×

Faith Matters: Khaita is harmony in the space

A course in Khaita will be offered in Conway, June 10-11. All are welcome.

  • Khaita Joyful Dancing: A movement practice from the Dzogchen Community in America, Tsegyalgar East, at Lower Khandroling, Buckland. Contributed photo

  • Dzogchen Community in America Center, 18 Schoolhouse Road, Conway. Submitted photo

  • Khaita Joyful Dancing at Lower Khandroling, Buckland. Contributed photo



Friday, June 02, 2017

(The following is a submission to The Recorder's weekly column, “Faith Matters.” Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email religion@recorder.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 265.)

Compiled by NAOMI ZEITZ
of Buckland

Kha = space/sky. Ta = harmony/melody

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, a Dzogchen Master, founded centers in various parts of the world. Tsegyalgar East is one of the two main seats of the Dzogchen Community in North America and is located in Conway. For many years, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu has traveled around the world, not only to spread the Dzogchen teaching but also to dedicate himself to safeguarding Tibetan culture.

Since 2011, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu has devoted himself to the research and promotion of Tibetan songs and his students have been practicing the Khaita, Joyful Tibetan Dances, since that time. Everyone is welcome to participate and enjoy these dances. A course in Khaita will be offered in Conway, June 10 and 11. Please join us!

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu’s words on Tibetan Modern Dances, February 2013

Milarepa, generally considered one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and poets, said, “Any movement you do is Yantra, just like Yantra Yoga or meditation or some exercise.” Milarepa said, “There is no difference” because it depends on you. Even if you are only jumping, but you are jumping with presence in a relaxed way, it becomes useful.

If you are interested in Sutra, Tantra, Dzogchen, Anuyoga teachings, all of these teachings come from Tibet. When I listened to some of this Tibetan music, I discovered how they are singing, that they are communicating happiness, a feeling, their situation and which kind of difficulties they have. This is how we do in the Dzogchen Teaching. We try to understand which is the real situation, we do our best, and for that reason I thought that it was necessary we learn and listen well to these Tibetan songs.

When you are dancing you need to coordinate movement and you must be present. If you are not present, you cannot dance, but if you are present when you are dancing, you can also relax. Even if you are jumping, if you jump in a relaxed way, then it is also good for you. Dancing, relaxing and being present, this is a practice.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu talks about the importance of singing and dancing

The principle of the Dzogchen teaching is that we have body, speech and mind. All these three aspects should integrate in the sense of the teaching. If we are always in the state of contemplation, then everything is fine. But when we don’t know how to integrate movement, it is easier to integrate mental concepts. So we need to lead mental concepts with our presence. Being present is essential to the Dzogchen Teachings. We dance with the physical body, we sing with the voice, and the mind deals with that. This is practice. Also this is the best relaxation.

We are always judging and thinking about our work, problems, all of these things. When we are dancing, we are not thinking what we should do or what our problems are. This is very good for relaxing. Singing is connected with our energy. Energy is movement. So in that way, we are relaxed. This is the reason we always start with singing and being present.

Following are the words of one of the songs and dances performed in Northampton in the summer of 2016.

“It’s a beautiful song,” said Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. “If I had to leave a testament to the Tibetan people, I would choose this song.”

The Warmth of Our Life Force

Tibetans of the land of snow!

Learn the KA KHA GA NGA,

The warmth of our life force!

Our ancestor is the king    Songtsen Gampo.

The opener of the door of    knowledge is the teacher    Thonmi.

The language and letters are    the jewel of our family
    generations.

Do not forget KA KHA GA    NGA, offspring of the snow    mountain!

Do not forget them, sons of the    snow mountain!

********

Tibetans of the land of snow!

Speak the pure paternal
    language

That shines on the summit of    the world!

The thirty-four consonants    and vowels are the bone of    our hearts.

The pure language is the    warmth of our life,

The sunlight that shines on    the top of the world.

Do not forget Tibetan culture,    offspring of your mothers!

Do not forget it, offspring of    your mothers!

********

Tibetans of the land of snow,

Preserve your glorious
    fatherland

That formed naturally
   untainted.

The red fort is the ancestral    castle of the Tibetans,

The military strength of the    armies of the early kings,

The trace left behind by our    ancestors.

Do not forget our strong
    fatherland, offspring of the    land of snow!

Do not forget it, offspring of    the land of snow!

It is the trace left behind by    our ancestors.

Khaita Instructors: Matthew and Katya Schmookler

For more information on the Khaita Course, please contact Matthew Schmookler at matthews108@gmail.com

To watch Khaita at the Conway Festival of the Hills, go to http://bit.ly/2sskKTN

Naomi Zeitz is the editor of The Mirror, the international newspaper of the Dzogchen Community in America

About the Dzogchen Community in America

The Dzogchen Community in America has been located between the old Conway Grammar School in Conway and many beautiful acres in Buckland for 30 years. There are regular activities of meditation practices, Tibetan yoga, and sacred dance. Introductory classes are also offered. The schoolhouse houses a bookstore, a large practice space (available to rent), a dormitory, library, offices and the Shang Shung Institute for the Preservation of Tibetan Language and Culture. These two organizations are sister organizations founded by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. The Tibetan Medical School, run by Tibetan Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo, is housed there as well. For more information, call 413-369-4153 or email secretary@tsegyalgar.org. Online at www.tsegyalgar.org.