Transition and Continuation at Merigar East

Time flies and so, after three years, I am finishing my gekö role here at Merigar East in Romania. It has been a very important experience for me – especially because it challenged me to become a more disciplined, organized and responsible person. On some level I feel as if I’m just starting this and now I’m finally getting to know my rhythm in these circumstances, what my fantasies are in general about accomplishing things and what the best way is to keep myself and the “wheel” going in a harmonious way. On the other hand, all this practical learning process, my occasionally childlike enthusiasm and the emotional storms “shipping” with the obstacles I’ve encountered during this time has left me looking for a lungful of fresh air. So overall I am experiencing this kind of edge where it is ok if I continue and it is also ok if I stop.

However, aside from my personal inner process, this year has been quite good for Merigar East, relatively. We had an intensive online course with Elias Capriles that covered the whole Precious Vase book – with around 150 people more or less actively participating. Then we did our planned Green Tara with 21 Praises retreat – online – with Oliver Leick and this was an intense week of strong and beautiful practice and explanations. So, even if none of the retreats took place physically, apart from a few notable exceptions from the Czech sangha, our online schedule kept us connected and the summer season went by quite quickly.

We are grateful to the Hungarian community and to Zoli Cser for organizing an online Vajra Dance practice retreat – which also brought us closer together to a few of the Bulgarian practitioners who chose to spend some days at the Gar.

We were lucky enough to receive the visits of several practitioners who helped us a lot at the Gar and contributed to keeping our morale high. Kveta and Akos drove their green wonder-van across Europe to fill it with tsa-tsa (small clay icons of deities, stupas, etc.) and other materials for filling the Stupa. Lubo came here for a two-week holiday by the beach but ended up doing more work than I would do in three months. I was very happy, because some things – especially where I have no experience, like putting in place the rainwater guttering for the gekö’s house roof – are quite hard to do by oneself.

Incoming gekö Jaromir Fatina (left) will take over from Alexandru Anton (right).

Jaromir Fatina from the Czech Republic appeared here with the intention to spend a few months to practice and help around the Gar. He ended up taking care of many things that we’ve been postponing and he also started taking the lungta (Tibetan prayer flags) project to the next level – our wish is to have lungta all around the Gar  – one kilometer of colorful flags spreading their positive functions in the wind. Around this time, together with the gakyil, we were discussing about finding the next gekö and administrator – we announced it and activated our sangha-brainstorming process, and we were waiting and waiting. Then suddenly it struck us: “Let’s ask Jaromir!” So we did and he accepted taking on the responsibility for one year, for the time being. So from October he will take on his gekö position and we are very happy that the Gar can now benefit from his experience in working with projects and enthusiasm to contribute.

Oana Marcu, Yantra Yoga instructor

Oana Marcu, Yantra Yoga instructor, also came here with her dog to spend a few weeks in the tent in the camping area. Enjoying life in the camping hammock-lounge, working on her laptop every now and then and also helping us with all sorts of activities here, from being the pet caretaker, cleaning around the Gar, printing lungta, projects brainstorming… Some of these might seem simple tasks, but as a pet caretaker, Oana also had to ensure optimum conditions for our newly arrived guests – a pair of young goats. They are still in their teenage period, but if we don’t watch them they can quickly eradicate many small fruit trees. Slowly, blending in with the nice camping and the beach, Oana quickly found herself at home. Suddenly we found out she was also interested in contributing onsite to Merigar East and in occupying the administrator position from spring. She is the perfect candidate for this: she is Romanian, has good experience in dealing with people and coordinating projects and also loves the Gar.

So, you see, the transition and continuation at Merigar East is happening quite neatly. Moreover, our capacities are uniting and the Gar can benefit more. Magda and I, after we finish our duties, would like to remain at the Gar to continue contributing towards the development of the gardening and landscaping aspects of the Gar. Also, just in case our support will be needed, we will be here to lend a hand. This means, more or less, that the Gar will have four long-term residents. We are very excited and can already appreciate the increased feeling of the concrete presence of the community at the Gar. Who knows? Maybe more practitioners will be inspired to come and reside in this beautiful place and concretely contribute to the community. Especially since the new situation naturally encourages us to provide some more accommodation facilities at the Gar – aiming for having at least a few retreat houses that can be converted to dark retreat cabins whenever the case requires.

As you may know, the stupa-filling project has been postponed until 2021. Incidentally, we also discovered that the srogshin – the “tree of life” which was supposed to go in the stupa – was quite severely damaged by wood-eating insects  – so we needed a new one! All the previous srogshin were brought from Bulgaria with immense help and dedication of the Bulgarian community, but now we felt we should at least try to get one locally and take responsibility for the process ourselves. Gradually, with the generous help of our good friends, it happened that around 7:30 in the morning, during the waxing moon, on the full moon day of 2nd September 2020, Lubo and Jaromir, two practitioners of noble lineage whose parents are still alive, cut two beautiful pine trunks (ages 49 and 53) in a Romanian sub-Carpathian forest near Buzau. These two trunks will be residing and maturing in a big lake for around three months, then six months out to dry. After these nine months, just about time for our stupa-filling project to continue with the help of Migmar and all other brave yogis, we will have at least one good srogshin and hopefully a few more to gift to other stupa projects.

Stupa of Merigar East under construction.

Another beautiful story is how the lungta flags with the twelve primordial masters came to Merigar East. First we found one old lungta and sent it to Vitek and slowly the printing frame emerged – which Pavel brought from the Czech Republic. Quite a simple process, isn’t it? So we thought! But then we found out it was actually more complex and involved many people. Jaromir also helped to bring this to fruition and we are also very grateful to Fabian Sanders and Sebastien Remy for double-checking the mantras from the lungta design, originally composed by our brother Rafael from Russia. Now when you come to Merigar East you can see the twelve masters on the left and right sides of the gate. You are welcome anytime!

Alexandru Anton

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