Good morning everybody and thank you for attending this meeting organized by the International Dzogchen Community. We will have two different meetings, the first meeting is a meeting of the International Coordination Committee. This is a new organizational body that was established when the International Dzogchen Community was founded by Rinpoche at the end of 2012. The International Coordination Committee is supposed to be the main forum for collaboration, coordination and communication between the different realities and the different organizations and entities associated with the International Dzogchen Community. The second meeting is a kind of formal meeting that is required by law that any association is supposed to comply with; we are supposed to submit the balance sheet to the members, and get the approval of the general assembly, for the balance sheet and the budget, for the year. So the second part is a kind of formal meeting that will require the people who have now officially registered as members of IDC to vote and approve the balance and budget.
We have a list of people who are officially members of the International Dzogchen Community. As you may know we are still in a transitional phase and a process of alignment of all Gars and Lings is ongoing. At the moment only members who are belonging to Lings and Gars, which have completed their alignment with IDC, are formally considered members of IDC and therefore have the right to vote. Roberto has the list and there is another list on the wall. If you know that the Ling and Gar to which you belong has already aligned with the IDC please check if you are among those members because we will need to understand afterwards who are the people who are entitled to vote.
I would like to thank everyone who is attending the meeting and the Dzamling Gar Gakyil and all the people who have collaborated to organize this meeting; Pancho and Carles and Guio have supported the organization in different ways.
First of all I would like to summarize and explain what the IDC is and what it is supposed to be, and in fact what the International Gakyil is supposed to do. The organizational structure of the Dzogchen Community at the moment, the legal form of the IDC is the form of an association. We have this form, and before taking the decision to give this organizational form to the Dzogchen Community, we have studied many scenarios and we have discussed with Rinpoche the different possibilities; at the end it was decided, and Rinpoche confirmed this decision, that this form of the organization, even though it is not totally correspondent to our reality, was the form that guaranteed a better kind of democracy of the association, in the sense that since the main deliberating body of the association is the assembly of the members, there is less risk that an elite group of people may eventually take over and control the organization. Of course this is not corresponding completely to the idea of the Dzogchen Community, there are many flaws and things like that, but it is a good compromise for the moment and we have opted to adopt this legal form.
The President of the International Dzogchen Community is Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, we use this title here, but the president from a legal and organizational point of view has an honorary role, because our Master is responsible for the transmission and the teaching and for making sure this transmission is kept pure so, the President has no legal responsibility whatsoever and is not involved in administrative decisions. Of course when taking major decisions involving policies of the Community, Rinpoche is always informed and approves the work and decisions of the International Gakyil.
The main executive and governance body, as is everywhere in the Dzogchen Community, is the Gakyil. We have at the moment 6 people on the international Gakyil (Libor Maly and Julian King Salter, Blue, Mark Farrington and Roberto Zamparo for yellow and Enrico Dell’Angelo and Scott Townell for red). There are also other people collaborating with the International Dzogchen Community, in karma yoga and one is Emmanuel Jouan, who is taking care of the teaching services of the instructors, and Rita Renzi who is in charge of the IDC secretarial duties. We have also other people who are contributing to the work of the International Gakyil on specific committees that will be mentioned by Scott Townell later. We also have another consultant working in karma yoga who is Alexey Polionov, and he is in charge of the developing the database and the portal of the International Dzogchen Community.
So these [power point] are some symbols and logos, which are representing the unifying and connecting elements of the International Dzogchen Community. Not only symbols and logos but also some kind of elements like the unified membership system, the legal alignment, and so on. One of the main symbols used in the Dzogchen Community is the Longsal symbol of Rinpoche’s teaching and this Longsal symbol as a matter of fact is representing Rinpoche, it is not in a strict sense a symbol of the Dzogchen Community, it is the symbol of Rinpoche himself and we use it as an authentication of the transmission that we are receiving from him.
The other important element that the International Gakyil is working on at the moment is the portal, the website, where any information related to the Dzogchen Community can be accessed. This will be explained later but probably some of you have already accessed the portal. Please raise your hands for who has accessed the portal. We will show the portal later. There is also the Webcast and The Mirror. The Mirror is one of our main information tools, and is now governed by the International Gakyil and is also accessible on the main portal.
Before getting into the details of what the International Gakyil is doing or has done to enforce and develop these different unifying elements, I would like to say a few words explaining the history and the reasons that inspired Rinpoche to create the International Dzogchen Community. This has been explained already several times, both here and at the general meetings of the Community in different countries and also in The Mirror and on Norbunet. But I think it is useful to reiterate and repeat some main concepts. We understand there are still misunderstandings about what the IDC is supposed to be and what the International Gakyil is supposed to do.
First of all we have to clarify that the creation, the foundation, of this new organization is not aimed to create any centralized bureaucratic control over the Community. The International Gakyil has no power whatsoever to play that kind of role. The reason that pushed Rinpoche to ask us to study and eventually implement a platform and network that could better interconnect all the different realities of the Dzogchen Community and were based on one of the advices that Rinpoche is always repeating and giving to the Dzogchen Community, he is always saying you should cooperate, even in the Dzamling Gar Song that we are singing and dancing every day, he is saying “The Dzogchen Community from all over the world, please come together quickly and unite your energy, applying and integrating the state of Dzogchen.” This is the principle, in any case, of the International Dzogchen Community and not only of the International Gakyil but of all the Gakyils around the world. Gakyil means Wheel of Joy, and wheel of joy means that we should try to work together integrating the transmission of Rinpoche, not creating bureaucratic structures or bureaucratic attitudes in our Community.
So actually until 2011 when Rinpoche asked formally to develop this international community, the Dzogchen Community developed as a group of individuals interested to follow his transmission and the Dzogchen Teaching to apply them in their daily life, and we called ourselves the Dzogchen Community. But this Dzogchen Community in the society, did not manifest itself formally, nothing manifested that could be called from an organizational or legal point of view the International Dzogchen Community unifying all the members of the Dzogchen Community around the world. So we had many Lings and several Gars and we called ourselves the Dzogchen Community but as a matter of fact, if you were a member of a ling in Patagonia, there was no way from a formal, legal and organizational point of view, to say you were also a member of the Dzogchen Community in Dzamling Gar, or in Merigar, or in Kunsangar.
So this was understood by Rinpoche as a weak point because Rinpoche told us we need to work with circumstances and our circumstances are also the social and political circumstances that we face nowadays, and the fact that this formal Dzogchen Community did not exist was constraining our possibilities because, to make a very simple example, if, for example, we need to present the Community to an external entity, whatever it is, government or private, for whatever reason, one thing is to say, we are the international Dzogchen Community and we represent 6000 – 7000 members, and we are something that exists formally and legally. One thing is to go and say we are the Dzogchen Community and we belong to a ling that has 30 members. There is a huge difference. This is one of the reasons.
The other reason is based on the need to support and facilitate the cooperation, the communication and the coordination, between the different members of the Dzogchen Community and between the different realities of the Dzogchen Community around the world.
So the main objective of establishing such an organization is to create that platform, that network, that could support this collaboration and to put together the energy of the members of the Dzogchen Community. It has nothing to do with central, bureaucratic control. I am repeating this not because I like to repeat these words, but because in our work we have noticed in our Community there is a kind of paranoia about these kinds of things. And we found some difficulties in explaining there is no intention to create the Big Brother. Some people also told us we are creating the Big Brother at one point, so.
What we are doing in order to develop this network and to create a kind of infrastructure to enhance communication and collaboration between members and entities belonging to the Dzogchen Community is explained in the breakdown. We are working on the alignment of Lings and Gars in the IDC. It is a very tedious work that some of you may have already understood because you are collaborating with us in aligning the status. We are trying to standardize some kinds of systems and processes; we are trying to enable and enhance better communication.
In this sense we have begun working on a unified membership database and very few of us have probably experimented with this new database that is already accessible. We have registered the trademarks, the names and logos and so on, as a kind of formal protection for our Community in order to avoid the possibility that tomorrow someone wakes up and decides to use our logo and our name, to create his or her own Dzogchen Community. At the moment the use of the trademark and the logo is granted by the International Dzogchen Community when different Lings and Gars are aligning and are signing a protocol of understanding by which they adhere to the mission and principle of the Dzogchen Community and they accept its regulations and they comply in aligning themselves with the requirements of the international Dzogchen Community. This use of the name and logo is granted to that association or organization called Ling or Gar because they comply with the conditions explained in the protocol of understanding. In this sense the International Gakyil is also responsible for different legal aspects of the life of the Community, I am not going through these because they are usually quite boring and since the financial will be explained later on,I will not go into the details. At this point we are managing the webcasts, which has recently been integrated on the main portal, as well as The Mirror.
The International Dzogchen Community is also supposed to administrate and coordinate in some way the work and situation of the four main teachers. As you know up until now this responsibility fell on Merigar West, which subsidized until now all the Gars and Lings of the Dzogchen Community by supporting the costs of The Mirror, of the webcasts, and of the main teachers.
I would also like to say a few words on the status of the alignment, as I said before this is a tedious work because it implies the modification or creation of legal documents, statutes and so on and we had to adapt these documents to the different legislations and regulations around the world. So objectively it is not only tedious but it is a complicated business, and I have to say very frankly it has been made even more complicated sometimes by us, in the sense that the process is really straight forward in that we have published a template that is downloadable from the web for different Gakyils of the Lings and Gars are supposed to download these templates and then they are supposed to ask for legal advice, in order to be able to make that template in compliance with local laws and legislation. What happened in many cases is that people couldn’t restrain their creativity and started to modify the statute, even the mission statement and these kinds of things, all these kinds of things really slow down the process because as a matter of fact the people from the International Gakyil who are working on this matter are very few and they are tired because we have a lot of people who are sending us their statutes and comments, and this has complicated all the situation a lot. Now there is another problem that has created a kind of bottleneck because we have tried in any possible way to communicate by convening meetings in different locations and different Gars of the Dzogchen Community, and by publishing things in The Mirror and on Norbunet, and we had asked originally to complete the process of alignment by the end of 2014. By the end of 2014 only a few Lings and Gar submitted their statutes for revision, and by the beginning of 2015 of course people started to wake up, one year later, and they started to bombard us with a meaningful amount of statutes. So at this point we have a bottleneck so the work has been slowed down a little because of this.
In terms of the result of the alignment, at the moment we have 3 main Gars, Merigar, which was the first Gar to get aligned, Dzamling Gar, as you may know, we had only here one Ling in Spain that was established in Barcelona, but we didn’t have an association able to become an association representing the Gar. So we worked with a member of the Dzogchen Community who is a lawyer, Armando Garrido, we have adapted the template of the International Dzogchen Community to the needs of Spanish legislation, and we have established eventually the association of the International Dzogchen Community of Dzamling Gar. So this is not exactly an alignment but this has been the founding and creation of a new association. The same thing happened in Mexico where we have a huge land, maybe some of you have been there, which is owned by the Ling of California through a number of corporations, American and Mexican corporations, a very complicated ownership set up, but we didn’t have any Dzogchen association established in Mexico to represent the Gar. So we did the same and we worked with a local consultant, a lawyer, and eventually we developed a statute in compliance with Mexican legislation, I have to say it was one of the best results that we had in terms of compliance with the IDC template, and the International Dzogchen Community of Tsegyalgar West was eventually established. We are now in the process of clarifying all the issues related to the ownership set up in order to put the Gakyil in the position to work properly there.
I have to say the Lings sleep quite well. We didn’t have a great response from the Lings and sometimes we faced some kind of unreasonable resistance, but they managed to find a solution among themselves. So all of these difficulties, as a matter of fact our Community has never aimed to be a kind of corporation in terms of organizational systems and efficiency and so on, this is the history of our Community and we cannot expect from one day to the other we are becoming different. But probably we have been a little complacent in terms of leaving things totally unattended.
There are Lings, and we understand things more and more now that we are working and have become legally established, that have lost their statutes, that have never complied with local legislation, in terms of for example recording general assembly meetings, or Gakyil, the Board of Director’s meetings. They did not submit proper accounts required by law for years and years. Then suddenly when they have been requested to align with the International Dzogchen Community they became very strict in terms of concerns about compliance with rules, legislation and so on, so it was a sudden transformation from the total chaos to the total rigidity, taking into consideration the possibility of alignment and this of course has created other problems. We are still encouraging all Lings and Gars to quickly complete this alignment process, because we need to understand there is a kind of urgency for our Community to address this kind of situation. Rinpoche’s request to develop an International Dzogchen Community has a reason, we need to establish our Community on a solid ground in preparation for the future and as Rinpoche says all the time, we have to work with circumstances but these circumstances are impermanent. We have to keep that in mind. So now we have the circumstances and we can try to do this alignment and we are not sure at all if we are not able to do it quickly if tomorrow we will have the same circumstances, so it is better to understand that we need to do this kind of work quite quickly and try to put the Dzogchen Community on solid ground as soon as possible.