by Ellen Halbert
The annual Dance Dance Dance retreats at Khandroling bring together practitioners from all over the globe. This year was no exception, drawing participants from Japan, France, Italy, Chile, and far flung parts of the US.
We were blessed to have Prima Mai with us again, along with our local instructors Kyu, Carisa, and Bodhi. Their patience, dedication, and deep knowledge of the practice inspired and guided us.
Our retreats began auspiciously on Worldwide Guruyoga Vajra Dance Day (July 28) in the amazing Vajra Hall. The first days covered the Dance of the Three Vajras and the Dance of the Liberation of the Six Spaces, in a teacher training course open to teacher candidates, advanced practitioners, and beginners. The teacher candidates took turns giving us instruction on the steps, with Prima’s guidance. This process helped us to refine our understanding of the steps and gave us a taste of the intense study and practice our teachers undertake.
Next, we plunged for four days into the experience of the Kalong Dorjekar of the Song of the Vajra. Again we were a mix of beginners and more experienced practitioners. The more experienced practitioners were invaluable to our learning process. By following their tips and example, we were able to make more progress than many of us thought possible in the short time we had. Prima’s precise instructions and embodiment of the dance inspired our learning and our commitment to continue on our own.
During our final week together we worked on the Dance of the Song of the Vajra. Some of us already knew the dance well but wanted to refine the steps and deepen our practice. Some knew either the Pamo or Pawo part well and wanted to learn the other part. Some were beginners. With space for four mandalas in the Vajra Hall, we all learned simultaneously, from our teachers and from each other. Beginners could follow more experienced dancers. More experienced dancers could clarify their own steps by dancing with beginners.
We all benefited tremendously from the energy of the sacred Land of the Dakinis, from the power of our shared intention, and from the evolution that our worldwide sangha encourages and supports in each other. The presence of our master, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, and the power of his transmission, was evident throughout. Our time here reminded us that sangha means everything. The practice means everything. We have everything. We are everything. E Ma Ho!