It’s easy to mistake official membership in The International Dzogchen Community as something separate from the View, Meditation, and Behavior of a Spiritual Teaching like Dzogchen itself; after all, many students are attracted to Rinpoche because he offers something so direct and close to the essence, free from the limitations of conventional institutions that often seem to dilute people’s access to The Dharma in so many societies around the world. Seeing Membership as this “thing” apart from what our Teacher transmits makes it appear like an unnecessary formal obligation, a burden imposed by just another bureaucracy going in the opposite direction of what the Teaching is all about, right?
Actually, wrong. The Membership is actually a fully integrated part of the View, Meditation, and Behavior of what Rinpoche has dedicated his life to upholding in the best way possible. Seeing ourselves as an interdependent part of the greater whole, our Sangha, is a perfect manifestation of that reality. Membership is our personal contribution—participating with our body, speech, and mind—to the continuation of the Teaching. It’s not a number, or a passport, or a card, that lets us do stuff like Yantra Yoga, Vajra Dance, Khaita or other courses, or Retreats with Rinpoche (of course many of those are now offered on the donation basis of Generosity). It’s how we support Rinpoche’s vision for the world he has created, and how we become active participants and co-creators building that world. Do we want that world to continue to thrive and grow, develop and support itself into the future? Membership is an expression of that aspiration. Everybody everywhere is conditioned by their own situation, and prefers to do different secondary practices at different times, but the practice of Guru Yoga is truly what we all share all the time. Similarly, everybody contributes to The Community in their own unique ways, big and small, in whatever works for them in their own circumstances, but Membership is what we can all do to uphold what Rinpoche has given to our lives. And allow others to receive that benefit. Never forcing.
Recently, Rinpoche needed to protect his health and decided it was best for a period of time not to travel around the world and offer many Retreats as he has for decades. His schedule in 2018 will take him to many places again, and perhaps there will be many new Members that arrive to The International Dzogchen Community. Renewing and maintaining our Membership is actually a key part of our role as students in both situations, whether we are physically around Rinpoche or not. It is a function of our correct understanding of The View, Meditation, and Behavior of Rinpoche’s Teaching. We are individual students who make up The Sangha of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, and this is a concrete expression our knowledge and our commitment.
The International Gakyil
PLEASE RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2018 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE WITH YOUR LOCAL GAR OR LING.