Merigar is beautiful in the spring, but this year only very few people will be able to enjoy it. The days are getting longer and warmer, the flowers blooming everywhere filling the air with their perfume, and the dormant greenery awakens but there are no visitors or schoolchildren at the Gar, there are no practices, no echoing of voices, bells, drums, there are no courses, games, or lunches for people of the Community. At Merigar just the roe deer wander and the only sounds to be heard are the chirping of birds and the flapping of the new lungta along the paths.
In the neighboring villages the situation is similar: few cars, cafes, restaurants, and many shops closed or with limited hours and, most of all, everyone at a distance of at least one and a half meters from others when shopping, the gyms are closed, and there is no entertainment. Everyone has been asked to stay at home as much as possible for several days.
These are the urgent measures adopted by the Italian government to try to stem the unfortunately well-known coronavirus, which has currently infected a number of people in Italy second only to those in China.
The epidemiological emergency from COVID-19, respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, probably started around the end of December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, and then spread all over the world. In Italy, especially in the north, the number of infected people has grown exponentially since the end of February. The Italian government has therefore adopted urgent and gradually more stringent measures which provide for the closure of all schools and universities at all levels, has suspended demonstrations, events, and shows of any kind, all non-essential services, has placed restrictions on travel and prohibited gatherings: people cannot leave the house except for valid reasons. These provisions will be in force across Italy from March 10 until at least April 3 and, given the expansion of what is now a pandemic, many other countries are adopting similar restrictions.
Although Merigar is located quite far from big cities, some cases of COVID-19 have been found in nearby villages. With a sense of responsibility and in line with the guidelines of the Italian Government to contain contagion, all courses and events at Merigar have been suspended until a later date and only works that cannot be delayed are being carried out. We have organized ourselves to work as much as possible from home and electronically: we are holding our gakyil meetings and other meetings in this way. We are also trying to keep a telephone network alive among the people who live in the area, as we imagine is happening in other places as well. Obviously at Merigar there are no visits, courses, or meetings of any kind, but we are offering the possibility to practice together through the webcast. In particular, last week we organized 3 days of intensive practice of Guru Tragphur from Merigar and the other days from Dzamling Gar. This week, from Monday March 15 to Sunday March 22, we will continue to webcast practices from both Merigar and Dzamling Gar at the same time, at 6pm in Italy and 5pm in Tenerife.
Our beloved and precious Master has transmitted to us different protection practices that help us face situations like the one we are experiencing now, to strengthen our energy and to fend off negative provocations and thus help not only ourselves, but everyone around us. We can strengthen our energy, repulse negative provocations, and protect ourselves and others by applying, for example, the following practices: Guru Tragphur, Simhamukha, the Armor of Vajra (Dorjei Kotrab), the Chöd, Green Tara (especially the action mantras 20 and 21), Black Garuda, and Yantra Yoga breathing. This forced seclusion can become an opportunity for many people to intensify their practice!
We hope to be able to invite everyone again to Merigar and reopen the Gönpa together with you (see updates on the works https://www.merigar.it/en/visit/our-facilities/gonpa/the-restoration/updates/).
Even if for now we are far apart, we are united!
The Merigar Gakyil