Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

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Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby thinley paljor » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:58 am

I'm a Canadian living on the East Coast who'll be beginning 3-year retreat next year in California. The problem is i am having a major problem getting a visa as none of them seem to apply to me. For example, R1 religious visa is no good as i won't
be fulfilling a remunerated religious function i.e. "to perform duties in a religious organization". The visitor Visa is useless to
me as well as it is limited to 6 mths. and i can already enter for 6 mths as a Canadian. The work Visa won't work either for obvious reasons (won't be working). The frequent entry Visa won't work either as it lets you enter several times over ten years but you're not supposed to stay over 6 months at a time and you cannot re-enter for a few mths.
Anyone out there who is a crack immigration lawyer or know one by any chance? Really need help on this. Thanks.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Virgo » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:08 am

What if you got a letter from the center explaining you will be involved in a work/study program for the three years? Maybe you could do so many hours of work around the center per week to make it count as a work/study program? I am not famiar with the laws, so I don't know how much good that will do. I am just rying to help and present an idea to you.

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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Virgo » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:22 am

Just a question, if you are going to "practice" Dzogchen, why do you need a retreat?

Maybe I am ignorant. I apologize if I am.

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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Josef » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:09 am

Virgo wrote:
Maybe I am ignorant. I apologize if I am.

Kevin

I dont think your statement is ignorant.
On the contrary, I think you make a very valid point.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Sönam » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:26 am

well, the OP did'nt ask for specific understanding of what Dzogchen "is" ... but help to resolve a problem.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Josef » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:03 am

Sönam wrote:well, the OP did'nt ask for specific understanding of what Dzogchen "is" ... but help to resolve a problem.

Perhaps the problem is assuming that one needs to leave the country for retreat?
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:25 am

Virgo wrote:Just a question, if you are going to "practice" Dzogchen, why do you need a retreat?

Maybe I am ignorant. I apologize if I am.

Kevin


I don't believe he ever said he "needed" a retreat, but I'm sure his reasons for planning to go on retreat similar to all the illustrious Dzogchen masters of the past and present. Or maybe he does "need" to go on retreat... Most, if not all, of the Khorde Rushen practices must be done in seclusion.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:30 am

Nangwa wrote:
Sönam wrote:well, the OP did'nt ask for specific understanding of what Dzogchen "is" ... but help to resolve a problem.

Perhaps the problem is assuming that one needs to leave the country for retreat?


I'm not sure if it's any of our business what this guy's reasons are for going on retreat where he's going to, but considering the relative abundance of Dzogchen masters residing in California and the number of retreat lands there that they've established in most part specifically for Dzogchen retreat, I wouldn't be surprised if California is where his lama lives.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Josef » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:36 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Nangwa wrote:
Sönam wrote:well, the OP did'nt ask for specific understanding of what Dzogchen "is" ... but help to resolve a problem.

Perhaps the problem is assuming that one needs to leave the country for retreat?


I'm not sure if it's any of our business what this guy's reasons are for going on retreat where he's going to, but considering the relative abundance of Dzogchen masters residing in California and the number of retreat lands there that they've established in most part specifically for Dzogchen retreat, I wouldn't be surprised if California is where his lama lives.

I agree.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Pero » Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:47 am

I don't see a problem. If someone wants or needs to do a three year retreat, even if it would be solely on Dzogchen, there is nothing wrong with it. It is much easier to do retreat somewhere else than at home. Old masters even advised to leave one's own country behind. And perhaps there is nothing similar available in Canada. I had to go abroad to do retreat too. I'd rather do it in my own country but I'm just not aware of any retreat place existing.
Also I think that almost everyone who thinks that at least some retreat is not necessary in Dzogchen are mistaken.

But anyway, this guy wasn't asking for opinions on his retreat, but for help around his visa. Unfortunately I've no clue about these things. And I'm not an American either.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Dhondrub » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:15 pm

You guys serious? The question should rather be if you want to practice Dzogchen why you wouldn`t go to retreat not vice versa.I think its save to say that the largest part of all Dzogchen masters of the past and present spent quite some time in retreat.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby kirtu » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:42 pm

Hi Thinley!

I'm NOT a lawyer but -

thinley paljor wrote:I'm a Canadian ... For example, R1 religious visa is no good as i won't
be fulfilling a remunerated religious function i.e. "to perform duties in a religious organization".


Yes this should be the visa you would logically apply for for a long term retreat. The R1 visa as stated fulfils the intended purpose of your long term stay as you will be performing duties in a religious organization just by taking part in the retreat (i.e. it is a recognized function of the religious organization to sponsor or offer group or individual long term retreats and as such you will be participating). However Customs officials may have other views so please check with a lawyer.

As a Canadian you should have no trouble at all getting a visa and entering the retreat. The question is merely a pragmatic one: which visa is best for this purpose? I have only personally known one Canadian turned away by US Customs at the border and he was later able to get back to the US by bus (he was a Canadian acquaintance in the entertainment industry who was living out west and came to DC from time to time - he was turned away for a drug issue that happened a long time before he was denied entry). I have known Canadians before 9/11 who stayed long term in the US without any visa at all. Technically illegal but no one was watching for all those illegal Canadians (or Irish [in the 80's and early 90's you could go into nearly any Irish pub at night in DC and hear authentic Irish protest music sung by Irishpeople who were often protesting Ms. Thatcher on stage], or French, or many other nationalities). Now it's a bit different but the US is still not excessively concerned about Canadians with non-Middle Eastern ties coming south (and the emphasis on this kind of racial/cultural/religious profiling does disturb me but them's the facts).

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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Epistemes » Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:24 pm

:offtopic:

How can anybody go on a 3 year retreat unless you're retired or work at Starbucks? It seems highly impractical and irresponsible.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Clarence » Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:22 pm

Epistemes wrote::offtopic:

How can anybody go on a 3 year retreat unless you're retired or work at Starbucks? It seems highly impractical and irresponsible.


Well, not everyone has a family to support and sometimes people choose retreat over living a regular life. From a Buddhist POV it is rather commendable. The costs are either saved up, paid for by sponsors, or, if someone is independently weatlhy, well that speaks for itself. It is a choice one makes. Of course, one can make perfect progress just practicing at home and doing the occasional retreat. However, focused and dedicated retreat time will make the progress go faster. At least, in my case it works like that.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby conebeckham » Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:52 pm

Dhondrub wrote:You guys serious? The question should rather be if you want to practice Dzogchen why you wouldn`t go to retreat not vice versa.I think its save to say that the largest part of all Dzogchen masters of the past and present spent quite some time in retreat.

Right on.
We should all be rejoicing in his intention, and helping him, if possible.

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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby The Ticking Man » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:13 pm

thinley paljor wrote:Anyone out there who is a crack immigration lawyer or know one by any chance? Really need help on this. Thanks.


My suggestion is to go onto Angie's List to find an attorney:

http://www.angieslist.com/

I am quite confident that you will be able to find an attorney in California that will be able to take care of your problem.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby Josef » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:26 pm

Dhondrub wrote:You guys serious? The question should rather be if you want to practice Dzogchen why you wouldn`t go to retreat not vice versa.I think its save to say that the largest part of all Dzogchen masters of the past and present spent quite some time in retreat.

Its an interesting point of discussion.
I dont think anyone is trying to discourage or saying that retreat is not valuable.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby thinley paljor » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:26 pm

Thanks for all your comments. Just a few points of clarification. You can ignore the word Dzogchen in the title. I put it in there because this is the Dzogchen column and my Teacher, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, is a Dzogchen Master so i guess we will probably touch upon the subject a little bit. And no, obviously, one does not have to be in retreat to practise Dzogchen however to realize Dzogchen (i.e. to complete and truly stabilize your experience) that seems to be a different matter...at least i haven't been able to after 4 decades of practise so i guess some of you are doing better than me.

Concerning the religious visa...I'll be looking into this further with an immigration lawyer...(i was hoping to find a Buddhist-friendly immigration lawyer on this site) but i think you have to be bringing some very specialized input to be accepted on the religious visa eg. be a Tibetan Lama etc.. otherwise the authorities are very wary of you. I know one highly competent translator who was hardly able to get the religious visa so i don't think they give it easily at all, probably not just for doing extensive retreat.

Concerning work/study Visas and work Visas etc...i believe the conditions are quite restrictive (working for a mother business overseas having branches in the USA or bringing into the US an unusual experience). Concerning the Study Visa, i'll look into that...but i doubt my Lama's centre could satisfy the authorities in terms of being a recognized academic institution at least in regard to how this is understood in the West.

I also know Canadians who've managed to do extensive retreat in the past but this was in the good old days before 9/11 when Canadians didn't even need a passport to get into the US. Now the passports (and some specialized I.D.cards) are scanned and though i might get into the US and stay for 3 1/2 yrs. they won't ever let me back in.

In any case, i very much appreciate your comments. Thank you and as my Teacher always says "more please".
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby xylem » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:35 pm

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Last edited by xylem on Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need help with my 3 year Nyingma/Dzogchen retreat.

Postby thinley paljor » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:59 pm

Hi Xylem,

Please check your PM's .
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