Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Brief Interview with Gabe Marder

[photo reprinted from Gabe's facebook page]

 As part of our 30th Anniversary Tsegyalgar East will  interview some of the individuals who grew up as children  in the community. The first person we interviewed was Gabrial Marder, daughter of Efrem Marder and Lauri Denyer who with her four siblings grew up in the Gurdjieff group beginning in the 1970's and experienced the transition to the formation of the Dzogchen Community when Chogyal Namkhai Norebu was invited to Conway in 1982 by Mr. Paul Anderson.

I met Gabe at the Greenfield Green Market where I asked a simple question about her recollections of growing up in the community.

Gabe: Well. it was quiet, very silent at the long breakfast table where about 40 adults sat. At the end of the table the kids sat. That's what I remember most, the crunching of toast by the kids at the silent table. (That was the Gurdjieff group before Rinpoche). But when Rinpoche came everything was lively with lots of singing and playing games with some of the kids. See the great photos provided by John Foster

I remember  when he gave Teachings in the Movements Room, I could hear chanting, We kids would come in during the ganapujas for the candy. It all seemed so mysterious as you had to wait a long time to get the candy and somehow  you really got drawn into the experience. I also did a lot of babysitting,

Eventually, I started coming to practices when I was around 14. I needed some spiritual direction, I didn't like school. So my mother and father started taking me to the practices. For me, it was the entrance into a spiritual life.

Gabe Marder is currently in the Lesley University Expressive Arts Therapy program.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What One Tibetan is Doing for His Country


 [Photo by Paula Barry of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu leading a Tibetan Singing Session in his home on lower Khandroling 2013]

Upon the death of American folk singer Pete Seeger (1919-2014), often called the father of American Folk music,  people all over the world paid tribute to his long history of dedication for human rights through the power of song and his indomitable spirit of hope for a better world. In our times, he made the old adage "A song is mightier than a sword" a living reality. 

Much feted in his senior years, for decades Pete Seeger was censored by the US government and blacklisted on TV and radio during  the Cold War era during the McCarthy years. Nonetheless, he was able to perform world-wide to huge crowds in which his many signature songs such as We Shall OvercomeWhere have all the Flowrs Gone? Turn, Turn, Turn, and Guantanamera  became anthems for civil rights, the antiwar movement, migrant workers right, no nukes movement and environmental concerns among a host of many other causes he championed. He mentored some of the most brilliant song writers and musicians for generations such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. For seven decades Pete Seeger with wife Toshi lived in the Hudson Valley on a homestead they built themselves. 

His particular genius seem to lie in his infectious invitation for creating a participatory environment in which everyone sang along with him whether they wanted to or not. This created an entirely different kind of event than being entertained by passively listening or watching.   I recently attended a lunch at the Stone Soup Cafe soup kitchen in Greenfield, MA  run by Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacekeepers where a young man sat quietly singing Woody Guthrie's  If I had a Hammer . When another young  friend joined him in harmony--the entire cafe began spontaneously to sing along. And I mean sing as to bring the roof down.  That's the legacy of Peter Seeger! A bunch of silver haired oldsters in a soup kitchen with hungry families and street folk with kids running around and even reluctant teenagers all singing their heads off about peace and harmony. Song remains the great elevator to the human spirit in any culture and anywhere.


[Pete Seeger in Washignton D.C. for President Obama's inauguration celebrations]

Pete Seeger was no ordinary folk singer but someone who inspired millions  in the age-old practice of singing. Everywhere people sing--in cafes, at work, in the shower, at school, in worship, in protest, in solitude, in groups, around the hearth and in the public square.  No culture on earth  lacks this human urge for vocal expression through joy and sorrow. From song, what automatically emerges is the movement of the body, be it dance or even simple motions of swaying, clapping, waving in rhythm as you can see in the video above. Song may very well represent the first experiences of cultural   "communitas." But more than singing, Pete Seeger taught us how to bear witness to the suffering of others using music as his vehicle to soften the hard-heartedness of indifference and hatreds. Quite simply, music can  awaken our humanity. 

So what's this got to do with Tibet? Well, as most people already know, among one of the most remarkable developments of the Internet is the free video hosting service You Tube. Early in its development You Tube quickly became a living repository to archive every language and cultural group under the sun. If you ever want to learn a craft, how to play a musical instrument, study quantum physics or hear poems and songs from obscure languages--you'll find it on You Tube among the whole gamut of content.   It is the internet's finest open source of  communication along with wikipedia.  Here is where Tibet comes in. 

Through a small crevice of freedom offered by You Tube, young talented Tibetans have discovered an international window through which their contemporary music videos send a message to the world. They are celebrating what it means to be a Tibetan-- their land, the preservation of their language  and the beauty of their ancient culture as important for the world.  In short, they are telling us about Tibet, a country mired in over 50 years of cultural suppression and obscurity. They are trying to save their culture through the vehicle of song and language. Indeed the topic of many of their songs is about the Tibetan language itself which recently was eradicated from school curricula proving a last straw for many Tibetans as the death knell of their culture. The voices of these courageous young singers are not about politics but about what it means to be human.


In these terrible times for Tibet when some young Tibetans tragically choose to burn themselves out of deep despair and misguided nihilism, others are creating joy through their pop songs. The contrast is heart breaking. In recent years in our Dzogchen Community what began as a personal journey of listening to the music of his people on You Tube for enjoyment, eminent scholar and Tibetan Dzogchen master, Choegyal Namkhai Norbu began to take notice of the emerging pop culture of contemporary young Tibetan singers and their importance in communicating their message about Tibet to the world. 

[A practice session of Tibetan Dancing to Sherten's song above in Rinpoche's living room at Khandroling]

He  recently completed the transcription and translation of 180 contemporary Tibetan songs into English--no small feat which will be forthcoming later this year. A number of these songs have been choreographed  under his direction into dances (click here to see a video of the same song performed as a dance in the Dzogchen Community) which are learned throughout the world during his retreats. About three years ago, he introduced this practice of Tibetan singing and dance for many hours at all his retreats. Although in his 70's, Choegyal Namkahi Norbu tirelessly travels the globe giving Dzogchen Teachings which he says is important in regard to the songs and music of Tibet which have a direct link to these ancient teachings. Participating in this activity also creates a positive link of solidarity to the Tibetan people at this time of their great suffering. Through his international travels to his "Gars" where Dzogchen practitioners gather together to receive Teachings, he has disseminated these contemporary songs and dances of Tibet.

Interest in Tibetan songs is not new to him. In the 1960's one of his first scholarly works while at the Istituto Universitario Orientale, was about traditional songs,  and according to his daughter Yuchen Namkhai, he  learned to play the piano when he arrived in the West in order to remember and transcribe as many traditional Tibetan songs as possible. An eminent scholar and incarnate Lama of extraordinary range, Choegyal Namkhai Norbu has done more than any other Tibetan to revitalize interest in the origins of Tibetan culture through historical works which communicate Tibet's place in the long continuum of civilizations and its treasury of knowledge relevant to the modern world. His speciality is the pre-Buddhist culture of Tibet as an ancient civilization with its own written language and culture. These works are written both in Tibetan and English, the language he mainly teaches in today. 

Americans perception of the country Tibet has undergone dramatic changes over the past few decades. Today His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a household word and his face known to millions of Westerners. This is largely in response to the development of Tibetan Buddhism in the west as well as many Tibetan communities now in the US where there is a strong allegiance to maintaining their cultural identity. Twenty years ago one could find only a handful of translation of Tibetan works. Today thousands of books are published which cover the whole cornucopia of Tibetan knowledge which was preserved for centuries. .  

Where once anything Tibetan was considered esoteric and mysterious --the stuff of Hollywood's Shangri La, Today Tibetan studies flourishes world-wide in academia and in film, Op-eds n Newspapers and the media routinely cover news from Tibet. Yet for Choegyal Namkhai Norbu this is not enough to save his culture. His greatest hope is that one morning the world, especially China, will "wake up and hear the birds singing"--so that the Tibetan people can preserve their language and heritage with freedom and dignity.  The medium for this message is not political agendas but the universal appeal of song and dancing. 

For further information about The International Dzogchen Community's program in contemporary Tibetan song and dance, visit the following site: Harmony in the Space

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Recent Death Announcements for March 2014

With much sadness we have to tell you that our dear vajra-sister Judith Allan passed away on March 26th after a short illness. She was one of Rinpoche's oldest students and will be hugely missed throughout the Dzogchen Community and by her many friends. Please can we request that you do Shitro practice for her if you are able to. A biography of Judy will appear soon.

With Best Wishes,
Dzogchen Community in UK reprinted from Norbunet

Click here to visit Judy's memorial page and details about her funeral

Padmaling in Latvia reported that Natalia Eddy died on March 14, 2014. Natasha, as we called her, lived in the yellow schoolhouse at Tsegyalgar East with her husband Glen Eddy circa late 1990's through early 2000. She worked as bookstore manager while Glen was Geko. 

Damien Schwartz requested that we post the announcement about his father Earl Schwartz, 71 years old, who  died Friday March 21 @ around 5:30 a.m. [for a photo of Earl contact Damien at]

If your Ling is doing Xitro practice, please include them in your practice.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Memories at Tsegyalgar East

[Reprinted from Dorin Ben-Ami]

Back in Stock: Key for Consulting the Tibetan Calendar

** Back in Stock:
Key for Consulting
the Tibetan Calendar

This long-awaited item has just been re-printed after a few years of unavailability. The timing is auspicious for use with the new Tibetan Calendar for the Wood-Horse Year ( . More information is available below. Click the picture above or the link below to purchase.

The Key for Consulting the Tibetan Calendar came out of a course held by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in Rome at the beginning of the 1980's as part of a seminar on Tibetan Medicine and Astrology. It aims to act as an introduction to the Tibetan astrological universe, so different from ours in its complex and fascinating richness. At the same time, it can serve as a useful instrument to guide those who understand how closely our lives are linked to the wrap and weft of the movements of the universe, in the general interdependence of all phenomena.

A calendar such as this one uses the knowledge and the synthesis of a thousand years of culture, even if we have forgotten it all. It is a tool which enables us to rediscover, at least in part, how we fit in with that universal energy and with the cosmos of which we are a living image and a part, a more intense and more intimate part than we are usually prepared to believe. If all of our days are not the same, then it is important and useful to recognize the flavor, color, and cadence with which each day manifests.


Best wishes,

Anna & Martin
SSI-USA Bookstore
+1 413-369-4473

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tibetan Calligraphy Workshop with Tashi Mannox Daily Schedule April 4-6, 2014

Greetings Everyone----Our workshop with Tashi here at Tsegyalgar East is shaping up nicely. Please register now online so that we know how many people to expect. If you plan on staying at the dorm, contact David Hayes the geko asap since that is also filling up. Don't forget Tashi's lecture at the Rubin, The Painted Mantra on April 2, 2014

The Daily Schedule:

Friday, April 4, 2014,  7-9 pm introduction talk. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014, 10am start and break for lunch at1pm, resume at 2pm.  Tea break at 3.30pm for 20 minutes, finish for the day at 5 - 5.30pm

Sunday - as Saturday, but finishing earlier 4.30 - 5pm 


Shang Shung Institute, 18 Schoolhouse Rd. Conway, MA 01341. Depending on number pf participants, the location may change to a nearby venue to accommodate a larger group. All registered participants will be notified in advance

Secretary at Shang Shung, Bret Bourman, 413-369-4928 or

Materials Needed:  
1 pad of A4 size water-colour paper, or at least good quality paper, a rule, an eraser, pencil and italic pens of different nib sizes, be it felt tip or cartridge pen. [We will provide paper and have some felt calligraphy pens for sale]
Links to Purchase Materials Online:  FYI Tashi likes these pens:
[Berol Italic Pens Disposable 4 Widths Black Ref S0379010 [Wallet 4]  can be bought online first link
below. We will also have some on hand]

Local Accommodations:
Co-ed dorm at the Schoolhouse, Conway MA
$15per night
Contact: David Hayes

Ox & Rabbit (Bed & Breakfast), Shelburne Falls MAPrearranged Calligraphers' Special: $75 per nightContact: Lauri DenyerE-mail: lauridenyer@yahoo.comTel: (413) 824-0502Limited Availability
Airport Transportation:
Valley Transporter
From Bradley International Airport, Hartford, CT  to  Conway, MA
$81.65 One-Way (Includes Gratuity)

BusPeter Pan Bus LinesFrom Boston Logan Airport to Northampton, MA$61.30 Round Trip$31.15 One-WayFrom New York City, Port Authority to Northampton, MA$49.00 Round Trip$24.00 One-WayContact:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Another 30th Anniversary Preview from Tsegyalgar East of Sacred Music and Dance Concert

Tsegyalgar East is honored to present a performance of the Gurdjieff Movements rarely performed in public on the auspicious occasion of the inauguration of the Mandala Hall  during our 30th Anniversary celebration. Early members of the Dzogchen Community studied these dances in the 1970's under the direction of their then teacher, Mr. Paul E. Anderson, a close disciple of G.I Gurdjieff, who first invited Chogyal Namkhai Norbu to teach his students in Conway, MA in 1982. 

{Al Daggett L and John Foster R, current gakyil members
Gerry Steinberg is in the middle with full hair/beard, Paula Berry to Gerry's left, Laurie & Efrem, Vern and others like Kathy S and Joe, etc are in there too]. 

Thus, sacred dance has been a prominent part of our community culture from its onset culminating in the extraordinary Teachings of the Vajra Dance conceived and discovered by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu at Khandroling. 

Margit Martinu who is both an authorized Vajra Dance instructor in the International Dzogchen Communtiy as well as a prominent Movements teacher has organized a program to present during out 30th Anniversary Celebration on July 13, 2014. Visit her beautiful website for further information about the Sacred Gurdjieff Movements,

Pianist Elan Sicroff  will  also perform on the evening of July 13, 2014, the musical compositions of G.I Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann. 

Further information and highlights about this special event will be forthcoming in the coming months

Western Massachusetts has a strong connection to sacred music, particularly the Sacred Harp tradition and the composition of many important hymnals tracing back to the original settlements in the valley that revitalized spiritual practice throughout early America. Our programs of contemporary Tibetan music and song as well as our Vajra Dances resonate with this spirit of collective participation as a joyful and devotional expression of our human potential.  Indeed, this region is no stranger to spiritual groups dating back to the early 19th century when many small enclaves of Utopian communities flourished.

For a history of Sacred Music in Western Masachussetts
watch this video of a recent conference in Northampton. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Updates and Last Call for 30th Anniversary Festschrift Submissions

Last week I met with Sheryl and Walter Jaffee on behalf of the Khandroling Paper Cooperative Festschrift project that we've been working on for some months. Many thanks to them for their enthusiastic and generous participation in this project especially volunteering to make the actual festschrift book to hold all our artistic and literary offerings. Thus far, many people from Europe have contributed. We are also looking to include US Practitioners of the Vajra Dance who were inspired by introduction to this precious practice. 

Here is an excerpt from a group poem submitted by Julia Donoho composed at a group retreat of Goma Devi with Enzo Terzano (sorry about the formatting)

Homage to the vast dimension in which we discover the joyous aspect of our real nature

Where all is always good, where love is not an option, and where rigpa is self-arisen

Loving kindness does not strive to exercise great compassion, it is great compassion

May the luminous essence of clarity of the teachings arise in us without interruption

Homage to the precious Master, may he and numberless disciples achieve the rainbow body

Sheryl is our resident master papermaker and instructor. Her husband, Walter is a professional musician working at Old Sturbridge Villiage. In his spare time, Walter enjoys making beautiful handmade books for relaxation and often in collaboration with his wife, Sheryl. His books are made in the traditional method with acid free materials so that they last many generations. While visiting them, Walter showed me a book he was repairing printed in 1647. The miracle of acid free paper!

{Discussing the various approaches to signatures an dinserts that can hold the submissions without bulging out}

To date about 25 submissions have been sent to us from all over the world. We decided to design the book so that future submissions could be added. Most of these submissions are either photographs or visual arts. It would be great to have a few literary or written homages as well. 

{A combined leather and handmade paper cover sample. Sheryl showed us her exquisite end-papers she is designing with the colors of Goma Devi and made with sacred substances}

There is still time to submit your work, please contact me. You can email an attached jpeg or word document. Please email to
Including a brief biography. 

The literal meaning of "Festschrift" is Celebration (Fest)  Writing (Schrift).
Writers and Artists--come join the celebration through your homage to the master and lineage!

Sheryl will be teaching a master papermaking workshop free to members of the international Dzogchen community in July-- a rare opportunity to join in the world-wide movement of handmade paper that sustains communities everywhere. Sheryl has traveled the world collecting information and knowledge, which she loves to share with others.  

Visit the link below to view a great video on traditional papermaking in Tibet at the Dege Printing House as part of the Rubin Museum's exhibit "Illuminated the Art of Sacred Books."   Our process is very similar.

A Few More Vintage Photos from the Early Years

Many thanks to John Foster for locating these early shots of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu teaching in Conway, MA at the old group house on Parsons Street. Special thanks to Nancy Paris for scanning the photos.

Does anyone recognize the kids below?

Barrie Simmons, the main translator for Rinpoche 
 in the early years from Italian to English

All Photos Courtesy of John Foster

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Invitation to Subscribe to Harmony in the Space Video Channel for Contemporary Tibetan Songs and Dances

Adriana Dal Borgo recently sent us the link to the new channel, Harmony in the Space, where you can find videos of contemporary Tibetan songs and dances developed in the Dzogchen Community.

Friday, March 7, 2014

World-wide transmission Update due to Daylight Savings

Due to Daylight Savings time, the WWT will actually take place at 11pm EST (New York and Conway time) on Saturday, March 15th and on the west coast (PST) it will be 8pm on Saturday, March 15th.

Tsegyalgar East will host a World-Wide Transmission of Garab Dorje* explanation in the gompa at 7:00pm on Monday, March 10th. For first time participants, this is a requirement to participate in the live webcast transmission with Chogyal Namkhai Norbu on March 15. 

Please visit our world-wide transmission page for further information: 

You can call in to this explanation session from anywhere in the USA.  For more details on how to do so, please contact our secretary, Harold Graves, at 413-369-4153 or

The Worldwide Transmission of Garab Dorje itself will be held on Saturday, March 15th at 10pm EST. The transmission will be hosted at the Tsegyalgar East Gonpa, or you can connect for free from any location for the live webcast via this link:    

Best wishes,
Tsegyalgar East Blue Gakyil

*To learn more about Garab Dorje, visit Rigpawiki at

Thursday, March 6, 2014

At the Rubin Museum in NYC....Fabio Andrico

Fabio Andrico @ the Rubin Museum in NYC!

JUST ADDED: Yantra Yoga: A Practicum
with Fabio Andrico
At the Rubin Art Museum in New York City

Sunday March 23, 2014 @ 6:00 PM
Price: $15.00
Member Price: $13.50
The Rubin Museum of Art
150 W. 17 St., NYC 10011 . 212.620.5000

A practical guide to Tibetan yoga and a vehicle to better health.

Dzogchen, the ‘Great Perfection’ teachings of Tibet which point directly to the ‘self-liberating’ potential of human consciousness, involve forceful hathayoga-related movements and breathing techniques (Yantra yoga) that push physiology – and thereby consciousness – beyond accustomed limits towards the awakening of habitually dormant perceptual and existential capacities. Chogyal Namkai Norbu is the leading Dzogchen lineage holder in Europe. Fabio Andrico is his foremost student in the practice of Yantra Yoga. In this presentation he illustrates the very specific health aspects of the practice.

** This event is a part of Bodies In Balance: The Essentials, A full weekend of talks and demonstrations on the rich subject of Tibetan medicine and concepts of wellbeing, and is open to and appropriate for everyone. Scholars, medical practitioners and experts meet to share their experience in eleven separate presentations. For those who wish to immerse themselves in the concepts of Tibetan medical practice, this is the weekend for you.

A conference to deepen your appreciation of the exhibition Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine (

See Full Schedule (

Also, a quick reminder to register now for Fabio Andrico's Yantra Yoga Teachers Certificate Training courses later this month at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA (March 16-21) and at Yoga Tree Telegraph in Berkeley, CA (March 26-30). This course is designed for those who already teach another form of yoga and want to broaden their offerings, or for advanced yoga practitioners of any tradition.  It is not necessary to have received transmission from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in order to attend this course and become a public teacher of Yantra Yoga!  Please feel free to pass this email along to anyone you know who might be interested!

Kripalu Reigstration Link:

Yoga Tree Registration Link: