June 17th to 23rd, 2017
by Diana Sullivan
(All remaining photos courtesy of Fred Klarer)
My husband, Michael, Sangha pal Jennifer Elliott and I attended this year’s 2nd Summer Celebration at Khandroling. Former Wisconsinite, Sarale Lizdas put together an awesome program of offerings (thank you Sarale); and with the promise of gentle weather, we just couldn’t let the opportunity pass by to reconnect with our Sangha brothers and sisters. Michael took a plane, and Jen and I made the two-day road trip to and from western Massachusetts with good driving conditions, wacky radio announcers and sightings of many wonders of nature.
The schedule for our Summer Celebration retreat was actually very full. We started each morning with Mandarava practice for Rinpoche. Paula Barry and Naomi Zeitz led our sessions. Learning and practicing the 12 A’s with Bodhi Krause was do-able for some of us rusty movers. Naomi led breathe / yantra yoga classes – thankfully she is very skilled at working with students of various ages and sizes and experience! Lynn Newdome led a number of classes on teachings in The Precious Vase, along with advice on practice and approaches to studying the material. We also spent part of each session doing practices from the text. Michael Katz took a similar approach in his classes on Khorde Rushen and Marme Monlam – we did practice sessions on a number of the Rushans, and practiced the Marma Monlam with him and subsequently also in the Ganapuja practices. One very interesting feature of those feasts was the use of live music for the dance – the feeling was very organic and felt more integrated and self-contained. The evenings provided time for Vajra Dance and Guardian practice. Under Jeremy’s direction we were able to further work on Rinpoche’s cabin and the surrounding area. The Papermaking Cooperative was on-site for two noon sessions and we were able to flex our creative muscles making sheets of paper out of various natural matter and denim.
Along with this full week of practice, we were able to attend and participate in the two meetings that outlined the challenges and potentials our community will work with. People were generous with their energy and interest in joining teams to help guide new students, beef up membership, raise funds, and let people know that the Dzogchen Community is alive and well in the US. We also raised $7,000! A wonderful picnic with the sounds of awesome music provided by our talented brothers and sisters helped to wrap up a memorable week of collaboration, practice, and making and renewing friendships with our Sangha.
This retreat/celebration would not have unfolded so smoothly without the good work of planning, coordination, and cheerfulness of all. Our experience was positive and we look forward to more opportunities of practice and working together.