In spirit of service to Master and Community, and in collaboration with all members of the Sangha, we endeavour to bring into practice Rinpoche's vision for the organisation of the International Dzogchen Community.

The Welcome Card – open message to Gakyils of Gars and Lings

(originally posted Oct 2014)

Rinpoche has wanted from the beginning to have a system which allows time for individuals to settle into their relationship with the Teacher and the Teachings and become really sure of the nature of their commitment before becoming a member of the Dzogchen Community. Anyone who has read the Blue Book (Principles of the Dzogchen Community) will know this already. For practical reasons, it has not always been so easy to implement his wishes, but we believe that the Welcome Card comes closer to Rinpoche’s intention than what has been done before.


Why do we need the Welcome Card?

 The first thing to do is to forget what has been called a Welcome card before. In the context of IDC membership, this new Welcome card is different!

Rinpoche has asked us to make sure that people have participated in Dzogchen Community activities for at least three consecutive years before becoming a member, and then be able to take SMS exams, hold a position on a Gakyil, be a Gekod or be able to vote at IDC Annual General Meetings (AGM).

He has also asked us to make sure that we abide by the laws in every country.

In fact in many countries every member of an organisation must be entitled to vote at a general meeting. It is generally not possible to have a kind of introductory membership without voting rights.

So it is not possible for a person to become a member in a legal sense straight away and we have had to find another way for new people to be formally connected with the teachings  without being a member.


What is the Welcome Card?


The Welcome Card is the solution we have adopted and it works like this:

In short, the Welcome Card is intended as a “pass” which enables the holder to access the facilities of the Dzogchen Community and to participate in its activities. Subscribing to this “pass” for three consecutive years is also a prerequisite requested for becoming a member of the IDC.


  • A Welcome Card holder is not a member of the IDC in a legal sense.
  • A Welcome Card holder is not an introductory member in a legal sense.
  • Someone who has held a Welcome Card for three years in a row can then apply to be a member of the IDC
  • A Welcome Card holder has all the same benefits as a member – access to closed webcasts and webcast replays, any discounts on courses and books, discounted use of personal retreat facilities, etc.
  • The fee for a Welcome Card is the same as the fee for any level of membership (except for the first year a Gar can decide to offer a reduced Introductory Welcome card fee)
  • A Welcome Card holder (having received transmission from the Master) can study and practice the Base of the Santi Maha Sangha, but is not eligible to take the exam and progress to Level 1 until they have been accepted as a Member of the IDC.
  • A Welcome Card holder may be well qualified and experienced in areas useful for working with the Gakyil, and can offer to work in a supporting role for the Gakyil, but is not eligible to be a member of a Gakyil until they have been accepted as a Member of the IDC.
  • A Welcome Card holder is free to make donations and give sponsorship according to their possibilities and wishes.
  • A Welcome Card holder cannot vote at AGMs or any general meeting of the IDC, or work as a Gekod of a Gar or other place of the Community.



Why would someone want to become a Welcome Card holder?


  • Being a Welcome Card holder is a necessary first step to becoming a member of the International Dzogchen Community of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu.


  • It gives the possibility to follow all webcast teachings, use the replay system and to participate in the study and practice of the Base of Santi Maha Sangha.


  • It may have other benefits according to the decision of the Gars’s Gakyil ( for example, discounts on local courses, purchase of books etc)


When should a Gakyil start to issue Welcome Cards to new people interested to become members?


In earlier communications this year, we have advised that a Gakyil can decide whether or not to begin the use of the new IDC Welcome Card in 2014, or wait until Jan 1st 2015, which is the start date for IDC membership to become a reality.


In any case, every Gar and Ling (whether already aligned, or only moving towards alignment with the Statute of the IDC) is asked to implement the new system from January 2015.


Some additional points:


  • Continuity of membership is also important, so anyone who has been a member of the Dzogchen Community in the past can either rejoin now (prior to January 2015) as a member or they may need to become a Welcome Card holder if they wish to rejoin later. This can be decided on a case by case basis – for example, it may be necessary to pay the missing years membership in order to remain a member.
  • A person who is a new Welcome Card Holder from 2014 can apply for membership from Jan 2017. All new Welcome Card holders from Jan 1st 2015 can apply to become members from Jan 2018, and so on.


Update September 2015 – further clarification:
Welcome Card holders:

We would like to clarify that from IDC point of view, anyone who joined one of the Gars or Lings in 2014 or more recently, is considered a Welcome Card holder for their first three years of participation.

The Welcome card holders must be entered or registered in MMS. If a person has continuity of membership records from 2013 or earlier, the system will recognize them as a member. Otherwise it will show them as Welcome card holders – so it is important to upload all membership records from at least 2013. Remember that a Welcome Card holder can contribute at any benefit level, the same as for members (ordinary, sustaining etc).

Someone who joined in 2014 who maintains continuity of payment, can therefore become a member in January 2017. From that moment on, they will have voting rights, be able to serve as Gakyil or Geko, and be able to sit the Base exam of SMS and continue on through the levels of SMS.

It may be that some new people were enrolled as members during this period and it will be necessary to explain their new circumstances. But since the benefits for Welcome card holders are exactly the same as for members, and only the level of participation in the organisational side is limited, we hope this will not make a problem for anyone. For taking the Base exam of SMS, there should certainly be no issue with having 3 years to study, practice and prepare.

Thank you for your collaboration!

International Gakyil.








17 Responses to “The Welcome Card – open message to Gakyils of Gars and Lings”

  1. Charles Sarasin

    Hello. Do welcome card holders also get an IDC or Merigar membership number? If yes, where can they apply for such a number? Is it correct that welcome card holders do not have to pay a regular membership fee? Thank you for answering my questions. Best regards, Charles Sarasin, Dzogchen Community Switzerland, Yellow Gakyil

    • Julian King-Salter

      Dear Charles

      Welcome card holders are not members, so will not have a membership number.

      They will be a welcome card holder of the Ling, Gar and IDC and will get any benefits according to their level of contribution – it is possible to be a sustaining welcome card holder, for example.

      Welcome card holders pay exactly the same fee as a member, at ordinary, sustaining or meritorious level of payment, and receive the benefits of that level.

      But generally they cannot be on Gakyil or be Geko.
      They cannot vote at a general meeting, and they cannot sit the Base exam of SMS (but they can study the Base of SMS subject to having received transmission)

      all the best

  2. Keith Beesley

    How do I apply to be a member

    • Julian King-Salter

      Hi Keith

      Please contact your nearest Gar or Ling and tell them you are interested to become a member – they will offer you a welcome card for 3 years, then yuo can become a member. I can let you know what is your nearest Gar/Ling if you let me know your location.

      all the best

  3. June Secrist

    I am interested in being able to access your online resources, but live in South Texas , far away from any centers and am often ill. Is it possible to obtain a welcome card? And pay for membership?

    • Julian King-Salter

      Dear June

      Thanks for your message! I hope this new year will be a good one for you!

      You should be able to register on (go to the register button top right and follow the instructions), which should automatically register you as a Welcome Card Holder and allocate you to your nearest centre.

      Then you will have access to closed webcasts and webcast replays, etc.

      Here are the contact details for your nearest main centre, in case you need any help. Please note that their website is being updated now with Welcome Card Holder information.

      Tsegyalgar West Secretary:

      All the best

  4. Moises Gutierrez

    Hi Julian,
    I live in Taipei and I don’t speak Chinese but I’m interested in becoming a member. I have already visited the Dzogchen center here but as I mentioned, it’s all in Mandarin. Have you seen a similar case before?
    I would love to get Rinpoche’s transmission next month and take some courses online. What should be my next step?

    • Julian King-Salter

      Hi Moi. At least you can follow Rinpoche’s webcast teachings on Also as you already know, you can receive Transmission in the same way and since the practice is Tibetan and Sanskrit, there is benefit to join with the Community members for this even though their language is chinese. Once you have receieved transmission, and also followed webcast teachings, at the end of each webcast series, Rinpoche gives the reading transmission (‘lung’) of many secondary practices, you can then learn from booklets and cds until you have a chance to meet and practice with others. also for doing practice like Ganapuja, it should be possible to join with people of any language! Let me know how you go, or if you need further advice. julian

      • Moises Gutierrez

        Hi Julian.
        Sounds good. I’ll start with Rinponche’s transmission. In order to do this, I need to become Welcome Card Holder, do I pay online or do I pay to the local Dzogchen center here? In either case, I would like to do that this week.
        Please advise and thanks,

        • Julian King-Salter

          Hi Moi

          You do not need to become a Welcome Card Holder before receiving transmission – but if wish to do so, that is ok!
          It is probably easiest for you to register and pay online, using the register button top right hand corner of home page, and follow the prompts.
          Sometimes it takes a while for the confirmation email to come through – in that case, keep checking your spam box in case it goes there.

          As a new person, you will automatically be registered as a welcome card holder, and will be connected to your nearest Gar or Ling – in this case, Gephelling.
          any problems, let me know!
          all the best

  5. Steven

    there is no local Gar or Ling near me. The closest is in Los Angles, which is a long arduous drive. The Southern Orange County basin is a perfect place to build interest or draw interested people in. Has there been any conversation about this? I am not sure how to proceed being so far from any support or Sangha..

    • Julian King-Salter

      Dear Steven

      The best thing i can suggest is to follow webcast teachings, and if you can get to a Ling or gar for a teaching and practice retreat, that will give you a good base for practicing at home and in your daily life. Certainly it will be good if a Sangha develops in your area, that is something which can happen naturally, then you can meet for collective practice etc – once there is a group of practitioners, 9 or more, then you can think of starting a Ling if you wish.

      all the best, julian

  6. Christina

    Have been a member of the Dzogchen community since June 2003 and have gone continuously to Chogyal Namkhai Norbu retreats worldwide. I am very grateful for receiving his precious teachings and transmissions including all his practices and books which I already have. At this moment of my life, there is no need for me to belong to any kind of spiritual organisation.

  7. Markus

    Hello. Despite of my big doubt if something like ‘welcome card’ and that prozess of becoming a member has something to do with the essence of dzogchen, I would like to know what kind of teaching I have access to (especially via internet, exept the worldwide transmission) without welcome card. And which teachings are available through internet for card holders/members, maybe you have a list if all that. Thank you very much in advance!!

    • Libor Maly

      Hi Marcus,

      there is nothing which is not being the essence of dzogchen 🙂 … As a welcome card holder are have exactly the same possibilities as a regular member, except few exceptions – not being able to vote in a members gathering, not being able to be voted for a gakyil etc, but regarding the teaching there is no difference. We do not have a list of teachings available on internet, but all teachings of Rinpoche are webcasted live and then you can watch them just few days after the retreat and then they are not available. There is no on-line learning, all teachings are live on webcast at the moment of the teaching.

  8. Markus

    Dear Libor Maly,

    Hahaha, of course you are right with your statement, I was doubting in terms of relative reality. Anyway, I have one question left. I am not shure if I understood correct: Is it possible to receive transmissions in form of a webcast or is it necessary to get it live?

    • Libor Maly

      Hi Markus,

      yes, it is possible to receive transmission in the form of the webcast, it happens usually 3 times a year and the next webcasted worldwide transmission will be on November 13. The URL of the webcast is


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