Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year and Recap of 2014 Milestones

[Photo reprinted from the Mirror] 

Dear Vajra Community--

Best Wishes for the New Year!

Many milestones occurred in 2014 at Tsegyalgar East including, of course, our Retreat with Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, the 30th Anniversary including the dance  competition between Tsegyalgar and Namgyalgar and the Inauguration of the Mandala Hall.

Visit the NEW online Mirror (another milestone) for an article about Rinpoche’s Teaching/Commentary,  Light of the Sun on The Four Dharmas of Longchenpa in July 2014. 

Visit to download the new pdf format.


Soledad Suarez’s video highlights the importance of the Mandala Hall  project which houses the first Universal mandala on Earth along with some wonderful archival footage of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu.




Congratulations to Joey and Laila on the birth of their third child, a son - VEDA KAI MELLA-REISS, born October 13, 2014 in Conway, MA at home who joins  Laila, Joey, Goma Devi and Ati Norbu

Congratulations to Matt Schmookler and Katya Borisenko 
on the birth of their son Varya

Tashi Kaiser of the NY ling and Sydney Maressa 
were married on August 1, 2014


2014 marked a year of losing many friends. We celebrate their life and remember them well for their dedication to the Teachings. 

Andrea Sertoli
Thomas Kehoe
Kathy McGrane
Catherine Ling

Khaita Tibetan Joyful Dances - Harmony in the Space
became an international sensation in 2014.
Click here to view the fantastic video of dances performed at most every Gar and Ling in honor of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu’s birthday on December 8, 2014.


MORE TO COME..........

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Season's Greetings from Tsegyalgar East and West

The Coming of Light*
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light. 
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves, 
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows, 
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine 
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.
..Open your inner eye and observe yourself. Stop searching for a lamp outside of you to illuminate yourself inside. Kindle your inner light. Then the teaching will live in you, and you - in the teaching....  -Choegyal Namkhai Norbu 
-Reprinted from "Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State" (Part 1.1)
SEASON’S GREETINGS and Love to all From Tsegyalgar East
TSEGYALGAR WEST sends Holiday wishes and thanks to all for your support of the reconstruction project and preparations of Rinpoche's Winter retreat happening this weekend at the Gar. It has been an extraordinary year and TW is poised to move forward into a new phase of growth in 2015.

Please do join us at the retreat on the webcast Sunday, Monday and Tuesday Dec. 20-22nd from 12-2 p.m. EST.and check our website for 2015 program schedule and information.

We send you our very best wishes for a marvelous holiday season filled and all best in the New Year ahead!

Warm wishes and best from
Tsegyalgar West Gakyil

[Photo credit: Dharamsala candle by  Rosemary Rawcliff]
*Poem by Mark Strand Reprinted from the Academy of American Poets website

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dear Friends of ASIA ~ 

Thanks to all of you who came forward over the weekend to answer our urgent appeal for our mission to Khamdogar.
What are ASIA and Tsegyalgar? YOU! ME! US! Together, we are realizing the goals of this project. THANK YOU! We have already collected over 14k - from all over the world.

In addition, an anonymous donor is offering this statue of Guru Padmasambhava as a gift. It is believed to have been consecrated by Rinpoche in 2012. The sponsor who donates the most will receive a gift of this statue, as a thank you for participation.  

If this gift interests you follow this link to the Khamdogar donation page: 

We continue to accept tax deductible donations for this project. You will receive a thank you letter and tax deduction receipt for your donation, from ASIA. 

Or contact or for more information or if making donation by check.

Thank you very much, everyone.
With kind regards, 
Andrea Nasca, ASIA America

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Choegyal Namkhai Norbu’s USA 2015 Schedule

Exciting News.  It has now been confirmed that Choegyal Namkhai Norbu will return next summer

USA, Tsegyalgar East Retreat July 1-5, 2015

USA, Colorado (Naropa University, Boulder, CO)
July 9, 2015 USA Public TalkJuly 12-14, 2015 Retreat

USA, Tara Mandala
July 17-19, 2015 Tara Mandala Retreat                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Lama Tsultrim Allione has confirmed that Choegyal Namkhai Norbu is scheduled to teach at Tara Mandala July 17-19, 2015.   Tara Mandala is our sister organization known as a Dam Trog Fellowship in which the organizations are separate but share in Teachers and Transmissions. For further details as they develop, contact the office of  Tara Mandala.

For full details visit - Choegyal Namkha Norbu’s international schedule on the Mirror Website

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Urgent Request to Support Asia Mission to Khamdogar Today

Dear Friends of ASIA,

ASIA has the opportunity to deliver much needed aid to KHAMDOGAR right now! 




All would be lost without the support of YOU, Dzogchen Community members because we cannot do public fund raising for this project. It is too sensitive and too specific. We rely completely on collaboration from you.

to make a secure donation of any amount by credit card via paypal right now.

To make a donation by check, please make your check out to ASIA write Khamdogar  in the memo, put it in an envelope and mail it RIGHT AWAY! 
ASIA, P.O. Box 124, Conway, MA 01376-0124 USA

Please email to inform us that we can count on you and state the amount of your donation. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

KHAMDOGAR is the spiritual community that developed around RIGDZIN CHANGCHUB DORJE, the root master of CHOEGYAL NAMKHAI NORBU RINPOCHE who directly transmitted the knowledge of Dzogchen to Rinpoche, when Rinpoche resided there with him for six months in 1955. 

This project presents many challenges because it is in a geographically remote and politically sensitive region. It is very difficult, sometimes impossible to make a mission there to deliver aid but WE HAVE THE CHANCE TO DO IT RIGHT NOW.

Our director spoke with Rinpoche a couple years ago about Khamdogar asking, how can we continue in the face of all these obstacles? Rinpoche replied, <b>“WE MUST NEVER GIVE UP!”</b> We are the only ones who can help them. SO PLEASE MAKE A DONATION TODAY ~ THANK YOU!

The Khamdogar project has several FUNDRAISING GOALS including: 

  • building a small study and practice college
  • restoring a printing house
  • constructing an aqueduct
  • restoring the Chortens of Rigdzin Changchub Dorje
  • restoring an old temple housing the relics of Changchub Dorje

The total estimated cost is $227,150 USD. 

In 2001, Rinpoche sent a handwritten letter to Tsegyalgar East, asking us to “take care of” and “be responsible for” Khamdogar. So far we’ve been able to support this holy place via 66 long distance sponsorships, annual fund raising and auction donations at Dzogchen retreats. THANK YOU! But ASIA opens the support of this project to anyone in the International Dzogchen Community who would like to participate. You don’t have to be from Tsegyalgar to donate.

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 our spiritual tradition. We will provide an update on the situation when our counterpart returns.

Khamdogar Project: History & Overview

Khamdogar is an ancient community of practitioners founded by Rigdzin Changchub Dorje, the master of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, in the early 1900s. Rigdzin Changchub Dorje, a Dzogchen master and a famous Terton (discoverer of treasures) lived in Khamdogar with his family working as a doctor and transmitting his teachings.

Near Khamdogar, in an area called Dedrol, there is a cave in which Atha Lhamo, the daughter of Master Changchub Dorje, lived and practiced. After the Cultural Revolution, nuns built a small nunnery and currently there are 66 nuns who live in retreat for long periods (they take turns, half of them doing practice for several months while the others serve them and then they trade). 

The entire complex of Khamdogar is in ruins and the local people live in extreme poverty. 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 ‚Äì need our help. Fortunately, at this very moment, we have the opportunity to deliver aid to them. 

ASIA, founded in 1988 by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, is the humanitarian aspect 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. 


With kind regards,

The A.S.I.A. Tsegyalgar Gakyil  & friends
Martina, Gregg, Damien, Andrea, Sam, Kimjaye, Ivana, Paula, Jacqueline, Diane, Al, Jakub, Cindy, Dominik,  Helena, Jacob, Elizabeth & Karen

Email: (for more info)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tsegyalgar East A Magical Place

[Photo by Miguel Farrada Gutierrez reprinted 
from Tsegyalgar East Facebook group]

This photo of the yellow schoolhouse was too good to pass up.  Maybe photo  shopped, maybe thigles. In any case, everyone is welcome.

WW Transmisson of Adzom Drukpa with Explanation (November 5) and Live Webcast (November 17)

Tsegyalgar East will host the next World Wide Transmission explanation for the Anniversary of Adzom Drukpa with Santi Maha Sangha instructor Jim Valby at the Tsegyalgar East Gonpa at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, November 5th.

Participants can call in to this explanation session from anywhere in the USA. For more details on how to do this as well as receive a required text, please contact our secretary, Harold Graves, at 413-369-4153, or Please do NOT wait until the last minute.

Event: World Wide Transmission, Anniversary of Adzom Drukpa
Date: November 17th, 2014.
Time: 7:00 AM, EST

Location: TBA. You can also connecto the World Wide Transmission for free from any location at the above time via this link:

About the World Wide Transmission

The transmission of knowledge from Master to disciple can be oral, symbolic or direct. The uniqueness of the Dzogchen teaching is the direct transmission or “direct introduction”. In direct transmission Master and the student find themselves in the primordial state at the same moment through one of the experiences related to body, voice or mind.

Due to the power of the transmission, the student is able to discover his or her own real condition in this way. Newcomers who want to participate at this Transmission, should be seriously interested in the Teachings of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and should try to receive his Teachings in the future.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu offers direct introduction three times a year, on the anniversaries of Garab Dorje, Guru Padmasambhava, and Adzom Drukpa . In order to make it possible for people who cannot attend a retreat or come to a direct introduction in person, these direct transmissions are also offered by live Internet webcast.

If you have never participated in a transmission with Chögyal Namkhai Norbu or if you wish to renew your understanding of Worldwide Transmission, you are strongly advised to attend the explanation session in order to receive the greatest benefit from it.

Newcomers who want to participate at a World Wide Transmission should be seriously interested in the Dzogchen Teachings, which are transmitted by our Teacher Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and practiced by our worldwide Dzogchen Community. New participants at a Direct Transmission should try to receive Teachings from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu personally in the future, participating in retreats.

Dr. Jim Valby has been a student of Dzogchen Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu since 1982. He earned his doctorate in Far Eastern Studies under Herbert Guenther at the University of Saskatchewan in 1983, focusing on the texts of Shrisingha and Vimalamitra. He participates in Dzogchen Community projects helping to prepare English translations from Tibetan texts. He has taught the essence of the theory and practice of Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen in more than 197 retreats at 77 locations in 28 countries. He is an authorized instructor for the Base, First and Second Levels of SantiMaha Sangha (SMS). He lives in Western Massachusetts, USA.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Yantra Yoga Studio Programs At Tsegyalgar East Announced

The Yantra Yoga teachers of Tsegyalgar East are proud to announce the broadening of our weekly program with several activities for the general public. No previous experience is needed for the public courses.

Yantra Yoga, the Tibetan Yoga of Movement, is an ancient uninterrupted lineage and a fundamental method to integrate the profound essence of the Dzogchen Teaching in the three doors (body, voice and mind) of the practitioner. Through positions and movements combined with breathing, one's energy is coordinated and harmonized so as to let the mind relax and find its authentic balance, which is the basis for contemplation.

All classes start September 15 and go until November 12 2014

Pranayama with Paula Barry, Monday September 15 at 5:30pm
Pranayama Class: We will begin with a review of Complete Breathing, learn the principles of Kumbhaka with Rhythmic Breathing, and apply this type of hold to the Sog Tig breathing of the Mandarava practice.
Yantra Yoga Beginner class starting every Tuesday September 16 from 5:15 pm until 6:30pm with Martina Kacurova
Beginners Yantra Yoga class:
Martina will introduce the history, language, and poses of Yantra Yoga, which can reshape, transform, and deepen the effect of our practice by coordinating and enhancing the quality of our more subtle and powerful energies.
Harmonious Breathing every Wednesday September 17 from 9:00-10:30am with Naomi Zeitz  CANCELLED
Harmonious Breathing is a key element in coordinating the functions of our body and mind. It is indispensable for calming the mind, reducing body tension and improving both physical and cerebral functions. Harmonious Breathing can be applied anywhere and anytime thus being a very powerful tool for improving the quality of our everyday lives. The breathing exercises are simple yet very effective. Ancient breathing techniques are now scientifically and clinically studied, taken and incorporated into modern practices for people with respiratory impairment, anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Deep slow breathing can improve cardiovascular function and reduce hypertension. Harmonious Breathing takes its source in Yantra Yoga (one of the oldest methods of Yoga taught in the world, transcribed in the 8th century AD) and differs from other Yoga by the integration of movement and breathing.

LOCATION: Yellow Schoolhouse at 18 Schoolhouse Rd., Conway, MA 01341 
Cost:  $10 per session - $8 per session with card


Paula Barry is a longtime student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. She is an authorized second level Yantra Yoga instructor.

Martina Kacurova is a certified local instructor of the 1st level of Yantra Yoga. Martina teaches Yantra Yoga to adults and children. Martina has been a student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu since 2005. She comes from the Czech Republic. Martina lives and works as a registered nurse in western Massachusetts.

Naomi Zeitz has been a student of Yantra Yoga since 1987 and an instructor in the Dzogchen lineage, authorized by her Teacher Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, since 2008. She specializes in teaching simple yet profound methods of breathing and working with people of all ages and physical conditions.

To find out more about weekly practices at Tsegyalgar East and special events
visit our website at

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tsegyalgar East and the New Gakyil – 2015 Crisis and Opportunity—Meet New Yellow Gakyil Member Diane Kramer

[Diane Kramer and Fred Klarer]

The following post by new yellow Gakyil member Diane Kramer is the first of more to come introducing our new Gakyil

I was asked to write something as a new member coming onto the Gakyil as part of Yellow, the financial and organizational admin section of the Gakyil. Upon reflection, I decided to interview myself about what this all means to me, so here goes:

Why did you join the Gakyil?
I started coming up to Tsegyalgar with my husband, Fred, a former Buddhist monk in the Chinese tradition, in the early nineties. We came up for a few years from Long Island. During this time we built and hosted an early  website with Ed Goldberg.Then, we were drawn to Vajrayana Rinpoches, always Nyingma, such as Chagdud Tulku.

In 2011, we both felt the pull to return to the Dzochen path and started coming regularly to Rinpoche’s retreats and to Jim Valby weekends.

Walking around at the last retreat I felt comfortable and welcomed by community members, especially by Jim Valby and Katherine, Marilyn, Harvey Kaiser, Robin and Diane Sievers, plus others. While feeling comfortable, I also felt like a guest. Here were at least a hundred people working to make this retreat a great success and an experience of oneness for all of us, and I was not making a contribution. At that moment, I went up to Al Daggitt and said: I want to join the Gakyil. He sent me to Ed Hayes who put me to work opening wine bottles for the Ganapuja. I applied to the Gakyil and was accepted.

Now, here I am, happy at my good fortune and amazed at what has been accomplished.

What has it been like to start up on the Gakyil on Yellow?
It has been like being thrown into the deep water without being a good swimmer J I am learning and learning fast. I am in constant contact with Al and Dominick, my fellow Yellows, and looking forward to the first Gakyil meeting on Sunday, September14th. We are coming up from Long Island for the event.

What are the Challenges?
Though money is a problem, Rinpoche says  not to make it about money. And I do not think our challenges are, at their root, money. More I see the challenge as developing a sustainable community that is self-sufficient, even when Rinpoche is not available. I see a community that keeps on expanding as each person recognizes his or her role and takes on the responsibility of helping all and each of us to self-liberate. That to me means Opportunity.

What are the Opportunities?
From what I have learned so far, we have the Opportunity to further the work of past Gakyil members and other workers for the community this year by moving forward on a number of fronts. We need to:

·   *Align more with the IDC and take our place more fully in the global community as it grows and develops

·    *Grow our membership through orienting new members more fully (as Merigar West is doing – see the article in the Mirror

·    *Find ways of more Community Involvement for more members, as was expressed in the blog A Message from the Tsegyalgar East Development Committee

·    *Develop more activities for members that will also create sustainable income streams to keep the organization going

What is my personal part in this?
I have had experience as a clinical, organizational, teaching and research psychologist over a 45 year career. I have run both profit and not-for-profit organizations. I hope I can use my resources to be helpful making good decisions in our collaborative Gakyil. My desire is for a self-sustaining and vibrant Dzochen community that attracts more members as we expand what we can be to and for each other.

With Love, Diane
Dr. Diane Kramer 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Catalysta Now Live

Cataysta is a digizine founded by NYC Dzogchen Community member Ed Goldberg that collaborates with you to create a career driven by passion and benefit for the greater good


Catalysta’s Fall 2014 season presents may new features

with a spot light on Eco fashion

To read a previous interview with Ed Goldberg, visit here.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Queen of the Night - A Message from Woody Paparazzo

Hi Folks;  

Some of you know of my affair with the Queen; there is a large cactus on the grounds here called Queen of the Night.  It produces glorious blossoms once a year, and each blossom opens once late in the night, and by  mid-morning it has withered and is soon gone for the year.  A fascinating plant.

So, I took some cuttings and rooted them.  I read that it could be fifteen years before it would bloom. Oh, well...

But-- from the three nice specimens I have, one is now in bloom.
Here are some pix from about 5:00 a.m. today.

Woody and Barbara Paparazzo  part of the early Dzogchen Community members associated with Mr. Anderson, retired to Mexico a couple of years ago where they now live year-round.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Personal Retreat Apartment Available Near Khandroling

It’s rare to find personal retreat options that are “senior” friendly or less rustic than our local cabins on Khandroling. The following apartment is now available year round within walking distance of Khandroling. 

QUIET PERSONAL RETREAT RENTAL APARTMENT now available year-round located  one and a half miles from Khandroling and the Mandala Hall on ten acres of gardens and serene woodland at Beaver Lodge near the charming Village of Shelburne Falls, MA,USA. The apartment has a private entrance and deck overlooking a pond and is fully furnished and equipped with a bedroom-living room, kitchen and full bathroom. 

PRICE: $40 per night minimum stay 1 Week

Contact: Marie Stella   email: marie @
413 625-2009      719 Barnes Road, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Choegyal Namkhai Norbu’s Keynote Address at the Tibetan Medicine Conference, Ancient Medicine for Modern Life at the Rubin Museum on July 27, 2014 is now Online

Choegyal Namkhai  Norbu’s Keynote address given at the Second International Conference on Tibetan Medicine co-presented by the American Tibetan Medical Association, Shang Shung Institute, and Shang Shung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York, New York is now available online in the Mirror, International Newspaper of the Dzogchen Community.
It is very important to know that, in ancient times, Tibetan medicine came from Shang Shung. But then later, connections with the Ayurvedic tradition of India developed, and also with Chinese medicine, and then there were many encounters in many historical epochs, of which there are records. Tibetan medicine has developed very perfectly, combining many traditions, not only that of Shang Shung. So, it is very important we are learning more and continually developing this knowledge of Tibetan medicine, particularly in the Western world.

Reprinted from the Mirror
Transliterated and edited by Bret Bourman and Lauri Denyer. Read Lauri’s great account of the actual conference at the same link.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Another Festschrift Submission by Naomi Zeitz

[Photo by Sean Quinn, Khandroling pond, 2014]

Lord of the Universe
Master of the State beyond time and space
Fortunate beings all
To rest in your Mandala

Eyes full of moon
No journey too far
Beyond limits
No corners

Ever present in our Samsaric dimension
Kind promise of help
Radiating infinite wisdom
Sound, light, and rays

Fortunate beings all
To rest in your Mandala

With love,
Naomi Zeitz
July 16, 2014
Conway, MA

Monday, August 25, 2014

SSI Tibetan Medicine Alumna, Mira Weil, Quoted in the Wall Street Journal

[Mira second on the right at her graduation from the
 Four Year Tibetan Medicine Program in 2009]

Shang Shung Tibetan Medicine alumna, Mira Weil, who graduated with the first Four-year Tibetan medicine class was quoted in the Wall Street Journal in an article about the recent Tibetan medicine conference, Ancient Medicine for Modern Times at the Rubin Museum.

To view the entire article visit here

Recent News from Tara Mandala

With Choegyal Namkhai Norbu the day the land that became Khandroling in Buckland Mass. was found. We were talking about the land and he was sitting by these beautiful birch trees in the 80s. Now there is an amazing Vajra Dance Hall there. It is where he had the first dreams of the Vajra dance. Reprinted from Facebook

Recently our Dam Trog* sister organization Tara Mandala celebrated its 20th Anniversary. The following interview is reprinted from the Tara Mandala website.

[Lama Tsultrim and Choegyal Namkhai Norbu at Tara Mandala Stupa dedication]

Josephine: What was the inspiration for Tara Mandala?

Lama Tsultrim: Tara Mandala came out of my experience of meeting the Tibetans when I was young, and the feeling that I had discovered something incredible. This occurred at a time before there was any Buddhism in America, so I felt as though I had discovered gold. I was faced with the questions of how to bring this precious discovery back to America in a genuine and deep way, and how to somehow bring it into our culture. I understood that the heart of the Tibetan tradition is retreat and that all my lamas had done retreat, so I really felt that a retreat center would be the way to do this. I was 22-years old when I had this idea. The inspiration for Tara Mandala was my desire for Buddhism to come to the West, but wanting it to come in a profound way, so that people could reach the rainbow body here—so that the rainbow body (a phenomena in which someone dies and does not leave a corpse behind) would not be just a “once-upon-a-time-in-Tibet” situation.  To read more go here

**Dam Trog  means "Samaya Fellowship", where the organizations function independently but have a close association and transmission and exchanges of teachers and teachings.  

[Signing the Dam Trog Agreement  at Dzamling Gar]

Photos from the Advanced Course of the Song of the Vajra Dance with Prima Mai at the Mandala Hall on Khandroling

The following photos were taken by Kyu Kyuno during the Advanced Course of the Song of Vajra Dance with Prima Mai Jul 21-25, 2014 on Khandroling at the newly inaugurated Mandala Hall and painted Universal Mandala.

Participants came from all over the globe to attend the  Mandala Hall inauguration followed by the Advanced Course with Prima. It was suggested with great enthusiasm that Tsegyalgar East host a yearly summer encampment on Khandroling for the Vajra Dance teachers.

Many Thanks to Kyu Kyuno and Leela Whitcomb-Hewlitt, our dedicated resident Vajra Dance teachers, for devoting themselves 100% to developing local programs. For the latest weekly schedules visit the Tsegyalgar East Weekly Practice Calendar here. For special programs visit the Events Calendar here

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Message from the Tsegyalgar East Development Committee

[Steve Landsberg, SMS Teacher, driven by Saralie in the AV 
to Rinpoche’s cabin on Khandroling for Jnana Dakini retreat, Spring 2014]


Dear Tsegyalgar Gakyil,

Congratulations to all the new gakyil members and belated "thanks" to all those completing their terms. Recently we were able to listen to the MP3 recording of the the gakyil's meeting with Rinpoche during his Tsegyalgar visit. We were struck by the positive note of the meeting especially all of Rinpoche's messages.

As a group we've been working on fundraising issues with the  Yellow Gakyil for the past few years. We were particularly interested in Rinpoche's comment (paraphrased) "that the important thing isn't money, the important thing is the Dzogchen Community". After dwelling on this statement for some time, we believe that Rinpoche was suggesting that if we strengthen the community then the financial issues will be more easily handled.

In recent years much of our focus has been on buildings and facilities. We think that we now need to spend more time focusing on people. We would like to suggest that prior to us considering any kind of long-range fundraising plan that our priority be on Community Building. Some of the things that come to mind are:

1. Continue to strengthen our communication to members. The blog has become a very useful method of contact and we might consider expanding the range of issues it covers including say interviews with our local Vajra Dance, Yantra Yoga and SMS instructors. Perhaps there are other methods to communicate also.

2. Creating a "Helpline" for new people to talk with older practitioners about how to do practice. We might create a list of senior students who are particularly knowledgeable about specific practices.

3. Start a "Make a Community Friend" campaign. Ask all members to take the initiative to contact another member to establish a deep and lasting friendship, one that involves trust, deep sharing and respect. Relationships are built one at a time. In his recent talk with the gakyil at Merigar Rinpoche said "We are all in the Dzogchen Family". We think that would be a wonderful title for a Community Building Campaign.

[Nancy Paris our Webmistress at your service!}

4. Telephone all new members who have joined over the past 2-3 years to ask them what would be helpful and encourage them to participate.

5. Identify groups of people who live near each other and suggest that they develop practice groups. Perhaps we could organize the Membership List by states and make it available online so that members can create local groups.

6. Recently Peter Dimitrov set up a Google Group for people interested in supporting practitioners with serious and/or terminal illnesses. Perhaps this initiative could be highlighted in the blog and encourage members to participate. (Click on link “Google Group.” to previous blog entry.

These are just some random ideas. We're sure there will be many more and better ones that can emerge from the Gakyil. One of the best things about a Community Building Campaign is that a lot of the initiative and ongoing work can be done by all members not just the gakyil. Of course we think it would be most useful if the Gakyil took the lead in initiating and describing the effort and enrolling others to take the lead on specific elements of the effort.

Finally, given that you are a new gakyil, we would like to suggest that the new gakyil engage Scott Townell to assist with the development of a long-range plan for the community. Scott is a member of Tsegyalgar East and of the International Gakyil and has vast experience in strategy development. When a plan is available we would continue to be available for associated fundraising.

We wish you well and want you to let us know how we can support you in this and any other endeavors.
John LaFrance,
Stephanie Scott,
Mark Alston-Follansbee

[The Tsegyalgar East Blog is currently expanding its Community Resource page. Please let us know if you would like to add some important links]
[Photos by Kathleen Fekete]