by Logan Mikyö Clark
It can be easy to forget just how close we are to the great masters of the past. To lose sight of the continuity of practice and transmission that ties us to them. Most of us can’t really comprehend the great sacrifices made by these teachers that enabled the teachings to come to us. But when we meet someone like Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, we have the chance to glimpse what is involved in maintaining this lineage on this planet.
We’re in Dzamling Gar amidst the five elements. Waves crashing ashore at Roca Negra, rolling forward before the riptide drains them back, bringing the sea level up and down a few meters with each pulse of the tide. The wind howling as it blows in African desert sand from the east. The sun shining brightly nearly every day. As the attendees begin arriving the whole place brightens with a sense of devotion and joyful familiarity.
On the first day of our Teacher Training, Laura gives a short oral history of how the “The Union of Sun and Moon Yantra” came down to us. She shares about Rinpoche as a young boy spending time with his uncle Togden, watching him practice in his retreat cave and mimicking some of his movements. How later on he was taught by Adzom Drugpa’s son, Drugse Gyurmed Dorje, along with both Changchub Dorje and his son, Gyurmed Gyaltsen, who passed on the oral transmission of the system in its entirety. She shares about the early days learning Yantra from Rinpoche directly, the translation and shaping of the text and commentary, and the systematization of the practice within the community. And she shares about the teacher trainings, the supervision and authorization processes, the Tagthers – everything that Rinpoche, she and Fabio have given to bring us to this point. At the end she speaks about sharing the complete system of Yantra Yoga, all three levels, along with the Kumar Kumari, with Rinpoche in 2016 at what would be the last global gathering of teachers during his lifetime. With tears in her eyes she invites us into the preciousness of that moment – having Rinpoche know that the system in its totality is rooted here with a group of capable stewards.
As the week of training goes on, this theme carries throughout. Our community is in a time of transition. The lineage must be passed on, and those of us who are putting ourselves forward to become teachers should take this responsibility seriously.
Each day greets us with birdsong, tropical flowers, and trips to the sea before sunset. While practicing in the Gömpa, we each do our best. More than forty practitioners from around the world, with varying levels of experience, training together in the subtleties of breathing and movement. Teachers from around the world join us to support and lead sessions, bringing their unique styles and insights. Over the course of the week we become more and more connected: to one another, to the place, and to the practice.
Doctor Phuntsog joins us to share the Tibetan Medicine perspective, illuminating the balancing nature of specific series of movements for each of the constitutional types, and shedding light on the healing power of Yantra. At one point she too shares with great emotion about the preciousness of our master and the profound nature of the yogic path we have access to.
Many of us are meeting face to face for the first time. Others are reconnecting with old friends and vajra family. Finding our peers in the stream.
Before long, everything culminates, with a full moon Ganapuja and an incredible multi-birthday party. Then we are each on our way back home. But something inside us has changed – we’ve entrained more deeply to the vajra body of this profound lineage. We’ve made a commitment to deepen our personal practice and capacity to teach with pure intention. And to honor our proximity to the masters that transmitted this great system to us.
Special thanks to Fabio and Laura for your tireless dedication. And to Max, Alina, Nataly, Marco, Alessandra and all the other teachers who supported us this January. May this lineage continue in a perfect way.