This post by Ngakma Yeshé Zértsal is the first of a series called ‘visions of Drala Jong’, posts by the Brevet Lamas of the the Aro gTér Lineage, senior disciples of the Lineage Holders who are Brevet Lamas or teachers in training and who have on their own students.

Drala Jong-A Bayul in Progress

As a practitioner of the Aro gTér for over twenty years and a Zen student before coming upon this luxurious path, I have had the opportunity to meet many great Lamas and Roshis and practice in places rife with the power of realization. It seems we as individuals and as a sangha pilgrimage to great places of practice—caves, shrines and stupas—for connection to our Buddhist heritage as well as for inspiration. Ancient artifacts, relics and artistic depictions of realization fill us with joyful tears as our awareness grows beyond our own thoughts and small wishes.

Whenever I have attended a retreat, heard a teaching or meditated in a place where practice has accumulated I am drawn into its expansive ethos much like being in the presence of Great Lamas like my own.

To me, this is bayul—Hidden Land—the kind we encounter near the stupa in Bodhanath, in Padmasambhava and Milarepa caves of realization and wherever sincere practice is manifest.

This is what I see Drala Jong becoming—a bayul. A place where the exquisitely direct and shimmering practices and teachings that comprise the Aro gTérma, and as lived and transmitted by Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, will collect. A place where students will reside, practice, attend retreats and teachings and commence private retreats for varying periods of time. A place of practice established for new arrivals to enter and avail themselves of its bounty.

I have been a brevet lama or teacher-in-training for a short while and am grateful for the opportunity to share this lineage with others.

The Drala Jong project seeks to create a home for the Aro gTér Lineage. Please see the Appeal page for more information about the Drala Jong project and how to help.