27th June – 2nd July 2019
Normally around July the grass in the Gar goes dry and the landscape starts to fry, to become first like a prairie and then like a semi-desert steppe. The crops around the Gar have all been harvested so many living beings take refuge in the Dzogchen Community center in their existential search for some shade, humidity and perhaps some roots or available snacks. In this way, the Gar becomes an oasis, visible from far away as the only remaining green patch – unless there is still some enduring sunflower field right next to it, as it happens this year. We are very happy for this, as the sunflower has, over the years, become a symbol of Merigar East and whenever possible we offer it as a gift for each instructor who takes the time and effort to visit us in these apparently deserted lands.
At the beginning of July, the sunflower went to Oliver Leick, for sharing with us so generously his knowledge and experience regarding the practice of Green Tara, and not only. We received an in-depth guide for Odzer Chenma and Green Tara and the resonant Merigar East Gönpa was filled with the melodious invocations and praises. For me, at least, the retreat was unexpectedly gentle and surprisingly strong – which makes me think how often I neglect to connect to the boundless compassion I always have access to by virtue of the transmission received, and how little trust I have in making use of it.
Getting back to more earthly aspects, according to the tradition we enjoyed delicious lunches cooked by the participants who took turns in feeding the persevering yogis. Juicy conversations travelled across the tables united in a long row in the camping kitchen and the joy of meeting and connecting with each other as Vajra brothers and sisters could be heard from far away on a few evening occasions, when the WiFi, loudspeakers, beer and wine – but let’s not forget about the pure, limpid and clear homemade Czech slivovica – conspired together to make us dance, play the didgeridoo and try other forms of expressions in our hope that we could understand each other beyond words.
Accompanying all this, the Gar was assaulted by an unusually high number of visitors – some of them Slovenian tourists who just wanted to see what the google location Merigar East is all about, some of them just passing by and wanting to check our ever more popular camping.
We also hosted a large number of children who sparkled up the atmosphere through their sheer presence. Here I would like to give special credit to Tashi for his relentless participation and assiduous exploration of the Vajra Dance mandala in the Gonpa and his constant longing to reach the blue disc in the center in the most joyful and inquisitive way – which made me wonder if I am applying the Teachings directly enough or I am just passing time.
This event, with its strong and abundant nature, was most welcome before the finalizing construction works for the stupa began – but about that we can talk another time.
Best wishes from Merigar East,