Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lumber for the Khandroling Living Center and Gompa: Report from Joe Zurylo and Yuchen Namkhai

The following pictures are of the lumber which was cut from trees from the land of Khandroling which were harvested last fall and left in a pile through the winter.

This past week using a portable band saw mill individual trees were sawed into lumber. The species is Eastern Hemlock, a wood prized for its stability and strength. It seems a fitting tribute to these giant plants to use them in the construction of our new building. The economics of the situation is also very favorable. As it cost us .28 cents a board ft to cut ( board ft, a measure of lumber that is 1in thick by 12in square). The cost for typical lumber yard material is 3 times that. So what you are looking at in the pictures are 6000K board ft. for a cost of $1700 which  mounts to a savings of $4000, I would call that a good start for our  project.

Pic # 1781
The two large stacks in the foreground are 2*4, there are approximately 300 of them, their primary use is in building exterior walls. We will be using a double wall system for maximum energy efficiency, so there is enough studs to build 150 lin ft.of exterior wall

Pic #1785
The two stacks which are second and third from the right are 4*8in. joists used to make an exposed timber ceiling. They will be lightly sanded, oiled and left as exposed timbers.

Pic #1782
What is pictured here are the main timbers their dimension is 6*10 inches 12ft long, they weigh around 300lbs. These timbers will hold up the smaller 4*8 joists, they will also be sanded, oiled and left exposed to show off their beauty.

Pic #1783
A good view of all lumber as its stacked for drying

Photos by Yuchen Namkhai
Narrative by Joe Zurylo

Sunday, April 27, 2014

An Interview with Tashi Mannox, Visiting Artist at Shang Shung Institute Reprinted from the Mirror

Tashi was in residence for a Tibetan calligraphy course here at Tsegyalgar East April 4-6, 2014 co-sponsred by Shang Shung Institute and the 

Khandroling Paper Cooperative
Visit here for an article and slide show of the special weekend 
The following interview was conducted by Jacqueline Gens on April 7 2014  and transcribed and edited by Naomi Zeitz of The Mirror.

Jacqueline Gens: I think we would like to start with your life as a monk. How old you were when you became a monk?
Akong Rinpoche (left) and Tashi Mannox as monk  
Akong Rinpoche (left) and Tashi Mannox as monk

Tashi Mannox: I had just turned 22, quite young. Akong Rinpoche suggested it. I had wanted to become a monk since one of my first encounters with Tibetan Lamas on a family holiday in the Mid-South of France at one of the first Buddhist centers in Europe. I met these old wizened lamas and they were really great with us as kids. I was around 11 years old or something like that and I was really inspired by them. They were really kind and very wise and quite simply I thought, “Well I want to grow up and be like that.” I looked at my own parents and other adults and they just seemed to be quite neurotic compared to the monks. The monks were happy. So that was my motivation. A happy life. I loved the way they looked. Whenever I would see them I would kind of pull at their top robe and wrap it around myself.

To read more visit the Mirror NEW online publication here. 

Modern Tibetan Dance Coming Soon to Pioneer Valley

Come Join the Dance

World Dance Day April 29, 2014

Every year, millions of dancers around the globe celebrate World Dance Day on 29 April. Initiated in 1982 and coordinated by International Dance Council CID at UNESCO, it is addressed to all: dancers and non-dancers, amateur and professional, young and old, private business companies as well as public institutions and agencies. 

 The International Dzogchen Community will join in world-wide with Vajra Dance and Tibetan Modern Dances.

See the official page for CID or International Dance Council.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Kumar Kumari Yantra Yoga offered for Children at Tsegyalgar East

Kumar Kumari Yoga Class

with Authorized Yantra Yoga Instructor Martina Kacurova
Afternoon yoga class for children in grades K-6, based on a Tibetan yoga system called, "Yantra Yoga."
In this class we will play games, learn to breathe and relax, do Kumar Kumari Yoga, and we'll have tons of fun and laughs. 
The club will run for five weeks beginning April 29

When: April 29 -May 6-13 -20 -27 Tuesdays
Time : Pm session - 4:15pm -5:15pm.  Timing can be adjusted if necessary

Where: Tsegyalgar East Gonpa
18 Schoolhouse Rd.
Conway, MA 01341 
Cost: first class free then $5 per session or $20 for whole course/child

To sign up please email:
Parents are welcome to participate.

Vajra Dance Summer 2014

30th Anniversary Program

Tsegyalgar 30th Anniversary Celebration
Come Join the Dance

Thursday, July 10th, 2014, 6pm
Demonstration of Vajra Dance and Yantra Yoga
Pulaski Park, Northampton, MA

Friday Afternoon, July 11, 2014                                                       
30th Anniversary Celebration:
Opening and Inauguration of the Mandala Hall
2:30 -4:00 PM
Khandroling, Buckland, MA

Friday Night, July 11, 2014
30th Anniversary Celebration: Come Join the Dance with Special Guest Performers
Evelyn Harris, June Millington, Harvey Kaiser’s Band and others
7:00 PM
Mohawk Regional High School Auditorium

Saturday Night, July 12, 2014
An Evening of Modern Tibetan Dance and Song with special guests  TBA 
Co-Sponsored by the Shang Shung Institute and IMA (Institute for the Musical Arts)
7:00 PM
Venue TBA

Sunday Afternoon, July 13, 2014
Dance Competition Tsegyalgar vs Namgyalgar
2:00 PM
Mohawk Regional High School Auditorium

Sunday Night, July 13,
7:00 PM
Mohawk Regional High School Auditorium

And more to come.......All events subject to change

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Modern Tibetan Dancing in Tenerife

                                                                                                                                       Diane Sievers took this lovely photo of modern Tibetan Dancing in Tenerife during a retreat.....coming soon to Tsegyalgar East


Click here to listen to a talk by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu about modern Tibetan song and dance with many examples

CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN - Amherst Sustainability Fair - Saturday, April 26, 2014

Please join members of The local Dzogchen Community at the Amherst Sustainability Fair on Saturday, April 26, 2014 10:00 AM-4:00 PM where Khandroling Paper Cooperative will have a booth (#55) containing information about all of Tsegyalgar's many activities along with live paper making sessions through out the day. In the case of heavy rain, the festival will be cancelled.

Leela and Naomi will provide demos of the Vajra Dance of the Six Spaces and Yantra Yoga on the area marked in the map above as VDP (close to booth #55) The demos are scheduled for 11:00 AM

Papermakers--bring some petals, small shells, threads or anything you would like to include in your handmade papers. We will have everything you need to make some beautiful papers that you can take home with you on Saturday. 

Come visit us on the common as we inaugurate our first out reach demos of the season to the larger community.

NEWS FLASH: Update on the Khandroling Beautification Project!

Here is a quick update on the project and its funding:

As of Monday, April 21st, we have received $4275 in pledges for this project.  We have now ensured a second day of wood-chipping up on the land this coming May, and for this we are extremely grateful!

However, we are still falling almost $3000 short of our $7000 fundraising goal, which would ensure all three days of work that we estimate will be needed to complete the job.  The Tsegyalgar East Yellow Gakyil has let me know that they will be continuing to accept donations on a rolling basis towards our goal until the work is done in May, with the hopes of reaching our entire goal (we're already so close!).  If any funds are collected in excess of our goal, please know that they will be put to good use!  Any remaining funds for this project will go towards the preparation and beautification of Khandroling for this Summer's activities.

Please do consider giving to this very important project!  If you would like to participate in our collaboration request, please send the donation of your choice securely through our website via Paypal or email Harold our secretary at to pledge your support in the timeline and method of your choosing.

Many Thanks for everyones swift participation towards making this project happen.   

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Milling Logs from Lower Khandroling for the Khandroling Living Center

Here are some pictures of today's milled wood at the new "Khandroling Living Center" site. It's hemlock softwood that will be used in construction. There are some boards and beams that will sit there for 1 year to dry and then they'll be ready to use. (Right now there's a nice smell since they're full of sap).
MILLING EQUIPMENT on  the lower Khandroling building site with logs cleared from the land waiting to be milled into boards and beams for construction

Gorgeous Sunday today for outdoors work

Boards need to cure and dry outdoors for about a year before usable.

Report & photos by Yuchen Namkhai

Mastering the Art of Beautiful Writing in Tibetan with Tashi Mannox

During his course April 4-6, 2014 co-sponsored by Shang Shung Institute and the Khandroling Paper Cooperative here in Conway,MA, British artist Tashi Mannox wowed us all with his magnificent workshop on Tibetan letters. The focus of the weekend was an introduction to learning the exact proportions of every stroke used in executing each letter of the Tibetan alphabet. Participants eager to work with Tashi in person traveled from Utah, California, Wisconsin and NYC to attend the course along with eight local Community members.

[Pamala traveled from California via NYC to attend the workshop]

Tashi is well suited to this expertise as he was trained traditionally as a monk under the late Akong Rinpoche at Samye LIng, the first Tibetan Buddhist Center in the West. On April 4 (the parinirvana of Chogyam Trungpa) Tashi spoke with eloquence to us about his teachers and inspirations --including the late Trungpa and Akong Rinpoches who founded Samye Ling in Scotland. As many of you recently learned, Akong Rinpoche died tragically in Tibet this winter while delivering funds to a charitable organization. 

As a child, Tashi's parents were among the first practicing Buddhists in the West or what the late Akong Rinpoche designated as the first Western Buddhist "family". Throughout childhood his family hosted and befriended many Tibetan lamas. 

Tashi's relaxed yet precise style of teaching is the fruition of his many years training and dedication to the discipline of correctly writing Tibetan letters. While in Three Year Retreat, he devised a method of rendering the letters with accuracy while copying hundreds of pages fo text. During the years he was a monk from the age of 22-38, he learned every Tibetan font and their variation from different masters as well as obscure texts from China no longer available. He hopes in the future to create such a manual that can be used by both Tibetans and Westerners who will then preserve this ancient tradition. 

[Tashi with Darcy from Utah]

Although our time with Tashi was all too short, he inspired us to go further in the practice of Tibetan calligraphy in order to master the art of beautiful writing. We look forward to initiating a regular practice session using the guide sheets he created during the course. 

We deeply approcaite his generosity both as a Teacher and also for donating his demonstration calligraphies done at the end of the workshop which he gave to us for fundraising purposes. Look ahead to view Bret's short video made during the workshop and an interview with Tashi in the Mirror forthcoming in the next issue.  

Practice Practice Practice.....The weekend culminated with the participants writing the Mani mantra.

[photo by Sheryl Jaffe]

[Photos above courtesy of Alexandros Maximus] 

Slide show of class by Jacqueline Gens

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Urgent Collaboration Request - Beautification of Khandroling

Dear Vajra Family,

As you may know, last Fall we cut down approximately 20 acres of white pines from the land at Khandroling. Cutting these trees has opened up the energy as well as very beautiful scenic views, and will allow for natural habitats of animals to flourish in the near future.   For more information on this project, you can read the previous post, Taking the Long View.

Currently, the next step in our beautification of Khandroling, is to dispose of the large piles of brush and trees that have been accumulated during this endeavor. We are looking forward to the Mandala Hall Inauguration and the Tsegyalgar 30th Celebration that will be taking place this July, with many events taking place on the land.

We have looked into several different ways of disposing of this waste, and until now, have not found a timely, economically, and environmentally sound way of doing so.  But we recently received a very auspicious and timely offer from a local Wood Chipping company that could potentially clear up our land in a very quick and efficient way, all in time for our planned events. The process of making wood chips from the debris ia an effective and aesthetically pleasing method that would enhance a park like environment while creating a ground cover mulch to nourish the land. This method is far more sustainable than more radical methods of burning or excavation. 

The local wood chipper estimates a cost of $3700/day, and we think it would take about three days to complete the job, for a total budget of $11,000. Tsegyalgar East has received a state grant of specialized funds for this project, but unfortunately there is only about $4000 available for this project at this time.It is extremly important that we book this company immediately as they are greatly in demand.

This means, that in order to clear the land as much as possible before the events this Summer, we need to raise about $7000, and unfortunately, we need to raise it very quickly.  The wood chipper operator is only available in the near future, so he's asked us to confirm by this Monday, April 21st, whether we'll be able to do the job, and how many days of chipping we can commit to.

[photo by John Foster April 2014 with debris awaiting the chipper]

We invite you to collaborate together with us to make Khandroling a beautiful place for this Summer's events, for our many international and national guests, and for the future in general. Any amount you are able to give will be a huge help to our common goal of a beautiful Khandroling.

To give to this project, please send the donation of your choice to:
securely through our website via Paypal or email Harold our to pledge your support in the timeline and method of your choosing.

Thank you very much in advance for your help, and we look forward to seeing you all this Summer!

David Hayes
Tsegyalgar East Geko

Important Information about Membership Renewal and the Summer Retreat with Choegyal Namkhai Norbu

[Reprinted from The Melong Facebook site Rinpoche's  farewell to Dzamling Gar...coming soon to us]

Dear Friends & Community Members:

We are very fortunate to anticipate Choegyal Namkai Norbu's return to the US this year for a Retreat in NYC (July 4-6 2014), for the 30th Anniversary Celebration (July 11, 12, 13, 2014)  and Inauguration of the Mandale Hall on Khandroling in Buckland, MA, and for a Retreat on The Four Dharmas of Longchenpa,  July 16-20, 2014 at the Mohawk School in Buckland, MA, which will be open webcast.
There will be other events in the region leading up to the Celebration with a full roster of performances and special events, including a Vajra Dance Deepening Course for all to participate in June 13-15, 2014. One of the daily highlights will be the Community program in contemporary Tibetan Song and Dance.  The Registration form for the retreat is now online for your convenience.

Please note the "special rate" for current Members of the Community! This means your membership must be current and in good standing to receive this discount. If you have not renewed your membership for 2014, please do so ASAP through the links below:

*You can renew or pay your membership online or download and mail to the secretary.

*To view the membership categories and benefits including discounts on retreats visit the webpage:

Further information will be forthcoming  as we near the summer events here on our Community blog and our website at You can also visit our Celebration page at  where you will find links to housing and travel.

We are all very excited about this wonderful array of opportunities to collaborate together and share in the presence of our Master, Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, always a great blessing. We hope to see you here. So,  Come Join the Dance during this auspcious year of the Wood Horse!


Tsegyalgar East  Gakyil

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kumbhaka Course Photo at Tsegyalgar East

Kumbhaka Course with Naomi Zeitz at Tsegyalgar East, Conway
April 12 - 13, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Khandroling Living Center Proposal Update

As part of their general perspective on the land, the Khandroling Development committee*have the possibility of three separate building sites. The first site which has already been cleared of trees and a road roughed in at present is designated for what we are calling the "Khandroling Living Center". The proposal presented at our last meeting (visit there) is composed of a four bedroom house with a large commercial type kitchen and a Gompa. One bedroom will be reserved for the Gaykil and the other three for permanent residents who will pay rent to off set the expenses of the house. Team members invited the community to present this proposal. This building will service the entire needs of the Dzogchen Community in a sustainable way as part of the proposed transition to Khnadroling. 

The architectural style will be as Rinpoche suggested something that is local and from the area, to which we are suggesting a complex which will closely resemble a New England farm house. ( See drawing above). 

Our next step in the project is to install the infrastructure and hire professional design services ( we need an engineer to draw up a septic system and a land surveyor to break out the area as a separate building lot) along with that we need to install the sanitary system, bring in power lines and drill a water well. Cost for this phase is estimated at 60K.  When we have completed this work or Phase 1, we would be ready to start Phase II construction on the building.

The other two areas do not have a definitive use associated with them yet. Some things that have been proposed are; an end of life house ( for those with a terminal condition to be able to spend their last days at Khandroling), a guest house for folks doing a pilgrimage to the Terma site, more comfortable facilities for people in the summer encampment program.  

This summer the Khandroling Development Team in coordination with the Tsegyalgar East Gakyil will be presenting further information sessions to the Community and to Rinpoche.  If you would like to be involved in the team efforts and receive periodic updates, please contact Joe Zurylo at 

[Rinpoche on his way to the three sites he selected for development during the summer of 2013]

Written by Joseph Zurylo, April 2014

*Co-Chairs Yuchen Namkhai and Joe Zurylo with committee members Andrea Lawrence, Vern Harrington, Al Daggett, and Sean Quinn among others.

What's New on the Khandroling Farm this Spring

The long New England winter has finally come to an end, mud season has arrived and the Khandroling Coop is beginning a new season.

Our first order of business is to finish the greenhouse so we can get the veggie seeds an early start, followed by working the community garden plot, spreading manure, lime, and other exotic amendments supplied by Nari Mitchell.

We have 3 new projects that will be starting this year:

Wild Blueberries, A small test plot on upper Khandroling, these are a small native berry highly prid for their flavor and anti-oxidant properties.

Raspberries, we plan on preparing a section of field to accept around 200 plants these will become part of the pick your own enterprise for future income for the Gar

Hops, we have found 1 hops vine growing wild in the old pasture, we assume it was planted during prohibition time to make home brew, to this we have  added root stocks of 5 different varieties. Our very own brew meister Sean is heading up this project. Our objective is to supply local produce to small craft brewers in the area.

The intention of the Coop is to have a small organic farm producing very high value produce, which  helps sustain the Gar financially. At present, the Coop has been self-financed with each member putting in their own money towards a given project. We have a long wish list of items we need to purchase, such as irrigation supplies, more berry plants, 20ft poles for the hop vines,ect ect. I wish I could say that if you give us a dollar that we will turn it into 2 dollars in 3 years, who knows, but what we can say is that if you give us a dollar it will go into buying another berry plant or some fertilizer, or something directly related to the sustainability of Khandroling into the future.For further information and updates about The Khandroling Coop visit their webstie

 By Yuchen Namkhai and the Coop team