We wish you all an excellent and prosperous new year of the metal ox! Let´s take a short walk down memory lane to look back at the previous year and, more importantly, plans and realities for the near future of Wangdenling, the Slovak Dzogchen Community center.
For those of you who have never had a chance to visit, let us make a brief introduction first. Wangdenling as a center came to be in early 2006, when our sangha – with great help from Libor Maly from Czechia – managed to buy a remote piece of land from a local farmer and then its name, in Tibetan “place of power”, was kindly given by Rinpoche shortly after. The property at that time consisted of meadows overlooking the picturesque Bosaca valley and a single old abandoned clay house. Still, it quickly grew on its visitors and became a true home for sangha members from near and far, to meet, practice and enjoy. Conditions were very simple, with no water, a leaking roof and somewhat difficult accessibility, but there was also a sense of joy and excitement, for the plan was to make use of the great location and build a gönpa there as soon as possible.
It took some time for conditions and capacities to mature, and finally work on the new meditation hall began in summer 2012: a big project that presented several challenges, but also brought people together and drew a lot of almost unanimously positive attention. The bulk of the construction work was finished by 2014, but it was probably only in 2016, having the great honor of hosting Rinpoche and receiving his blessing that we considered the gönpa truly completed.
The new gorgeous building vastly changed the experience of the center. Now we had an amazing, safe space to meet and practice, a “permanent” mandala floor to dance on, and a comfortable place to sleep whenever needed. Along with the construction works several improvements were made to the old house as well, bringing in drinking water and a stronger power line, building sanitary facilities and some landscaping. The heart of Wangdenling began to beat even stronger, with an outburst of activity, both individual and collective.
Last year alone, despite the pandemic situation and its implications, was fairly rich. To name just a few events, we were happy to organize Yantra Yoga courses with Jan Dolensky, Vajra Dance courseswith Elisha Koppensteiner, collective practices – Guru Dragphur mantra chain retreat, Green Tara retreat, Amitayus retreat, Purification of the Six Lokas retreat, a meditation course with venerable Dhammadipa on the topic of Awakening of Faith in Mahayana and the teachings on the 37 practices of bodhisattvas with Lama Stephane. All along, a number of individual retreats also took place in either the gönpa or our new cabin on wheels, offering space for both light and dark retreats. The sangha has been connecting online through weekly practices, too. Last but not least, while organizing the necessary maintenance of the buildings and property, our kitchen in the old house underwent yet another successful reconstruction.
Looking ahead, we aspire to maintain the high level of engagement, with the precious support of community instructors and our supporters and based on the vivid demand from our members and affiliates. In terms of infrastructure, we are making plans for two projects. One, much needed in the long run, is the construction of a dormitory. The second, imminent, is the reconstruction of the foundation of the gönpa. Since the latter relies on our ability to raise funds rather promptly, we would like to present you with a short overview of the situation and ask for your help.
Since the beginning, the gönpa building was created as a unique and ecological structure. From that perspective, it seemed to be the best solution to build it on massive oak trunks. Unfortunately, after only a few years we realized that this approach was, for its level of difficulty, unsuitable for local conditions. A professional pillar sample analysis from 2019 confirmed that there was an advanced attack by fungi and white rot.
Despite repeated and intense chemical treatment, we have failed to stop the spread of the decay. At this point, based on a structural evaluation, the only solution for saving this beautiful place is a complete replacement of all the pillars. After carefully examining possible ways to do so, we believe that gradually replacing the pillars with pre-formed concrete ones is the most viable one. We aim at adding many decades to the lifespan of the gönpa, while keeping its unique design, surrounding countryside and the local environment at heart.
We are currently working on finishing the paperwork for the project and getting all necessary formal approvals.
But since the replacement is urgent and we need to commence the works as soon as financially possible, we are already launching a support call to reach our target on time. Our campaign coordinator and blue gakyil Veronika from the Czech Republic has created a nice fundraiser that you can find under www.dzogchen.sk/fundraising/gompa.php. It is based on the symbol of the Earth mandala, used for Vajra Dance, one of our gönpa’s main visual “trademarks”, and invites you to buy your own piece of the mandala to support the reconstruction and thus become a part of the mandala of Wangdenling. On our fundraising website, you will also find further information and updates as well as instructions on how to make donations.
Thank you for taking the time to read about yet another wonderful community place. We hope our message finds all of you in good health and high spirits. And thank you for your enthusiasm, support and generosity, both past and future. May all be auspicious!
For more information write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can support us directly via bank transfer:
SWIFT code/BIC: FIOZSKBAXXX
Account Number: 2701904108/8330
Bank Transfer Account Name: Gompa – repair (Medzinárodná komunita Dzogčhenu – Wangdenling)
Bank details: FIO banka a.s., Nam. SNP 21, 811 01 Bratislava, Slovakia