Tsegyalgar East Update

by John LaFrance

2021 began at Tsegyalgar with the installation of a new five member gakyil giving heartfelt thanks to the departing three members who sustained the gar during the pandemic year, maintaining a strong membership level while developing a reliable and comprehensive online practice and training program.

The past year created many challenges. At the start of 2020 there was excitement about the gathering of Vajra Dance teachers from around the world to meet on the Universal Mandala at the sacred land of Khandroling to practice together and to expand their knowledge. Sadly, the event along with many others was cancelled to prevent the spread of the virus. The schoolhouse Gönpa and retreat cabins were also closed. However, out of adversity came strength. Members continued to gather online to practice together and to participate in teachings offered by senior students throughout the International Dzogchen Community. Symbolic of the communitys commitment to the future, a small group gathered over the summer months to rebuild and restore the Stupa on Khandroling.

Looking forward to this year and beyond,Tsegyalgar is preparing its programs and facilities for face-to-face gatherings. In 2020 a new air filtration system was installed in the schoolhouse gompa making it safer for small groups to gather and improving the overall health/maintenance of the 100+ year old Gönpa.

A number of other important projects are planned. The new gakyil has approved the resurfacing of the Universal Mandala in the Vajra Hall. The original protective surface was applied over the cement-impregnated colors seven years ago. Now the surface has become scratched and worn threatening the colors beneath. Protecting the very large surface will require professional contractors who will surround the area with a plastic shield, scour the surface and apply two coats of urethane. Since the Universal Mandala was constructed through a worldwide effort, were hopeful that dancers around the globe will assist in accomplishing this important project.

It was 30 years ago, when Rinpoche first taught the Vajra Dance of 6 Spaces or Vajra Dance that Benefit Beings on Khandroling. Hopes are high for a 30 year anniversary in 2022 with a program to include intense practice gatherings over some weeks where people can come and go with periods of ongoing repeated and specified programs. And some practices being online connecting with other mandalas.

Many other projects will also need attention including the installation of a new furnace for the schoolhouse Gönpa, the repair of the bathhouse on Khandroling, upgrading the schoolhouse dormitory, beautifying the Gönpa and clearing and maintaining the land and roadways on Khandroling. All this while maintaining a vibrant and inclusive online program of practice and teachings.

Its exciting to anticipate gathering again with our Vajra sisters and brothers.

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