In 2011, the Drala Jong Blog published an interview, in three parts, with Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen on the subject of Drala Jong.
We thought it would be useful to highlight these articles for new readers.
“[I]t doesn’t cost a lot to transform a place – such as painting a room the shrine room colours. It has always had a powerful effect to do this. From the very first time we created a shrine room in our home, every visitor has always been struck by it. Journalists are always stunned by the effect, and there have been articles about our shrine rooms in the British and Welsh press over the years. If you describe the colours we use it just sounds dreadful, but when people see it for the first time they say ‘You know this really works’.“
— Ngak’chang Rinpoche, The Drala Jong Interview – Part I
“I suppose my ideal place would be something that would lend itself to our own work. It can’t afford to be too big for cost reasons, but it needs to be expandable. There was a farm near Llantrisant in South Wales that we used for a while. It had a whole space the owner didn’t use; the attic was the entire extent of the house and was suitable for a shrine room. It also had a lot of outhouses – one of these sprawling Welsh farms, that stretched all over the place. And somewhere with a bit of its own land which it would be possible to stretch using tents, and yurts. There were all sorts of wonderful semi-permanent structures at Pennant Valley where we used to hold the summer yogic encampment retreats. It needs to be a little bit elastic like that.“
— Ngak’chang Rinpoche, The Drala Jong Interview – Part II
“On a residential retreat there are many different places to meet and chat with others. You can go for a walk – down a country road, or in the woods. At a non-residential city centre venue once you’re in the street – you’ve left the retreat. On a residential retreat people don’t leave or change environment – and in that way they get the most out of the experience of being there.”
— Khandro Déchen, Drala Jong Interview – Part III
“From the perspective of Dharma—the liberated viewpoint—the benefit to having a centre is the ability to be able to concentrate efforts – to: house special lineal objects; create supports for Dharma and store them; preserve ancient artefacts; and, collect and index records of the teachings. A residential centre can be a vast repository. From the perspective of ‘samsara’ – if one wishes to ‘make the thing work’, people have to see it. In the common run of things—according to the dictates of society—people have to see what we’re doing as something serious. The press needs to be impressed if they are to write accounts of our work. People want to go to a place that looks as if it represents something cogent in the world. There are few who will go to a rented flat – to see a Lama, even a Tibetan Lama. From the perspective of Dzogchen it makes no difference – but Dzogchen is the goal, rather than the state of societal consciousness.”
— Ngak’chang Rinpoche, The Drala Jong Interview – Part IV
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