Ngakmang ཨ་ལ་ལ་ཧོ

upstate_rainbowWe all come to agree that we need farmers, builders even writers, singers and actors.

However just like a rainbow in the sky is there  sometimes and we do not plan on any such and it serves no direct purpose, but some of us love to see it and enjoy looking at and at times even take pictures of.

If you agree there should be something as useless and as necessary in the same time as that, a community of spiritual practitioners that have a “job” of in conventional terms to do nothing. Then this fundraiser is of interest for you.

You can participate in several ways,

Read and pass it on,

Resolve to become one of this marginal “profession”

And obviously reach out to contribute in any of the ways you feel is right or directly helpful.

Go-fund-me fundraiser page:

https://www.gofundme.com/ngakmang

This community conceived by many and not even in this instance or recently. It does not mean participants are a type of “priestly” character or a teacher of others of sorts.

However people aiming to join in should strive to lead a simple way of life and be of spiritual inclination.

Here for example is a definition that I have written online recently for the difference between what can be defined as a tradition of spirituality and an organized religion.

“Historically Christianity almost completely served as a societal control mechanism along with army, police, royalty… While Buddhism in big part always attempted to place it’s self outside the society bounds as an ultimate self help for any interested individual, without interest to create or run countries and convert others”

And one more:

“The key differences in this are all at one point really, setting aside philosophy and purpose. One is really presented as a set dogma. Meaning: an injunction “Believe this”. Other is presented for a very complex situation that has to evolve as a condition. Meaning One has to have a persistent question of what is the meaning of all of this, one has to persist in it and in the same time one has to accept that the current faculties may not be able to handle the answer and need to be refined, that too has to go on as well …”

http://www.choying.org/tag/choying Some writing on “Ngakmang” -a mantra practitioners village.

I have written about these questions a little bit for last 3+ years, there is quite a lot more that anyone can always add, as my writings are mine alone please to do not feel that even I, myself feel strongly about these. However these ideas are the only ones “I” have access to.

May it be of liberating benefit!

Go-fund-me fundraiser page:

https://www.gofundme.com/ngakmang

Picture is of rainbow above the area of Palyul Temple in Upstate NY by Janet Borges

 

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

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.

choying.org updates

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Recent email forward:

Dear friends, what a wonderful and hot and sticky summer it is in the Upstate NY!

Now and then it seems there are people that are not on facebook but are possible to reach through e-mail and are on this list.

Here is a shameless self promotion in a way of website:

http://www.choying.org – Please stay in touch.

Here is a contents / navigation of a few topics on there.

http://www.choying.org/tag/authors-book-whats-what – All about the recently (June 26th) published book “What’s What”. The hope here is to rely on tradition 100% however see through possibly older language and present something for today’s audience and possibly in the West.

http://www.choying.org/tag/fundraiser – The Begging bowl. Several things are on my mind that I would attempt to raise funds for. Retreat. Offering to Temples. More complex things like anchoring of a community of practitioners. Or writing of another book.

http://www.choying.org/tag/choying – The ideas on anchoring of a spiritual community. If one to read these posts, there are several ideas, a slight range. The goal is to move to semi-rural setting, not far from an existing temple and have low bills to be able not to work but concentrate into the study and practice of Dharma.

Read, comment, share, participate by moving, contributing, buying the book or contemplating on these.

Thank you,

With best regards,

-Alex

The Upstate of Community

20160402_134234 (1)Dear friends,

It’s now several years since I started talking to people in person and publishing bits online about alternatives to living in some of the most expensive cities there are. For example, last nearly 25 years of my life were spent in New York City. And if you are familiar with the situation there, well I moved into a rental apartment in the part of Brooklyn called Williamsburg 20 years ago, that particular neighborhood became a kind of symbol for development of. For all sorts of prices for everything going up!

Why do we live in places like NYC? Comfort? Culture? Companionship? Wide availability of jobs? Because we are from near-by?

-Many reasons to many people. However there is another possible reason that may need to be unpacked a bit. Many people are used to the idea of impersonal big city where it is possible to  get lost to be found. It is similar to a dive jump into an ocean where you find a treasure at the bottom. If you stick around and are brave enough you are bound to win that lottery by living in a place like NYC. The whole idea of “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”

To that there is no argument if your plan is to be well dedicated to a job for which you would need for you to be in that city. And if it’s a job that does pay well, you will eventually be able to get into an apartment of your own!

However observing my own life patterns I can say that in a traditional sense of the word I have perfectly wasted soo much time doing things that are not meant to be “productive” in any material sense of the word. Take for example painting pictures, years spent on that. Writing online, at times hours of many evenings went that way, often times to no audience at all, all without any expectation to be read, just stuff to be written. Study of Buddhism with all the prayers and meditations and associated books, oh that’s a good one, – major anti samsara-productive type of thing. Think of books, most of their stories take place in India or Tibet, most people around me can not reliably place these countries on the map. Prayers are for non-conceptual release of suffering beyond anything that people can think of as Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. Oh and the meditation, that requires to sit down and do nothing. Yes, nothing.

There are some smart people that try to hope, in a last ditch effort kind of thing that if they align everything well in their life and propitiate wealth deities they will also accomplish wealth and comforts in very substantial, material sense of the world, within this life.

I however was never a person that could do many things in same time and achieve good results in any. Sense of focus is a good idea. So, if one knows that working two jobs and going without days off will undermine your health and meditations on things will become difficult because within these years of work, work, work. One too many times it was necessary to not take a “sick day” off.

So, what I am talking about here is something along the lines of the discussion of the community building, the “Choying”, the idea of minimizing bills all in order to be able to get by without stress of needing too much.

General Direction is to identify an affordable area near by to an active Temple and move there, as rural as possible. With the hope of not working too hard on a samsara type of job, but to be able to sit down, collect your wits, think about your life for a moment, possible to recover your emotional and physical health to a point where greater degree of calm is possible.

My ideal location at the moment is Upstate NY.

If job of some degree is important one of the smaller towns in and around Binghamton area. Area called Southern Tier and is just north of Pennsylvanian border.

Where the actual community building is concerned.

The specs on the plan are something like this.

Walking distance to the Temple.

Purchase of land with hopefully existing plumbing: septic and well.

Total size not to big, to minimize the tax bill (with septic and well there is no sewer and water charge). So, in a very optimistic setup no more then 20 acres. If situated near a state land, the trees, wilderness and such will be in abundance, naturally.

For accommodation, mobile homes, single wide. Mobile homes are not known to be classified in same way as cars and when not permanently attached to the foundation pay no real estate tax. It should not prevent anyone from making the interior and exterior just the way they like….

This small write up will be tagged on this forum with “Choying” that was title of previous discussions that I had posted in the past. Welcome to read all these.

http://www.choying.org/tag/choying

The responses so far are very limited but save from one are very positive.

south_fog

Looking for more of Binghamton NY content

20160422_152644

-Dandelion’s season~

Here is a non-effort, effort on facebook in a way of the group. Don’t you love it, you start it, leave it, and it gains little, by little some sort of traction? Maybe, I don’t know, but social media is very important now-a-days, it looks like.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/tbtbinghamton

Here is a message I wrote on on the timeline on another good local group here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/983603978332294/

Dear Friends,

I have moved to Binghamton at the end of last summer from NYC.

My personal idea in regards to groups and meetups in the Binghamton area is that such must always maintain some sort of schedule of visits to near-by grand Buddhist temples.
Reason for this is that all around Upstate NY we have really grand temples, they are not too far and have various seasonal or year round programs and they are in our “backyard”…

So, yes Binghamton may seem as a narrow well, but if one to look out it is an ocean out there.

I have gone to two meetup meetings with Charles Goodman and planning to stop by Michael O’Sullivan’s meet up for sure.

I have also had a meetup running for half a year with regular meetings in my home’s shrine room. But there was total of 3 people showing up ever and I have discontinued the meetup site.

However, if any of you would like to connect locally here for any reason, please feel free to add my personally or join the Binghamton local facebook group I started here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/tbtbinghamton -Tibetan Buddhist Temple Binghamton.

With the hope that if we connect on a friendly, informal footing, we will have more Buddhist related events, get-togethers, friendships, flourish and increase.

Your friend,

Sherab Gyatso Alex

Fundraising for what?

Once upon a time I was working in a kitchen of a busy restaurant, it was a small, well planned kitchen where lunch and dinner were served from. We would from time to time get people coming through on the job “trail”, as in they get to follow some one for a shift and they would watch what we are doing and we would watch how they are doing. A common practice in the restaurant kitchens that determines if the new candidate fits in or not.

On one such trail we got a big guy who was very friendly and I was talking to him a lot. for one reason or the other he did not get the job. As the restaurant was in the area where I lived I would often see him on the street and we would talk, We would consistently meet up for now almost 10 years every year.

Today when we met up in a vegetable store where he was picking up a fresh squeezed juice and I was getting 2 bags full of vegetables he had a very fancy edition of “Art of War” under his arm. So, I asked him how does he feel about the book and he said that yet again he reviewed it and his idea is that “One can not do peace and war in the same time” meaning for the peace to be of inherently higher value then war.

To that I responded by telling him that at the moment I am working on formulating a basis for the Buddhist community where among other things people could leave high costs of living in places like NYC behind. And actually attempt going past fixation on looking for happiness in the samsara.

It is a well known buddhist foundational truth, “Nirvana is the true peace”. Which does imply very directly that one should reach out beyond samsara, which is no other then habits and fixations on habits, that is if one wants the peace, right where they are. By no means it has to be reaching out externally or into the time like setting of the goal as in “later on” or “in the future”…..

Hopefully this community will get founded, and eventually people come along to join in 🙂

Then there could be no excuse but follow the liberating instructions that are widely available….

Fundraising ideas…

There are many, many different types of understanding on asking for donations, begging, requesting help, so on, so forth. In the format of social media we often come across of something we did not have any interest in. Then, suddenly there is an understanding to address these unforeseen issues. So recently I have read somewhere that some one somewhere made a list of 10 richest christian pastors of the world. With some one at #10 that has about 19 million in the bank and some one in #1 that has about 190 million in the bank. With the top 3 of these located in the Nigeria. Now all and any fundraising I would do, do, will do. Will always be with understanding that no money can be taken with any one beyond the grave, thus if in the first place there are any accumulated, they need to be spent / invested in the projects that they are meant to support. And never to just benefit me personally.

This here, written on : http://www.hungkardorje.org/publish/index.php

“…..About Myself The funds I have are not from my parents. I didn’t get them by deceiving anyone; what I have is only what friends with good intentions have given me. I know that their income has been earned through the sweat of hard work in a fog of worry, each step hard to take and each load heavy to lift. Who would not be attached to what they’ve earned that way? I am deeply moved when I think of the hard physical and mental work that earned them that income. I’m not someone who is free of desire, indifferent to possessions and wealth. I’m like a beggar for alms who is happy to receive anything he’s given. I’m not an avaricious person who can’t bear to use anything he’s accumulated. I’m not a selfish person who uses everything he gets for himself. It’s my responsibility to use whatever I receive for offerings and charity. I’m not saying this to impress people or praise myself; I’m just being honest and telling the truth about myself…..”

-The above is a perfect teacher, writing perfectly easy to understand, good and kind words that are an ideal to strive for when it comes to the fundraising. As I have met deeply inspiring Rinpoche’s father, Lama Sang and saw him put on his shoulders and and carry around his own backpack, I have a glimpse into what it means. So, not for profit should be that, contrary to the popular online opinion, it should not be, or run as a business. It should not be a “Mega Church” but if there is a chance to inspire 30,000 people to practice Buddhism, obviously it is great. And the goal is not to build a massive multiplex cinema to enjoy relative comforts of this fleeting life, rather provide temporary accommodation that is worry free. In in fact find peace that is beyond samsara. As looking for the ultimate truth, the peace that is beyond samsara should be the style of all ongoing “research” not some accumulation that in the ultimate sense is useless. At least that constitutes my wish. table

indiegogo fundraiser, mail

Included is a message sent to the old, still in existence on yahoo group. Thought I would pass it along here as well.

pond2

Dear friends,
I have started to to feel that I have completely drifted away in my thinking from many of you. A year ago, I started circulating the ideas described now on the website. To my surprise very few, but some people had a few responses.

In a nutshell. Most people when it comes to the spirituality have this idea of despair in regards to their own efforts. Thus outer manifestations of thus efforts have to be super grand or none, never modest, or small or steady.

In another words anything short of building a grand temple / monastery for a rockstar status Lama will not do. While it is a perfect idea. It does not have to be the only one available. Many other spiritual traditions demonstrated to all of us (willing to see it as such) that it is possible to have something organized, built, on a modest budget with the foundation not in grand fundraising effort but rather in planning, responsability, sense of purpose and most importantly, participation of others.

Plan to start small, and stay cheap, so that no one is burdened with some huge tax bill, repair bill, some other huge bill.

Purpose is to have less financial burden and more focus on practice of Dharma.

Anyone should be able to participate, monks, nuns, families.

Hindu followers are known to have bought out whole towns and move in around their teachers in say north west of US. In Monroe area followers of many Jewish teachers founded whole towns, by moving in and building housing.

Most Buddhists contribute to construction of grand temples upstate and stay in the city, while temples remain empty.

The idea, move into area of an existing temple Upstate NY, not build one more.
Form a community platform along the lines of trailer park.

Starting step can be to in fact move into an existing trailer park in area of Binghamton.

Website to see more ideas on this:
http://www.choying.org

Indiegogo fundraiser, writeup

pond

Rural,

How often Buddhists of all walks of life hear about timeless, silence, landscape, quiet contemplation, all of the above to be surely found on the great budget in rural areas of the Upstate NY.

Buddhist,

Buddhism is a spiritual system of personal development that can be thought of as something 2,500+ years old, however it would establish it’s understanding in materialistic terms, which is not the goal. After entering into Buddhist study one will find out about expressions like “Buddhas of three times and 10 direction” which sounds like an absolute statement but uses “times and directions”, set, material concepts. With idea of going beyond to set oneself free we can recall: gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha: gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond From the Heart of Wisdom Sutra of the lord Buddha. Thus evaluating Buddhist ideas with tools of already familiar concepts will not help, rather sidetrack. Actual experiences of looking beyond, reaching beyond becomes important. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition started in Tibet in the 8th Century by Buddhist abbot from India Shantarakshita, Guru Rinpoche the Padmasambhava and by Buddhist King of Tibet Trisong Detsen there were several levels of participation in the spiritual community.

  • Ordained in the tradition coming from India as celibate members of a spiritual community that concentrate on outward and inward upkeep of numerous very literal commitments.
  • Ordained as mantra practitioners (Ngakpas) yogis that concentrate on the inner practice which allowed some to work in the worldly jobs and maintain households.
  • People that due to one reason or the other are not able to enter into meaningful practice of the teachings and from time to time or on a very steady level support any one who declares such as their goal.

All types Monks, Nuns, Yogis, Sponsors coming together make an effort become effortless in an ideal situation, which is far from the reality here in USA as Buddhism is not at all treated as a well known anything but rather as a curiosity.

Community,

As a some one that would answer question such as: “What is your religion?” – Buddhism. I work in a determined way to align  all of my thinking, everyday reactions and contemplations, no matter what activity I may go through that is the goal. To “Go for the refuge to 3 jewels of Buddha, Dharma, Sangha”. The ideal is Buddha, the information on the Buddha and much everything else is the teachings of the Buddha, the Dharma and the spiritual community of people coming together in some way to uphold the Dharma is the Sangha.

While Buddhas are omnipresent, Dharma is ever suitable the community can be always encouraged.

of One

While writing anything on the internet it is easy to misrepresent in a way of making it seem bigger then it is. At the moment I am making this idea available for fundraising and if I were able to raise funds to help me move ahead with, it will be great, however if some one reads the statements and remembers the idea of founding, supporting, joining a community in some way at some point somewhere, this will have got it made as well!

Overview of the project.

I am a householder type with kids and day job. I live in NYC. I am completely out of focus when it comes to making a career in regards to the career. My only true interest over many years is to practice Buddhist teachings.

My goal is to move into rural upstate NY near an existing Buddhist Temple and anchor a community with my skills of almost any kind of construction / maintenance work. As well as many many years of heartfelt interest in Buddhist study and meditation.

Goals:

  • Short Term,

The short term plan is to purchase mobile home in an existing mobile home park in area of greater Binghamton. Thus moving into the area on a very low budget.

Mobile home at $6,000. Move in and lot rent cost $4,000. Lot rent is calculated at $300 a month. Providing unassuming platform for low cost housing, with investment into the longer term. The mobile home can be sold at the move out.

  • Long Term,

Working locally in the area, obtain bank loan and further support through fundraising to purchase land, about 5 acres, where cabins could be built or mobile homes could be parked, with this type of housing tax bill will be minimized. This stage would completely be dependent on participation. The platform for interested people should provide them with very low cost housing near existing temple. Proposed fee breakdown, $3000 as a join-in fee, there after $1 a month as rent, resident will pay their own utilities. As we plan to be near an existing temple, communal building should be minimal.

  • General

Private for each group, housing for Monks, Nuns, Yogis at low cost level in an area conducive to meditation.  Continued fundraising in order to create meditation focused only community, without high cost, but with a degree of stability.