Namgyalgar Australia June 2024 Report

We held an April weekend Gakyil meeting at the Gar.  It was a wonderful and harmonious meeting, a day and a half of discussions of immediate needs this year, of the next year or two and the longer term. After Zoom meetings, very much oriented to decision-making, it was a pleasure to take a wider and deeper perspective, and to hear from others, particularly SMS teacher Arnaud, Nicoli the caretaker, and Paora from New Zealand. 

Returning from early morning practice

Following discussions with Arnaud and Nicoli, it was agreed to start a series of Introductions to Dzogchen using video recordings of Rinpoche teaching and looking at particular aspects of Dzogchen.  These sessions will take place at the Gar on a series of Sunday mornings and be followed up by a short retreat for consolidation and practice at the Gar. With Nicoli running yoga sessions at the Gar and at a nearby FMT centre ‘Chenrezig’ every week, and regular Khaita sessions by Topgyal, we are hoping to welcome some newcomers.  

Farewells in the Mandala Kitchen

The Gakyil meeting was preceded by a retreat with Arnaud focussed on the Six Vajra Verses, and videos of Rinpoche teaching this from Namgyalgar in 2014. A small gathering, wonderful experiences of the third series of Semdzin, other practices, reflection and communicating with each other.  It was followed by a Yantra Yoga retreat with the third series pranayama in focus with Emily and Arnaud. This included a dawn practice at the beach, a workshop of painting blue Hums for posting around the Gar, and regular Vajra Dance.  A blessed fortnight at the Gar!

Exploring the land

In addition to that, regular SMS, Yantra Yoga and Vajra Dance courses are held. Several are planned for the next few months. We are encouraging people, particularly newcomers, to attend the Gar for Yeshi Namkhai’s teachings.  Mathew Long will be teaching Yantra Yoga on the weekends around this, enabling those at the Gar to learn Yantra alongside the retreat teachings.

As well as regular Vajra Dance practices, there was a joyful Song of Vajra Dance course with Cosimo in February. A retreat of Khalong Dorjekar of the Song of Vajra is planned for November. We have, with the help of Jorrit, embedded a wonderful Khalong on a grassy area of the land, enabling regular practice without the expense of hiring local halls. 

Outdoor paved Khalong

After a few years dedicated to repairing and improving facilities, we now have a beautiful Gönpa, a Dance Mandala shed and a kitchen for retreatants, or campers. There is an excellent cabin for private retreat. The house has also been renovated to include a caretaker’s flat and upgraded dormitories.  Now we need to replenish our capital.  

We have made a beautiful AirBnb based in Rinpoche’s area of the house https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/1087327163871820385. Two ensuite double bedrooms, a lounge with a single bed (another possible), full kitchen and dining, with patio and a swimming pool in the lovely grounds. You are welcome to come for a holiday! There are special rates for members – contact caretaker@dzogchen.org.au.

For managing the budget, we have agreed on fund-raising for specific projects twice a year on auspicious days, the first being to build better shelter at the retreat cabin with awnings and a veranda for outdoor practice and sitting.  We also plan a series of meditation platforms around the Gar, along a perimeter path (currently in development).  The first of these will be at what we’ve named Evolution Point, overlooking a small lake.  Sun, rain and mosquito protection will be provided there.

View from Evolution Point across the lake

Seeking additional income, we have also made the Gar available for hire for various purposes https://www.dzogchen.org.au/venue-hire.html . The Gar is regularly used for hatha yoga classes, and occasional workshops or dance classes.  We hope through these not only to raise income but to raise new interest in the community and the inestimable Dzogchen Teachings.

Pamela Oldmeadow

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