International Gakyil Quarterly Newsletter – May 2021

Dear International Dzogchen Community Members,

Welcome to The International Gakyil Quarterly Newsletter, a publication that focuses on the activities of the International Gakyil (IG) and updates you on its most recent news. This first edition is a work in progress, and created in answer to the need for better communication, and your request for it.

The Role of IG

In Rinpoche’s opening talk, The Importance of the International Gakyil, which took place at the International Dzogchen Community (IDC) Annual General Assembly, on April 16 2017 at Dzamling Gar, he spoke of the role the International Gakyil (IG) plays in the IDC: “We cannot live or do anything if we do not organize because we live in society. But the organization must be done in collaboration, respecting each other, and working with circumstances. This is the teaching of Dzogchen. The Dzogchen Teaching does not say that you should always be in contemplation. You can be in dualistic vision, but you should be present and collaborate.”

The IG is a volunteer group of International Dzogchen Community (IDC) members whose mission is to facilitate and promote collaboration between all IDC Gars and Lings, encourage their local activities, and provide oversight and global services to all IDC members. They are also responsible for the administrative and information functions of the IDC association.
The IG’s global member services include:

  • IDC membership policy & management

  • Managing Dzogchen.net

  • Collaborating with Gars and Lings
    on administration and membership issues

  • The Mirror

  • The Webcast platform

  • Managing legal and financial issues for the IDC

  • International Teachers’ payroll & administration

  • Supporting the development of Dzamling Gar
    also by leading the IDC/ASIA House Project

  • Supporting the development and activities
    of the International Atiyoga Foundation
    and Shang Shung Publications

Meet the IG Team 2021

During Winter 2021, the IG Team added two new Blue assistants, Miranda Shannon and Gabriella Schneider, who will be formally presented and voted on at this year’s International General Assembly (IGA formerly known as AGM), and Fabio Risolo officially retired at the end of April 2021. IGA 2021 will be scheduled by the end of June. Dates and detailed information will be announced soon.

Where to find information

Communication is key within our Vajra family. There are a number of websites, publications, and social media links, some of which we list below, that the IDC has created that will give you information about community news and common questions. We recognize that some sources are in need of updating, and we are looking to develop a project to address this issue. Please consider collaborating with the IG with this and other projects. For more information about volunteering please click on the link in the Getting Involved section.

Membership

The first quarter of 2021 is over, and 65% of 2020 IDC members have already renewed their membership. The IG gives a resounding thank you to all those who have already renewed, and we ask that everyone else please renew their IDC membership soon in support of their local IDC Gar or Ling!

Please read about the importance of membership in this year’s membership appeal on melong.com, and about 2020 membership trends in The Mirror #151.

2020 IDC Online/In-Person Retreat Attendance Survey

The 2020 IDC Online/In-Person Retreat Attendance Survey received responses from 10 Gars, 23 Lings and 3 IDC practitioner groups.

Since the start of COVID-19, the IDC Gars and Lings have moved the majority of their retreats, courses and collective practices online. Fewer practitioners participated in in-person activities, and online practices attracted a great number of participants. IDC practitioners from remote places had the opportunity to participate in practices as never before.

Most Gars and Lings organized regularly scheduled online programs and developed varied monthly, weekly and daily practices. Some smaller Lings chose not to organize practices, as their members preferred to follow the online events offered by fellow Gars and Lings.

For detailed analysis and commentary please click on 2020 IDC Online/In-person Retreat Attendance Data/Graphs and on 2020 IDC Online/In-person Retreat Attendance Commentary.

Rinpoche Retreat Replay Webcast Project

In 2020, the Rinpoche’s Retreat Teachings Replay page was created as a dedicated space where members can stream Rinpoche’s precious teachings at regularly scheduled intervals. The IG is currently updating the streaming schedule and format. Going forward, new Rinpoche retreat replays will be uploaded every two months, and a page will be created to host past uploads.

Webcast Interface

In answer to practitioner requests, we have updated the interface of the Practicing Together page, by adding Play and Pause buttons which can be read by screen readers. These software programs allow blind and visually impaired persons to browse web pages. Further updates to the webcast pages are currently being planned.

The Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Teachings Archive & The Historical Archive of the Dzogchen Community

The Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Teachings Archive, located at Merigar in Italy, currently provides, upon request, Rinpoche’s retreat recordings to the Gar and Ling Gakyils of the IDC. In the future, when the process of organizing the archive and creating software to access it is finalized, it will also be made available to IDC members. This archive was created for the purpose of study and research, and it is not to be used for profit.

The Historical Archive of the Dzogchen Community, also located at Merigar in Italy, houses the historical and cultural archival materials that are not included in the Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Teachings Archive. Once fully indexed, the materials will be made available to interested parties such as private individuals, researchers, and universities.

Thanks to the recently dispersed Unione Buddhista Italiana (UBI) funds and the financial support of Merigar, a new database and server were purchased to host the Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Teachings Archive and the Historical Archive of the Dzogchen Community. All materials from both archives are kept on the new server and will be indexed in the same database.

IDC Gar and Ling Gakyils who wish to reserve one of Rinpoche’s retreat recordings, please complete the Request for Archival Materials and send it to Mirella D’Angelo for processing.

Getting Involve

The IG Team welcomes your assistance, and we would like to know of your interest in collaborating with us, whether your time availability is great or small.

We are currently looking for a Red International Gakyil to join the IG in 2021. Also, if you wish to help with upcoming IDC projects, please complete the Project Assistant form.

We thank you in advance for your consideration.

Wishing everyone a happy spring,

The International Gakyil Team

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