From December 12th to 14th, 2014, we had a retreat with Rinpoche for the second time in Tepoztlan, south of Mexico City where we have Wangdusling. We were so happy to know that he wanted to come back to this magical town that has, as he says, special healing energies.
Coming back from his trip to South America where he taught in Brazil, Argentina and Peru, Rinpoche chose to stop in Mexico on his way back to Tenerife. Pelzomling, with a great team of collaborators, organized in a few months what was the biggest retreat of Rinpoche in Mexico. There were more than 500 participants, mainly from Mexico City but also from other parts of the country, and we were happy to receive a few persons from abroad.
Many know the great value of Rinpoche’s teachings from the previous retreats we have had with him in Mexico City, Taxco,Valle de Bravo and in 2013 also in Tepoztlan. He has taught in Baja California Sur several times but this was his second retreat in Tsegyalgar West – Rancho Los Naranjos – the wonderful land that was given to the Dzogchen Community several years ago. We are now celebrating 20 years since the first group of Mexicans started studying with Rinpoche, meeting him in Paris and Conway and then going to Kathmandu to invite him to come to teach in Mexico. We know we are very fortunate to have him in our country, in these very difficult times.
For the first time Rinpoche gave transmission of the Tsalchen Trugpa. This instruction is root and essence of the Dzogchen teaching, it was found in Oddiyana and translated in Tibetan by one of the most important disciples of Guru Padmasambhava, Vairocana. It is one of the first five translated texts and it explains how our “strong energy level is connected with our real nature. When we experience our real condition this energy becomes part of our real nature and we can get realization very quickly”.
This root text is composed of some verses that explain how to apply in a practical way. Rinpoche told us that he received transmission long time ago but there was no book in Tibet to follow instructions until a group of scholars went with him to Ladakh and found the manuscript kept by a family, generation after generation. Rinpoche worked hard with the manuscript and transcribed it to his computer.
Dzogchen practitioners should know that “the most difficult problem is with movement” so we have to concentrate integrating with movement. Just being in emptiness is a passive way. “Emptiness, Kadag, is only one experience, the base of our real condition” but it is not Dharmakaya. Also if we do not consider wisdom, Lhundrub, we are “completely missing the potentiality of our real condition”.
These instructions mention the three principal practices: The three roots or Guru Yoga, to keep and develop transmission. Rinpoche is constantly telling us to do this practice every day, when we wake up and when we go to bed for developing dreams of clarity. The other two are: the practice of the Yidam and the root of actions to integrate with wrathful manifestations.
One of the many important things this text exposes is that we are fortunate to have a perfect teacher, because this means we have connection with the teaching. So, knowing this we should “try to do our best and try to go as much as possible in essence”. We are always in “duality vision in our relative condition and we are always thinking and judging with our mind”. So the principle is “to go in essence, relaxing in our real nature for self-liberation”. It is important to know we cannot “think and discover non-duality; it is only discovered through our experience”.
The fruit is explained as “having, since the beginning, this potentiality of the state of Dzogchen; it cannot be changed or modified, it is always as it is” as we have learned it in the Song of the Vajra. Fruit is understood “when we have no obstacles, when we have purified them and then fruit manifests as our real condition”. Rinpoche continued explaining the very important question of what is mind and nature of the mind. So he read and explained the importance of using symbols like that of the mirror and the practice of the white A in the thigle, the elements, colors, sound and light.
We can really experience when we practice that life is not so heavy and our limitations diminish. We are so grateful Rinpoche for your transmission and deeply feel and treasure the last words of this transmission about Garab Dorje’s compassion so our real nature can manifest.
We want to thank you – dear Maestro – for your precious teachings and for coming to Mexico. We also want to thank you because many people were able to participate and did not miss this retreat for economic reasons. The donors helped so much to make it happen!
The translation in Spanish was done by Mayda Hocevar who came from Venezuela and did, as always, an impeccable job. We also thank Vanessa Lew for her joyous efforts and for coordinating a great group of volunteers; we feel very satisfied with the way everything flowed and hope to have Rinpoche back soon.
Feliz Año Nuevo from Tsegyalgar West, Baja!
Much gratitude to Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and all the volunteers who made the recent December 2014, Tsegyalgar West Retreat such a success in Baja Ca Sur, Mexico. Rinpoche seemed quite happy to visit again, and to see the progress in the Community Development and the care of the land.
December 26 – 31, 2014
Rinpoche gave a wonderful commentary and explanation from a Manjushrimita text called Meditation on Bodhichitta. One can receive these teachings on many levels to deepen understanding and support practice. We were blessed to participate in this together. He told funny and interesting stories about his youth in Tibet to illustrate teachings.
One can receive these teachings on many levels to deepen understanding and support practice. We were certainly felt very blessed to participate in this together.
After listening to teachings in the brand new Gonpa it’s not far to the Vajra Dance Mandala, where the Dzogchen Community Sangha (from all around the world) create movement with mantra, all in harmony on the mandala.
This is such a good time to integrate the body speech and mind into the taste of Guru Yoga. Also the beautiful expressive collective movement is great freedom from those doing long sitting practices!
New students first learning Vajra Dance in the mornings with Anya Neyman were making impressive progress. I remember thinking how amazing, but complicated it would be to learn when first seeing a full Vajra Dance Thun in 1995. I was motivated to try however, it seemed such a beautiful and powerful ‘dreamlike state of harmony’ manifested. It is amazing how natural it becomes once one is more accustomed and integrated with the dance, and how it expands one’s perception, practice and knowledge as well as balancing energy.
Yantra Yoga was also offered in the mornings and afternoons by Patrizia Pearl. Yantra Yoga is helpful to help balance the body and mind, so one can have much less discomfort and allow for deeper contemplation. That’s what I love about Rinpoche’s retreats, the combination of relaxing the body while keeping the mind focused and clear is key.
The weather was fine for December, warm with a cool gentle breeze to balance the bright sun. Evenings needed a sweatshirt if you want to stargaze or sit by the fire. Evening soups and fresh salads with homemade bread were the perfect end of the day meal.
The spiritual nature of the environment at Tsegyalgar West along with Rinpoche’s presence attunes one to a certain frequency. Unexpectedly, a wild bird came to visit retreatant’s at lunchtime, hear the music offered and the many well wishes on our last day of the retreat. It even let Rinpoche caress its feathers .. A good sign for harmony in the New Year, and within our hearts perhaps…!
The Baja Ca Sur land has a unique desert tropical biosphere with both cactus and palms. There is water in the granite arroyo pools, yellow flowers on the Palo de Arco trees, and sweetness in the air. You would not know that just a few months ago there was a huge disaster here in Baja Ca Sur.
In mid September 2014 ‘Hurricane Odile’ hit Baja Ca Sur destroying buildings, palapa roofs and made a big mess of the Tsegyalgar West mountain roads, camping areas, trails and landscape. It was the biggest storm to hit the peninsula since 1969!
The Sangha from Mexico and the US came together with energy and funds to rebuild the main Community area with a new Gonpa, and a renovated kitchen and Vajra Dance Mandala area. Casitas were repaired and the common areas cleaned and cleared. Now it is better than before and strong enough to last for quite a while. More importantly, the spirit of the place feels renewed.
This 3,000 acre land in the Sierra las Laguna’s of San Jose del Cabo is a jewel we want and need to preserve for the future generations of practitioners. Wild land such as this, spacious with deep quiet, rugged beauty and magic is much more limited in modern times, yet so important for deepening ones practice and wisdom. Please come visit us to have an experience of that!
Besides workshops and retreats there are openings for volunteers to help create sustainable organic farms and orchards. We also wish to expand projects of Tibetan traditional arts, Solo Retreat Cabins, Eco-structures and eventually residential Homes for practitioners. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer or help lead any of these great projects.
Financially also we still greatly need help to improve infrastructure at Tsegyalgar West. Improvements needed such as: more hot water heaters, bathrooms and solar equipment are most needed to make the place more comfortable and rentable to groups part time. Working toward sustainability is so important to continue; to grow well in both the dharma community and ecological awareness is our vision.
It is time for Tsegyalgar West and its Lings membership renewal for 2015, which is newly streamlined with the International Dzogchen Community. We will be sending out the renewal request shortly and look forward to your continued support and kind generosity in the auspicious year ahead in fulfilling Rinpoche’s vision.
Tashi delegs to all!
Full schedule of events: www.tsegyalgarwest.org
Article and photos by Laurie Bauer