Retreat Village – Ngakmang

I had this fundraiser for the Annual Summer Retreat cost and for donation to the center for 2017 going for a while and this year seems like a very small year donation wise so far, I have received $178 towards that goal.

Now, I am rewriting some of this fundraiser as my understanding of particulars of how to establish some simple housing around that area is increasing.

Please consider reading following update to this fundraiser:

https://www.gofundme.com/ngakmang20160514_063145

I have written at length about relocating into a more rural area in order to “take a breath” and not of a car exhaust but of the actual fresh air.
As I was not able to come to the all time favorite place of mine, The Palyul Retreat Center in Upstate NY in a number of years, after a while I knew that I have to take steps to change something, anything, possibly just simply move closer? And so about seven years ago a move to near by bigger town of Binghamton started to come into focus. However the more specific plan is to develop a model for good year round housing somewhere real close to the main temple of the Retreat center.

Several people in these past 4 years have moved into the area, talking to them I think I have gathered enough information on how to obtain a small amount of land and I have settled on the shipping container conversion as cabin design that I am proposing to utilize through this builder:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDoymT_pxKY
As a start the break down of costs, that are bound to be subject to inevitable change, but still possibly be at around these figures:
Land of under 2 acres for $3K
Cabin Building delivered with fever custom pre-builds at $10K
Formation of a not-for-profit corporation to hold funds, then handle ownership, sale and / or rental of the cabin, make it hopefully plural: cabins. Is at $2K
Biggest point that needs to be researched is septic system build out, this is not priced or factored in.
This initial plan would provide for the foundation sufficient for future up to 3 more cabins in same location to be purchased, making total of four, possibly providing housing for about 8 people.

This hopefully also may prove to be an open ended fundraiser, which actually is more or less the goal.

If you always thought of getting a cabin to do a retreat in, this could become an anchor point for you.

The goal is to fundraise from everyone that can give and to offer housing to anyone that would like to go and live there, regardless of their contribution to the build up. There will obviously be bills, but the goal is to lower the bills as much as possible.

I have written about this in the past, it maybe a good idea to see if there are any ideas there that one may like:
https://gurupemasiddhihum.wordpress.com/tag/choying/
Always feel free to reach out to me personally as well.
More people responding and participating, more gets accomplished, naturally

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Pulse of the Country

05_31_2017_rainbow

Image: of a bright double rainbow appearing over at the time of writing of this article, may it be auspicious!

Pulse of the Country

-Where to go, or just follow the artists?

Let me pretend to “take the pulse” or,

Is there such a thing as too much writing about nation-wide trends? I believe not.

For the simple reason that no single piece of writing or even a good number of these can describe all unexpectedly “Oh, soo good”, even if ever-so-slight turns in the point of view.

While it is my goal to promote a very niche idea of going on a spiritual (Specifically Buddhist) retreat in a rural setting, the roots of the procrastinations in this article are all drawn from the current economic trends that are very visible if one have encountered websites dedicated to phenomena of what can be called vanishing of locally based neighborhoods. We all remember the earlier trends in that direction, when the often global big chain stores were to blame for closures of local bookstores and coffee shops. Well it is clear that we have entered new phase when even these big chains of brik and mortar stores are under threat from even harder to define internet suppliers of everything to your door. While people of past decades may have looked with a frown towards Barnes and Noble it is what we are losing to amazon.com that has organically grown to be a marketplace for everything delivered to your door, overnight if so desired. And so many landmark business of my home town of NYC that provided a network of my life, defined my days are now gone.

This is a very well covered phenomenon with this website as one of the flagships: http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com

A stroll north from Canal Street legendary art supply store: Pearl Paint, up the West Broadway in SOHO part of New York City with visits to all the storefront galleries and a number of bookstores, we had Rizzoli Books and Spring Street Books to pass hours of our lives looking at many books and looking within in contemplation on various philosophical issues. Now-a-days, Pear Paint building is turned into a luxury condo apartments and the Spring Street books is just not there anymore. While Rizzoli Books managed to move with the times somewhere in the uptown by opening up in a new, different location, the SOHO neighborhood is no longer same, or ever will be again, or so  it feels. All in large part due to the popularity of these parts and NYC as a whole and obviously the raising rents and a very substantial increase in demand for space of every kind. These types of trends are possibly even more visible in the Williamsburg part of Brooklyn where in the past local anchors for the community varied from Polish Sausages shop to small Coffee shop (The L Café) to the dive-like bar on the corner. Whole blocks and now gone, demolished and are replaced with new construction and in the center of it all we have the Whole Foods, Apple Store and Trade Joe’s, none as we know are family owned or unique or possibly geared towards anyone on a limited income.

Writing above I do not have a sense of regret as many may have for obvious reasons. More of a sense of: That was then & This is now. Although it may feel as in so many ways unwelcome push to the personal move, I also have recognition of necessity of such.

We read all over the place about Renaissance that Cities like Detroit are undergoing when it comes to the flourishing Art community and how everyone expects to have increase in the population of writers next. And so I can see this idea of why people that create, which by definition is not necessary a healthy business idea, sometimes it is just for this elusive increase in art, philosophy and ideas to contemplate on in forms of visuals, architecture, sound, for all of us. This is why these people would happily move to a completely different city all in order to live in a very affordable set-up. Their focus is that: the art and if art is the focus a condition of affordable place, nearly free from worry of overwhelming bills becomes a major support in it’s creation.

Here is a story of how City of Detroit is giving writers housing:

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/why-detroiters-are-giving-free-houses-to-writers

Coming into focus on the issues that I saw as central for my life of now over 25 years, in the Buddhist community of nearly all countries where Buddhist ideas took up we have this idea of stepping back, to refocus, to contemplate, to do a “retreat”. About 22 years ago I have rented a small apartment in above mentioned neighborhood with a huge feel of back-water, the Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The starting monthly rent was $525, about 15 years into my stay I was told by my landlord that his goal for that apartment is to bring the rent up to two thousand a month. All because I suddenly found myself in the middle of a very popular part of most popular city. And in fact it felt possibly low, if compared to the overall development.

After moving to the quiet upstate NY town of Binghamton I found out that this town comes as (surprise!) first in the list of comparative prices on real estate to the tax rates.

And while it is possible to complain about taxation pretty much always, Binghamton taxes are not remarkable, it is the property values that are low. While taxes for a major local town, a county seat with popular University considering these real estate values can be lower, it is these actual prices for the houses that could come up.

Here is the article that gives this conclusion: bargains are all over here and with abundance:

http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/new-york/2017/04/06/binghamton-leads-us-taxes-compared-home-values/100088892

Considering that this is a very non urban type of town with a lot of trees, surrounded by totally rural farms and forests. It is nothing short of a perfect place to sit in the back yard or the front porch, listening to birds and breathing fresh air as minimum or doing any sort of retreat one may want to engage in. Provided housing bills are even if existent are possibly lowest in the whole country.

Teacher certification

becomeaguruThis article came about because someone with considerable public statue with whom I am connected on the facebook asked a question and at times all it takes for a huge discussion to start is but one question.

Here is paraphrase of their question.

In their opinion it can be important to actually mention or so to say “list” where have you received your teacher training. As they said to see more and more teachers of raising prominence that do not list any teacher training however do list their meditation training. One of the parts of the question mentioned something like: “Should persons without teacher training actually teach?” -Paraphrasing this question I am attempting to write it in a “wider” way, to open it up a bit and while the original poster may have had a very well thought through answer it is obvious that my answer either not as well thought or just different and it is the reason why I am writing this into a more extended post.

On with the show,

It seems that ever and even more today no one wants to be a student, no one wants to start anything. Everyone wants to “be done already” to obviously have a result attached to their effort: “at the end of this course you will be teacher”.

And it is good, what is the point of wasting time on this learning? If as a student one could leap-frog all that directly to the elevation of becoming a master. It in some way would equate to the idea of a “quick learner”.

However there are several issues that will present themselves. One is over-objectification of the goal of becoming a teacher. This title of Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa’s book that points to the idea of the whole path, it is: “Journey Without Goal”. In a way the goal is “no goal” and when one is able to embody that it is then that they are getting closer to the point where they are more like a teacher. So in the beginning one may want a journey with a goal and the goal is to enroll as a student and graduate at the head of one’s class. But the goal of no goal, is the goal.

However,

The situation that we have, that is very common it is:

The so called teacher training courses are more popular then just regular courses.

It is no more then traditional American ego stroking and snake oil salesmanship. The best result guaranteed (at this point read the fine print of: “past results not guaranteeing future performance”), -no experience necessary, -apply now!

It’s really a shame that I have to write something like this about something as wonderful as some one wishing to become a Buddhist Teacher, a Buddhist Master, a Leader of Beings to the ultimate liberation. The general rule of the thumb is that you should be able to teach anything that you yourself have learned from some one, then practiced and accomplished. Some teachers actually at times say: “I have received these instructions from such and such and now I am giving them to you”.

Also, Buddhist path is not a path replete with certifications because it is all on the inside, within. And at some level if there is some one who has accomplished something then the reaction can also be “good for them” and then: “let me see where I am, myself at”.

At this point, ultimately if you are while armed with your current, limited starting knowledge are able to locate a teacher who you understand to be realized, and possibly not even learned, then you are in luck. Because they do embody these teachings that you want to get yourself, they have that first hand experience with these teachings that keeps Buddhist transmission alive all these years. And such a teacher will be able to teach from that fresh, first hand experience, rather then from the notes of courses that they may have taken in the past.

As it is also known to say in the title of another famous book: “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” In this instance it again does not mean one can not be a Master, however it is important to have an open mind of a beginner to start on anything and obviously, pertinent to this discussion put the instructions into practice, embody them in your experience, mature in that experience to the point of realization. -Which is only possible with an open mind of simplicity of a beginner. Not some one training for a certificate of a teacher.