Whether you are vaccinated or not, whether you have a negative PCR test or not, does not change the need to respect sanitary measures.
We are now used to these measures:
Access to the temple will be limited to 70/80 people to respect sanitary distances.
For accommodation, the rooms that accommodate several people will become individual rooms, except for couples or families. The number of places in the dormitory will be reduced to space out the beds. This will allow us to accommodate about 80 people.
The campsite area will be open, and the layout of the tents should follow the same guidelines. Disinfectant will be available in all places where necessary.
These rules must be maintained in Montchardon at all times.
– We have a moral obligation to protect ourselves and others from disease, especially as we live in collective premises.
– It is important to continue to protect Lama Teunsang, whose immunity is greatly diminished, even though he has been vaccinated.
For these reasons, we are asking all those who come this summer to commit to respecting sanitary measures. This commitment will take the official form of a box to be ticked on the registration form, which will allow everyone to come to the Centre with complete peace of mind.
If you cannot or do not wish to follow these guidelines, we ask you not to come to the Centre while these rules are in effect.
The same applies, of course, if you are ill or have symptoms of the virus.
When you leave, if you need to have a PCR test, this can be done in the cities in the area. However, it will be up to you to organise (making an appointment, travelling to and from the test site), because the Centre cannot manage these procedures.
The new sewage system
In the Montchardon adventure, there have been engaging and federating projects such as the construction of a stupa or temple, and others that are less exhilarating but of prime importance for daily life, such as the creation of a new water treatment plant for the Centre.
Because Montchardon is far from the surrounding villages, it is impossible for us to connect to the communal sewage system. In 1988, the public authorities having asked us to establish an autonomous system, we built a 100m3 concrete pit where all waters from Montchardon are gathered and treated before infiltrating naturally into the ground. Located below the campground underneath the 8 stupas, this installation had so far given us complete satisfaction.
Recently, during the building permit process for the new building, the Administration asked us to increase the capacity of our sewage system. A specialized engineering office advised us to bring the installation up to current standards, which are more environmentally compatible. This advice seemed very relevant to us, since we had been aware of the limits of the system for some years. After studying the situation, and taking into account our present and future needs, the expert helped us choose a new installation capable of treating the effluents of a site receiving up to 200 people. The current capacity being about 130 people, this will also ensure our future development needs.
The chosen solution consists of a biological treatment plant, entirely buried so as to be unnoticeable in the environment. Water is treated by a population of bacteria attached to a support. A clever aeration system facilitates the development of aerobic bacteria which degrade the polluting materials contained in waste water. This makes it possible to obtain non-drinkable yet clean water, that can then be discharged into the natural environment by infiltration.
We wanted to replace the old system under the 8 stupas with the new one before the beginning of the summer courses. We called upon our friend Florent Lamberton, an excavation specialist, who has been working at the Centre for many years with great competence. He coordinated this particularly delicate work: first of all, he delivered 6 large concrete tanks, some weighing more than 11 tons, and then placed them precisely in a 3.5m deep excavation the size of a public swimming pool!
On July 5th, 4 vehicles brought the tanks, preceded by a truck crane, necessary to handle them. All were positioned on an access road laid out for the occasion below the construction site. After the crane was deployed, the impressive operation of removing each tank was carried out easily, in a record time, under the watchful eye of Lama Teunsang standing on the top of the terrace of the 8 stupas.
The total cost of this operation is also impressive: €70,000! This may seem quite expensive… yet if this facility lasts as long as the previous one (32 years), it is an essential and very profitable investment for the Centre.
The 100m3 tank that served as an all-water pit was in good condition: we kept it so that once cleaned and restored, it can be used as a water reserve for the fire services, for watering or for various needs.
Our photographer and friend Salva has made a film and photos that you can see on the french version.
In order to give you a more precise idea of this project, we present a video animation made from a digital model, which we created to visualize the building as a whole and to detail the different floors. You will find it here:
The ground floor
It will be reserved for the temple of Nyung Ne, which Lama Teunsang is very keen about ( More about Nyung Ne practice ). The main entrance to the building will be through an access hall on the North side, facing the current big temple. This vestibule will serve as a cloakroom for shoes and outdoor clothing, and be equipped with sanitary facilities.
The temple will be 22m long and 9m wide, i.e. 200m2, an area close to that of the big temple. You can see on the video that the ceiling height increase from 3m at the entrance to 4.5m at the back of the room, to allow different statues to be placed in the altar. The main one for the practice of Nyung Ne is Chenrezig with Eleven Faces and a Thousand Arms, which will be transferred from the present Nyung Ne temple in building B. The other key piece of the altar will be the stupa that was recently set up in the big temple, which houses the relic of a skull fragment of the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (more about this relic, click here)
The video shows only a glimpse of the altar and the temple, which will be traditionally decorated. Other statues will be installed on the shelves and we plan to include the Kangyur (the complete collection of the Buddha’s words), which a friend of the Centre gave us a few years ago and which is currently in the retreat centre building. The floor will be made of wood, like in the big temple.
For many years, Didier Eudes, an artist friend living in Le Havre, has been engaged in the making of bas-reliefs illustrating the 12 Acts of the Buddha (see opposite), which he offered to Karma Migyur Ling. These are reproductions of bas-reliefs kept in museums or holy places, true masterpieces of ancient India Buddhist art. For more than 10 years, Didier has patiently created these works one by one, first making a clay mould in which a mineral substrate is poured to give the appearance of reconstituted stone. You might have seen one of these bas-reliefs at the entrance to the Centre, near the secretariat, showing the birth of the Buddha. The other sculptures were stored in the yoga room. Lama Teunsang requested that these bas-reliefs be placed on the walls of the new temple.
1st and 2nd floors
They will each consist of 11 individual rooms and a common sanitary block with two showers and two toilets. Each floor will have two staircases at each end, the second being an emergency access.
The 10m2 rooms will be arranged to facilitate the practice of retreat. Each room will be equipped with a toilet area (washbasin), a bed, a large wardrobe, a table, a meditation area and a shelf for the altar and offerings.
Basement – garden level
As the building is built on a mountainside, the rear part is partially buried while the front is at garden level (see video). This floor will therefore be under the Nyung Ne temple.
In the first version of the project, we thought we would leave this level empty, to be developed in the future. In the end, we felt that it would be better to use it right away by adding an additional seven rooms, based on the model of the upper floors, with a common toilet block. One room will be reserved for the boiler room, linked to the heating network coming from the wood-fired boiler room, with a hot water tank and an emergency boiler.
The rear part will be used as a cellar, surrounded by a gallery forming a sanitary space to isolate the building from the natural terrain.
Use of the building
This new construction will make it possible to organize annual Nyung Ne retreats, either in the form of 100 Nyung Ne or for shorter periods, according to the requests of the practitioners. We will also program collective practices, such as retreats to deepen Shine-Lhaktong meditation over one or several months, or the practice of Chöd. Finally, this building will also be very useful to host individual retreats over more or less long periods, in order to deepen the practice.
Now that we have chosen the companies that commit to a firm quotation, we know the total amount of this project, which amounts to 1.8 million euros.
We have created a page that explains how the project will be financed and how you can support it.