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

 

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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

Please contribute

Dear friends,dzong_face

I have a fundraiser on gofundme (https://www.gofundme.com/ngakmang) – because it is easiest to send your contribution there.

But in all honesty. If you are able to donate support it does not have to be my fundraiser.

Although it could help me to stay in my imaginary “cave” and devote a bit more time to meditation and write another book rather then do some other things to get by. This is not the point.

If you are a fan of Buddhism, a student of Buddhism a follower of Buddhism it is important to see your own role on this local level where you do not treat things seriously only if they are in Asia or are a translation project of something good and ancient.

The whole reason why Buddhism is effective and we have realized masters take rainbow body generation after generation up to today is because it is not “ancient” but very much living system of spirituality.

So, please look around you with careless abandon, see if there is some positivity there that you can  support in none – judgmental way, here and now, drop your guard and go to the temple, use your pay pal account to become a member somewhere, pass the word, contribute or the best of them all, quit your job and break down in the middle of the living room floor. Possibly even throw your TV out the window (if you are not using it as a computer monitor) because it keeps talking about jobs, and employment rates and jobs and then something called politics of the this total madness and we all know that there is a lot more to life then just this GDP or the job or the presidential candidates of like or dislike.

We all deserve a shot at getting our own mind settled down, calm, clear, observing the movements recognizing it’s self to be free, persisting in that.

What do I myself want?

I want to be on the map as some one that encourages a spiritual community of simple, modest means around the area with access to a temple or several temples.

My area of choice currently is upstate NY.

How do I promote these ideas? -I write on my blog and write longer articles and send it to others with the hope they will like it. Blog: http://www.choying.org

I have published a book titled “what’s what”

https://www.amazon.com/Whats-What-Hearsay-Buddhist-perspectives/dp/1534887237

And I am working on a next one.

All with the hope of establishment of an idea of normalcy of spiritual pursuits and support of such, of an actual wider network coming around.

Ways to help, share, comment, contribute – https://www.gofundme.com/2bnfz38 , think, turn your head and listen or relax in the moment, resolve to be open minded….

Thank you for reading, especially if my random rumblings kept you as far as this point.

Your friend,

-Alex

PS. Yes it is a motivational speech. Yes it encourages you to do nothing. Yes, I know that most people will do nothing. And as before, I am happy even if you just read it to the end. Thank you. May positivity of every kind increase without bounds!

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

Facebook spam made into a repost :)

Social media is likely the most dominant aspect of The Internet today. It started on commercial scale with feedback on ebay and amazon, forums, blogs and groups. Everyone is suddenly an author and can easily publish an opinion!

Sometimes the material is good and worth a repost, please forgive me if it does sound a bit annoying. Especially when other things are in the news and actually all over social networks.

Inserting pictures that I mentioned in the original write up, making it into a repost.

This conversation was started by a remark of some one I am connected to in replay to the post:

Hello 🙂
This fundraiser started in a way a year ago, end of summer 2015.
This current year Summer Retreat will start on July 10.
I would like to offer as much money as I can raise and will post receipt.

So, please donate if it is possible. And, Thank you!

Conversation (well me talking about myself really, even attempting some humor, like do not contribute to the retreat, just give me money)

Comment:

Facebook connection: Is it compulsory to raise money for conducting a retreat? It’s apparently a business?

My endless reply:

Sherab Gyatso Alex Well, things cost money. And I can use some. I hope you don’t mind.

and

Sherab Gyatso Alex And if supporting “my” retreat feels awkward to you. You can just support me. I understand you may want to know a bit more about me.So, if you like, you can write to me, I do not really “chat” on facebook, but a session of questions and answers can be always good.

https://www.gofundme.com/wu3tec48  Also, here is my blog: http://www.choying.org  Totally feel free not to contribute at all. Most people feel that way anyway.

Feeling that my humor from above will be completely lost I wrote a bit more serious here:

Sherab Gyatso Alex There are two ways to look at it from perspective of the money.
Money is the object of veneration and reward and the amount directly indicates the level of any idea. Then there is a facebook meme passed around that I like. It depicts native people from Amazon River region asking us: They have no money, no debt, no crime, no prison, so on so forth then it asks: Why do we think that we are the smart ones?  [inserting the meme / picture in the blog repost]

amazonians

Idea from another meme with the Dalai Lama picture in it comes to mind: Modern people spend all of their health while young to make money, then later in life spend all of the money to restore the health. [inserting the meme / picture in the blog repost]

DalaiLama

In case of many spiritual practitioners, well, some of us are not good at making money (myself for sure). And unfortunately we do not really live in money-less culture.

In situations like retreat of any kind there are associated costs of all sorts. So, anyone with any degree of positive thinking in this regard should feel free to contribute any small amount that they would not regret having given away.

It is obviously completely voluntary and should be done if can be afforded without strain.

From my side I promise full respect to you contribution.

May any connection made through this message or any resultant activity be of benefit.

 

Disclaimer. These pictures are widely circulated originals made by some one assuming sharing and circulation and are thus used without attempt to secure permission. If these meme/pictures were made by you and you object to my usage, please let me know. Image of the Dalai Lama does not constitute any personal connection from me or any understanding. I just like it in the meme/picture format.