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]

US Santi Maha Sangha Retreats with Jim Valby

Jim Valby will teach a SMS Base retreat in Atlanta December 5-9, 2014

Public Talk named “Primordial Knowledge” 
Friday, December 5, 5-9pm

Primordial Knowledge - SMS Base Retreat

Saturday, December 6, 9am-Noon4-7pm
Sunday, December 7, 9am-Noon4-7pm
Monday, December 8, 7-9pm
Tuesday, December 9, 7-9pm

The cost is $30 per session or $150 for the whole retreat. Membership discounts apply.

In our retreat we will emphasize the main point -- primordial presence, unaffected by the interesting experiences of emptiness, clear perceptions, and strong sensations produced by our semdzin and rushen practices.

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 Santi Maha Sangha (SMS).  He lives in Western Massachusetts, USA.

To register, please email Matt at

Jim will also be teaching a base retreat (October 3-5, 2014)  and Levels 1 (October 31-November 2, 2014)  & 2 (November 28-30, 2014) at Tsegyalgar East. Check our Events Calendar Listing for details. 

Stephen Korn’s Drawings from 1992 Vajra Dance Teaching by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu in Merigar

Stephen presented these drawings as part of our Festschrift to celebrate the Inauguration of the Mandala Hall for the Universal Mandala.The drawings were made by Stephen in 1992 when Rinpoche began to teach the dance.

Tsegyalgar East Announces New Gakyil Approved by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu

The following new Gakyil members were approved by Rinpoche. He wrote:

Your new Gakyil, it is perfect. It shows all are new, so it is very important that old Gakyil collaborate to them as much as possible, otherwise they don't know in which direct to go correct way. I hope every thing goes well with them. I am leaving tomorrow to India and then to Bhutan etc. 

With many Tashi Delegs to you all. NN.

If you are new to the Dzogchen Community, you might want to know - What is the Gakyil?

The Gakyil (pronounced gan-chi) is the chief governing body responsible for ensuring that the center is in line with Rinpoche's vision performing long term planning, overseeing the well-being of the community at a Gar or Ling, and providing financial oversight. The Gakyil is committed to serving the needs of the Dzogchen Community and maintaining healthy communication around international community policies, strategies, and finances.

The management and organization of the various center and groups of the Dzogchen Community are taken care of by the Gakyil ("mandala of joy"), an entity made up of three sections (indicated by the colors yellow, red, and blue), which, according to an ancient Buddhist system, correspond to the three aspects of the individual (body, energy, and mind). The yellow Gakyil (linked to the body dimension) takes care of financial management, the red Gakyil (linked to the energy dimension) of activities and projects regarding maintenance and development of the center, and the blue Gakyil (linked to the mind dimension) of cultural activities and those linked to the practice, such as regularly scheduled practices, retreats and courses.

The Gakyil is a collective body without any type of hierarchy within it and decisions are taken by common agreement of all the members. There can be three, six, or nine Gakyil members, who are elected each year. Local Gakyils will work with International Gakyil that is in direct contact with the Master, and has the role of establishing management and coordination policies world-wide.

Welcome new Gakyil and many thanks and appreciaon to the outgoing Gakyil for your dedicated service.

[reprinted from Tsegyalgar West]

Blue Gakyil
Jacob Braverman Jacob is a translator of Tibetan who is studying at Shang Shung Institute.

Elizabeth Dudley Wickhart Is a teacher of Hatha Yoga

Karen Prestwood Karen is a medical doctor who graduated from the Shang Shung four-year Tibetan Medicine School

Red Gakyil
Cindy Thibeau Cindy was the Geko at Tsegyalgar East from 2004-2006 and she was also once on the Red Gakyil

Martina Kacurova Martina is a nurse and a Yantra Yoga instructor, she is married to Jakub Muller.

Jakub Muller does construction work.

Yellow Gakyil
Diane Kramer About Dr. Diane Kramer, Marriage Counselor | Long Island Marriage Counseling

About Dr. Diane Kramer, Marriage Counselor | Long Isl...I am a long-time (35 years) Marriage Couselor and Psychologist on Long Island. I grew up here (in Valley Stream) and then went to New York University to school. Diane is a therapist and retired as a professor from a college.

Dominik Niceva Dominik works in advertising and wants to help with fundraising.

Al Dagget, is continuing on the yellow gakyil as Treasurer. He is one of the original members of Tsegyalgar East and served on the first gakyil in 1983 responsible for incorporating the Dzogchen Community as a non-profit and tax exempt corporation.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Khandroling Paper Cooperative News, Demonstrations and Upcoming 2015 Events

Last weekend  we completed our third annual Papermaking event on Khandroling with Sheryl Jaffe and members joined by a few talented local  artists. Slowly our circle is widening. Beginning with our first WALKABOUT (See slide show) in the summer of 2012 on the land identifying plants for optimal papermaking, each year we return to our original inspiration—the land of the dakinis for sustenance and community.

[Rhoda, Madeline and Paul dive in]

Set up was easy with our new Ez-Up tent and the screen tent Nary Mitchell, farm manager, set up for us. 

[Sheryl showing us her collection of hand-made papers for inspiration]

[Dara, a Tibetan translator, showing us the Tibetan Alphabet]

[Sheryl and Brenda adding cooked Knotweed to the Critter--a tough beat. In the end out came the blender to breakdown the fibers further].

[Sheryl’s exquisite selection of handmade paper using natural fibers]


DZAMLING GAR  contacted us about participating in an international portfolio of interesting Dzogchen Community projects to present to their  local government in Spain. Dzamling Gar is the seat of the Internatlonal Dzogchen Communtiy founded by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu. We are proud to be a part of the Dzogchen Community which you can read about here although it is not necessary to be a part to participate in our programs.

Here is what we wrote:

Khandroling Paper Cooperative was founded in 2012 at Tsegyalgar East as a community activity endorsed by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu who said: 
“The project you are proposing seems very interesting. I think it will be successful and become very useful for all our Dzogchen Community.” 
The Paper Cooperative routinely gives demonstrations and workshops throughout our region partnering with a variety of organizations. Members of the cooperative participate according to their interests and skills including a program that recycles sacred texts.   Historically speaking buddhist teachings and handmade paper traveled together from the 2nd century until today.  We are a part of that tradition.  For further information past and present visit:

As Sheryl pointed out, it’s an awesome realization that the oldest dated document on paper is the Buddhist text, The Diamond Sutra found at Dunhuang. To read more: 


We are now officially signed up for our third Swatch Book. Jacqueline will make the pulp for our third year in a row. The swatch books are an international book of sample papers made by papermakers which include their recipes. To visit our 2012 book, click here or for our 2013 book, click here. In both instances, she  made the pulp on the Khandroling land itself –once in retreat where she had beat the kozo outside Rinpoche’s cabin in the rain.


During the retreat with Choegyal Namkhai Norbu July 16-20, 2014 at the Mohawk School, Sheryl gave a marvelous demonstration and  presented Rinpoche with the beautful festschrift album 

made by her husband Walter using fibers from every continent he visited.

The following week-end workshops are in development for 2015. Full descriptions and details will be available early in 2015.  As an homage to our Tibetan inspired roots, this year we will emphasize aspects of the culture in relation to paper.  As ever, we operate by donations so don’t stay away because of a lack of funds. We also appreciate donations and sponsoring of guest faculty workshops like Tashi Mannox last Spring.

Illuminated Letters on paper using Gold Leaf  In this workshop we will work with templates of Tibetan seed syllables and mantras to create beautiful illuminated works on our sacred paper infused with sacred substances and recycled sacred texts. Some attention will be paid to leafing small objects. (winter)

Make it New: Preparing for Losar (Tibetan New Year) making Chang from our own  Khandroling hops; Tsampa from roasted barley – the mainstay of the Tibetan diet; and lungta—silk screened prayer flags on paper or cloth.

Papercasting with Found Objects for Mixed –Media Collage and Installation with Madeline Leibling (winter)

Transforming Paper into Cloth  (winter) with Sheryl Jaffee  Japanese method needs description. See an example here:

Tibetan Drawing I: The Eight Auspicious Symbols  (2 week-ends). The eight auspicious symbols represent  (Winter) 

The Return of the Butterfly with origamist Brenda Lilly a one day workshop

Tibetan Drawing II:  The Elements We will learn to create our own variations of the four elements finding inspiration from the classical Tibetan motifs of the natural world-- clouds, flames, waterfalls and mountains we will learn from Chopen. There will be time to practice each element and meditate on them outdoors to freshen our sensory literacy. These drawings can later be used in creating works on paper including embedding them into the papermaking process as watermarks and pulp painting or for silk screening. (Spring)

The Long Scroll---  (Summer) 
Sheryl, our master teacher, has traveled the world and worked with may different cultures in the art of papermaking. Using her own handmade Nepalese mould and our 3’ x 7” giant silk screen mould we will make large sheets of paper for printmaking, collage, cut-out, calligraphy. We will learn how to make our own moulds as well as simple vat to float it in. See our previous post here.

4th Annual Khandroling Summer Gathering
As artists, yogins, paper-crazy crafters we will explore all aspects of papermaking from locating, harvesting and cooking fibers; recycling and beating sacred texts, cotton rags, and fibers  to make beautiful paper. Founded in the winter of 2012, our first walkabout on Khandroling took place in August 2012. Each year we have returned to the land, the source of our inspiration. With KPC members Sheryl Jaffe (Master papermaker), Brenda Lilly (Origamist), Tatianna Shannon (Artist, bookmaker, and conservator), Madeline Leibling (mixed media and art therapist, Jacqueline Gens (poet and founder fo KPC) among others.  Cost is by donation. All levels and ages invited including kids. TBA sometime in August 2015 at Lower Khandroling Farm or Upper Khandroling  next to the pond. See the 2013 slide show here

Demonstrations Now that we have a helper to transport our set-up and haul water as well as our own pop-up tent and extra folding tables that makes this effort more efficient than ever! We look forward to participating in local outreach to a number of regional venues.

Asparagus Hadley Festival
Museum of Industrial Heritage
Riverfest Shelburne Falls
*Demonstrations will be added as dates become set

Event locations TBA early in 2015.

Visit our gallery of member works coming soon.........

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fabio Andrico to Teach Online Kumbhaka Course from Merigar West

Merigar West is pleased to announce that the Kumbhaka course with Fabio Andrico taking place in Merigar,Italy on August 18 and 19, will also offered by live webcast. 

The course will be taught in four sessions, each day from 9.30 am to noon and 2-4 pm Italian time (GMT+2). 

Only practitioners of the Dzogchen Community are eligible to participate. 

The fee is 80 Euro with the usual discounts. Participants living in countries where this amount would be difficult are welcome to request a reduction. 

To register and receive your password for this course's webcast, please fill out this form. 

Contact for further information. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Report on the Four Dharmas of Longchenpa at Tsegyalgar East

by Margaret Jasinski
There was a bevy of activity in Conway, Buckland and Shelburne Falls as the members of the Tsegyalgar East community happily welcomed our precious master, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, for a retreat based on The Four Dharmas of Longchenpa. The retreat brought Vajra brothers and sisters from four continents assembled for five days from July 16 to 20 to hear these teachings that accompanied a new text entitled, “ The Light of the Sun,” a commentary on Longchenpa’s teachings by Rinpoche. To continue reading  visit the Mirror here. 

--Reprinted from the Mirror--