Mandarava Retreat at Dzamling Gar in collaboration with Tashigar South, February – March 2023

Nina Robinson

Mandarava Retreat
February 21 – March 7, 2023
Dzamling Gar in collaboration with Tashigar South

From February 21 to March 7, 2023 Dzamling Gar, in collaboration with Tashigar South, hosted the annual Mandarava retreat. February 21 we had our Losar celebration and all that includes, with especially delightful performances of a play called Jakata Tales directed by Lourdes Velaochaga Guinea and Khaita, with children and adults, each year always surpassing the last.

This year the Blue Gakyil of Dzamling Gar was wondering how to offer the best kind of retreat for the international Dzogchen Community. Fabio Andrico was not going to be on site at Dzamling Gar and Nina Robinson kindly agreed to come and participate in the retreat live in Dzamling Gar. That was our base.

Then a flash came and we decided to do the retreat together with Tashigar South by webcasting and Zoom, and that way we could have both Fabio and Nina together helping us with the practice, tsalungs and sogtig breathings, as have now become a tradition.

Little did we know the complex nature of what we had proposed. First of all there was the registration and distribution of the schedules and links. Sebastien Remy manifested a fantastic app that people could use to find all the practices, etc., from all time zones with their links. For some this proved to be very challenging at first, but then it seems things settled into functionality.

Our wonderful project manager Anna Neyman really steered the ship very gracefully and effectively and enlisted the help of a wonderful array of karma yogis who kept the ship afloat.

There were two webcast channels and two zoom channels and concerns about time differences, replays and translation, etc.,etc. The webcast teams from both places were heroic. In Dzamling Gar our webcast team is managed by Igor Tarnavskyi and Raul Barratini, with advisors Thinley Koblensky and Sebastien Remy.

In Tashigar South the webcast team was managed by Eduardo Gromaches and Erika Carello and we were told that Eduardo was up early every morning and made a journey across the Gar to the Gönpa to arrive in time for an early morning session with Fabio.

The sound in the Dzamling Gar Gönpa is also a great challenge and Pancho Company helped to manage that aspect that not only included the live participants’ access to good sound, but also the sound that had to be broadcasted.

The retreat was translated into Spanish, Italian, Russian and Chinese (for some sessions) and we are eternally grateful to all our translators.

The daily sessions in Dzamling Gar included an early morning replay on Zoom of the explanations and practice that happened in Tashigar South the day before with Fabio Andrico. Then an hour long webcasted teaching with Rinpoche, after a Mandarava practice skillfully led by Sebastien Remy and then a break. After lunch Nina came to the Gönpa and enchanted everyone with her stories, anecdotes and explanations of the tsalungs, sogtig and practice, and then sometimes, if there was time, the actual practice.

We also included our regular program of Yantra Yoga early morning, Vajra Dance and Khaita thuns as well.

So, as usual, the program was full and rich.

We had our annual lottery and auction, masterfully managed and led by Lena Dumcheva and her assistant auctioneer Tim Cabot.

All in all, after all is said and done, the retreat managed to be a success and very satisfying to many people, live and by webcast/zoom. We are not sure that this level of complexity will be attempted again, but one never knows in the Dzogchen Community. We are always up for a challenge.

And once again we thank everyone, Tashigar South, their Gakyil, all the people coordinating the programs and broadcasts and all the the people on the ground in Dzamling Gar, the Gakyil and everyone who made the retreat a success!

Final Ganapuja led by Sebastien Remy (Nina was not able to come)

Auction item and lovely Khaita presenters

Nina assisted by Christiane Rein leading the practice

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