Report on the Meeting Between Practitioners
At Merigar West – 30 December 2018
On 30 December 2018, a meeting of practitioners was held at Merigar West in the Mandala Hall.
Within our Dzogchen Community communication and collaboration have always been some of the most important topics. In recent months the Merigar community has had the opportunity of having a practitioner, Laura Borel, in the area of Merigar, who by profession helps communities of people to collaborate more effectively.
The Merigar gakyil and some close collaborators participated in a short workshop with Laura, which led them to develop a different approach in holding an extended meeting open to all practitioners.
First of all we sat in a circle in a room prepared to create an informal atmosphere. There were about seventy participants.
Tiziana Gottardi, blue gakyil and director of Merigar, spoke about some plans that the gakyil has been working on for some time, but, due to their distinctive features, are not very evident outside the gakyil itself. These plans include the restructuring of the Gönpa, the maintenance of the land at Merigar, the new arrangement of the area around the Stupa, and planning of activities for 2019. Below you will find a brief summary of what was said.
Participants were then invited to actively collaborate on two points: how to improve the reception at Merigar, both for practitioners and for people passing by, and planning activities.Two groups were formed, each group working for about twenty minutes, gathering individual ideas and then proposing them to the whole assembly.
This way of working was much appreciated by those present who were able to participate with considerations and ideas that will be inspiring and helpful for the management of Merigar.
In April we will organize a workshop with Laura Borel on the meaning of collaborating in our community. The workshop will include group activities that will allow us to work on our ability to be flexible, to communicate assertively, listening and speaking, and on our emotions of patience and empathy.
Participation is open to everyone, in the hope that all together we will grow in our ability to collaborate in a harmonious and fruitful way.
The meeting ended with celebrations for the retirement of one of the pillars of support at Merigar, Pia Bramezza. In this period a new administrative manager is undergoing a trial period, even though we all know that Pia is irreplaceable. At the moment, Pia is continuing to collaborate in the administration of Merigar!
We also celebrated the arrival of Kostia, who will help our Geko, Fiorella, for a year. Fiorella has already been involved in the management of Merigar as Geko for several months.
The meeting concluded with a first-rate buffet!
The restructuring of the Gönpa
Starting in 2017, the theme of the restructuration of the Gönpa began to be approached in a pragmatic way. The Gakyil asked for qualified advice from Dr. Cavezzali (Director of the Institute for Higher Education and Study for the Conservation and Restoration of Rome – Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities) and on his recommendation appointed specialists for a complete analysis of the situation of the Gönpa from the geological point of view, the foundations, the wooden structure and the roof.
Following this we contacted an engineer, Clara Vitale, and a geologist who have carried out more inspections of the Gönpa and also to verify the geological situation of some areas of Merigar and the area surrounding the Master’s retreat house.
In November 2018, a technical meeting took place with the various professionals involved and technicians from Holzbau, the company that created the wooden structures for the Gönpa. At the moment we are waiting to receive the intervention project and the related estimate of costs. We will evaluate the possibility for tenders at the European level in order to subsidize these works at least partially.
The maintenance of the land at Merigar
In August 2018 we examined the landslide on the path leading into the wood, created over the years but made particularly worse lately. Work to clear the area has begun, also to be able to plan the interventions in a precise way. The terrible climatic conditions that followed have further aggravated the situation and made a decisive intervention urgent.
All the data has been collected so that we can develop a project to find a solution for the rainwater, which, if not adequately channeled, may create further major damage and landslides. Overall, the natural area of Merigar is affected by an expansion of the wooded area that tends to overpower the grassy areas with brambles and weeds. Continued maintenance of the areas would make it possible to make the most of the paths, the existing equipped areas and to equip new ones. It is important to understand how to manage to dispose of the rainwater and / or possibly to collect it and subsequently re-use it for irrigation. We are working on an assessment of the situation and a rough draft.
The new arrangement of the area around the Stupa
We would like to create an area of “respect” around the Stupa. The idea is to create a garden that makes people approach and move around the Stupa with awareness.
Program of activities at Merigar in 2019
It will be a year of reflection, devoted substantially to collective practice and to meetings between practitioners. For this there will be practice retreats with explanations by authorized instructors. Some events will also be for the public “outside” the Community.
Please note that August 10 will be the only day in 2019 in which the Stupa will be open.