Dear Vajra Brothers and Sisters,
We are writing to inform you about our current situation at Tsegyalgar East, and share information about a new potential opportunity that has recently manifested.
Tsegyalgar East is the main Gar for the Dzogchen Community of America (DCA) under the direction of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. While our Gar has members across North America, we have a physical center located in and near Conway, Massachusetts. This physical center includes community ownership of three properties: the Schoolhouse in Conway, Rinpoche’s house in Buckland, and the Khandroling land in Buckland.
As many of you are aware, our Gompa and administrative offices are located in the Schoolhouse in Conway. This old yellow building has been part of our community for more than 30 years. Our Geko resides in the Schoolhouse and the importance of this building is well recognized, as Rinpoche has given many important Teachings and Empowerments and held many retreats in it. The building is old and needs many repairs, including a new roof. Discussions about the Schoolhouse property have engulfed our Tsegyalgar East community since originally taking ownership of the building. There always has been and continues to be a wide spectrum of views about how to handle the ongoing expenses and maintenance. These conversations continue…
We were recently informed that a privately owned house bordering the Khandroling land in the Buckland Woods will soon be put on the housing market. We have been given a first right to refusal opportunity. This property includes a house, garage, cabins, and land. The asking price is $375,000.
Many practitioners in our community have in recent weeks shared their views with the Gakyil about this property and opportunity. As expected, and reflective of the spectrum of opinions about what to do with the Schoolhouse, the views and opinions about whether to pursue purchase of this new property are also varied and diverse. This includes a variety of ideas about how this new property can be used. For example, one idea has been to relocate some of the Gar activities to this new location and be closer to Khandroling.
Views about how to approach this also vary.
For example, some believe that we should first consider whether this is financially realistic before giving more energy or consideration to this. Others believe we should begin with a vision, and if the energy and drive are invested in it, the money will follow.
Here are some considerations:
Dzamling Gar: In addition to asking us to focus on sustainability and membership, since 2015, Rinpoche has asked the Gakyil to prioritize helping in three ways with the growth and development of the International Dzogchen Community (IDC). 1) Fundraise monies for the Dzamling Gar Gompa, 2) Fundraise monies for the Tsegyalgar House in Dzamling Gar, and 3) Follow a process to become legally and functionally aligned and affiliated with the IDC.
People: The local community in and near Conway makes up a small part of a much larger Tsegyalgar East community and Gar. The reality in recent years has been a limited number of younger persons with time, energy, and willingness, to participate in the growth and development of the Gar. The local community of older practitioners possibly interested in helping with a purchase have expressed that the energy, interest, and support of younger community members is needed to seriously consider this purchase.
Finances: Our DCA is operating at a loss and our budget is unable to handle the expense of a new property purchase. DCA cannot afford to purchase the property nor provide for its upkeep (taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities) based on our current income and earnings.
Private Purchase: There has been mention of interest by some individuals or a group of individuals to privately purchase the property and donate it to the community. And along with this, creation of a sustainability fund to manage costs.
Our Yellow Gakyil has composed a series of practical and financial questions that we need clear answers to in order to better understand the situation. A small committee of local persons is forming to work together and gather more information.
The Gakyil would like to do our best to reflect the collective views and thoughts about this property purchase possibility. We will soon be sending out a survey to the Tsegyalgar East community to formally collect thoughts about this.
Please remember that our summer retreat is coming up soon. If you haven’t yet registered, please consider doing so today. You can easily sign up at www.tsegyalgar.org.