March 28 – April 8, 2019
The first annual IDC Sangha Retreat brought together 120 practitioners from around the world and between 140 – 700 connections via webcast on different days. The 4 Series of Collective Practice proved a popular system, as retreatants could immerse in all practices, 2 times a day for 10 days, or focus on the specific practices they liked. The time passed swiftly and it felt like we could have extended the retreat to 14 days and a 5th Series program.
The first Series was dedicated to Guru Amitayus practice, led by Fabio Andrico and supported by Sébastien Remy. The second Series was an integrated Vajra Dance program that allowed for intervals of meditation practice followed by dance, and was led by Adriana Dal Borgo. The third Series was Guruyoga of Garab Dorje led by Steven Landsberg. And finally, the fourth Series was Green Tara practice led by Costantino Albini. The four Series combined and the generous time offered by teachers leading practice, reminded us all of how rich and diverse Rinpoche’s lineage was. Repetative practice of all of Rinpoche’s Teachings is essential to preserving his legacy and transmission. Bringing together our older and more experienced students to lead these collective practices is a special opportunity for younger students to learn for the first time and older students to fill gaps in their knowledge.
The inspiration behind the Annual Sangha Retreat (ASR) concept was to bring all of Rinpoche’s students together at least once a year in the place where He was in residence. In the last few years Rinpoche was travelling less and big teaching retreats were less frequent. It made sense going forward for all his students to travel to see him. Dzamling Gar perfectly served this purpose, because not only was it the place where Rinpoche was in residence most, it is the place where all IDC members and Gars can easily come together and feel at home in their Houses.
This annual occasion has the potential to serve many purposes, such as annual meetings for all Vajra Dance, Yantra Yoga and SMS instructors. Global coordination can be a challenge when relying solely on remote digital connections. Meeting face-to-face at least once a year is essential to building stronger working relationships. Rinpoche used to facilitate these annual instructor meetings himself, now it is up to us to organise on our own.
From the International Gakyil’s perspective, the ASR provides a perfect opportunity to host our Annual General Members (AGM) meeting. Given that an electronic voting system for IDC has not yet been established, having many IDC members from around the world present for the AGM is essential to effective governance. The AGM, with the Sangha present, is the highest governing body in the IDC legal structure. All major operational decisions and strategic direction for the Dzogchen Community are approved by Sangha vote at the AGM. We hope that in the future, with the ASR also happening in April every year, that more and more IDC members will attend the April AGM at Dzamling Gar.
All photos by Lesya Cherenkova
The 6th Annual IDC General Members Meeting
This year at Dzamling Gar the IDC again held its AGM for 2018/19. It was our sixth AGM, beginning with the 2013/14 AGM that covered the financial period from IDC inception September 2012 to calendar year end 2013. Opening remarks for the IDC AGM were offered by IDC President Steven’s Landsberg and SMS Instructor Costantino Albini. This was our first IDC AGM without Rinpoche present and these heart-felt opening remarks set the perfect tone for our Global Sangha. Rinpoche has left us with a rich and precious transmission and it is now time for all of us as individual students to realise the fruit of practice, nurturing and developing what we have so fortunately received.
For the formal presentation part of the AGM there were 92 members in attendance, 3 proxy votes and approximately 160 webcast connections. We took electronic questions via email, skype and SMS for one week prior to the meeting, and took questions for approximately 2 hours on the day. The presentation offered a review of the IDC organisational structure, a review of its mission statement and objectives, followed by approval of 2018 financial accounts and budget for 2019. The announcement of a need for an Extra-ordinary General Meeting was made, where issues related to modifying the IDC Statutes will be proposed. This Extra-ordinary General Meeting is expected to happen in the next 30-90 days, with the official announcement of date and place from the IG likely by the end of May. A minor modification of the IDC Statutes is required to ensure that normal operation of the IDC is possible in absence of an Honorary President.
Also presented on the day was the retirement of three original International Gakyil members (Roberto Zamparo, Libor Maly & Mark Farrington) and a proposal for three new Gakyil members (Anna Apraksina, Marek Riesz & Vince Li). Due to lack of clarity in the language of the IDC Statutes, these three IG candidates will not have legal right to vote at Gakyil meetings until after the Statute modifications are approved at the Extra-ordinary General Meeting. This is one of the operational issues that needs to be addressed with these proposed Statute modifications. Nevertheless, these three IG candidates have generously offered their time for the past 4 months training and will now continue to perform important support roles until the final ratification process is completed.
There was also a very comprehensive and important presentation of the new events calendar and educational platform – Shedra – made by Red IG Anton Rutkovsky. Shedra has been under development at Shang Shung Foundation for several years and was nearly ready for launch last year, but ran out of funding. The IG decided to finance the launch phase and provide the tool for the Community to use, as so much time and effort had already been invested in the project by Kamil Selwa. With the newly focused team of Anton, Kamil and Dina Priymak, we are confident that Shedra will finally be a useful tool in support of IDC and Atiyoga Foundation activities world-wide.
Retired Yellow International Gakyil, Vice President