I have the most wonderful, joyous news. We have closed escrow on Dakini Mountain. We are opening our dreamed of retreat center!!! Congratulations to all! Thank you to everyone! My gratitude and joy is overflowing today. I am bowing, also laughing, celebrating and praying.
Dakini Mountain is a dream that I had in 2003 after we first moved our sangha’s headquarters to Northern California. But at the time, this dream seemed unrealistic, there was no obvious way to make it happen. So I left it on the backburner for over a decade. Until 2017, at our annual Dzogchen retreat. Riding a wave of inspiration, I took a step forward in faith… and the whole community stepped up with me. Now, thanks to all of you, these dreams are coming to pass. It is the wished for era of the rise of Dakini Mountain.
The journey to this moment has not been easy. We have worked so hard. We closed escrow after a six-month-long journey of negotiating with residents of the place that was our former headquarters (in Berkeley), finding new owners for that property, consulting constantly with lawyers, realtors, contractors, and solar power experts. There was constant and intensive negotiating and renegotiating our contract as things developed. Our community worked tirelessly to get to this point. But it has culminated in the huge leap forward to a new time – welcome to the era of the rise of Dakini Mountain.
This is only possible through the support of our friends who donated to our fundraiser: Richard, Laura, Tashi, Janak, Max, Mary Kay, Khalden, Kerryn, Sheila, Ngawang, Z, Diedra, Trusha, Wendy, Darius, Carol, Abraham, Dee, Malcolm, Satya, Yene, Steve, Elena, Conrad, Valerie, Harlem, Malika, Aruna, Zat, Ahlea, De’Dzin, Shivani, Christopher, Jesse, Ganga, Kabir, Penelope, Kaia, James, Andrew, R. David, Liz, Lou, Shirley, Serge, Ian, Kundini, Ali, Morgane, Cindy, Marianne, Tsal’gyur, Aimee, Malika, Daniel, Bernie, Dagme, Sarah, Richard, Jack, Laurie, Keith, Jeffrey, Kristine, Susan, Jerry, Owen, Rindzin, Anthony, Qin, Brenda & Virgil, Linda, Pualani, Gloria, Richard, Clare, Thokmey, Annie, Deshe, James, Rosanne, Paul, Evangeline, Tim, Mikyo, Karen, Lee, Lise, Preston, Fereshteh, Maria, Devin, Dylan, Denise, Kamali, Yeshe, Marie, Carlos, Dana, Marv, Namtak, John, Robert, Abra, Robin, Mark, Nette, Tazuko, Zoe, Willow, Kellie, Karen, Laura and Katya.
Also, it would not have been possible without our friends who offered their support, extended kindness, offered their time, services, loans, advice:
At Channing Mark, Khalden, Tsal’gyur, Darius, Monica Deka, Allison Pretto, Matthew Siegel, Dev. For Dakini Mountain Mark, Ross Collins, Neil Kirpalani, Lobsang, Corrina Hansen, Patricia Krowel, Lars and Birken. Our Dakini Mountain Committee Ngawang, Satya, Aruna, Zannette, Khalden. The Residents of the Berkeley Gompa who supported and helped the transition: Namtak, Sara, Nigel, Lorrie, Darius, and Tsal’gyur. Our 2018 Leadership Team who steadied our ship during the process: Aruna, Satya, Tsal’gyur, De’dzin, and Mikyo. Our new 2019 Leadership Team: Aruna, Satya, Tsal’gyur, Janak and Kundini. And the Vajra Sangha who are the heart of our community and my teaching activities: Ali, Aruna, Dawa, De’dzin, Dri’med, Fa Jun, Ganga, Janak, Khalden, Kundini, Kunzang, Lobsang, Malika, Mikyo, Namgyal, Namkai, Namtak, Ngawang, Norbu, Osel, Thokmey, Pualani, Rigpa, Rindzin, Satya, Serge, Tashi, Trogyal, Trusha, Tsal’gyur, Yene, Zat.
I feel honored to be a part of such a dynamic community full of leaders, collaborators, and bodhichitta in action. As I have often said we are a community of leaders, not followers, and this was our great strength through these last two years of effort to bring Dakini Mountain to life.
Did you miss your chance to donate? We still need your help. You can donate right now here!
The greatest thanks goes to Aruna, one of our Directors of Ngakpa International and our CFO. For her, this was an effort made every day without reprieve for six months straight of high pressure, high stakes negotiations, decisions, legal research and consulting with all involved. I got used to speaking with her and making excruciating decisions on almost a daily basis, but she had many more hours, every day, of countless meetings, letters and legal processes with everyone else involved. I feel so proud that a woman of such extraordinary leadership, determination, and skill guided us through this process. Whatever she didn’t know how to do (like engineer solar panels!), she learned, doing whatever was needed to make it happen. Thank you Aruna!
Dakini Mountain is the most beautiful place I have ever been, equal only to the other most beautiful place I have ever been in Eastern Tibet.
The Dakini is the Sanskrit word for the feminine principle in Tibetan Buddhism. It refers to enlightened wisdom manifesting in the forms least expected.
This is another reason why Dakini Mountain is so important. The last two years have seen a period of transformation for Buddhism as the #metoo movement has ushered in heightened awareness, reckoning, and change. It was a strange twist of fate to be reading one of these #metoo accounts the same day I heard about Dakini Mountain. My original vision had been that we would name this place after the Dakini, heralding a time of inclusion that we are now beginning to live in. I felt that Buddhism needed a center dedicated to gender equality. Buddhists should be world leaders in the movement promoting gender equality because we believe that underlying every person is a Buddha-nature and that genders are empty social constructs.
Some people shy away from associating themselves with feminist concerns but I believe this is because of misconceptions of the meaning of the term. A favorite definition of feminism is this one I read long ago in Women In Tibet, “…feminism- by which we mean the broad movement that recognizes injustices to women due to androcentric or misogynist bias, is critical of those injustices, and would foster modes of action and experience that have been hitherto discouraged by such biases…”
My concern is also with ushering in an era beyond harmful sexist socialization which has harmed all people of all genders, whether it is toxic masculinity or binary frameworks that limit the full range of our humanity, we are in a new time. Dakini Mountain is a retreat center for this new time. The negotiation between philosophy, tradition, post-modernity, globalization and American culture is one that requires attention, effort, patience, and courage. Underlying all androcentrism and misogyny is ignorance – and as Buddhism so beautifully asserts – so the path of liberation from ignorance is education. We are all, so many of us, in a process of enormous learning, grappling with complexity and cross-cultural engagements, grappling with identity and language. May we have courage and resilience in the journey ahead.
There is a wonderful line in the VajraYogini meditation which says, “Like a flag suddenly hoisted into the sky…” This is what Dakini Mountain will be, like a flag suddenly hoisted into the sky, Dakini Mountain arises as a declaration of the dignity, potential, and beauty of all beings.
Therefore the flag has been hoisted. We are now moving forward into a new era – the rise of Dakini Mountain.
We now already have thirty-five acres, a large barn that will be converted to the meditation hall and a gorgeous lodge with the most expansive views over a large luxurious wrap around deck. We will build dorms and cabins and a clinic for the Yogic Medicine Institute. We will build buildings and build spiritual energy at the same time. And we will be kind to each other while we do it, (like Buddhists always are supposed to be), but equally importantly while we build it, we will dream revolutionary thoughts together… the celebration of people of all genders as equal, as beautiful, as welcome… We will cultivate the wish for all beings to be free from suffering.
There is so much recreation to be had at Dakini Mountain so that even during these years of building, we will have much to enjoy! There is the ropes course, the zip line into the pond and the outdoor amphitheater and meadow. And of course, it joins the Tahoe National Forest so there will be plenty of time for a favorite delight of mine – hiking in nature! Those snowboarding retreats we used to have will now again return and by necessity! Dakini Mountain is at high altitude, we have opened this center on a site blanketed with snow, far as the eye can see. Sustainability has been and will continue to be a priority of our community. This is why Dakini Mountain is completely off the grid, solar power, propane, its own spring, and a giant well. It is a place to be immersed in nature while exploring the nature of mind!
As for the details of our grand achievement – Our fundraising total for Phase 1 of acquiring Dakini Mountain was $681,865! This included $550k in our equity from our Berkeley property (thanks to the kind generosity of our co-investor!) as well as $132,700 from community donations to our GoFundMe campaign! Therefore we have just raised over half a million dollars toward the Dakini Mountain Vision! Our goal for Phase 1 Go Fund Me Campaign was $150,000, so we still have $17,300 to go to reach our phase 1 goal. Please consider making a donation now at https://www.gofundme.com/dakini-mountain-fundraiser.
For the next phases to come, $1.1 million is still needed to pay off the mortgage and purchase the land, and roughly another million is needed for developments. Read the details here: https://www.gofundme.com/dakini-mountain-fundraiser. We will start another fundraising round for the remaining amount in the spring, along with an additional amount that we will need to refinance the property for a more favorable loan as soon as possible. We will spend the subsequent four years of fundraising to pay off the mortgage. In the meantime, three sangha members have agreed to stay there and pay the mortgage until we finish the fundraising to own the property outright. Our most immediate concern now is getting all the new solar batteries up running and top priority is fixing the snow plow so that the road into the property can be driveable. I plan to visit Dakini Mountain for a few days during the March Teaching Tour in California. I hope to see you in March, or if not, please do join us on the next Online Open Teaching or our monthly members class – Dzogchen Day.
We are currently planning to have our Grand Opening of Dakini Mountain June 7th-9th! Please do come and join us for a retreat weekend and Grand Opening Celebration. More information is forthcoming.
More wonderful news is that our summer retreats will be held at Dakini Mountain!! This includes our Annual Dzogchen retreat. And we are so excited to share the facility with our the many teachers and leaders who are members of the community as well as rent it out to the general public. May Dakini Mountain be nourishment for many.
Our first year will be more rustic style retreats until we complete our fundraising to finish the meditation hall and to build cabins and dorms, so our journey has really just begun. I will need your help to bring Dakini Mountain to full fruition. Still, as you will see, just as it is now, the land offers so much to enjoy. Just being there at high altitude is a spiritual experience and the breathtaking beauty and ideal Vastu make it even more so.
I extend my gratitude and congratulations to everyone connected to this project and for all our friends supporting with prayers and positive energy, thank you!
May we meet at Dakini Mountain!
With Great Joy,
Pema Khandro Rinpoche
Founder, Dakini Mountain
Learn more about Dakini Mountain here: www.DakiniMountain.org
Support Dakini Mountain with donations here: https://www.gofundme.com/dakini-mountain-fundraiser
Help us get the word out about the upcoming March Tour!
Here is a list of dates, events, and locations:
San Diego, CA
Nevada City, CA