Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taking the Long View

[Photo by Sean Quinn]

A few days ago this exquisite photo of Khandroling was posted following some of the tree cutting happening on the land. Over the past couple of months, Khandroling, the retreat land for the Dzogchen Community in Buckland, MA  has undergone a dramatic transformation with the well-planned tree cutting to eliminate debris, white pine and hemlock, which in the past did not allow the forest to flourish. You can read an earlier post here. 

The tree cutting project is based on a proposal to the Massachusetts State forestry department to create conditions for new habitat, especially birds and small mammals and a robust growth of hardwoods. Incorporated into this proposal was a plan to actualize our Master's directive finally to remove the white pine on the land and open up certain views.  These are optimal outcomes for the future of Khandroling's land management in our bio-region, which was carefully considered. 

[Google map of of Khandroling with yellow area designating tree cutting]

As one can see in the photo of the long view at the top of the page,  significant views have opened up with a clear view of the pond and hint of the valley below. On the other hand,  arriving on upper Khandroling one immediately can view the golden Longsal atop the Mandala Hall which houses the Universal Mandala. The overall effect is breathtaking. Here's another view from Rinpoche's cabin looking up to the Mandala Hall:

[photo by Paula Barry]

For some years, the reforestation process will be a work in progress as the landscape reveals its treasures.

In the 19th century and early part of the twentieth century much of the land around Khandroling was cleared as can be seen in this early post card of the birthplace of Mary Lyon, whose homestead lies at the bottom of the hill leading up to Khandroling. To your left, a direct path to the Mandala Hall on top of the hill while below to the right would have been sweeping views of the Connecticut River Valley below. 

In the midst of all this activity and heavy machinery, the coloration of the mandala floor continues to be applied painstakingly and with great care primarily by Jim Smith and Nary Mitchell with help from local volunteers. An arduous process, this work represents the final phase of construction for the interior of the Mandala Hall, now in its 5th year of construction.

[photo by Paula Barry]

Meanwhile, Lower Khandroling at the farm surrounding Rinpoche's residence, another kind of transformation is taking place with hundreds of blueberries planted and attention to the land resulting in a full-fledged farm with garden, bees, and mushroom cultivations, as well as a state of the art greenhouse under construction. 

[photo credit Khandroling Coop]

At the heart of all these recent developments is the desire to present a perfect place for the Inauguration of the Mandala Hall for the Universal Mandala--the jewel of our community, scheduled during Tsegyalgar's 30th Anniversary Celebration, Come Join the Dance, July 11-13, 2014.

It is important at this time for Tsegyalgar East to harness our resources in order to bring to fruition all our projects for the upcoming  celebration and retreat, Summer 2014.
The most effective way to help the community realize these aspirations is to renew your memberships early for the Year of the Wood Horse 2014
If you are able to do this now, please contact our secretary,  at Shortly, everyone will be receiving our 2014 Membership packets.  Traditionally, this time of year is when unrestricted donations are most welcome to offset shortfalls in our 2013 expenses. Unrestricted donations received are tax deductible. Such expressions of Dana--help support the Teachings flourish now and into the future. 

[Photo by Sean Quinn]

To view updates on Khandroling and at Tsegyalgar East, visit out Community blog at and the farm coop's website at frequently. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pre-Halloween Party: A Few Photos

The kid pack with the "big bad wolf" taking a moment from their fort building and running around for a group photo in the gompa.

Witchy Mom looking quite benevolent upstairs in the yellow schoolhouse kitchen.

Kid stuff--couldn't resist the artistry of it all.

Friends & Neighbors: A Visit with Valerie Shippee

 [photo by Jacqueline Gens of Valerie Shippee by her pond] 

A few weeks ago I met Val Shippee (as she is known) at a party hosted by Marie Stella of Beaver Lodge for all our neighbors on Barnes Road and East Buckland Road near Khandroling, the Dzogchen Community retreat land. At the party Val and I decided to get together later inviting me to visit her home. Warm hearted and generous, Val has lived in the neighborhood for thirty-five years where she and her husband, Ron, raised three children. They love their land, which is well groomed with wonderful trees and bushes carefully planted over the years and they are passionate about the neighborhood, especially our retreat land Khandroling, where neighbors  walked, picniced and swam for decades.

While walking around her land, I noticed grazing in her next door neighbor's yard that famous donkey we all know so well who boldly likes to catch a ride with moving vehicles. Otherwise gentle, this "fellow" is especially adept at crashing into the slow moving drivers side of one's vehicle where you don't want to have an open window. He mostly roams free and far so now that you are  forewarned you shouldn't be too much in shock when he first crashes into your car out of nowhere.

Val caught my attention at Marie's party when over the din of chatter and tinkling glasses I heard her mentioning Mary Lyon's writings about the top of the hill, none other than that sacred rock with the longsal symbol carved into the bark and the site of so many teachings. I knew that writing myself even doing an article in the Mirror back in the 1990's. If you've been to Khandroling, you would know that the Mary Lyon homestead with it's crisp clear well that flows endlessly is situated  close to the Khandroling land at the bottom of the hill. 

In Mary Lyon's own words: 

"Then just beyond the precincts of the family domain was the 'top of the hill,' crowned with its high rolling rock, ever inviting the enterprise of each aspiring heart. Everyone was ambly repaid who would climb tha steep hill, and ascend that high rock." 
 (a letter from Mary Lyon quoted in a her 1864 biography, A Life of Christian Benevolence)

Val was talking at the party with a local historian and docent of all things Mary Lyon. Naturally, she would  know about Mary Lyon, the great 19th educator because of her own work at Sanderson Academy for the past twenty-five years where Mary Lyon first studied as a young prodigy and later taught. Val is also a certified Reiki healer, which is to say, someone sensitive to energy.

For the rest of the party I had a grand time speaking with Val about my own passion for Mary Lyon as one of the great transformers of human society-- a true dakini who sprung out of a remote corner of Western Massachusetts and whose intellectual projeny would travel to the most distant corners of the world spreading literacy--especially to women.  It always gives me goose bumps to consider that same precious place over time, which would open its corridor into other realms to receive the profound teachings transmitted by Goma Devi. We also spoke of the work of author Peter Champoux, a local resident,  whose calculation of ley lines indicates that Shelburne/Buckland is at the center of the North America Tectonic plates and thus a power spot. Indeed that is what the land feels like to everyone who ever traverses near it.
Here is what Val had to say about living in the neighborhood:

It is a conscious decision we have each made, to live here in a secluded area on the mountain. I am so grateful for the thoughtful neighbors who are good friends and new acquaintences who also appreciate the beauty of nature. The quiet surroundings nourish our spirits and offer the opportunity for meaningful thought, meditation, & recreation.  Living simply is a true gift.

[Japanese crab apple tree planted by Val]

Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy Birthday to Rosa Namkhai, October 25, 2013

Many happy returns to Rosa Namkhai on her birthday October 25, 2013. In appreciation for all your decades of service to the community and our Master's well-being. We love you.

Tsegyalgar East

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Blooming of Khandroling

Top: Last blooming poppy on lower Khandroling
Bottom: Bees around the Vajra Hall cosmos

Both photos from the Facebook group:  Khandroling: Land of the Dakinis 

Photos by Laila Reiss

Urgent Message from A.S.I.A about Khamdogar

We recently received the following message from Asia. Tsegyalgar East has been directed for many years to support the development of Khamdogar, the seat of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu's master, Changchub Dorje. In his book, The Crystal and the Way of Light, Rinpoche tells many stories about his stay in Khamdogar which impressed him deeply as a young man. Visit the PBS MY Reincarnation page to read an excerpt--"How I met my Master." 

ASIA America ~ The Khamdogar Project ~ URGENT APPEAL!
   ASIA, founded in 1988 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, is the humanitarian branch of our worldwide Dzogchen Community. ASIA has worked continuously for over 25 years to help the Tibetan people, providing crucial aid to remote Nomad populations, who otherwise would have no access to health services, educational opportunities or emergency disaster relief. 

The KHAMDOGAR PROJECT is unique ~ it is the place of our Community's spiritual heritage where Rigdzin Changchub Dorje, the root guru of our master, gave Teachings to 
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. The project is also unique due to its extreme geographic isolation and other factors that make getting aid there very difficult, sometimes impossible. In 1999, Rinpoche sent a handwritten letter to Tsegyalgar East, asking us to be responsible for Khamdogar. So far we’ve been able to support this holy place through the long distance sponsorship of the 60 nuns living there. 

Due to the very difficult situation in this region, we cannot manage this project in the usual way, preparing project proposals, budgets and financial narrative reports. Nevertheless, we must try to provide the financial support needed to maintain the life of the Khamdogar community and its spiritual tradition.
The local community of practitioners, laypeople, monks & nuns who still live there, under the spiritual guidance of the son of Atha Lhamo - the daughter of Rigdzin Changchub Dorje, who attained the rainbow body – need our help.
Fortunately, at this very moment, we have the opportunity to deliver aid to them. For more than a year & a half now, we couldn’t go there to help them. 

Please look in “The Mirror” & on Tsegyalgarnet for updates. 


ASIA America
P.O. Box 124, Conway, MA 01341-0124 

USA Paypal account: Phone: 413-204-3556 / Fax: 413-369-4473

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bret Bourman Opening Reception at Ursa Major Gallery: Beautiful Moments: Summertime, Oil Paintings of Local Subjects and Plein Air, Saturday October 19- 5:00-7:00 PM

B e a u t i f u l  M o m e n t: S u m m e r t i m e 
Oil Paintings of local subjects and plein air scenesby Bret Bourman
Exhibition Oct 19 - November 3  2013

Ursa Major Gallery Shelburne Falls  MA         
Opening Reception Saturday Oct 19 5-7 pm

Artist Bret Bourman was born on the East Coast to parents who were both internationally renowned ballet dancers. He began drawing and painting early in life, and had his first gallery show at age 16. His drawings of ballet dancers and theater have been acquired for the private collections of such artists as Rudolph Nureyev. Along with a career as a principal dancer, he continued to draw and study painting, creating portraits, stage designs, scenic works and sculpture. He later opened a studio in Los Angeles CA where he painted private and corporately commissioned works for more than a decade before taking up permanent residence in Western Massachusetts. He is a resident of Shelburne Falls.

These works are imbued with the stillness and richness of pastoral life.  Bourman's adeptness and precision, and his eye for form satisfy the viewer intimately.  Each painting is a revery on the moment and the place. More than memory or photography, each harbors an experience in the frame. Views of Shelburne Falls and surrounding towns are the subjects of these paintings.

Please join us for the opening reception on Oct 19th from 5-7 and visit the gallery from Oct 19th to Nov 3,  Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5, other times on request. Ursa Major Gallery is located at 1 Deerfield Ave in Shelburne Falls. MA

413 824 0502.

Bret is currently on staff at the Shang Shung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine

Monday, October 14, 2013

Photos from Dance of Song of Vajra - Deepening Course Led by Bodhi Krause and Kyu Kyuno October 11-14, 2013

Greetings everyone from Tsegyalgar East!

PHOTOS by Paula Barry

A few more photos-

PHOTOS by Jacqueline Gens

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Khandroling Farm Coop News


The blueberries are planted and bedded down for the winter. Thank you volunteers. The gravel foundation for a  new greenhouse is laid. To read more, visit here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Welcome Tibetan Modern Dancing on Blogger

Merigar West has established a fantastic blog on Tibetan Modern Dance. Visit it here to get the latest dances being introduced to the global Dzogchen Community.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu has translated 108 contemporary Tibetan songs.

You can also join them on Facebook for current photos and video links around the globe. 

All over the world people are showing their solidarity with Tibetans through the peaceful activity of learning contemporary Tibetan songs and dances. Music is a powerful medium for change.  

Shang Shung US Intensives in Kunye Massage and Tibetan Hospice Training with Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo

[Design by Yuchen Namkhai]

Tibetan KuNye Massage Theory and Practice: Level 1

November 8-13, 2013   9:30 AM –12:30 PM and 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM

[Photo by Jacqueline Gens of first Hospice Training class, 2012]

Tibetan Hospice Training 

with Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo, International Director of SSI School of Tibetan Medicine 

November 15-20, 2013, 9:30 AM –12:30 PM and 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM

For applications or to learn more about the intensives, contact or Tel. 413-369-4928

CONWAY, MA 01341

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Breaking News: Live Webcast by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu on Vol. 2 of The Light of Kailash

Rinpoche will be teaching an open webcast at 1:30pm EST today, Thursday, October 3rd.  If you live in other time zones, please adjust accordingly.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu will be giving a talk about His new book, "The Light of Kailash Volume 2."

The talk will be taking place at ASIA house in London, UK:

To access the live webcast, go to

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Light of Kailash Volume Two by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Now Available From Shang Shung Editiones, Translated by Professor Donatella Rossi

    The second volume of Rinpoche's trilogy on the origins of Tibetan culture,The Light of Kailash, is now available from the webshop of the Shang Shung Institute:
    This summa of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu’s research is dedicated first and foremost to his fellow countrymen and women and to Tibetan youth in particular. The text was originally conceived as a set of university lectures that Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was invited to give at the University of Nationalities in Beijing in 1988, forming a first abridged version of The Light ofKailash subsequently enlarged by the author after further research; the manuscript through meticulous selection and a critical use and analysis of a vast array of literary and frequently unpublished sources became a work of 1,900 pages divided in three volumes.

    The first volume, The Early Period, the History of Ancient Zhang Zhung, considers the rise of early human generations and the Bon lineages of ancient Zhang Zhung, its dynasties, language, and culture.

    The second volume, The History of the Intermediate Period: Tibet and Zhang Zhung” is focused upon human generations, the Bonpo lineages, the spread of Bon during the lifetimes of the first Tibetan monarchs, the dynasties, written language, and civilization of ancient Tibet, as well as upon the reigns of specific kings, the Bon religion, and Bonpo religious figures (Dran-pa Nam-mkha’ in particular) of Zhang Zhung during that period.

    The third volume, The History of the Later Period: Tibet, is concerned with an assessment of the genealogies, Bonpo lineages, royal dynasties (from the first monarch gNya’-khri bTsan-po until the forty-fifth monarch Khri-dar-ma ’U-dum-btsan), language, and civilization of Tibet.

    This amazing trilogy, aptly named The Light of Kailash, offers an open, daring, holistic, unbiased approach to the study of the cultural and spiritual heritage of Tibet and to the understanding of the origin of this fascinating and endangered civilization.
Translated and edited by Professor Donatella Rossi

Donatella Rossi holds a Ph.D. in History of Religions and Tibetology from the University of Oslo. She is Associate Professor at the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies, Sapienza University of Rome, where she  teaches BA and MA courses on religions and philosophies of Eastern Asia, and Tibetan Language and Literature. Her main research interests are focused on the Bon tradition.

Conference on Contemplation, Collaboration and Change


Over the weekend of September 27-30, 2013 our dam trog sister, Lama Tsultrim Allione attended the Lenz Foundation Conference at the Garrison Institute on Contemplation, Collaboration, and Change. Representitives from all the major Buddhist organizations in America were invited to participate. 

The description below indicates the scope of the conference. 

Contemplation, Collaboration, and Change is the inaugural weekend workshop in a nine-month in-depth training program produced on behalf of the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism by senior fellows of the Presencing Institute. The purpose of the program is to help Lenz Foundation grantees gain experience and expertise in launching and sustaining collaborations with each other and with partner institutions in other sectors, effectively leveraging their combined resources and capabilities. Read on...

[Photo: Aarthi Tejuja of Shambhala Meditation Center of Chicago, Anna Raithel of Tara Mandala, Lama Tsultrim,  Ericka Phillips Shambhala Meditation Center of New York at the Lenz Foundation meeting Sept 27-30]

Lama Tsultrim, founder of Tara Mandala is among the foremost Western Teachers and proponents of Buddhism and the Sacred Feminine. Her book, Women of Wisdom, opened the doors to recognition of the female lineages in Tibetan Buddhism generally relegated into obscurity. You can read about Tara Mandala at which includes a biography, her publications and practice lineages. 

Also attending as the keynote speaker opening the  three-day conference was Margaret Wheatley, Dzogchen Community member and student of  Chögyal Namkhai Norbu  since 2002. She spoke about the inevitability of interdependence, from which the need for collaboration springs. Margaret "Meg" Wheatley, an internationally recognized leader in organizational change and new models of leadership writes, speaks, and teaches how we can accomplish our work, sustain our relationships, and willingly step forward to serve in this troubled time.  She is co-founder and President emerita of The Berkana Institute,*** an organizational consultant since 1973, a global citizen since her youth, and a prolific writer.  She has authored seven books, including the classic Leadership and the New Science, and, most recently, So Far from Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World (October 2012).  Her other recent books are: Perseverance (2010) and Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now (2011) co-authored with Deborah Frieze.  Her numerous articles may be downloaded free at her web site:

***For those interested in the collaborative process, the Berkhana Institute  has a great list of resources in community building based on principles of collaboration. 

....people find comfort in pretending we think the same way, and often we gravitate to those who affirm our way of thinking. Perhaps this is because we are eager about the common, world-changing goal we have discovered between us. Yet, the whole raison d’être for  collaboration is a requisite diversity. Otherwise, what would spur the reason to collaborate in the first place? We have found that it is just at the threshold of tension where differences surface that we face the possibility–and choice–to enter into curiosity and a common inquiry. That’s when innovation has the potential to emerge from collaboration, and sometimes that means staying in the messiness just a little bit longer.

from the article, "Collaboration: The Courage to Step Into a Meaningful Mess" found in the link above. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Short Film about Tsegyalgar East by Soledad Suarez

It's Official......Tsegyalgar 30th Celebration
Come Join the Dance
July 11-13, 2014

.......Coming soon the exciting roster of events including the highlight of the three-day event, Inauguration of the Mandala Hall for the Universal Mandala on Khandroling, Land of the Dakinis.

Tibetan Calligrapher, Tashi Mannox, to Teach a Spring Course at Shang Shung US

We are very pleased to announce that Tashi Mannox, the esteemed master of Tibetan calligraphy, will be in residence at Tsegyalgar East sometime in the Spring of 2014 at the invitation of  Shang Shung Institute USA and Khandroling Paper Cooperative. 

According to Tashi, his calligraphy course will be intensive, to teach the correct proportions and how to form the Uchen letters of the Tibetan alphabet, which alone can take two days. 

 He writes:
I am very interactive with the students and depending on how many people attending (20 persons to a class is manageable) I like to go around the class to give each individual some personal attention in holding the pen and forming the letters, often writing on their paper to demonstrate each letter. So this will be a course for beginners as well as those who are already practiced in Tibetan.

The course starts with a short historic explanation of the Tibetan written language and its spiritual and sacred significance, which i tend to refer to throughout the course. 
I normally finish the course with teaching the correct way to write the Mani mantra and other key syllables essential for visualisation practices. People love this and go home with their own created art. 
So the course is teaching a solid foundation in correct proportion and beautifully formed letters, as starting with a firm foundation is essential to creating beautiful calligraphy with the integrity of the tradition it belongs.

To view a film about Tashi, click here or visit his exquisite website at

The course dates and details TBA soon

[all photos of Tashi in class by]