Fire on the Mountain: David Leskowitz
on the Sacred Trees of Tsegyalgar West and East
I first visited Tsegyalgar East in 2005 when I first met Rinpoche, but I did not visit
Khandroling at that time. Only after Emily and I stayed in Baja, at Tsegyalgar West in 2014
for a few months, did we venture to the Land of Dakinis.
At the Baja Gar, what the geko referred to as the Mother Tree, an ancient white ficus,
guards a stone portal to the Naga realm (or so some have dreamed). At least, she
provides the land and its visitors with a central place for a shrine where we can make
offerings of sang and serkyem to the dozens of realms seen and unseen.
These unique Zalate trees are native to Baja California, and feed off the fungus covering
he black stones they sprout from. The white bark that seems to have melted like wax
poured from above, provides only a thin, papery skin for these venerable grandmothers.
Yet somehow they endure through hurricanes and rough weather for centuries, covering
their home-stones with vast root systems.
When we first saw Khandroling at the inauguration of the Vajra Hall in 2015 we were drawn,
like most visitors are, to the Silver Birch cluster where, through even more papery-thin bark,
our Rinpoche has carved a venerable symbol of his Vast and Luminous lineage. The parallel
hit us both immediately, that an ancient stone hearth with guardian white tree marks the portals
found at both of our Sangha’s sacred lands.