for 253 years, died the following year, the metal pig year. In a similar fashion, as the result of the lack of proper funerary rites, Zin, Zon and Kham suddenly died. After that Da, Li and Ghin discussed the matter and created the rite to appease the Eight Classes of demons and gods and to balance the elements within the family. As a result of this the world enjoyed peace and prosperity for many eons.
Following this period of prosperity, the world began to decline and all its inhabitants experienced an augmentation of mental affliction. At that time the Sage Yod po appeared who recounted the legend of the origin of the Parkha and became the first Tibetan to explain astrological calculations.
After many centuries in a period in which no form of writing existed, the teacher of astrology named Sa bdag nag po started to indicate the parkha, the mewa, and the animals with white and black pebbles.
After many centuries, the prince Shi kha then tse born (2551 BC.) in the year of the metal rabbit, established the rules of governing using astrological calculations. In 1957 BC in the wood monkey year, the astrology master Sa bdag rlung rgyal was born, who taught the sage nGnon po. On the basis of the instruction of his teacher, the latter elaborated a way of astrological calculation using the combination of the twelve animal signs with the five elements. He associated colours with the five elements: green for wood, red for fire, yellow for earth, white for metal and black for water and then associated these elements to the parkha and animal signs by way of different dots of colour.
In 1557 BC. in the year of wood mouse, another master of astrology, Ze'u kong 'phrul chung was born. He applied the mother-son-friend-enemy relationship to the field of medicine for the first time. In the wood mouse year in 1197 BC., a famous astrologer, Kongtse sphrul gyi rgyal po, was born. On the basis of his astrological knowledge and on the request of four of his most intelligent students he composed 357 treatises on the rituals of the gto, mdos, yas and the gljud, which have the function of balancing the elements and pacifying the disturbances caused by the Eight Classes of spirits and gods.
In 417 BC. in the wood mouse year, Nyatri Tsenpo, the first Tibetan king, was born. When he became king of Tibet, the so-called 'community of astrological practitioners' developed and propagated astrology widely. At that time, on the basis of the observations of the southerly and northerly movement of the sun, the observation of the stars and the migration of birds, the rain, clouds, wind and snow, the community prepared the solar calendar of 360 days mainly for the sake of the farmers and nomads.
There are many details regarding the development of the elements, how disturbances manifested and how substances were used to pacify the imbalance of the elements but we would need a week simply to explain them. This is a mythological story not a real one, nonetheless its symbols could be considered to be an invaluable field of research. This information concerning the mythological origin of the trigrams as well as the mewa or numbers can only be found in the Bon texts; one does not find similar explanation in the astrological treatises of China or other countries. In fact, when Chinese astrological experts are asked about the origin of the parka or trigrams they do not have a very clear explanation and sometimes refer to a particular race of people called Yi who lived on the border between China and who were originally Tibetans with customs and beliefs closely linked to the Bon culture.
Translated by Elio Guarisco

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Interview with Edward Goldberg, Founder of Catalysta

The following interview with Ed Goldberg of the NY Dzogchen Community is the first in  a series of interviews that examines how the Dzogchen Teachings inspire our livelihood and interests. 

(JG is Jacqueline Gens interviewing on behalf of the Tsegyalgar East blog
EG is Ed Goldberg)

JG: Ed, for many years now your organization Catalysta has been in the background of your life. The current mission statement states that Catalysta inspires and supports anyone who desires a career that‘s a catalyst for the greater good. Ed can you talk about the origin of Catalysta and its initial projects
 EG: Many, many (many) years ago I went to film school. Without much direction or self-confidence, I ended up painting houses with friends at Bennington College. Being with artists awakened my love of drawing, theater, and the arts in general. I created a performance piece that began a long path toward unveiling what I wanted to communicate and in what medium.
After indulging in degrees in Interactive Telecommunications and Social Work, I continued to tinker and at the turn of the century the first Catalysta went live. We brought together high school students from around the world online to consider social issues and create projects. Two sets of curricula were created, one on water and the other on globalization. Everyone enjoyed but we made not a penny.

JG: By the way I remember the presentation on water especially from the  high school in India that  I  presented  to one of my graduate education classes when I was working on my Masters of Teaching with IT at Marlboro College (2005-2007). It was memorable and gorgeously executed.  How has Catalysta evolved to its present mission which is quite different?

EG: After putting far too much money on credit cards for Catalysta Number 1, the project folded. Paying off debt and brainstorming the next iteration of Catalysta highlighted the ensuing years. This time around the focus shifted to career, which expands the potential audience and provides a big pot for addressing anything.

The mission has been a work in progress. We continue to refine the aim, but the basis is to inspire and assist the development of careers that can in some way be of benefit.

JG: Can you talk a bit about global community in the information age? How has the new paradigm shifted your feelings about these things?
EG: Dzogchen has had the view of global community for a long time. Catalysta is an attempt to face the challenges of the Age and reach out to people who’d like to lessen suffering a little bit. The tools of tech make this particular project possible.

JG: How do you meet the people featured in Catalysta--those individual as conduits of change?
EG: Once you begin to dig, you find there are people in just about any career who are considerate of how their actions impact their specific community. It goes without saying that we have limited vision and nothing is certain as to how we affect others, but good intention seems to me to be a worthwhile place to start.
We track articles in newspapers and magazines, and follow any and all threads to find subject matter for articles and upcoming programs.
JG: Can you give some real life examples of how contact with Catalysta has shaped the greater good?
EG: Currently, we don’t have much feedback, but we hope that will improve in future. The thought of working for the greater good is gaining traction. And research is catching up with the Teachings. Here’s a recent article in the NY Times about integrating the Bodhisattva Vow at work.
JG: What are the plans for Catalysta in the future?
EG: Phase two of the site will include video, Podcast, and interactive programs. One issue of Catalysta will span two months and focus on a specific field, for instance, fashion, urban planning, agriculture, and government. Many of the programs will dovetail with the topic.
Interview programs will highlight young people looking toward a first career, established professionals taking stock of their work, and spiritual teachers, psychologists, and philosophers addressing how personal development impacts our potential for ‘right livelihood’.
There are also plans for a scripted series about a small dog by the name of Ralph Munch who runs a multi-national conglomerate. He pulls together a team who explore beneficial ways for MunchCo Industries to enter various fields in beneficial ways.
JG: Anything else?
EG: Check us out at  and click the 'Like us' button on Facebook; join us on Twitter; friend us on Pinterest; link to us LinkedIn; and join our circle at Google+ Whew!
Phase two will be up and running this summer.
JG: On behalf of TSEGYALGAR EAST, Thank you

If anyone in the Dzogchen Community  would like to interview another member or be interviewed,  let us know by contacting

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Drajyor Tibetan Pronounciation Course at Tsegyalgar East by Fabian Sanders

Fun course...and now we can finally pronounce things the correct way! Tsegyalgar East hosted a weekend Drajyor course with Mr. Fabian Sanders. The course was taught to those present at the Tsegyalgar East Gonpa and to others who had the opportunity to connect via internet. A feeling of relaxation and enjoyment permeated the whole course as we learned the proper pronunciation of the medium Ganapuja, as well as the Serkyem practice. Drajyor is a fantastic tool and now we can finally pronounce things the correct way! A sense of responsibility was reawakened during this course, as we understood that proper pronunciation connects to meaning and also relates to transmission. Drajyor allows us to pronounce correctly the practices, the way Rinpoche has transmitted to us! It is also an excellent resource for those who are not familiar with Tibetan language and wish to perform practices in a correct way.

Reprinted from the Mirror