Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tibetan Medicine Conference in NYC

Group photo of participants from the Tibetan Medicine Conference in NYC at the Rubin including keynote speaker, Choegyal Namkhai Norbu. Many of the Shang Shung Tibetan medicine graduates are in the photo. Names forthcoming

[photo reprinted from facebook]

Doctors -- Malcolm Smith and Osa Manell (graduates of the Shang Shung School of Tibetan Medicine reported from the conference.  Reprinted from Facebook:

Historic Tibetan Medical Conference:

On the weekend of July 25-27 Dr. Malcolm Smith and Dr. Osa Manell of Sudarśana participated in a historic Tibetan Medical Conference with Master Physicians from Tibet and the Himalayan Region hosted by the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City as part of its ongoing exhibit on Tibetan Medicine called Bodies in Balance: the Art of Tibetan Medicine.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, founder of Shang Shung Institute’s School of Tibetan Medicine located in Conway, MA, delivered the keynote address.

The conference was open to the public and focused on traditional Tibetan Medical and Buddhist perspectives on caring for the individual. The conference highlighted the way Tibetan Medicine can be used to care for cancer, arthritis, cardio-vascular illness and mental illness.

During the conference, the American Tibetan Medical Association (ATMA) presented its guidelines for the standardization of Tibetan Medical practice and education in in the United States.

Interwoven throughout the conference were opportunities for the general public for hands-on experience of Tibetan medical techniques, including Kunye massage, Horme (a heat therapy), moxabustion, Yantra yoga, pranayama, meditation and mantra. The conference concluded on Sunday afternoon with senior Tibetan doctors offering consultations to interested participants.

Bodies in Balance is the first major exhibition to present the origins, history and practice of of the Tibetan science of healing represented in medical paintings, manuscripts and medical instruments and includes a multi media installation showing how Tibetan medicine is used today. We encourage you to visit this wonderful exhibit that runs through September 8.

You are also welcome to directly experience the practice of Tibetan Medicine by booking a consultation with us at Sudarśana ( or call 413 522 8587). Our offices are located at Clinic Alternative Medicines.

Pictured below: Malcolm and Osa with Dr. Lusham Gyal, the Dean of the Qinghai University College of Tibetan Medicine

Choegyal Namkhai Norbu’s Departure

[Photo by Sean Quinn - Choegyal Namkhai Norbu walking alone
 to his car yesterday to go to                                                                                                                                      ]

Visit the Mirror for a fine photo gallery of the 30th Anniversary and Inauguration Ce                                                                             ,      lebration

We’ll be taking a short break                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                stay tuned for more stories and
 media rich content from Tsegyalgar East 

Khandroling Paper Cooperative Workshop August 9th and 10th on Lower Khandroling Farm

[reprinted from]

2nd Annual Workshop with Sheryl Jaffee
Fiber to Fiber: Holding Together
Lower Khandroling Farm

 August 9 & 10, 2014 (10:00 AM-5:00 PM)
Lower Khandroling Farm, Box 160
East Buckland Road, Buckland, MA

Join us for another great workshop with our master Papermaker/Teacher Sheryl Jaffe for a great weekend making beautiful unique papers with native, local plants. Don't compost those corn husks, turn them into book covers, wallets, musical instruments  and books!

Visit here to see a slide show of last year’s Workshop at Lower Khandroling Farm

Recommended donation $125 week-end
Nearby Lodging in Shelburne Falls or the Yellow Schoolhouse dorm in Conway

For further information and registration contact: Jacqueline Gens at or 413-522-1125

Khandroling Paper Cooperative is a Dzogchen Community affiliate specializing in educational programs and making paper using recycled sacred texts and natural fibers. The growing cooperative members offer their services and expertise. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Self-Originated Victorious Peak of Pure Perfect Presence Translated by Jim Valby Now Available

[Cover photo by Meg Wheatley]

Among the many highlights of the retreat. The Four Dharmas of Longchenpa with Choegyal Namkhai Norbu was the lung for the semde text, The Self Originated Victorious Peak of Pure Perfect Presence, from which the name of our Gar derives. Translated by Jim Valby, you can now purchase this text through the  Shang Shung US bookstore. Click here 

The Dzogchen Semde text Changchub Sem Tsemo Chungyal (byang chub sems rtse mo byung rgyal}, was transmitted on this planet by Guru Garab Dorje a few hundred years after Buddha Shakyamuni's parinirvana. The text directly explains instantaneous primordial enlightenment, beyond cause and effect. The eighth century Tibetan master, Nubchen Sangye Yeshe, wrote the cryptic Commentary.
Pure Perfect Presence, through sound, light and rays, manifests all phenomena of the universe. The universe is already primordially enlightened as the non-dual state of compassionate energy and empty wisdom. Primordial liberation is not produced by antidotes, trainings, purifications or transformations. Pure Perfect Presence manifests teachers and teachings which correspond to the interests and capacities of students in different times and places. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tsegyalgar’s Winning Team, Dream Dancer

Dream Dancer
Tsegyalgar East

The curtain opens on a Community’s ceremonial celebration.  By virtue of the infinite love within the Community, a young child manifests.  She is the Dream Dancer.   She begins to explore her surroundings and soon falls into a dream upon a Rainbow.  During the dream she experiences dance throughout the ages, and discovers that each dance bestows upon her the knowledge of one of the 5 elements. When she awakens from her dream she is surrounded by her Community and its celebration of the Rainbow Body.  Everyone in the audience is encouraged to join in the festivities and to continue dancing together beyond time and space.

The Dream Dancer's Dream

Yellow Earth: 
Yeha Noha, Native American Dance, choreographed by Jakub Muller

White Water: 
Wade in the Water, American Spiritual, choreographed by Alicia Manica

Red Fire: 
It don’t mean a thing, American Swing Jazz, choreographed by Alicia Manica and Bret Bourman

Green Air: 
Footloose, choreographed by Alicia Manica

Blue Space: 
Mirror, choreographed by Alicia Manica

Vogue, choreographed by Leela Whitcomb Hewitt and Alicia Manica

Liberetto and sequential choreography by Bret Bourman

Lauri Denyer: Costume Designer
Paula Barry and Gabe Marder: Costume Crew

Sadie (Dream Dancer)

Jessica Waggenbeek
Martina Kacurova
Sarale Lizdas
Leela Whitcob Hewitt
Naomi Zeitz
Laila Reiss
Alicia Manica (Dream Dancer's dream self)
Nathan Waggenbeek
Jakub Miller
Thomas Keidel
Jim Valby
Will Shea
Gerry Steinberg

Upcoming Open Webcasts for World-wide Transmission of the Anniversary of Padmasambhava and Practicing Together with Mandarava

[Painting by Glen Eddy]

Anniversary of  Padmasambhava
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Anniversary of Padmasambhava
11pm (EST, New York and Conway time) 8:00 pm (PST)

Explanation required prior to the webcast for first time participants who can call in for a teleconference with Jim Valby earlier in the evening of August 5 at 7:00 PM. Contact the secretary Harold at 413-369-4153 or to receive the call in number and how to order the text. Do not wait until the last minute. 

[Painting of Mandarava by Wilven Pederson]

Practicing Together
On August 10th at 10:30am. (GMT - 5) there will be an open
webcast (
from Norbuling - Perú of the Mandarava Ganapuja specially
dedicated to the health of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu and all those
in need of healing.

(This time, we won't Dance nor potentite Namkha)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Shang Shung Tibetan Medicine Program and 2nd Annual Conference at the Rubin Museum in NYC

The following film was prepared by SSI secretary, Bret Bourman, for the Rubin Museum’s Overview of Tibetan Medicine in the World for their exhibit -- Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine.

This summer July 26-27, 2014, The Shang Shung Institute and ATMA will co-sponsor the 2nd Tibetan Medicine Conference at the Rubin Museum, Ancient Medicine for Modern Times --bringing together leading Tibetan doctors and practitioners of Tibetan medicine from around the world. Click here for their latest schedule.

The conference will open on Friday, July 25 with a late-afternoon or early evening tea reception. This will be an informal gathering for attendees, a chance to meet and speak with the honored speakers, and include a special educational demonstration. The reception will also serve as a celebration of the ratification of the Tibetan medical standards.

Keynote address by Choegyal Namkai Norbu on July 27th at 830 am. 

Event Program for the conference
Tickets: Register Online Now

It’s not too late to help support this amazing round up of Tibetan doctors from all over the world through the Indiegogo campaign to raise funds. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Modern Tibetan Dancing at Tsegyalgar

[Reprinted from 30th Anniversary FB - Modern Tibetan Dancing Khandroling July 12 Inauguration]

Each Evening here at Tsegyalgar East there is a rigorous schedule of Tibetan modern dancing and singing with Choegyal Namkhai Norbu during our retreat with him. Increasingly an important training in our Community, the following explanations serve to increase our understanding of the meaning. Photos and a story are forthcoming from an individual or individuals actively involved or check back with The Mirror Online at and our 30th Anniversary Facebook Page for marvelous postings on events. 

Photo by Paula Barry, CHNNR watching modern Tibetan dancing in Tenerife


“Any movement you do is Yantra", just like you are doing Yantra Yoga or doing meditation, some exercise. Milarepa said "there is no difference" because depend you, what you do everything, dealing with. Even if you are only jumping, but if you are jumping with presence, relaxed, then it become useful. If you are interested of teachings Sutra, teachings Tantra, teachings Dzogchen, Anuyoga, everything is coming from Tibet. When I was in Tenerife last year, then I am listening some of this Tibetan music, songs, etc... and I discovered how they are singing, they are communicating happiness, a sort of feeling, and situation, which kind of difficulties they have they are bringing in the melody, this is how we do in Dzogchen Teaching. 

We try to understand which is the real situation, we do our best, for that reason I am thinking ...oh, it is necessary, we should learn songs and listening well Tibetan songs. 

 What do you need to do when you are dancing?...when you are dancing...coordinate, must being present. That means you are being present, otherwise you couldn't dance, but if you are present when you are dancing you relax also, even jumping, not necessary charging, you jump relaxed, then it become also good for you, no? It helps. 

Dancing, relaxing, being present, knowing that...this is practice, no? This is practice. No? How is it? Choegyal Namkhai Norbu reprinted from the Dzamling Gar website

Visit and sign up for the new facebook page on Khaita Joyful Dances (replacing the previous Tibetan Modern Dances)

Khaita - Harmony in the Space

These words and the symbol (the golden infinite knot of love on our globe) were chosen by our Master few months ago in Dzamling Gar to represent all activities of Dzogchen Community related to movements and sounds.
Khaita Joyful Dances, Vajra Dance and Yantra Yoga are all part of this.

By Adriana Dal Borgo

[Reprinted from 30th Anniversary FB - Performance Saturday July 12 of Tibetan modern dances]

 [Tsegyalgar Tibetan modern dancers after Saturday night performance repritned form Khaita FB page]

Another online resource is the following blog where you can download the songs and videos.

In honor of our 30th Anniversary, here’s an early You Tube video of Tibetan Step Dancing at Shang Shung Institute at the yellow schoolhouse in Conway, MA in 1998/1999 during one of our early "Tibetan Family Days" posted in 2006 with over 5000 views. Chen and Chime, TIPA trained musicians from Boston part of Chaksampa, lead us in our first humble dance class. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Khandroling Paper Cooperative Demo

Earlier today we held our papermaking demonstration for Community memrbers in the Mohawk School cafeteria. A small handful of interested people (Diana, Jan, Francine, Thuy, and Rita) showed up and quickly were immersed in the process under the guidance of Sheryl Jaffee, our main teacher. Later, another group materialized following Jim’s explanation of the Ganapuja. 

Sheryl explaining the ropes to a small group

Beating the Kozo by hand

Making that first piece of paper

The first piece--perfect!

The ladies together pressing the water from the sheets of paper they created

A passer-by more interested in making music with our corn paper tambourine

The finished results dryng:  horsetail and kozo paper, some with Tibetan cloud motifs.

On the final day, Sheryl presented Rinpoche with the beautiful album she and her husband Walter made for our Festschrift project. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

In the Moment: Some Impressions on the Gurdjieff Movements Presented on Sunday Evening , July 13, 2014 and the Bigger Picture

Practitioners in the Dzogchen Community come from many different Teaching lineages, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist where there is a huge wealth of wisdom about the human condition found  within the deep currents of many traditions.  We honor all our previous Teachers by including them in our personal Guru Yoga.  In Tibetan culture,  it is considered really poor form to disparages one’s previous teachers. In fact there are many colorful stories of Masters rejecting a disciple based on their behavior towards a previous Teacher. That extends to disparaging the Teachers of others.

In general, the Gurdjieff Teachings hold a prominent place in the  introduction of Tibetan Buddhism into the West. James George, a senior disciple of Gurdjieff is beloved by all the Tibetan Lineage holders for assisting Tibetans as they fled Tibet while he was Canadian ambassador to Nepal. In his research into Gurdjieff’s secret years in Tibet Mr. George surmised that the location of the monastery Gurdjieff spent time in was the seat of the Trungpas ----Surmong.  Many of the early students of Tibetan masters coming to the  West were in the "The Work,” as it is called. In particular we owe a great debt to Mr. Anderson who first invited Chogyal Namkhai Norbu to teach here in 1982. As such, in honor of our 30th Anniversary we celebrate our Community’s origins. ---Jacqueline Gens

Mary Gilliland and Peter Fortunato, long time students of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu would like to share a few impressions about the de Hartmann music and the Gurdjieff Sacred Dances that were presented as part of the Thirty Year anniversary Celebrations for Tsegyalgar: 

         We had been involved with the Work through Mr. Gurdjieff's student and secretary Louise March*, founder of the Rochester Folk Art Guild.  Through Mrs. March in the 1980's, we were introduced to the Movements and their accompanying music, practicing the preliminaries with a group of more experienced students.  The presentation at the Mohawk School is among the best we have ever seen.
         The music, solo piano, evokes East European and Central Asian folk melodies – unadorned, pensive, resonant – and creates an atmosphere for contemplation. The Movements and Dances, like the music, are not easy to describe.  As with many of Gurdjieff's exercises, they seem designed to disrupt expectations – in this case, one's ordinary expectations for how a corps of dancers interact with rhythmic, sometimes martial sounding, sometimes tender, melodies. 
         The members of the Movements Project were costumed in light tunics and loose trousers, evoking something of the cultural context from which Gurdjieff drew inspiration.  Moreover, they offered a magnificent display of individual attention and group coordination – very important in the Work, as it is in the collaboration of the Dzogchen Community.  Characteristic of the Movements and Sacred Dances are the abrupt, hieratic gestures executed with arms and hands that seem to evoke such postures as might be seen on ancient relief sculptures from the Middle East or Egypt.  The effect of these gestures  can be disturbing to one's ordinary ideas about flowing dance movements and transitions in response to music.  It seems this effect is part of their mystery, however, and the concentrated intensity of the Movements Project in motion was finally irresistible and emotional in a very subtle way.   
         Besides our personal associations and reminiscences while we watched both of us felt our hearts opening to the dancers in appreciation of their sustained effort, not only throughout a long and complex program on the stage that night, but also because of their disciplined preparation and devotion to the Way they are practicing. 
         G. I. Gurdjieff characterized humans as "three brained beings."  To explain the workings of our three centers he used the analogy of a cart for the body, a horse for the feeling center, and a driver for the mind.  All three must function in harmony for a person to experience "Being," or awakening.  It seems that this tradition of dance is designed to help bring the three centers into harmony, first by disturbing habitual patterns of behavior and then by introducing new "impressions" within both the dancers and audience. --Peter Fortunato and Mary Gilliland

The following video was prepared by Margit Martinu, a member of the International Dzogchen Community, authorized as both a Gurdjieff movement instructor and a Vajra Dance teacher. Many thanks to the practitioners of the Gurdjieff movements who traveled so far to attend the 30th Anniversary of Tsegyalgar. 

[Reprinted from Suzi Smith of Namgyalgar FB PAGE of Gurdjieff movements

at the July 13 performance in Mohawk High School Auditorium

For more information about Gurdjieff work in Western Massachussetts contact

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Namgyalgar/Tsegyalgar Dance Competition on July Sunday, July 13, 2014

Photo Reprinted from Facebook by Alicia Manica of Sunday afternoon’s dance competition between Tsegyalgar  and Namgyalgar

 Tsegyalgar’s home team brought together some members of the local community working many many months on the project

The Winners here triumphant!

More about the competition later and the Namgyalgar Team who might not have been the official winners yet nonetheless won us over with the depth and  elegance of their cohesive work,Timeless Land, spanning the vast prehistory and present history of Australia. Dancers traveling from Australia were: Jan Cornall, Suze Smith, Thuy Nyuygen, Catherine Horner, Graeme Horner, Alicia Horner, and Nicholas Martin. 

Kudos to all!

Two Videos by Soledad Suarez--Remembering the Future and Mandala Hall Now Available on You Tube


Soledad Suarez has completed two films in honor of Tsegyalgar East’s 30th Anniversary. The first is a history of the Gar called Remembering the Future with many interesting interviews. The second is about the Mandala Hall. Both videos contain historic footage of Rinpoche’s early teaching in North America and the history of the Vajra Dance related to the Mandala Hall.  A must see. Thank You Sole and to all who made these videos happen. 

30TH Anniversary Literary Events

On Tuesday July 15, the Community sponsored two literary events in honor of our 30th Anniversary.  During the morning session, visiting writer Jan Cornall from Australia gave a Meditative Workshop --Seize the Moment

[photo by Jan Cornall in the Mohawk High School Library]

Fourteen people attended with the intention to strengthen their writing. Jan’s exercises were marvelous forays into  “sensory literacy” (to borrow a term)  by  combining the power of observation and awareness with sensory experience to trigger writing in the moment without self-censorship or judgements. Her guided meditations created powerful prompts for imagery and meanings, sometimes with surprising outcomes. Sharing the results of these exercises with our fellow participants was half the joy. How refreshing to enter into a non-competitive activity without judgements to kill the delicate creative process. Jan proved a master of this technique bringing us gently into the moment with her guided meditations through the corridor of our mind’s eye. 

As  a sometime teacher of contemplative writing, I really enjoyed learning some new techniques from Jan. I particularly loved her brilliant strategy to work with  self-deprecating remarks that can surface towards one’s writing.  At the beginning she suggested that if we didn’t like the result of our work with the exercises--we just say “Bananas” and move on. 

Well, among all the 14 participants there were NO bananas just a good time sharing our spontaneous work and mingling our minds in the transmission. Thank You Jan!

Later that evening, there was a reading at Mocha Maya’s Coffee Bar in Shelburne Falls, home to many literary events. They were great hosts providing us with a podium, sound system and selected beverages and snacks. Featured readers included Jim Bauerlein from Shelburne Falls, Jan Cornall from Austraila, Peter Fortunato and Mary Gilliland from Ithaca, Jacqueline Gens, and of course, Louise Landes Levi who each read for seven minutes. Afterwards there was an open mike for other readers to participate.

[some of the audience at the Mocha Maya reading]

[Jim Bauerlein from Shelburne Falls read his powerful poems]

Mary Gilliland with her husband Peter Fortunato both poets (below) from Ithaca emceed the event. 

Peter read his poem ‘Up on Khandroling” you can read on the blog here.

[It was great to hear our guest reader Jan Cornall “perform” her work with a rare combination of verve, tenderness, and expressive clarity]

[Our own Dzogchen Community Poet Laureate, Louise Landes Levi, here with Dan Zegunis. Louise was in great form reading with her characteristic humor and divine sense of irony and devotion]

[Mocha Maya’s proved the perfect venue for our reading to a packed house]

Many poems were read in honor Rinpoche who himself is a poet in the Tibetan language. He remains as ever the Light who shines a Beacon in the dark forests of our mind bringing us home to our true nature.

Thank you to all our readers and audience supporting our 
Dzogchen Community writers. 

Photos by Jacqueline Gens who apologizes for the fuzziness of her IPad lens