During the spring of 2012 Lama Ivo decided that he would follow the detailed instructions of his root teacher and would change the direction of his activity completely. As he has done in the past, he chose to do this quite radically. He announced to his closest group of personal disciples that he intended to go on a journey around the world with no set goal. Everyone was free to chose to follow or stay. We felt it was a test like no other, for loyalty and width of vision.
Many good Dharma practitioners had obligations they could not abandon and stayed behind, but eight students were mature and ready enough to realize the preciousness of this opportunity. Two of them were immediately sent to the Southern Pacific with a special task. Ivo sold the Dharma center and all his possessions right away, and… bought a sailing ship. Three people accompanied him as crew, with several others coming and going along the way on the journey that followed. No one had any prior experience in sailing.
With Lama Ivo as captain, the crew set sail from the coast of France in the Northern Atlantic ocean. The very first trip of our ship, named Ati, was crossing the Bay of Biscay from the North – a 6 day journey notorious among sailors for it’s traditionally rough and dangerous conditions. Then the group sailed around the shores of Spain, Portugal, the West coast of Africa, stopping in many places along the way where many practices were done by Lama Ivo and the sangha, crossing the Atlantic ocean to the Caribbean islands and then crossing the whole Caribbean sea in one go. For the whole journey Ivo relied only on divination practices for schedule and choice of route, and we were not consulting traditional weather forecasts. As a result, in seven months of blue water sailing we had only two hours of “bad weather” – light rain, and zero incidents. During this time many other amazing things happened and a lot became clear – it was a very joyful and educational journey.
Lama Ivo had always wanted to visit the land of Mexico for an extended period of time. He had very special past personal spiritual connections to certain people and places there. When we reached the Caribbean he immediately left our ship and went to the Yucatan jungle with Deyan, his closest Dharma friend. They spent several weeks there, identifying a possible location for a future Dharma center. When they returned to the ship, Ivo told everyone that they had found a suitable place. We knew that only the collective merit of the group would determine whether we would settle or the journey would continue. This stirred up everyone and only a week passed before a very generous donation was offered by two of his students in Bulgaria, which enabled the purchase of the property in question. Then our ship set sail for the shores of the Yucatan crossing the Caribbean sea. A new phase of our collective journey began.
The land of Mexico manifested a whole new phase of experience for us. Lama Ivo gave his blessing to the formation of the Sky Dharma Community, agreeing to gradually transmit openly several completely new cycles of teachings, based on new principles of living and meditation practice. It was a start of a gradual transmission which would take years to unfold. And he reminded us that there is no limit to what a small group of dedicated people can accomplish if they bend their heart and mind on a common goal.
In the summer of 2013 the Community acquired a second piece of land in the jungle and a very nice meditation retreat center was built there. We also opened an elite cave diving school DivingMexico.com. During the fall Lama Ivo led the first major Dzogchen retreat in the new temple, on the profound “Tri Yeshe Lama” by Jigme Lingpa. Very shortly afterwards Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche bestowed a name to our center – “The Center of Self-Liberation”, Rangdrol Ling – which was a great honor and inspiration for all of us. In 2015 some teachings were bestowed and a ground consecration ceremony for a stupa was done at the site by Palyul Dragmar Khentrul Rinpoche. In 2016 the construction of a Samantabhadra stupa was started and was completed with the stupa extensively consecrated in 2017. Many teachings and retreats took place in Rangdrol Ling during these years.
In 2018 Lama Ivo abruptly decided to start traveling again, and we were happy to once again feel the joy of training in flexibility and freedom. A new chapter of our story is in the making, and it looks even more exciting than the last one :)
Every day is a journey,
and the journey itself is home.
– Matsuo Bashō