2002 - Another perfect Gomdé summer
On arriving at Gomdé in the summer of 2002, one immediately saw that this was a year of dramatic development and change, especially for those of us that come from afar, and only for the summer. For those close by, I am sure the changes were more gradual, and involved lots of investment in time and energy to make it all happen.
Already the year before we saw some of the old buildings torn down, and the old pigsty towards the pond transformed into a tool shed and workshop. This year the top floor of that building had changed into a comfortable apartment with kitchen for the caretaker Ole. He had already been staying at Gomdé for a full year, but for the summer visitors, he was also good news.
Next to the apartment, a dormitory hall with room for at least 12 beds had been built. On the lower floor, a part of the building was reserved as a primitive indoor dining area. Next to this, there were also a few new inhabitants in the workshop to keep Ole company. To start out with there were four white pigeons and two chickens. During the summer another pigeon was hatched.
Some distance away there was another new creation: the large barn and storehouse, with a section for three donkeys, connected to the corral with the four horses.
The rolling hills on the land of Gomdé that had started to get a bit overgrown the previous year were now beautifully green and trimmed by the grazing horses and donkeys. The biggest change of all was the acquisition of Albertgaarden, the neighbouring farm with land stretching all the way down to the sea, and with that a new and shorter path down to the beach.
The summer camp of 2002 started out with a seminar with Mingyur Rinpoche, the youngest of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s sons. During his weeklong stay, this first visit to Gomdé, Rinpoche gave a thorough teaching on The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa.
The manageable crowd of approximately 40 students was all very pleased by Rinpoche’s clear exposition of the subject. The very structured teaching on the text coupled with meditation instructions was both food for thought and non-thought. The whole event was a great success despite the short time available for organisation and planning.
Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche
For the following week there were no teachings scheduled, so it was one of relaxation and preparation for Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s visit. In this relaxed and blissful atmosphere, I let myself be persuaded to help with the coordination of the following two seminars, a completely new experience for me.
Therefore, the two weeks to follow were a period of some stress and a new perspective on the whole stay at Gomdé, as I teamed up with Peter Braae for the coordination tasks.
When Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche arrived, we were all customarily lined up with khataks and incense receiving Rinpoche, this year arriving on horseback, I guess much to Rinpoche’s own surprise.
This year was the first when we had a general 40% discount policy for students, the unemployed and the retired. In addition, for the first of Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s weeks this certainly had the desired effect: there were many newcomers and young people attending the seminar. Rinpoche gave lojong (mind training) teachings on the five strengths.
When the second seminar was to begin, the whole atmosphere changed from the lively, busy, eager and inspired, to a more relaxed and homely atmosphere, as more oldies arrived. Everything ran much more by itself, and the pressure on the coordinators became considerably less, as everyone was feeling at home, knowing what to do etc.
For the Dzogchen Retreat Rinpoche taught from a text by Padmasambhava: “Self Luminous Wisdom Mind”, which we got copies of, stamped with the seal of Rinpoche. The text elaborates on the three words that strike the vital point (tsig sum nedeg), by Garab Dorje.
Needless to say, all the teachings given were excellent, and I think I speak for all when I say that we all felt very fortunate to be given these teachings.
On the practical side, there were a few highlights as well, not all that positive, but still something which have created memories and strong impressions. A few nights we had the most amazing rainfall and thunderstorms, which flooded the whole yard including Gita’s tent shop and the rest of Helgenæs and Denmark. We had disappointed parents relying on the kindergarten service, which did not really work as expected, and a few other practical wrinkles that were ironed out as we went along. Then there were wasps, and wasps, and wasps. An unprecedented amount of wasps joined us at meal times, or actually at all times, which really had us all practicing patience and mindfulness around the dining tables and dishwasher areas.
Overall, we had another perfect Gomdé summer, with perfect weather, perfect conditions and perfect teachers for teachings on the Great Perfection at Rangjung Yeshe Gomdé.