First time teachers sit alongside the more senior teachers who are also renewing their teaching credentials. In fact, any certified teacher can attend these events if space permits.
The final step for participants of the education programs to receive their teaching certificates is to attend a Lu Jong or Tog Chod Master Class Event.
These gatherings are scheduled twice a year in Europe, and once per year in North America, on specific dates, for all students around the world.
The Master Classes take place after all exams have been completed and therefore have a very happy and positive energy about them.
The community comes together in celebration for the new teachers and to strengthen the bonds between all the teachers and educators.
Most importantly, the gatherings are opportunities to:
As a North American student, and now educator, my certification experiences had not required a Master Class appearance in Europe ... So this was the year I decided to go!
The longstanding location for these events is in Plochingen, Germany. Yes, I had to google it and once I had my plane and trains in line, getting there was a snap.
This quaint town is nary 20 minutes outside of Stuttgart but is quite rural in comparison. I never saw many people on the street at any given time, but there is a main hotel, a supermarket, a couple of restaurants and bakeries - and a train station. Who needs more than that?
I explored all corners and ate a lot of Schnitzel and really good Italian food ... and pretzels because I love 'em! The days flew bye in a blink.
The Lu Jong Master Class was a 4 day event with over 200 students/teachers gathered for teachings and practice. Our movements were subject to additional 'modifications' to allow for the close quarters, yet everything flowed without a hitch.
What an amazing experience to see such a wide range of teachers, all of us sharing the common bond of these Tibetan movement practices. The entire community wasn't present because certification renewals happen at different times for each teacher, which is good because there would not be enough space for everyone!
Some people would gather by nationality, some by friendships, and many of the new teachers would group together with their classmates or educators if in attendance. I traveled with one of my students, a teacher in her own right who chose to join my adventure and complete her renewal process in Europe. It was super nice to share our first visit to Plochingen together and to also be able to introduce her to my friends and peers rather than rattle off a bunch of names without faces.
Following Lu Jong were the Tog Chod Master Classes, another 2 days of sharing space with fellow teachers/educators and diving into all manner of Wisdom Sword teachings. This group was smaller, around 50 teachers, yet large in spirit and energy. The hours of physical practice were demanding and, as usual, I have my requisite set of bruises to validate my efforts.
Overall it was such a tremendous week of learning and sharing in Plochingen! The sheer magnitude of an event this size is daunting yet everyone felt welcome and 'seen' by Tulku Lobsang and the entire administrative team. Kudos to all of them!
In closing, participating in the Master Class events in Germany is an experience I shall be repeating in the future (as my schedule permits) and I will also hold the door open for any trainee or teacher that wants to travel with me. I know it's an important part of understanding, practicing and sharing Tulku Lobsang's Methods and ... apparently I'm a really fun person to travel with!