Anyone who has visited Samye Hermitage New York, Phakchok Rinpoche’s retreat center in North America, knows that our communal life here centers on the Shrine Hall (the “Big Barn”). It is our home for study, practice, and transmission. A former horse riding area, Samye Hermitage’s Shrine Hall was built over 40 years ago, and the old roof was well beyond its useful life; it was leaking and endangering the entire facility, including our precious shrine space.
When Rinpoche visited this past September, his first official visit since 2018, our Hermitage was blessed to receive three exquisite statues from Nepal, each crafted by expert artisans: Shakyamuni Buddha, accompanied by Vajrasattva and Guru Padmasambhava, just as in the old gathering hall at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling, where Kyapjé Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche presided in years past. These statues were filled with priceless relics of the Buddha and many bodhisattvas, those of Guru Rinpoché, as well as treasure substances revealed by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa, in concert with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé. At the conclusion of Rinpoché’s visit, our community witnessed a grand consecration, assisted by our sangha members from Dharma House New York, and specially trained monastics. It was a joyous moment of return, and of fresh blessings for our land in Cooperstown.
Nevertheless, the home for these statues was under threat. So this fall, Samye Hermitage New York launched the “Raise the Roof” campaign, to raise funds to replace our roof, and to refresh our Shrine Hall space with a new shrine and flooring for our new statues. And thanks to the immense generosity of our community, local and worldwide, we’re happy to share that the first phase of protecting and improving our massive Shrine Hall is now complete! Our Dharma home in Cooperstown, NY, now has a new roof, capable of holding space for our practice for the next 50+ years. Check out two short clips of the work underway, here and here.
There’s more work to be done, though. Rinpoche has asked us to improve the interior gathering space so that our new statues are supported by an excellent shrine, and so practitioners and visitors find enough room and convenience, as well as elegance, to support their practice. If you are inspired to support the second phase of Samye Hermitage New York’s Shrine Hall project, or just to learn more details, visit our “Raise the Roof” campaign website. All support is being directed toward realizing Phakchok Rinpoche’s vision for the development of our collective practice space in Cooperstown, New York.