by Gerard Miller
The Tsegyalgar Summer Sangha Retreat took place on July 15-24 at Khandroling in Buckland, Massachusetts. We were linked with our primary dance instructor, Prima Mai, Merigar West, as well as Jampaling, Padmaling, Thadraline, Sangyeling, Kunsangar North and South, Dzamling Gar, Thuy Nguyen, Natalia Makarova, Ruslan Kim and Petra Zezulkova. For many of us, it was our first experience of practicing in the same moment in time with our Global Dzogchen Community.
My primary writing instructor taught me that when writing you should give as sincere and accurate account of yourself as though you were writing to your brother and sister from a foreign land. Most appropriate today as I write to you in distant lands, united by Ati Guru Yoga, about our Gar.
In practice there is no such thing as I, but as we live in space and time, I write to you in the first person. I have been coming to Khandroling since the 1990’s. I live only 40 miles or 60 kilometers away. I would steal a morning or an afternoon from my busy life as a married father of 4 young children to partially attend retreats with Rinpoche that occurred every 2-4 years. I was able to experience direct introduction and transmission over the years. I have been more active with our Sangha as the years pass, and while it is impossible to quantify the unquantifiable, let’s just say I report to you with eyes of a beginner.
Having attended everyday of this retreat, the first Vajra Dance class was at 930am, and 330pm Merigar time. We could fill three dance mandalas here. There also was a 4:30am morning class local time and I felt left out. All the fun in life is from participation. Deus est machina, I learn that our get it done Vajra Dance instructor, Bodhi, tenting nearby during this rain soaked week, has been firing up a generator in the predawn light to link us to the rest of the world. Just like that, I found my place for the rest of the retreat. To dance in the early morning light of the spacious Vajra ( Mandala) Hall with a nearby instructor to point out my flaws. Even more fun was the unanticipated pleasure at session end in saying good morning, good afternoon, and good night at the same time to the rest of the world.
So many and so much to be thankful for that made this week happen. The transmission and unlimited potential of the teachings Namkhai Norbu gave to us. All of our dedicated teachers, Paula Barry, Michael Katz, Naomi Zeitz, Bodhi Krause, Vicki Sidley, Lynn Newdome, Gerry Steinberg and Leila Parker who are admired and respected. Our tireless Gaykil, Emily Luhrs, John Lafrance, Mark Alston Follansbee and David Hayes, the gekö. Super karma yogis Wayne Bianucci, Ellen Halbert, Gabe Marder, Cindy Dawn, Will Shea, David Leskowitz and those I may have left out.
Our Sangha as a whole were able to have practice opportunities of Yantra Yoga, Guruyoga, and Vajra Dance. A Ganapuja took place at the end of this special retreat.
I heard many here say how they could feel Rinpoche’s presence. He introduced us to presence and when we practice together we feel it in a strong way. The Sangha is our reservoir of that potential. It was wonderful to be able to be together again after this covid hiatus.
An economy of words and getting to the point whether writing or speaking is best. Practice is our strength. Zoom is a strong link I begin to appreciate. Remembering what Rinpoche usually said in his advice at the retreats end : As much as you can, be present and do your best!