with a little delay we arrive at our usual appointment. The summer was very intense, and so was the month of September, with the events for the celebration of the fourth anniversary of the Master's passage. However, we hope to please you by briefly summarizing the most significant events, giving you a few more details, and reminding you of something that may have escaped your notice.
Merigar is constantly organizing a variety of activities; through them we try to meet the needs of practitioners and the general public, and to strengthen our relationship with the local community as well.
The explanation and practice retreat of the 25 Spaces of Samantabhadra, led by Adriano Clemente, took place as scheduled.
This beautiful Teaching of our Master was admirably explained by Adriano, who also led the morning practice. In the afternoon the practice was instead conducted by Sebastien Remy, in connection with Dzamling Gar. In addition to the people present in the Gönpa of Merigar, more than 200 practitioners followed the retreat online.
The Saga Dawa month
During the month of Saga Dawa, Dynamic Space organized the release of several thousand snails otherwise destined to be eaten. In the presence of some practitioners who recited the mantras for liberation, the snails were left near the lower pond of Merigar, and fed with fresh lettuce leaves.
June 21 – International Yoga Day
This year Merigar has joined again the now historic 'World Yoga Day'. Our teachers, Laura, Dina, Letizia and Tiziana offered two Yantra sessions for adults, and one Kumar Kumari session for children.
Temporary photographic exhibition 'In the Skies of Merigar'
On 8 July, introduced by a conference meeting by Luca Passalacqua of the Maremma Ornithological Group with which Merigar has been collaborating for some time, an exhibition was inaugurated with photos taken in Merigar by photographers Giacomo Gentiluomo and Riccardo Sirna. The exhibition was inspired by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu's continued interest in bird songs.
Together with the photos, descriptive captions provided by the GOM have been prepared, combined with the respective songs that can be heard using the QR codes.
This year's Library Talks followed this trend which you can learn more about here https://melong.com/skies-merigar-symbolism-nature/
A corner of East in Tuscany
In July and August Merigar and Dynamic Space gave life to numerous initiatives in Arcidosso.
Dynamic's paintings were exhibited in the main square, and thanks to the collaboration of professional artists from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, the very ancient techniques of oriental art were taught to the little ones.
Every Sunday in Arcidosso, starting from 10 July and until 28 August, our teachers led sessions of Yantra Yoga in Via Tibet from 5 to 6 pm, and of Khaita Joyful Dances from 6 to 7 pm in Piazza Indipendenza. They were very engaging and fun experiences for everyone.
The first of two picnics planned for this summer took place on July 21st.
During lunch Rosa Namkhai addressed everyone with two short speeches: the first time she spoke of her and the Family's decision to offer many of the objects that belonged to Rinpoche to the Community. Letting go of what belonged to her was not an easy decision, but she felt the Master would have approved. These items will go to the lucky ones who purchase a ticket, thus helping to raise funds, which will be used for the maintenance of the Great Stupa of Merigar.
In the second discourse Rosa mentioned how every day she gives thanks for being in Merigar; because our Master is here, close to us, and that we all have this beautiful place to be together; she suggested we stop and think for a moment what it would be like if we didn't have Merigar.
In this article published on the Mirror you can read a description and see some photos.
The second picnic took place on August 31st
Annual General Meeting
The Annual Meeting of Merigar members was held on July 28 to approve the final balance sheet for 2021 and the budget for 2022. A week earlier a meeting had been held in which the Gakyil answered questions by members who had read the report previously sent via email.
The meetings have both been very fruitful, and the Gakyil has promised to organize other occasions with the Sangha during the year, to present and discuss together the most important points of the management and life of Merigar.
Following the formula that we have been adopting since last year, we have organized three retreats to watch again the teachings of the Master, and to practiced together, under the guidance of Santi Maha Sangha teachers, the Master explanation.
During the first, from August 4th to the 8th, we followed the Teachings on Zernga, which are not often proposed, but nevertheless constitute an important aspect of Dzogchen practice. From October 28th to November 1st the Teachings on the Bardo sealed with the Hum, and finally from November 18th to the 20th, Teachings on Shine in the Dzogchen style.
All of these retreats were held face-to-face and also broadcast in closed webcasts.
Open Retreat of Meditation, Vajra Dance, Khaita and Yantra Yoga
In the central days of August we organized a retreat open to all, during which our teachers presented the open aspects of the four disciplines, integrating them into an overall vision, showing their peculiar aspects and potential. From August 12th to the 16th the participants were able to 'taste' these practices. It was an opportunity to create greater synergies and coordination between the various teachers and to test the degree of appreciation of the newcomers. We will repeat the formula in the next year, trying to respond to the requests of the participants, that is, essentially, to follow up through in-depth seminars dedicated to each of the proposed disciplines.
On August 21th, Merigar dedicated an entire day to children, with yoga activities, storytelling, treasure hunts, and much more. The children were divided into two age groups; from 2 to 5 years and from 6 to 11 years. Our Yantra Yoga and Kumar Kumari teachers, plus many of our practitioners who lent themselves to organize, animated the day and helped in all ways, to make this a memorable day.
Ku Nye on a chair
On the last weekend of August, Aldo Oneto conducted a theoretical/practical workshop on Tibetan massage practiced on a chair. A simple and easily applicable form for everyone, for personal use only, which allows to relax and relieve joint and nervous disorders, by applying the basic principles of Tibetan Medicine.
Events for the fourth year since the Master’s passing
From September 24th to October 1st, 2022, on the occasion of the fourth year since the Master's passing to another dimension, Merigar coordinated a series of practices and events that involved all the Gars of the Community, the main organizations headed by Merigar, and the Community as a whole, with the support of the International Gakyil and the Atiyoga Foundation.
It was an opportunity for dialogue and collaboration throughout the Community; all the Gars and organizations became active protagonists and had the opportunity to communicate their respective situations, activities, problems and future prospects, sharing them with the practitioners present in the Gönpa and with those who were connected in webcast. We practised together, we saw images of the present and the past of the various Gars, we exchanged messages, invitations and greetings. We proposed to stay in touch and continue together the path that the Master has shown to all of us, his disciples.
Recordings of the events can be seen on the webcast website:
You need to log in to the reserved area with the username and password used on www.dzogchen.net
At the end of September the ashes of Stoffelina Verdonk arrived at Merigar. Stoffelina died on July 21st together with her sister Janna in a tragic car accident.
The urn with the ashes was deposited in the Cinerarium on September 27. A Guruyoga practice and a thun of the Vajra Dance of the Dimension of Space (12A) were held in her memory.
Dances and tales from India
On November 19th in the Gönpa at Merigar we hosted an evening of Indian dance, Bharatanatyam style, offered by the Natanavedica East/West Performing Arts under the artistic direction of Maresa Moglia.
The evening was a success and concluded with an exquisite South Indian style dinner.
Soon on our Facebook page we will publish videos and photos of this event, follow us
Anniversary of the Birth of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
A day of celebrations for the anniversary of the Maestro's birth, on December 8th.
In addition to the practices webcast from Dzamling Gar, which we followed in the Gönpa, there was the extraction of the winners of the first edition of the '8 December fundraiser', who each received one of the objects belonging to Chögyal Namkhai Norbu donated by the Namkhai family. The funds raised will go towards the maintenance of the Great Stupa of Merigar.
The list of winners of the 2022 edition can be found at the link https://www.merigar.it/it/8-december-fund/
In the evening there was a Tibetan dinner in the Gönpa followed by a musical show with Alessandro Golini on the violin and Paolo Batistini on the guitar.
Land maintenance of Merigar
We are continuing maintenance work, which includes water monitoring and securing some areas of the land. Furthermore, our structures are mostly made of wood, and this requires continuous and careful care. We are preparing a list of the necessary works with the relative estimates of costs to be submitted to the attention of our members. Together we will evaluate the priorities and the possibility that part of the work can be entrusted to specialized companies, and part to our Karma yoga practitioners.
We are also carefully studying the maintenance of the green areas, closely linked to the availability of water and its increasing cost. The study also foresees the possibility that at least a part of Merigar's more than 60 hectares could be used to generate income.
Participation in projects
An interim report of the Evolve app project was presented in mid-May and is about to be completed and submitted for the testing phase. Evolve is an application for the study and practice of methods related to Yantra Yoga and meditation taught by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. The app, in English and Italian, will give visibility to all the centers of the Dzogchen Community and to Merigar in particular, helping to give many people the opportunity to get in touch with the centers themselves, the courses, events, both on site and online.
In mid-June, UBI (the Unione Buddhista Italiana) approved the "Making Peace" project, in partnership with ASIA, and the organizational phase of the “The Silk Road" tender, organized by MACO, also presented to the UBI, began. The “Making Peace”project aims to contribute, through various activities aimed at children, teachers and civil society in general, to the creation of a culture of peace and dialogue. In particular, it aims to make children and adults aware of the importance of human values such as empathy, love, compassion, altruism, respect for others, in order to create a peaceful society that puts an end to conflicts and the resulting suffering. By making peace with yourself, you learn not to project the enemy outside of yourself and relationships based on respect, listening and empathy are established.
At the end of July, ASIA and Merigar also presented a project to the Assimoco Cooperative, which proposes interventions to support the fragility of adolescents in the Amiata area.