Saturday, August 22, 2015

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is featured in Faith Matters Column of the Greenfield Recorder

Here is the link for the feature of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in the local newspaper, the Greenfield Recorder.  It seems you may have to register to read the entire article. 

Each Saturday, a different faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal religious perspective in this space. Rinpoche writes:
“I will try to explain what Buddhadharma means. People who are interested in Buddhadharma already know what the term means. However, I think it is very useful and important that we are more mindful of why Buddhadharma exists, what it means and what it is for. These are very important things because in general when people follow Buddhadharma they consider it to be only a religious consideration. Of course, it can be an aspect of religion. It can also be an aspect of philosophy or have a more intellectual aspect, but we must remember how and what Buddha taught and why Buddha transmitted that teaching. It doesn’t mean that Buddha taught his teaching in order to create a kind of school or religion. That is not the main point”.   --click on the link above to continue reading

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tsegyalgar East Gakyil Seeks New Members

"We do not insist that anyone be on the Gakyil, we ask who wants to be..."
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

Dear Vajra Brother and Sisters,

Our Community has many opportunities for collaboration
 and evolution and we need your help.

There are openings on all colors of the Gakyil:

The Red Gakyil deals most with the body aspect related to buildings, 
land, coordination of the physical aspectsof our Community.

The Yellow Gakyil work with the energy aspect - mostly organization,
admin, finances and fundraising.

The Blue Gakyil corresponds to the aspect of mind - general communication, 
cultural and educational activities of the teachings

On July 19th at our last Gakyil meeting, Matt Hayat who had applied for the Blue Gakyil position 
was approved by the Gakyil, pending Rinpoche's and Community approval. This was done in accordance with
article II #3 from the current bylaws:

Art. II 3 -- Vacancies
Vacancies on the board will be filled by a majority vote of the board, subject to
confirmation by a majority vote of members present, either physically , or by proxy or
ballot, submitted electronically or in writing, at the next meeting of the community.

We are also accepting applications for friends of the Blue Gakyil as well.
We are inspired by Russia's new Gakyil announcement of a full 9 person Gakyil
 plus 2 assistants for each color! While being on the Gakyil is a serious commitment it is not only a wonderful service to the Master and the Community, it is an excellent practice in itself. We encourage you to apply by sending a letter of intent and something about your qualifications and interests. 
Each applicant is required to have 3 years membership and be current with their 2015 dues. Computer skills (at least willingness to use email and Webex regularly) and a willingness to collaborate are important.

With Love,
The Tsegyalgar East Gakyil

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu at Naropa University

Rinpoche with Naropa officials at a pre public talk tea, from left to right: Charlotte Rotterdam, John Weber, Judith Simmer-Brown, Chuck Lief, President of Naropa University and Tom Hast.

It was extraordinarily fitting and auspicious that this year’s teachings in Colorado by our teacher, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, began with a retreat at Naropa University, and resulted in the creation of a new Dzogchen Community of Colorado. Colorado has been a major center of Tibetan Buddhist teaching and practice for decades. Perhaps best known is Boulder’s history as the center of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s activities, which in many ways set the tone for the widespread practice of Tibetan Buddhism throughout North America. The entire state, though, has been a powerful location for practice, with many important centers such as Tara Mandala, the magnificent stupa at the Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center, and the numerous permanent retreat facilities founded by important Tibetan teachers on the Baca Grande land grant near Crestone. Nonetheless, the open teaching of the essence of Dzogchen for which Rinpoche is famous has not been common, so that his retreat in Boulder had very much the character of a new beginning.  
--Reprinted from the Mirror. To read more, visit here.

Chuck Lief, President of Naropa University introducing Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Tseyang’s Art

Tseyang, age 9 and entering the 4th grade this fall lives with her mom Yeshe Tsomo  at the yellow schoolhouse. She loves animals especially dinosaurs which she enjoys drawing.

Here she is on her 7th birthday.

[Tseyang and Adam]

Friday, August 7, 2015

Message from the Tsegyalgar East Gakyil

Dear Vajra Family,

Warm greetings from the entire Gakyil!
We are getting organized for another year of activity and would like to start by asking for your assistance, questions, comments and suggestions.

This year, Rinpoche has charged us with making our Gar financially sustainable (not depending only on teachings and membership) and spreading Yantra Yoga, Vajra Dance and Khaita Dance to the wider world. Both of these efforts will require intense collaboration and all of our clarity. We have already received a number of excellent ideas for sustaining our Community. And Yantra Yoga (and Naomi Zeitz) are going on a tour of the Southwest United States.

The Blue Gakyil represents the 'cultural and educational activities of the teachings' and is generally dedicated to communicating with the Community.

For our part, the Blue Gakyil will do our best to be excellent communicators and to make Gakyil meeting dates, minutes and Community finances available to you. You can expect an update in this regard within the next two weeks. Also we will discuss the time for our next Community meeting at the upcoming Gakyil meeting Sunday August 16 at 9 am.

For your part, we ask that you contact the Blue Gakyil directly with your concerns, comments or questions and we will make every effort to respond in a timely manner or forward your email to the appropriate Gakyil member. Our email address is

Also, you are invited to join the Gakyil (three positions are open-2 Red and 1 Yellow) for the upcoming year. If you are interested, please send a letter of intent as well as your interests and skills to the Voting for the Gakyil positions will take place at the Community meeting.

This is an exciting time at Tsegyalgar East and your collaboration is important as we move forward together. Let's evolve together.

With Love and Respect, Blue Gakyi

An Article on Yantra Yoga and Tibetan Medicine by Fabio Andrico and Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo

In June 2014, an article appeared in The Mirror on the importance Yantra Yoga and breathing for one’s health from the perspective of Yantra Yoga teacher Fabio Andrico and Tibetan Doctor,  Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo.

I would just like to say that Yantra Yoga could be a very important tool for many aspects of the practice and also for those who would like to apply a very powerful system of yoga, because only just the fact that when people do Yantra they have to understand and apply very precisely the aspect of breathing already changes the perception they have. I have been teaching recently some courses where there were also some Hatha Yoga teachers and they were really amazed about this focus on the breathing and how it is harmonized and applied in the practice of Yantra. Seriously, they were incredibly interested. And it was not invented yesterday. It is something with a long lineage of very important masters. The last master who has taught us is Chögyal Namkhai Norbu who received most of his teaching from his uncle, Tobden Urgyen Tenzin. It is also very important to understand that there is a lineage. There is a transmission. There is the substance for hundreds and hundreds of years. --Fabio Andrico

In Tibetan Medicine we say the five sense organs are like the windows of a house. The purpose of the windows is to let in light, and also to see outside from inside or inside from outside. So the sense organs are the place where we’re exchanging information. So now the purpose for which we are doing this is that we want to calm down the body, speech or energy and mind, so for that reason we are like shutting the windows. If we close the sense organs completely then that will make us sleepy, in Tibet they say a bad meditation is leading to sleep. So if we close the eyes then that makes us sleepy, if they’re too open then we become distracted. Then the sixth one is that the back is straight. So the back is straight and the chin is a little down, because in Tibetan Medicine we say is that the central channel is like a golden beam in the body. So it needs to be straight. And then the seventh one is that the body is not too tense and not too relaxed. In the story of the Buddha, one of the Buddha’s younger brothers asked Buddha what would be the best method of meditation to apply. Buddha asked him if he played guitar. He said yes I do, I am a very good guitar player. And then Buddha said, “When does the best sound come from the guitar? If the strings is too tight or too loose, which one?” then he replied, “If it’s too tight it’s not good sound, too loose also there is no sound. So not too tight and not too loose, at that point comes the best sound.” And then Buddha said that is also best to apply to meditation. So that is not too straight, not too loose. So those are the seven positions of the body.--Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo

Tsegyalgar East will present an opportunity to experience such benefits in the

Yantra Yoga Intensive

August 10-15, 2015
 with instructors, Paula Barry, Martina Kacurova and Naomi Zeitz

For further information visit the Tsegyalgar East Events page here.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

IMPORTANT Updates from ASIA in Nepal

Nepal Earthquake 
The first step towards a new beginning

It has been more than three months since the earthquake and, thanks to the help of many generous individuals, organizations, associations and foundations, ASIA has managed to bring help to the earthquake victims.

At Boudhanath, a district in Kathmandu with many Tibetan refugee families, we distributed to 35 families: 32 tents and 7 kits of no food items (each kit includes 1 20 liter water tank, 6 metal plates, 6 metal glasses, 6 sets of metal cutlery, a large family knife, a bowl, a pot, a pressure cooker). This was made possible thanks to the contribution of the Tuscany Region.In the same neighborhood we distributed 37 blankets to 37 Tibetan families, living in the Carpet Factory.We helped 209 nuns from the Shree Bhakhang Dondub Dhing nunnery, on the Tibetan border. At the time of the earthquake, the nuns were outside doing meditation and their monastery was completely destroyed. The nuns remained isolated for a month on a mountain and supplies of basic necessities have been possible only through a private helicopter. After just over a month the nuns managed to walk down the mountain and come to Kathmandu where ASIA, along with Emergency, provided them with 209 blankets, 23 tents, 23 kits of no food items (each kit includes 1 20 liter water tank, 6 metal plates, 6 metal glasses, 6 sets of metal cutlery, a large family knife, a bowl, a pot, a pressure cooker).Together to Emergency we were also able to help 16 other families in the neighborhood of Boudhanath to whom 16 tents were distributed.

ASIA also works in rural villages in the north of Nepal, near the Tibetan border (Rasuwa district), where the destruction was total, with 95% of the buildings collapsed. ASIA was the first to arrive in this area. In the VDC (Village Development Committee) of Saramthali we distributed to 1,047 families (about 6,282 people) 16 corrugated panels per family to be used for the construction of shelters (huts) to protect from the monsoons, protect children, and store the few remaining assets and the harvest of the coming months. Each shelter is made up of 16 panels of metal, bamboo and steel cables.

In the VDC of Yarsa and Saramthali, following guidelines from UNICEF, in collaboration with GVC and through its own funds and those of the Emilia Romagna Region, ASIA is building 24 temporary classrooms in order for the activities of 18 schools that have collapsed to resume. Also in this area, ASIA together with Namaste, is building another 5 temporary classrooms. In this way about 1,698 children can resume their education.

Under this project ASIA is distributing school supplies (desks, chairs, rulers) and three types of kits provided by UNICEF (recreational and educational kits for preschoolers). ASIA is also building toilets for schools and providing teachers coming from Chitwan, who otherwise would not be able to teach, with housing assistance. ASIA is also providing psychological support to children who are accommodated in temporary classrooms. At Yarsa, with the co-financing of AGIRE and in cooperation with GVC, ASIA is starting the distribution of Shelters to 572 families (about 3,432 beneficiaries) together with a contribution for the self-construction of toilets and the construction of toilets and drains to 9 schools.


In Baluwa, with the help of Caritas, its own funds and contributions from other foundations, ASIA is helping 1,600 families through the distribution of 1,600 kits of local vegetable seeds, tools and natural fertilizers/pesticides and 25,600 corrugated panels for the construction of shelters.

ASIA is also bringing aid, with funds made available by Caritas, to the refugee camp in Haku VDC (many villages in this area were completely destroyed by landslides after the quake and by the pre-monsoon rain).


To prevent risks of landslides, ASIA, along with the Bicocca University of Milan, is creating a data mapping of the Rasuwa District, in the north of the country, and in the VDC of Baluwa (Kavre District). This is a tool that will be useful for local communities and authorities to plan post-earthquake reconstruction.

IT 27 M 01030 72160 000000389350

ASIA in Nepal
ASIA has been in Nepal since 1996, with projects of long-distance support for Tibetan refugee children and monks, particularly at the Manasarovar school and the Triten Norbutse Bönpo monastery, in the district of Boudhanath in Kathmandu.

In 2009 ASIA started a project for making drinking water safe, and hygiene education and health education in the districts of Rasuwa, Kavre and Dolpo, in order to improve the health of the population and to increase the literacy rate by giving support to 21 schools. In 2015 we started a new food security project with the creation of family vegetable gardens and training in organic farming methods.

ASIA has an office in Kathmandu with expatriate and local staff. At the time of the earthquake, the expatriate coordinator and local staff were on site, and were joined, after a few days, by the Director of Asia and the project manager.

Who is ASIA
ASIA - Association for International Solidarity in Asia - is an NGO founded in 1988 by Prof. Namkhai Norbu. Working in Himalayan countries with projects safeguarding identity and cultural heritage, ASIA promotes processes of economic, social and health development focused on local people with their own human, cultural and environmental resources. In many years of experience ASIA has directly served over 500,000 people in Tibet, Western China, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka and had significant influence in the improvement of the living conditions in their communities.

For updates on the situation on the ground and on the interventions of ASIA:

ASIA Onlus
Via San Martino della Battaglia, 31
00185 Roma
T. 06 44340034

Monday, August 3, 2015

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu in Poland

[For those of you not on Facebook--just had to post this great photo
 of Rinpoche from Poland

[ by Kasia Skura, 2015]

News from Kathryn O’Connor in Nepal

Kathryn O’Connor recently wrote from Nepal where she is volunteering with several organizations teaching art
I can’t believe I’vI can’t believe I’ve been here almost a month and I haven’t posted any photos - ok - maybe one! I’ve been taking them - I just can’t seen to get around to posting them! Anyway - here’s one from the first week! Had the good fortune to be able to join the CAM crew (The Children’s Art Museum of Nepal) at a government school they were working at.The children had such a great time working on their self portraits. They did some amazing work, too!

This one is from today - I love my walk to and from school. It’s just so amazingly beautiful!! And the road is anchored by my two most favorite trees!!  Two days ago I discovered the one at the end of the road - nearest the school has a natural heart formed by the bark!!  (I was with a friend and we also noticed there seems to be a kind of smiley face in the center!) 

-Reprinted from Kathryn O’Connor Facebook page

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Coming Soon - Yantra Yoga Intensive August 10-15, 2015

Yantra Yoga Intensive

August 10-15, 2015
 with instructors, Paula Barry, Martina Kacurova and Naomi Zeitz

Daily Schedule: 
9:30 AM-12:30 PM
3:00 PM-5:00 or 5:30 PM
ending on Saturday,August 15, 2015 with the morning session

$210 or $50 per day for all Members
possible sliding scale may apply contact the Yellow or Blue Gakyil

People who attend should have some basic knowledge of the three preliminary series of Yantra Yoga Trnsmission from Chogyal Namkhai Norbu 
 Membership in the Dzogchen Community required

NEWS from Khandroling Paper Cooperative

Revisiting the 2014 FestShrift Project In Honor of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

In 2014 in preparation for Tsegyalgar East’s thirtieth Anniversary, Khandroling Paper Cooperative initiated an International Festschrift project to honor Chogyal Namkhai Norbu’s presence in North America.  

Read our initial invitation to submit work here

Due to some technical difficulties and just plain lack of time to complete the project, it was decided to put things on hold and to reinvent the project using the medium of a digital archive which would allow Community artists, writers, composers, and film makers to exhibit their work inspired by the Dzogchen Teachings. If you are interested in participating such a project either developing the backend web presence or submit your literary or art work, please let us know via

In the meantime, here is the first of a few works submitted in 2014 with artist bios. Many Thanks to those of you who already submitted work. With your permission, we will be initially posting these here on the Tsegyalgar East Community Blog until we develop a more permanent digital home. 

Goma Devi by Ans Swart

 [Goma Devi by Ans Swart]

Brief Statement by Ans Swart 

I was already in the Dutch Dzogchen Community for one and half years, before I met  Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche in Merigar West. From my cousin who was a Gelugpa monk, I learned to draw a buddha head. In 1994 I took the first lessons in Thangha drawing and painting with Andy Weber. In 1998 I learned from Lama Gyurmed who taught in Merigar, where he even taught me to say a mantra while cleaning the brushes because al such tools are considered sacred. In 2004 I met my present Dutch teacher; Marian van der Horst, she learned from Andy Weber and Gega Lama. Her Gadri styl is a very fine one; showing and integrating the canvas and doing a lot of shading.
Beside my 'free-work' and painting as an artist, I am nowadays more dedicated to thangha painting. Its a meditation in itself. I am full of Awe and wonder when I see a beautiful and dedicated thangha like the one now hanging in Dzamling gar; an Avelokitsvara presented to Rinpoche by Lama Denis from France.

This Goma Devi (above) is seated in the cristal cave, where Rinpoche met her the first time. The Thangha is presented to Rinpoche this year in Berlin 2014 and is now in Merigar West, as far as I know.

Ans Swart
Born in the Netherlands
Studio and residence in Amsterdam

1977 - 1982 Art Academy in Arnhem
Since than many exhibitions in and outside the country
Developing performances with sound, color and movement
1994 Thankgha painting courses with Andy Weber
1998 Lama Gyurmed in Merigar West
2004 Teachings from Marian van der Horst, Nijmegen
2010 Thangha's in prive collections.

Website: (update is needed)
See my album with thangha paintings on Facebook.

Summer 2015 News about Khandroling Paper Cooperative

[Photo by Tara Mandala, reprinted from Facebook]

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and Lama Tsultrim Allione July 2015 at Tara Mandala. Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is preparing Medicine Buddha cards for participants with his Tibetan calligraphy of a seed syllable. In the past, Khandroling Paper Cooperative made special calligraphy paper for both of them:

Read on here & here

A major mission of the Khandroling Paper Cooperative is to recycle sacred texts used to prepare special calligraphy papers for dharma Teachers and artists.  

Will We Ever Find a Home?

This summer we are in temporary resting mode as we figure out the logistics of a permanent papermaking studio near Khandroling. We are awaiting a couple of options to manifest. There will be a members meeting in August to sort through our priorities. 

In the meantime, there are lots of low tech activities to keep us busy and to which we invite interested people to participate. We operate mosty by donation. 

Some Low Tech Projects

I noticed that my neighbors long hand cut grass here in beautiful Shelburne Falls looked perfect for cooking up.

[Grass clipping drying before cooking in soda ash]

Grass makes a gorgeous inclusion to papers made with other fibers. Also Khandroling retreat center in Buckland, MA has a proliferation of Mullein on a whole mountain side where last year’s clear cut took place. If anyone would like to join us, we can harvest the plants, cook them down to break down the fibers, even make the paper up at Khandroling. 

Another low tech project I plan on tackling this summer is making more handmade ink. My friend Diane sent me a link that her sister sent to her about making natural different colored inks. The results look interesting as one color eventually morphs to another. 

Last year we made Black Walnut ink by cooking the hulls to loosen them. What a messy process. Later we were informed that we could have simply soaked the hulls in water and then slid them easily from their outer layer. 

You can read about our initial venture and watch the slide show here. 

Then there is also the endless preparation of rag for the Critter. Here is a recent  stash of old paper and cloth prayer flags on a friend’s porch. I will wash, then cut them into small postage size pieces along with loads of other cotton colored rag (mostly high cotton count sheets I pick up at the local Salvation Army or linen table cloths).

Last season for the Hadley Asparagus Festival 

where Sheryl and Brenda did  a great interactive demo making asparagus paper in collaboration with our Tsegyalgar booth, we had small samples of seed paper which were scarfed up immediately. I’d like to make more to use up old pulp.

Then finally, we need to consider our 2016 submission to the International Swatch collection. We missed a couple of years, but we’re back. If the Mullein paper works out, we can submit that for our 2016 Swatch contribution which is due in October 2015. 

So stay tuned for our works-in-progress during this year of transition.  Contact us if you would like to participate or connect with our open studios or any of the projects above.

[2015 Photos by Jacqueline Gens]