Friday, February 27, 2015

More photos from Losar

Sean Quinn, one of the community photographers took the following photos at Tsegyalgar East

In the gonpa

Dr. Phuntso Wangmo explaining the traditon of the divination soup
(seen below)

All photos by Sean Quinn reprinted from his Facebook page

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mandarava Ganapua at Tsegyakgar East

Saturday, March 1,  there will be a Webcast of Mandarava Ganapuja at 
11 am EST in the schoolhouse gonpa at Tsegyalgar East. Participants will need to prepare food for the puja either before the 9:30 am Mudra explanation or sometime before the 11:00 am webcast puja begins.

Staying to clean up afterwards would be very appreciated.

The Shang Shung Foundation Established


On the 13th of January 2015, the Shang Shung Foundation, International Institute for Tibetan Culture (in short Shang Shung Foundation) was established in Italy. The Foundation will perpetuate the mission and continue the activities of The International Shang Shung Institute for Tibetan Studies. To read more about the Founding Members, the Statute and the Programmes go to

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Words on Generosity

[Photo by Lilly Granger, courtesy of the Mirror]

February 18, 2015, Dzamling Gar  [reprinted from the Mirror]

In the Western world we are organizing retreats and teachings and everybody participates. There is an entry ticket and people should pay. The reason is that when you invite a teacher and you are organizing a place and everything, it is expensive and you need to have money, otherwise it cannot be done. But when we think a little of ancient times and how it started, there is a possibility that we can go in that same way. The teachings are for people who are interested, not only for people who have money. We know that and we should generously help other people to have the possibility to participate. For that reason I wrote an article (see on how to go ahead and organize the teachings. After I wrote that article, we started not asking people to pay. But there are always people who invite the teacher and organize; this activity is called jindag (sbyin bdag). Contiinue

Monday, February 23, 2015

Make Your Offering Now: An Important Message from the Tsegyalgar East Gakyil about 2015 Memberships

Dear Tsegyalgar East Members,

On behalf of the TSEGYALGAR East Gakyil and in the spirit of the coming LOSAR, we want to thank you all for your last year Membership and announce that our 2015 MEMBERSHIP REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

This year our membership tiers are adapted to the guidelines issued by the International Gakyil and you can choose between the 3 tiers:
  • ORDINARY: $23.64 / monthly - ($260/ yearly)
  • SUSTAINING:  $54.55 / monthly - ($600/yearly) 
  • MERITORIOUS: $163 / monthly -  ($1800 / yearly)

NEW: You pay now Monthly or Yearly! 


For "Membership benefits" and "how to":
For help or questions email:


This new 2015 Membership structure will facilitate implementation of an important desire of Rinpoche’s, recently announced, that whenever possible, Dzogchen teachings will be free and can be followed by anyone, regardless of economic status.

Our Membership is still the fundamental commitment of “taking responsibility” and represents Tsegyalgar's lifeblood, allowing us to sustain Rinpoche's Dzogchen Teachings in North America.

Through Membership fee sharing, you contribute to the life of your Gar, your  Ling, and the International Community. A certain portion of everyone’s Membership fee helps cover these annual expenses, as well as the cost of organizing programs and the creation and hosting of a whole schedule of events


For the first time in 2015, Tsegyalgar East is introducing a Welcome Status to all New Members (valid for 3 years). All new Members can select any of the available 3 Membership tiers and enjoy the same benefits (even though they do not have the rights and duties) of active Members. After 3 consecutive years of Welcome Status, new Members will be eligible to become active Members of the Tsegyalgar East Dzogchen Community and the International Community.


For all Members who are part of a Ling who want to share their Membership dues with their own Ling, it can now be done by selecting the name of your Ling of choice. As per IDC, 45% of your membership will go back to your Ling. 


No amount is too small. Membership helps sustain us as we work together to create a vibrant and supportive community that shares the great blessing of our Master's transmission.

With many thanks and Tashi Delegs,
wishing all a HAPPY LOSAR!

Your Tsegyalgar East Gakyil

[Image of Snow Lion butter lamp by Glen Eddy]

The Wild Horses of Tara Mandala

Come tame your mind at Tara Mandala, our Dam Trog sister organization founded by Lama Tsultrim Allione, which  offers year-round personal retreats in a pristine environment for short and long term retreats in either cabins or their residence hall Prajna   
Tara Mandala encompasses 700 beautiful acres in the wilderness of Southern Colorado. The Facility includes the Community Building, the Kitchen, the Bookstore, the Residence Hall, the   
[Photo credit courtesy of Tara Mandala, Choegyal Namkhai Norbu at Tara Mandala, 2013]  

Rinpoche will teach again at Tara Mandala July 17-19, 2015.

Lama Tsultrim will be offering a free webcast on Guru Rinpoche Day, February 28, 2015 - the first in the New Year of the Wood Sheep Year. For further details and time zone conversions, click here. 

The following video on Facebook captures the essence of this unique practice center.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Raising Lungta at Tsegyalgar East for the Year of the Wood Sheep

[Traditional Lungta Flag reprinted from Rigpa Wiki on Lungta]
"The word lungta (ཀླུང་རྟ་, klung rta) is composed of two syllables: the first, lung, represents the element 'space' in the fivefold classification of the elements 'earth, water, fire, air and space' and signifies 'universal foundation' or 'omnipervasiveness'. [...] The second syllableta (horse) refers to the 'excellent horse' (རྟ་མཆོག་, rta mchog), and since in ancient times in Tibet the horse was the symbol of travelling with the greatest speed, in this case it seems to refer to the transmutation of every thing that depends on the five elements from negative to positive, from good to bad, from misfortune to good fortune, from baleful portents to auspicious signs, from poverty to prosperity, and it implies that this should ensue with the greatest speed."

[Namkhai Norbu, Drung De'u and Bön, translated by Adriano Clemente, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1995 p. 68-70]

Each year on the designated date considered auspicious for raising the Lungta flags, Tsegyalgar East goes through considerable effort to place these around the  schoolhouse and on Khandroling if the roads are passable. 

Our geko, Jeremy Keaton, captured this year’s undertaking in the following photos. 

The kind of Lungta Tsegyalgar East uses are flags imprinted with an AH and Song of the Vajra (seen below).  These can be ordered through the Shang Shung webstore

Saturday, February 21, 2015

More Losar Greetings from Tsegyalgar East

[Graphic by Dominik Niceva]

A Video of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu Teaching in Nevada City in 1985

Check out this archival video of Rinpoche at his most quintessential - a teaching in Nevada City, CA in June of 1985.  

Losar 2015 at Tsegyalgar East

Laila Reiss sent us the following photos she took during our Losar celebrations. Enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Display Created by Local Artist Martha Braun of Thangka Painter, Glen Eddy’s, Pigments

Glen Eddy (1941-2006) was a prominent American thangka painter in the Tibetan tradition. He was an early participant in the formation of Shang Shung Institute of America under the direction of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu where he founded the Golden Vajra Guild. During his years in collaboration with the Institute under whose auspices he created a number of large scale  Thangkas in the lineage of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, Glen had several students. 

In honor of the 30th Anniversary last summer, Martha Braun, a local artist and former student of Glen’s, began to create an exhibition display showcasing Glen’s personal pigments and his unique palate. Glen was well known for the precision of his deity drawings (Tikse) as well as painting with natural pigments he made himself from minerals and precious stones

Ms. Braun’s display is hung in the Tsegyalgar East Library. Reproductions of these works including many drawings can be found in the Shang Shung webstore

[Photo by Ellen Pearlman of Glen Eddy in Tashigar Sur - Argentina]

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Losar from Tsegyalgar East

[Graphics by Laila Reiss and Dominik Niceva]

Teaching the Vajra Dance

The following video depicts an extraordinary Vajra Dance class taught by Carmen Rivas in Caracus, Venezuela. The origin of this practice derives from Choegyal Namkhai Norbu who received this treasure on Khandroling, our retreat land in Buckland, MA. Today, It is taught all over the world.  

Please visit our events calendar for the many trainings in the Vajra Dance at Tsegyalgar East in the schoolhouse and on Khandroling scheduled for 2015.


Published on Feb 18, 2015

The Vajra Dance was transmitted by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, a Tibetan Master and teacher of Dzogchen. Through the Vajra Dance we harmonize the body, speech and mind in interdependence of a mandala, which is a symbolic representation of our globe and its essential elements.

Dancing at a perfect tempo, with harmonious movements and mantra sounds, it leads to a state of calm relaxation and contemplation, an experience that projects itself throughout the daily activities of the person’s life.

This video is a celebration of an exceptional experience of a course for special persons, a group of young students from Ikanos (a special inclusion organization). 

The results were amazing. The video and commentaries will speak for themselves.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Interview with Lynn Newdome on Santi Maha Sangha

[Lynn receiving her diploma from Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, 
February 2015]

§     How has SMS Training enhanced your personal practice?

Santi Maha Sangha Training has given direction to my practice and introduced me to new types of meditation; I appreciate its balance of study and meditation.

§     What made you decide to take the Teachers’ examination?

Recognizing that my personal “realization” was limited, I felt it would be more helpful to share what I’ve learned (from the teachings) with others.

§     What was the actual exam like for you?

It was quite intimidating: we each had 10 minutes to speak on a topic chosen on the spot from Rinpoche. Basically, this meant we would “teach” about two pages in detail from The Precious Vase (300 pages). I didn’t realize how much composure I’d pulled together until after I finished the exam and felt my lips totally trembling!

§     Is there any particular area of the Base Teachings that you feel a special affinity for?

I’m motivated by the vivid imagery of the ancient verse, such as “Human life lasts as long as a lightning flash,” and “(reflecting on the impermanence of this life) one must seek…the essence with the same fervor as someone whose head has caught fire.”

§     It’s said that Teaching  is the transcendent aspect of generosity--how do you envision your role as a SMS teacher in the Dzogchen Community?

I see myself more as a Dzogchen student who can share and explain what I’ve learned. I’d like to set up an ongoing class of The Precious Vase at Tsegyalgar East, for people interested in study and practice of the Base Teachings.

Lynn Newdome has been a member of the Dzogchen Community for 15 years, completing SMS practices through Level III, but with little to show for it!   Prior to that, for 25 years she studied and practiced the 9 yanas from the Tibetan Mahamudra approach.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Community Member Erica Raynor-Horn to Present Awake & Alive: Mindful Living with Cancer Retreat March 30-April 3, 2015 on Whidbey Island, WA

Awake & Alive: Mindful Living with Cancer Retreat
facilitated by Dzogchen Community member Erica Rayner-Horn
& Diana and Kelly Lindsay

Monday, March 30th – Friday, April 3rd
At the Whidbey Institute

Information & Registration:

Cost, including meals & lodging, is on a sliding scale
from $795 to $1,095

SPACE IS LIMITED only 10 participants

contact Erica at:

We have a few spaces left in this life-affirming, empowering retreat that offers anyone diagnosed with cancer the opportunity to explore what it means to live well– even while facing serious illness.

Cancer can be one of the greatest challenges in life, it can be a stressful, lonely and overwhelming for everyone it touches.This retreat is for anyone with any type of cancer, at any stage, who’s interested in learning tools to alleviate stress, live with more ease and acceptance and explore their own unique healing journey with cancer.We bring together powerful researched-based healing modalities that improve physical health, emotional stability, and resilience to cope with stress.Through simple mindfulness and stress reduction practices; the ancient healing discipline of Qigong; supportive sharing circles, and expressive arts there will be opportunities for self-reflection, exploration and learning skills to meet the challenges of living with cancer.

Both body and soul will be rejuvenated with delicious, organic food; time to rest and explore acres of unspoiled peaceful, old-growth forest; and the gift of the nurturing, supportive community we create together. Past participants have found it a powerful, transformative experience.

Here are a few of their comments and a short video from one:

- This retreat really helps one deal with the pain and uncertainty of living with cancer. Helps one live a “healed” life, regardless of diagnosis and prognosis.—Betsy D.

- I highly recommend this program; I found a different relationship with cancer and tools to find my own healing within me – Wendy H.

- This is my first time in a group with other people living with cancer-it has been so healing. I feel heard and understood at such a deep level– Robin B.

Explanation for the Next WW Transmission of Garab Dorje on March 4, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

News from Shang Shung Institute of America

Tsegyalgar East welcomes the presence of Heidi Schor to the Shang Shung Institute of America Board of Directors. She is well qualified to lead the Shang Shung School of Tibetan Medicine’s team for accreditation and professional recognition.  

Heidi Schor, CCH is Past President of the Accreditation Commission for Homeopathic Education in North America (ACHENA), Co-Founder and Past President of the Washington State Homeopathy Association (WAHA), Board Member and International Liaison for the Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC), representative for the International Council for Homeopathy (ICH) and member representative on the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC).  Heidi is past faculty at Bastyr University, Seattle School of Homeopathy and Homeopathic Academy of Southern California.  She is currently on sabbatical from her practice and teaching while writing an historical novel about Native Americans. Heidi has been a student of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu since the late 1980's and brings her experience with emerging professions to the SSI board and Tibetan Medical Program in hopes of expediting the process of recognition and accreditation.

Caroline Hotaling

Tsegyalgar East welcomes Caroline Hotaling in her new role as Bookstore Manager and part-time administrator for the Shang Shung Institute of America

Caroline brings over 25 years of professional nonprofit experience to a new role at the Shang Shung Institute of America. A DCA member since 2013, you may know her from some time she spent living at the Tsegyalgar East schoolhouse in Conway last winter. Originally from the Adirondack mountains of New York State, she lived and worked on environmental health, environmental justice and community development along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona for almost a decade, where she also became a practitioner. Caroline later worked for the Ms. Foundation for Women in NYC, a national women’s fund devoted to funding social justice programs across the U.S. A current SSI-USA board member, she will leave the board when she starts work at SSI. In addition to transitioning into Anna Bartenstein’s role in the bookstore, Caroline also looks forward to working closely with the entire SSI team to accomplish SSI-USA’s ambitious plans, including the accreditation of Tibetan Medicine.

Michael Katz Reflects on his Journey with Santi Maha Sangha Training

The Tsegyalgar East community blog recently asked the newly authorized SMS Teachers in North America (Lynn Newdome, Michael Katz and Mariano Gil) to talk about their journey with Santi Maha Sangha Training. The first to respond, Michael Katz, is a familiar presence in the International Dzogchen Community. 


I have  been participating in the SMS training since 1994 and I subsequently also completed the base as well as practices related to the first and second levels .

Although I just completed the SMS teacher exam this past month I have been a teacher in the community for the last 30 or more years. For many years I taught both yantra yoga and dream yoga. After chronic knee  and back injuries I retired as a yoga teacher about 10 years ago .

Subsequently I have continued to teach dream yoga and I have taught in more than 25 countries.The book “Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light  " which I edited and wrote based on Rinpoche's  teachings has been published in at least 10  languages and continues to be the most popular of Rinpoche's public books. All royalties go to the community.

As up until two years ago I was still working full-time as well as parenting I did not find the time to take the teacher exam .

My circumstances changed when I retired from full-time work . Also last year when  I attended the teachers meeting at Dzamling Gar, Rinpoche emphasized the importance of the SMS training and the need for teachers who could perpetuate the transmission.

I had it in my mind that I would try to find the next occasion to take the exam.
This year when the exam date was announced I re- confirmed with Rinpoche that he would like me to take the exam.

 I found the studying for this examination both enriching and difficult. I had previously taken the base examination very long ago and so it was necessary for me to reacquaint myself with much of the material in “The Precious Vase." 

I spent many hours a day studying for this examination. As the time came closer I was basically studying around the clock.

Due to a heavy winter storm in New York my travel to Tenerefe was  delayed by two days . When I arrived it was only one day before the examinations would begin. Another of the examinees Mariano Gil and I traveled to get there from New York . We continued our studies ful while en route.

Although I have had many years of public speaking and teaching,  this event reminded me of my oral dissertation for my doctoral degree . The thought of presenting in front of CNN and 150 or so of my vajra brothers and sisters  made me very nervous.

Without knowing what question or questions I would receive I was  apprehensive .  I was particularly concerned  that I would receive a question that I had not prepared or even worse  block and forget everything during the examination itself.

I was informed upon arrival that I would be the second examinee. I wasn't sure whether I preferred to go early on , and get it out-of-the-way or wait until later. I still had severe jet lag when my  day arrived.

On the actual day of the exam although I had had only a few hours of sleep due to the jet lag I was feeling reasonably calm. My pervasive feeling was whatever will be will be.

The question I received was number 16. The actual question was to explain the four understandings of Ati Yoga.

I felt I did  a reasonably good job and afterwards when I was walking back to my seat I felt completely relieved almost like I was walking in the sky.

Afterwards  after the retreat some people came to me  and said that my question was one of the hardest . For me actually it was preferable to have received a question about Dzogchen  rather then for example a question explaining the various Mundane  schools of asceticism.

When I was requested to write a few words about the exam one of the questions was how it is changed my practice. On the most basic level I would say that the memorizationand re-acquaintance with the very important material in “The Precious Vase " was certainly valuable.

Most importantly, however, was the very deep feeling  that Samsara is infinite suffering and I would be able to benefit others.

I know the most important way is to teach the Dharma. I cannot think of a higher purpose then to assist Rinpoche, and despite my limited capacity to help him perpetuate the teachings of  Dzogchen .

In the past year or two since partially retiring and with more time and enough security, I have tried to step up my altruistic activity. I recently organized a successful benefit for the Dzogchen community with my friend the recording artist Krishna Das . I have also either completed or scheduled additional benefits for the near future. The most important part of studying and taking this exam was the feeling that I would like to do even more.

I am infinitely grateful for the teachings I have received from the master over these many years, and I pray for his continued good health and long life.

Michael Katz
from his IPhone.......

CHECK OUT the video featuring Michael and other artists of the Manhattan group show On and Of Paper Art Show - February 12- March 5, 2015 at Art345

Friday, February 13, 2015

Annual Losar Poem for Year of the Wood Sheep

Hey!  This Wood Sheep year
Let's clean up our messes
With the help of Vajra flock
No more making big bad wolves
Out of everyone
No more crying bha bha
       Over this or that
Let's break out of the mould
In honor of the Noble Ones
Shine resplendent with our little lamps
a beacon of collective wisdom --
Unsurpassable in our shared confidence
That compassion is our banner
This year of heart
Over mind.

Poem by Jacqueline Gens
For my Vajra Sisters and Brothers

Graphic by Mariano Gil (courtesy of The Mirror)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

UPDATED Tibetan Divination Soup and other Activities for Losar at Tsegyalgar East

UPDATED Full Losar Schedule at Tsegyalgar East

Wednesday, February 18th
4:30 pm Learn to make Divination soup and assist Yeshe-la and Phuntsog-la if you like
6:00 pm Divination soup! Please RSVP to by 

Monday, Feb 16 at 12 pm
 if you are planning to attend so we know how many dumplings to make.
7:00 pm Vajra Dance Tun
8:00 pm New Moon Ganapuja

Thursday, February 19th - Losar: Wood Sheep year
7:00 am Long Life Practice
8:00 am Breakfast
5:00 pm Pot luck dinner and Bagchen

Saturday, February 21st
9:00 am Lungta raising
We could use a couple of strong volunteers in particular to help set up ladders and hang flags. 

Please join us for Divination Soup on Wednesday,  Feb 18 at 6 pm at the Schoolhouse. This is a Tibetan tradition celebrated at Losar. Everyone receives a dumpling with a message for the new year. 

Here are some of the symbols of divination soup as told to us by Dr Phuntsog Wangmo several years ago. For example, if there is a piece of wool in your dumpling, it means that one is calm, soft and smooth. If there is a bone, it means that one is very strong. Chili pepper means that one has intense energy and speech, sometime harsh. There are many  more interesting divinations!

If you want to learn how to make divination soup and help Yeshela and Phuntsogla make the soup, come to the Schoolhouse at 4:30 pm Wed Feb 18

Please RSVP to by Monday, Feb 16 at 12 pm if you are planning to attend so we know how many dumplings to make.

LUNGTA - A Message from our Geko at Tsegyalgar East

We have initiated the process of creating lungta for Losar in the Gonpa. We already have roughly 50 sets printed, mostly from previous years. All the necessary equipment and supplies are available in the Gonpa. If you would like to print some more flags, contact me at geko@tsegyalgar.organd I will forward your message to the relevant contact who can get the matching fabric to bring to the schoolhouse.

Everyone is welcome to participate. Someone can help with pinning and sewing lungta onto the clothesline cords. Some people are coming this weekend to help out. Saturday is Dakini Day Ganapuja, so perhaps we all coordinate our schedules to create lungta on this auspicious day for the benefit of all. You can also come anytime that works for you between now and Losar, but try to be aware of the Tsegyalgar East calendar. The Tibetan Medicine students will be doing Yantra Yoga each evening with Paula 5:00pm-6:30pm. She told me she does not mind if people make lungta during this time, but to please be a little quiet. 

OTHER LOSAR activities for the Wood Sheep Year will be posted as the schedule evolves

Hope to see some of you in person.........