Photos by John Shannon
Turning the Wheel of Vajra Song and Dance at Khandroling
“Dance Dance Dance” August 1-25, 2019
Thirty years ago on July 7, 1999 Chögyal Namkai Norbu had a dream of the Vajra Dance for the first time while he was staying at Khandroling, the seat of Tsegyalgar East, USA. Khandroling is where the only Universal Mandala (that we know of) exists on this planet. In his dream, Rinpoche found himself in a circular temple with four glass doors, watching over a thousand people singing and dancing the Song of Vajra.
Our Vajra sisters and brothers from all over the world – including Chile, China, France, Holland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, and Poland – gathered for the 30th anniversary of the first dream of Vajra Dance. The celebration continued for twenty-five days as ”Dance Dance Dance”.
The International Vajra Dance Instructor Prima Mai taught two courses – the Advanced Song of Vajra Dance and the Vajra Dance of Space of the Song of Vajra (Khalong Dorjeikar). She trained us to sing and dance on the mandala without prepared music, which gave us more confidence and another aspect that she helped us to deepen was awareness of our breath while dancing.
Prima Mai began to teach Vajra Dance of Space of the Song of Vajra (Khalong Dorjeikar) with the approval of Rinpoche after showing him the performance video in the spring of 2018. Rinpoche told Prima Mai that perfecting the “Tsom” (open round movement with arm and leg moving in unison) in an elegant and harmonious way is important for this dance, and that the practice is connected with inner sounds. As Prima Mai had previously taught this dance in Merigar and Dzamling a couple of times, she showed us everything including the mudras. She demonstrated the magical manifestation of the Tsom on the Longsal mandala, touching us deeply within as we received the blessing of Rinpoche’s last encouragement before his passing. May this dance flourish everywhere!
During the afternoons of the Advanced Course for the Vajra Dance of Song of Vajra with Prima, local Vajra Dance instructors taught this dance for beginners and ‘refreshers’. Robert CeZet, second level Vajra Dance instructor from Poland, who is a regular Khandroling summer guest, graciously joined the instructor team to work with the more than thirty participants. Thus, dancers new and old entered the joyful mandala of “Dance Dance Dance”!
Prima Mai also instructed us in “How to apply the Dance of Vajra” for five days. Each day we started with Gomadevi practice with Rinpoche’s recorded voice, followed by Vajra Dance of long / extensive, medium or short Thuns according to Rinpoche’s Vajra Dance book, “The Luminous Clarity of the Universe, Innermost Essence of the Dakinis”. This was the first attempt to apply “The Way of Turning the Wheel of Vajra Song and Dance”. It happened here at Khandroling on 30th anniversary of Vajra Dance. How marvelous and auspicious it is!
One day during the Thun, gusty wind almost took our portable mandalas away but we managed to finish the practice. A little later, we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful and expansive rainbow manifesting over the Vajra Hall, which remained more than 20 minutes and became a double rainbow. We were overjoyed and happy to be in this magical land of Dakinis!
The celebration ended on Dakini’s Day, the worldwide Vajra Dance Day, August 25, with an eight hour Vajra Dance Thun followed by Ganapuja. Carisa O’Kelly completed the thun non-stop, Prima Mai took a short break but remained throughout. Both of them made me cry as I felt their dedication and determination. Many danced much more than planned as inspiration kept us going.
We filmed our dance over the Universal Mandala with four cellular phones to create a 360 degree video for the MACO museum. Bodhi Krause and John Shannon directed, with the help of a spontaneous crew. We hope that Alex Siedlecki will be able to complete the video!
Without the enormous effort of our blue Gakyil members Miranda Shannon and Nancy Paris as well as all participants, this event would not have been so special and memorable in every way!
Khandroling, where the starting point of the Longsal lineage and the transmission of Rinpoche is strong and apparent, will be hosting Prima Mai again next year for another celebration, the anniversary of the first year of Rinpoche teaching us the Vajra Dance!
If you missed the magical and intense experience of “Dance Dance Dance” this year, join us next year! Celebration will continue at Khandroling. The land of Dakinis is waiting for you in the summer of 2020!!!
with all my love,