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The Diamond Mountain Blog

This is an unofficial blog of news and info from Diamond Mountain University and Retreat Center which was founded by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of the Dalai Lamas.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Lama Dome

     Today was a great day.  A big group of us went up to the Lama dome and put the second to last coat of plaster on the exterior.  The next coat will be the color coat.  It was me, Johneo, Burt, Nicole, and Della on the trowls.  Gunner and Iron Cram kept the plaster coming.  We had Ricci, Dylan, Ron from Israel, and Dennis serving it up.  The trowel-ed ones scaled the dome using the foot holds that were built into the structure.  We were given buckets of plaster which we then dumped onto the dome and smoothed out.  It was a little sketch-a-fari.  I'm glad my Mom wasn't there.  In five hours we coated the whole thing.  If you haven't seen the dome or know it's history, this was a major accomplishment.  The dome is five years in the making at this point.  
   Next to the dome is Lama Christie's little adobe house.  It is, to me, by far the most attractive little house on the land.  It's real old Tucson.  If you haven't come up to work at DMU, come to see this little cabin and work there if you can.  I go to all these sites to work and forget the miracle that they are.  Some of them are really hard to get to on foot, let alone a vehicle.  But build them we did.  
    The dome is special, you know?  You have to go there and sit in the middle and look up through the sun hole/sky light.  You have to sit in the meditation room.  It is the result of the good intentions of hundreds of people.  It is a sancturary in the middle of the high desert on the top of a mountain.  It is made of the earth from that mountain.  It is partially covered with the earth from that mountain.  It is a rock made holy by the people that built it.  Once, when were were still stacking the earth bags that form it's circular walls a funny thing happened.  I was checking the earth/water/clay mix that was to go into the bag we were laying.  I unconsciously gabbed a piece and put it to my mouth, to check it.  It seemed like a normal thing to do.  It was the most pure substance in my world at that moment.  
     I think a person can make anything holy.  It takes great effort sometimes.  It takes the effort to step out of your comfort zone.  It takes the dropping of many judgements of yourself and others.  Working on the dome has sometimes hurt both my body and mind.  I have worked until I was so tired that I cried and blubbered out apologies to everyone I could think of that I had wronged in my life.  But the sweetness of working there is hard to communicate in words.  It has come out over time and through the presence of other people.  In whatever form our lives take, may we all stay together.  

Monday, October 18, 2010


As Steve, Johneo and I were leaving Big Papa Brady's site this evening, climbing impossible steep roads as the sun set, Steve laughed and said "Do we love Geshe Michael or what?" I don't think any of us would be here if not for him and Lama C. Diamond Mountain Retreat Valley is entirely built on Love. It's a riduculous place to work if looked at from the outside. We're all going into the hole financially here. Our trucks are getting beat to dirt. Our minds are getting beat to dirt. My personal practice of yoga and meditation is beat to, I don't know, tiny buckwheat husks. But still I want it all to succeed. Particularly because it is such a crazy project.
As I look at what my friends are doing out in the world I sometimes long to join them. There are so many beautiful projects and trainings happening. I love getting the Acro Yoga newsletter. The founders, Jason and Jenny, have created something transendent. Transending what? You name it. Yoga combined with acrobatics combined with play and Thai massage combined with dance and music and Metta. My longing to join them only lasts a brief while. It is my sincere wish that my friends all complete their three year retreat and acheive what ever it is they wish to acheive in there. And then I think of the cabins being there for anyone to do any sort of retreat in. This is a project that will last well beyond me. That makes me happy.
Again, if you have a desire to come here, please do. If you have building skills, super. No skills, super. But you have to like physical labor. You should probably also Love someone who is here or associated with DMU. It just makes it all the more sweet.
Allison made some killer veggie pot pie pockets tonight. I'm full and ready to go home.
See you on the mountain,
Matt G.