Letter for Gars & Lings about SMS Instructors’ Courses

During the fall of 2022, the International Gakyil (IG) was contacted by a few Gar Gakyils who shared their concerns regarding some courses and retreats that were being planned and/or led by some SMS instructors. The IG subsequently sent the following message to all Gar and Ling Gakyils worldwide, in an effort to provide information and support. It is now published in The Mirror for the understanding and benefit of all IDC members.

Thank you,

The International Gakyil

Dear Gakyils of the Gars and Lings,

The IG was recently informed of doubts expressed by Gakyils regarding teachings given by some
SMS instructors.

We cannot control what SMS instructors choose to teach outside the International Dzogchen Community (IDC), but within the IDC what Rinpoche stated should be honored.  

There is no way to judge someone’s level of realization, and exactly because we cannot judge realization levels in others we need to follow Rinpoche’s words. Only by doing so (which requires everyone’s collaboration) can we keep the teachings pure, which better enables us to mature our practice.

Therefore, we ask that when you organize a retreat or course with SMS instructors please take the following into consideration:

– When teaching at Gars and Lings, SMS instructors should only teach what they were authorized to teach by Rinpoche: SMS Base instructors should only teach the contents of The Precious Vase, whereas Level I and Level II SMS instructors can teach the Base of SMS as well as the contents of their corresponding levels.

– Please have retreat and course titles reflect the programs that are being offered, and avoid exaggerated wording.

– The IDC does not support courses/retreats and books based on the personal experiences of SMS instructors as they are
not the teachings and publications of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. These courses/retreats/books based on the personal experiences of SMS instructors should therefore be considered as the teachings given by an external teacher, and not confused with the instructions of an SMS instructor.

– When Gar and Ling Gakyils invite SMS instructors to hold courses/retreats at their centers, they must cover their travel, food, and lodging costs. Remuneration is not required because SMS teaching activity is a service to the Community. However, Gakyils can choose to make an offering or gift to the SMS instructor which is commensurate with the circumstances of the Gar/Ling. It is also inappropriate for SMS instructors to personally request compensation from participants at these events.This information, based on indications received from Rinpoche, has previously been shared several times with past Gakyils.

– The IDC encourages Gar and Ling Gakyils to organize retreats that center around Rinpoche’s retreat recordings with the collaboration of SMS instructors who can then explain and lead the practices from the chosen retreat.

– When in doubt, please contact your Gar and Ling SMS Coordinators to help you with identifying the topic of your retreats and courses.

In the spirit of continued collaboration let us apply The Twenty-Seven Commitments of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, and read Rinpoche’s inspirational words about them in The Melong.

Please contact blue@dzogchen.net with your questions and concerns. Thank you for your commitment and your work!   

Best wishes,

The International Gakyil


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