Merigar West Update


Putting up the new prayer flags around the Gonpa

Putting up the new prayer flags around the Gonpa

The Merigar Dzogchen Community 2014 membership campaign has started.

Last December, Merigar changed its statute to align it with the guidelines of the International Dzogchen Community, which also involved some minor changes in membership.

For those who were already members in 2013 there are no major changes. Membership fees remain the same and also the discounts to which you are entitled to attend courses and retreats at Merigar.

The only two differences are:

– belonging to a ling is based on your residence or business address. In the registration form you can indicate your ling, in this way even if your registration is done at Merigar it will be counted as enrollment at the ling.

– basic membership is ordinary. If you wish to apply for reduced membership you should make ​​a request to the gakyil of your ling or gar explaining the reasons.

In general, we invite those who have the possibility to apply for sustaining or meritorious membership as these types of membership ensure the sustainability of the Gar.

This is the link for all the information on how to renew your membership .

For those who were not members in 2013, however, there will be some changes. Those who wish to become a member of the Community will have to have the Welcome Card for three years, after which time they may be admitted as a member with all the rights and obligations that this entails. Three years is a reasonable period of time in which the person can understand whether he or she is really interested in the Community and shares its aims. The cost of the Welcome Card and its discounts are the same as those of the normal membership card.

For those coming for the first time who still do not know if they want to be an aspiring member, there will be the opportunity to attend retreats and courses with a temporary pass, for which there will be a contribution each time, for example with 25 Euros one will be able to follow a two-day retreat with the Master. It should be emphasized that this is an opportunity that is given only to those who have never been a member and are coming for the first time.


The calendar of activities is available on the Merigar website

We would like to point out the most important events:

Three retreats with Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

April 24 to 30 – Dzogchen Teaching

May 7 to 13 – Teachings and practices of Guru Amitayus Chudlen

July 31-August 2 – Changchod Retreat

A complete course on the Base of the SMS led by the Merigar instructors in 5 meetings held at Merigar and webcast around the world

Second Level Yantra Yoga Teacher Training led by Laura Evangelisti and Fabio Andrico August 4-11

A full course on the base of the Dance of the Song of the Vajra divided into two parts, Christiane Rhein and Salvatore Di Carluccio will be supervised by Adriana Dal Borgo May 1-6 and August 3-10


 The Cinerarium

photo by Nikol StanisovaThe concrete roof has just been laid and, since the weather has been good, work on the roof is practically finished. Once this is completed, the internal plastering will be done and wooden niches with glass doors will be prepared to house the urns inside the cinerarium. After this the floor can be done. Work on the internal part will take around 15 days, again, if the weather remains good.

The outer part will take a little longer because we have to dig, clear the earth and let it dry out a bit and then make an external walkway. In all, if the conditions are right, we hope to have the cinerarium ready before the arrival of the Master in the second part of April.

Retreat Cabins

P1010049We are at a good point with the retreat cabins. The new dark retreat cabin has been built and now we only need to fit the bathroom fixtures and tile it for it to be complete.

The old dark retreat cabin has some problems because the outer walls are infested with a lot of insects that have made their nests there and consumed the insulating material. So we have to remove all that material and redo all the internal part of the walls.

We will make use of a system that we have already used in the new dark retreat cabin in which we run tubes back and forth within the walls to circulate air, then add insulation and wood panelling internally. With these types of walls, insects will not be able to come inside and they should also provide noise insulation. It should also be warmer inside.

In order to start this work, we will have to open up the roof of the cabin and clean the internal area. Although there is quite a lot of work to do to get the old cabin working again, we plan to finish work on both the new and the old cabins at the same time.

There is also a regular retreat cabin in the ‘boschetto’ (little wood at Merigar). Here we plan to clean it up as much as possible this year because to do any major work on it means that we will have to redo the roof. Even though it won’t be in perfect condition, the cabin can still be used.

Part of the problem there is related to its construction – the walls were made of cross-sections of wood which tend to open up in the winter and close in the summer and because of this type of building technique some parts are moulding and crumbling and insects are getting into them. This kind of construction is more suited to a cold dry climate in which there are no extremes causing the wood to expand and contract. It wasn’t the best choice for a place as wet as here.

We have also created a little road around the side of the ‘boschetto’ that permits a vehicle to arrive at the retreat huts in case of emergencies. It will also allow us to help people who are elderly or unable to walk there, arrive at and return from the retreat huts.

In addition we have put an antenna in near the huts so that if someone in dark retreat doesn’t feel well, there is a guideline inside the hut that they can follow to find a cord to pull. This action will activate a call to 5 or 6 phones.

The Gonpa

P1010058At the main entrance to the Gonpa in the east, the wood of the main stairs has become totally rotten so we have removed it in order to replace it. Most probably the base of the new steps will be made in iron with an upper layer of wood which should last longer. The new steps will be ready in time for the retreat in April.

Later this year during the summer, we plan to remove the internal walls of glass and wood inside the Gonpa. These were the walls of the original Gonpa before it was expanded. Once this is done, the area inside will become a single large space. This work will also mean that we will have to redo the heating system, moving the radiators from their present position next to the inner walls to the outer walls of the building.

In the future, we plan to go ahead restoring and renovating the paintings and decorations after which we will make new flooring for the whole building

The Stupa

At the Great Stupa we are creating a little temple in the inner chamber in which 5 or 6 people will be able to practice. We have put an altar inside the chamber and some of the big statues from the Gonpa. Then there will be a glass door so that people will also be able to see inside. Inside we are going to paint it just like a Tibetan temple. In this way, the Gonpa will become more of an empty space with a new throne and a new altar.

P1010056We don’t expect all of this to be done before the April retreat because it is work that must be done carefully and done well and we plan for it to be something more modern, elegant and comfortable.

So to put this project together first of all we have to consider how it will be, then who will be in charge of the construction and which material will be used. For example, we should use a particular kind of wood, not just any kind.

So for now this is our program of works for the future.

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