The main themes for this year for the IG are still the alignment of Statutes of Gars and Lings, and the implementation and development of the membership management system.
Other fundamental work is also being done, and in particular we are in the process of a thorough review of how and what we communicate, both internally with our own members, and externally to the world at large.
This includes discussion and decisions about the infrastructure of our web presence, needing a central hub while also respecting the distributed nature of our Community and its diversity of activities. The Management Systems Committee of the International Gakyil has produced a comprehensive report whose results are the basis for IG policy decisions which will soon be made available.
That is part of the ‘how’ – there is also the ‘what’. Efforts have been made over the years to produce standard materials for communicating about, for example, Rinpoche’s biography, Yantra Yoga, Vajra Dance and so on. We should recognise that there may need to be different approaches for the general public, compared with what we can say to our own members. There is also a need for translators in the main language groups, who are also qualified in conveying the real sense of the teachings in their language. So much is already being done in so many of these areas, but what is still needed is overall coordination, a framework for collaboration – and this is what the IG hopes to provide, once again with guidance (at a professional level but without payment) from a member of the Management Systems Committee.
The International Gakyil also has a role in supporting the Gakyils of the Gars and Lings, sometimes with very challenging circumstances. Strong, open channels of communication are vital for this role to be effective.
It is very clear that it is not our job to ‘govern’ the Community. The Gakyils of Lings, Gars and IDC are all on an equal footing, only with different roles and responsibilities; the particular function of the IG in this context is to be a central hub which holds together the different elements of our community, preventing isolation and fragmentation, and working to preserve the unique way of functioning that is a Gakyil. For that reason also, the flow of information and communication from the Gakyils to the IG is very important, as well as from IG to other Gakyils, and it is very important that if there need to be elements of confidentiality on some issue, the IG can be considered to be within the circle of confidentiality of any other Gakyil.
Gakyil members and office bearers should never feel that they carry burdens of responsibility in isolation – they are merely representatives of the whole membership. Transparency and communication with its members (as well as with the IG) are of paramount importance. Informing members of critical information is not the same as making things public – it is in effect the same as informing oneself. Sometimes it is important to communicate as much as possible while not disclosing some sensitive or personal information – but such cases are actually quite rare. When members in good standing request more detailed information, this should be given to them as much as possible.
Greater communication naturally leads to increased collaboration, so is a fundamental basis for a healthy and prosperous International Dzogchen Community!
And on that note, here again is the address to contact the IG: firstname.lastname@example.org