Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tsegyalgar East Gakyil Seeks to Fill Two Gakyil Positions

The Gakyil of Tsegyalgar East has an opening available and two coming available on the board of directors. There is one immediate Gakyil positions open – for Yellow Gakyil.  Candidates for the Yellow Gakyil position that just became available will be selected as soon as possible.  There will also be an opening on the Red Gakyil at the end of September and a Blue Gakyil opening available at the end of the year.

Towards that end, we would like to ask interested parties to submit letters of interest to the Gakyil describing a bit of background and experience.

1)     Apply for membership expressing your interest, your skills and community experience
2)    Three years of active community participation – does not have to be sequential years
3)    Attendance at three retreats and/or three webcasts
4)    Willing to a one-year renewable commitment each year, for up to three years
The work involves taking concrete responsibility for day-to-day activities and projects, which, on a practical level requires common sense, a capacity for collaboration, patience, and a willingness to offer time and energy to help maintain and develop the Gar. The average weekly time commitment is 12 hours/weekly with daily internet communication.Our mutual aim is to preserve and disseminate the precious teachings and methods transmitted by our Teachers.
Here are the responsibilities and job descriptions for the three colors of the Gakyil:

Blue Gakyil
 Shared Responsibilities —
·         Plan and organize all activities related to the teachings, retreats and other relevant activities;
·         Extend invitations to the Master to teach in Tsegyalgar East;
·         Develop a year-round calendar of practice programs and teaching retreats with resident and visiting teachers; organize and announce all activities related to teaching retreats, collective practices, and webcasts for Tsegyalgar East and Khandroling events and weekly schedule;
·         Invite and arrange for various instructors and experienced practitioners to lead different events (courses and practices) and see to their accommodations;
·         Coordinate and delegate responsibilities during teaching retreats and weekend workshops;
·         Collaborate in organizing retreats with the Yellow and Red Gakyils;
·         In collaboration with the Yellow and Red Gakyils, select and train a project manager to take responsibility for organizing each event and all associated activities that need to be implemented;
·         Update the website weekly through ongoing communication with our webmaster which requires accuracy and attention to detail;
·         Ongoing collaboration with SSI, ASIA, Tsegyalgar West and other lings in North America for the implementation of events and courses;
·         Maintain ongoing communication throughout the community; develop publicity for all events; publish notification of all activities;
·         Interface with the International Gakyil of the International Gar to update guidelines with regard to these evolving functions.

Red Gakyil Shared Responsibilities –
·         Develop, maintain and manage all the physical and organizational structures and facilities of Tsegyalgar East;
·         Prepare annual and multiannual construction plans to submit to the Gakyil and the Community for approval;
·         Prepare annual and multiannual maintenance plans;
·         Develop appropriate construction plans and blue prints, collaborate with the Yellow Gakyil on relevant budgets, acquire bids for specific construction work, purchasing/rental of equipment, hardware, etc.;
·         Supervise, monitor and evaluate construction projects and draft relevant reports;
·         Acquire relevant construction permits from regional and state governmental bodies;
·         Collaborate with the whole Gakyil in the implementation of ongoing and retreat-related vendor services;
·         Collaborate with the whole Gakyil in recruitment and management of human resources and the development of relevant policies and procedures.

Yellow Gakyil Shared Responsibilities –
·         Oversee the financial management and administration of all activities in accordance with legal requirements;
·         Ensure transparency and accountability of Tsegyalgar’s financial administration;
·         Prepare yearly budgets and balance sheets to be submitted for approval to the Gakyil and the DCA;
·         Coordinate work with the secretary regarding income and disbursements;
·         Manage accounts and administrative problems together with the Accountant;
·         Manage and monitor membership and human resource issues;
·         Support Lings with membership issues;
·         Manage contracts and payments for Vajra Dance and Yantra Yoga local and international teachers and translators, prepare final reports for each course and update the information on the collaboration site;
·         Appoint and train a team leader for registration during the principal retreats with Rinpoche;
·         Assign work/study awards;
·         Monitor expenses and procurement of contracts with utility suppliers;
·         Support Tsegyalgar office for membership and payment issues during retreats and courses;
·         General computer skills are essential with an emphasis on Microsoft Office, Excel and Quickbooks.
·         Accounting and budgeting capabilities are necessary to track expenses. Fundraising experience is useful.

Since it is useful to overlap terms, it would be very helpful for those who apply to join within one month of the ending term for that position.
This next year will see the exciting 30 Year Anniversary Festival Celebration of Tsegyalgar East, including the Inauguration of the Vajra Hall on Khandroling and a retreat with Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, so individuals living within a reasonable commute of the Gar are preferred.

Putting yourself forward as a candidate does not mean that you have been selected. By showing your interest now you will have the opportunity to talk in depth with the current Gakyil and Gekö who are available to give all necessary explanations. The ultimate selection of candidates lies with Rinpoche; all names are forwarded for his approval.

It is important that candidates come forward early, so we would appreciate it if letters of interest could be submitted for the open positions as soon as possible to  We hope that many people will present themselves to manifest the vision of our beloved Master. Offering our time and our commitment to carry forward the work of the Dzogchen Community is a way to concretely demonstrate our gratitude for everything we’ve been given.

With warm regards,
The Tsegyalgar East Gakyi

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Report on the August 25 Meeting at Tsegyalgar East with the International Gakyil of the Dzogchen Community

[photo courtesy of the Mirror]

Scott Townell, who is a member of Tsegyalgar East and of the International Gakyil, gave the presentation which was about some of the changes being implemented to bring to fruition Rinpoche's vision of a Global Gar, a true representation of the International Dzogchen Community.  Other IG members who attended the meeting online were Julian King-Salter, Mark Farrington and Enrico Dell'Angelo.

The main document he discussed was Tsegyalgar Five Key Points made accessible to interested people prior to the meeting.  The Five Key Points are:

1) Establish the governing, managing, administrative and coordinating bodies of the International Dzogchen Community.
2) The legal & institutional alignment of Gars, Lings and any other related organization with the IDC
3) Membership management system and Members Data Base
4) Develop and make available a value-added suite of services for the Global Community
5) Develop a financial support system for the Community

Scott covered each of the points and delineated the first three steps of decisions for Tsegyalgar East to make:

I That the Tsegyalgar East Gakyil adopts as its aim that its members become members of IDC as well as of Tsegyalgar East and a Ling (if applicable) by the end of 2014. (possibly even at the time of membership renewal 2014. 
II. That Tsegyalgar East aims to have statutes in place to align with IDC by the time Rinpoche arrives to celebrate Tsegyalgar East's 30th anniversary, at which time a formal signing ceremony could take place. 
III. That the gakyil renewal notices, as positions fall vacant, include as additional criteria the need for Gakyil members who have skills and capacity to enjoy the work of establishing the legal framework for this transition. (it is also suggested that Gakyil renewal process should become more of a selection than election process); IG is happy to support this process.

It was decided by those present as well as those online that the decision should be taken up at the next Gakyil meeting on Sept. 8 at 12:30 pm at the Schoolhouse.

The remainder of the meeting consisted of a question and answer session in which IG members clarified various aspects of the process and listened to statements from those present.

The recording of the meeting will soon be up on the website for members.  An announcement will go out when it is ready.

Following the meeting, there was a community meeting addressing the application of Anna Bartenstein for the open Blue Gakyil position.  She was unanimously selected so her name will be sent to Rinpoche for confirmation.

Elisa Gonzales, Blue Gakyil
Tsegyalgar East

Coming Soon Khandroling Paper Cooperative Show of Works Opening September 14 at Ursa Major Gallery

{pulp painting by Naomi Zeitz on abaca} 

Khandroling Paper Cooperative show at Ursa Major:  September 14-29, 2013
Ursa Major Gallery


Paper connects people, be it cards and letters, old books and photographs, historic and sacred texts, drawings, poetry and calligraphy. Khandroling Paper Cooperatives invites artists who have made paper with us to show your work. The theme, Interconnections make it your own, it could be your connection to nature, to someone of significance in your life, the Teachings, our community. Create a work from paper/handmade paper, plants, prints, poetry....

Works by Sheryl Jaffe, Brenda Lilly, Naomi Zeitz, Kathryn O'Connor. Tatianna Shannon, Max Shannon, Jacqueline Gens and guest artist Milan Rai from Nepal, among others.

Milan Rai and Kathryn O'Connor (rt) meeting with gallery owner, Lauri Marder (left) to discuss the show ouside Ursa Major Gallery in Shelburne Falls.

Milan and Kathryn on the famous Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls

So many amazing flowers...

Visiting the Khandroling Farm Coop on East Buckland Rd in Buckland, MA and hanging with farm manager, Nary Mitchell- Left to rt: Nary Mitchell, Sheryl Jaffe, Milan Rai and Kathryn O'Connor. Nary was installing the beginnings of a branch arch by digging deep holes when we arrived. There are the bee hives in the background.

Sean Quinn tinkering with the tractor blades.

Sheryl and Kathryn back at the gallery discussing the upcoming show opening and art walk on September 14

That's Brenda Lilly--origami artist. I don't know how to make a still photo out of my accidental movie mode. Brenda stopped by the farm to meet Milan and we all had a picnic lunch.

Milan and Kathryn on their way to NYC. Milan will be back on September 9 to begin his amazing butterfly installations and work with Nary on the Khandroling Coop farm where they both share an affinity for "secret gardens".

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

News from Tara Mandala, our "Dam Trog" Sister Organization

News Flash from Tara Mandala! Do Dasal Wangmo received a copy of her biography Luminous Moonlight in Kham! We did not even know if she was still alive, but asked Judy and Chuck Lief (President of Naropa University) who were going to her area in Tibet to take some copies. It turns out Dasal Wangmo is alive and well and highly respected in the area, She received the book at Dzogchen Monastery where she spends summers. We are thrilled that it reached her and that she is well. Dzinpa Rangdrol! Ema Ho ! --Lama Tsultrim 

To read the full story of this publication, the first in Tara Mandala's Machig Publications, visit the previous post here. - Reprinted from Facebook
The following video about Tara Mandala on You Tube by Great America is now online.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Beautiful Khandroling Today

Here are a couple of pictures Sean Quinn posted on Facebook. Sean is working on taping the universal mandala in preparation for adding the coloring to the mandala.

[photos by Sean Quinn]

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bookmark our Updated Resource Page for New Practitioners

The Dzogchen Community founded by Dzogchen master, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu offers a rich and vibrant entrance into practice and study that each individual must discover for themselves according to their capacity and circumstances. For new practitioners who have received transmission from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu either through a world-wide online webcast or in person, there are several recommendations for integrating into the Dzogchen Community.

Throughout the world there are many Gars and Lings where one can experience first hand and receive instruction about the Community's principle practices with the support of other practititioners. The Mirror (see below) has a complete list of Rinpoche's year-round Teaching schedule.

To access ongoing practice sessions each week at Tsegyalgar East, visit our Weekly Practice Calendar or sign up to receive notice automatically each Monday.

For retreats and special programs taught by authorized teachers at Tsegyalgar East visit our main Events Page. 

People may also visit the Gar and stay in our dormitory for a nominal fee or in exchange for Karma Yoga. Contact the Gekod, David Hayes at for information.

These two calendars are found on our main website at where it is useful to spend some time reading about our community. Here is where you can also find links to a number of other US practice communities called "Lings." The Tsegyalgar East Blog (here)  is a more immediate listing of happenings at the Gar and about the culture of our Sangha/Community nationwide.

Recognizing that it can be a somewhat daunting experience to navigate the many practice options, we make the following suggestions as a starting point.

Main Practices:

Guru Yoga- Each month Tsegyalgar East publishes a weekly calendar  listing the designated ganapuja dates, times. and locations which occur four times a month- on Guru Padmasambhava Day, Dakini Day, the New Moon and the Full Moon. Many individuals do a daily Tun which can be found in the main text, The Book of Tun and Ganapuja.   Another starter book that can be ordered through the Shang Shung Institute Bookstore is: Guruyoga. (These two linked to the online bookstore). Another useful book is Drajyor for Rinpoche's unique system of correct pronunciation of all invocations of the practices. Small Glossary for the Dzogchen Community is also available at the SS Bookstore

Yantra Yoga- There are a number of ongoing Yantra Yoga practice session for all levels at Tsegyalgar East as well as special weekends. You can also access the Yantra Yoga international website for further trainings and resources including the video, Breathe, The Perfect Harmony of Breathing that is especially useful for people with physical limitations and can be ordered online in the SSI bookstore ( see below) or on You can also buy the instructional videos, Tibetan Yoga of Movement, The Perfect Rhythm of Life Level I and Level II of the same series. The manual called Tibetan Yoga of Movement: The Art and Practice of Yantra Yoga is a good foundational reference text. Our resident Yantra Yoga teachers are Paula Barry, Martina Kacurova and Naomi Zeitz.

Vajra Dance - Each week Tsegyalgar East practitioners practice the Vajra Dance Tun including the hour before Ganapuja. These sessions are found on the weekly schedule. Our two authorized resident teachers, Kyu Kyuno and Leela Hewitt-Whitcomb, offer year round instructional courses in addition to overseeing special visiting guests. Visit the Vajra Dance webpage at Tsegyalgar East for further information as well as our weekly and special events pages.

Collective Practices - include the many secondary practices that Chögyal Namkhai Norbu gives the lung transmission during his retreats to benefit particular circumstances. Qualified Practitioners who have received transmission can order practice books and MP3 or DVD instructional resources to learn these practices. Contact the SSI bookstore.

Santi Maha Sangha weekends with authorized teachers can be found on our Events page. Jim Valby is the North American authorized Santi Maha Sangha coordinator. See below for information how to join the Base Level SMS Online Study Group.

The Mirror

New practitioners are advised to subscribe to The Mirror, International Newspaper of the Dzogchen Community. There you can also find Chögyal Namkhai Norbu's world-wide international Teaching schedule. Many of his Teachings are available as Open Webcasts. Members in the community automatically receive online access to the Mirror or for an additional fee may subscribe to a print version. Sustaining members receive both the print and online subscriptions automatically. As a member one can also purchase pdf versions of every issue for download. 

Norbunet (International E-List of the Dzogchen Community)

NorbuNet is a group email list established for the international Dzogchen Community. 
To subscribe to NORBUNET send a blank email from your account to
Alternatively, if you have a Google account, go to and click on the Apply for membership link.

Tsegyalgarnet (National Yahoo Groups E-list with regular course announcements and updates)

Go here to Join this group :
 Webcasts of Teachings
A few notes of general information: The teaching on the first day of each retreat usually starts at 4pm or 5pm local time and lasts for two hours.  Every other day it will be from 10am-12pm local time.  Make sure to convert the local time of where Rinpoche will be teaching to your local time using this time converter:
The most accurate place to view the webcast schedule is Rinpoche's calendar at to see when and where he is teaching.  Most of Rinpoche's teachings are available by Open Webcast. 
To listen to a webcast go to the actual Dzogchen Community Webcast site: click here

World-Wide Transmission Dates

Transmission  of Guru Yoga directly from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu via live internet is available three times a year on special world-wide live transmission dates where the entire world wide community participates at the same time:

Individuals planning on participating in the WWT explanation at home via speaker phone hook-up as a prerequisite to the actual WW Transmission, will need to purchase either the practice book, the book Guruyoga (the practice is in the back of the book), or DVD.  Please contact the Shang Shung Bookstore at the link provided below.
 Anniversary of Padmasambava - Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:00 PM EDT (most recent)
         Anniversary of Adzom Drugpa Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 7:00AM EDT
 Anniversary of Garab Dorje - TBA February 2014
2013/14 dates & Times TBA check Tsegyalgar East website for the next scheduled www transmission date and instructions. Visit the Tsegyalgar East Events page as the dates near for the required explanation prior to the transmission.

Shang Shung Bookstore
To purchase both restricted and unrestricted practice texts,  shop at the Shang Shung US Bookstore   

Membership in the Dzogchen Community

There are many benefits to becoming a member of the Dzogchen Community. Go to the following links to read about our membership categories.
The easiest way to renew your membership or become a new member is online at:

or download a membership renewal form and submit by mail:

Santi Maha Sangha Training

Santi Maha Sangha is a course of study and practice in nine levels initiated by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in 1994. The aim of Santi Maha Sangha, which in the ancient language of Oddiyana means "Dzogchen Commmunity," is to guarantee the continuation of the Dzogchen teaching as it was originally transmitted by Garab Dorje, and as the Master has been transmitting it for more than thirty years within the Dzogchen Community. After the "Base" level, whose contents are presented in The Precious Vase, there are three levels dedicated to Semde, three to Longde and the final three to Mennagde or Upadesha. Visit the Tsegylagar East webpages here

Each Tuesday Tsegyalgar East hosts a Santi Maha Sangha Base Level Study Group online via Webex at 9:00 PM - 10:30 PM. The study group primarily reviews, The Precious Vase and base practices with some opportunity for discussion among the participants. Collaborations with various authorized SMS teachers occurs whenever possible. The study group is limited to 25 participants from the US.

If you would like to participate, please register online so that you can receive an invitation to join the Webex meeting each week. 

For further information about the study group, contact Elisa Gonzales at 

To read more about Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's Santi Maha Sangha Training visit the main Tsegyalgar Website at

To order the text go to the Shang Shung Institute US Bookstore

Personal Contact
If you would like to connect with a practitioner in the community for support, write the Blue Gakyil at

Recommended Reading Lists

Great Public Beginners Materials:

1. The Crystal and the Way of Light
In The Crystal and the Way of Light, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu examines the spiritual path from the viewpoint of Dzogchen. He discusses the base, path and fruit of Dzogchen practice, and describes his education and how he met his principal master, who showed him the real meaning of "direct introduction to Dzogchen."

Rinpoche begins by clearly explaining the Dzogchen teachings and then reveals, in a simple and non-intellectual manner, what is meant by the practice of Dzogchen. 

3. Dream Yoga
Provides the instructions for guiding dream states and developing clarity within sleep and dream. 

4. The Mirror: Advice on Presence and Awareness
This is a brief text that with astonishing simplicity and depth expounds the three fundamental aspects of the Dzogchen path: the view, or intuitive understanding of one’s primordial state; the meditation, or the application of this knowledge; and the conduct, or the integration of meditation with all one’s daily activities.

5. The Foundation of the Path
This collection of teachings contains the foundation for observing ourselves and understanding our real condition: The Four Awarenesses, The Three Sacred Principles (Refuge, Bodhichitta, Dedication of Merit), The Three Trainings, and the Vajra State. This is a transcription from oral teachings by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu.

6. My Reincarnation (Documentary Film about Chögyal Namkhai Norbu)
Filmed over twenty years by acclaimed documentarian Jennifer Fox, MY REINCARNATION chronicles the epic story of the high Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, and his western-born son, Yeshi. 

7.  General Introduction to Dzogchen DVD
In this video Chögyal Namkhai Norbu answers the question: What is Dzogchen? This video gives the viewer an opportunity to experience directly words of a great master.

Great Transmission-related (Reserved) general Beginners Materials:

Important Notice: 'Reserved Items' are the material intended for the Dzogchen Community. In order to purchase this items one must have received Direct Introduction (Transmission) from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu.  If a book is practice related, one must have also received transmission for that specific practice.

1. The Practice of Daily Life
Advice on The Practice of Daily Life, taken from oral teachings by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu at Merigar, August 2003, Kunsangar, June 2001, Merigar, 2001, Hawaii,1999.
2.  Introduction to Contemplation
Transmitted during a retreat in 1980, this book contains a complete method for practicing Dzogchen contemplation.

3. The Precious Vase
This Book is the Base text of the Santi Maha Sangha study series created by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Expanded on notes and quotations, it is the essential text for the study and practice of the base Level of Santi Maha Sangha training.

4. The Three Paths of Liberation
The Three Paths of Liberation is a straightforward guide to the understanding of the essence of all paths, Buddhist or not, leading to spiritual realization. 

5. The Song of the Vajra
This commentary on the Song of the Vajra was transmitted by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu at Tashigar, Argentina in 1990 and includes detailed
explanations of the Song of Vajra.

By Practice: (This section of the SSI-USA Bookstore website shows you what materials are available by practice)

Compiled by Jacqueline Gens and Anna Bartenstein, 2013
Leave your comments if you have suggestions

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Invitation from the International Gakyil

A Few Mandala Hall Updates on Khandroling

                         (Photo by Paula Barry)

The primary work this season on the Mandala Hall continues to focus on the final phase of preparing the surface and coloring the design on the Mandala Hall floor.

The following photos show but a fraction of the work undertaken by Jim Smith and volunteers who prepared the surface by washing  and laying out the grid of the mandala in order to draw and tape the concrete. Further explanations forthcoming. The following photos are by Paula Barry and Efrem Marder.

Ricardo washing the concrete to prepare the surface. (photo by Paula Barry)

Here is Jim Smith's method for precise drawing of the mandala's dimensions.

Efrem Marder taping one of the outer Thigle

Efrem and Jim Smith taping the outer Thigles

Sean Quinn taping

More photos and narrative to follow soon.  Thanks Jim Smith & company!

Andrea Sertoli (d. August 19, 2013)

Today on August 19, 2013 at 3:00 PM  our Vajra brother, Andrea Sertoli died in Rome. Andrea was one of the first disciples of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. He enriched us with his generosity, good humor, and deep kindness. 

(Photo by Paula Barry, May 31, 2013 in NYC)

For many years he was the president of Shang Shung Institute of America where I had the privilege of working closely with him on the early Board of Directors of Shang Shung to develop the administrative infrastructure of the Tibetan Medicine Program and other initiatives such as the first eleven webcasts. Together we raised thousands of dollars to implement the Three Year Foundation Course in Tibetan Medicine by Dr. Thubten Phuntsog and the translation of the early texts used, among the first teaching programs in English, as well as relocate Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo to the US to found the Four Year Tibetan Medicine Program. With great enthusiasm we worked closely with an international team to inaugurate and raise funds for the early audio webcasts which began on New Years Day, 2000 in Tashigar Sur.  

Andrea was deeply dedicated to the vision of Shang Shung Institute and A.S.I.A. for the preservation of Tibetan culture. As a businessman, he founded the successful company Select Italy in the US to promote travel to Italy. His dedication to the Institute was reflected in his excellent work ethic, knowledge of US non-profits and business expertise that he brought to his role as president in the early years. In my own experience, I found him to have that rare combination of both intellect and kindness. 
 -Jacqueline Gens

...."He left light, he is Light"......  Stella Sangiorgi

There will be a Xitro Ganapuja at Tsegyalgar East at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Shang Shung Institute of America Tibetan Kunye Massage Therapy Program Graduation

Four students received their diplomas from Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo yesterday from the Shang Shung Institute of America for completion of the 750 hour Tibetan Kunye Massage Therapy program. They are Lindsay H. Post, Maria Jose Gimenez, Bret Bourman and Deborah Krause (absent).

[Left to right: Lindsay H. Post, Bret Bourman, Osel Dorje Rinpoche, Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo, and Maria Jose Gimenez]

Beginning in the Spring of 2012, the Shang Shung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine launched a new 750-hour Tibetan Kunye Massage Therapy Comprehensive Certification Program. This program is the most advanced training in traditional Kunye Massage Therapy currently offered anywhere in the US or abroad. The program prepares students for professional practice, and meets the new curriculum guidelines established by the Massachusetts State Board of Registration of Massage Therapy.

A dinner was hosted by Shang Shung in the Tsegyalgar East gonpa to celebrate the graduates, meet the twelve online students in residence for the first time attending Namkha's Astrology course, and honor visiting Tibetan lama, Osel Dorje Rinpoche.

To learn more about the Tibetan Kunye Massage Therapy Program and Four Year Online program, contact the Institute at email-- or visit their webpage at

See slide show of the graduation/dinner event below: