Once, some years ago, when I was attempting to practice despite feeling sad about some particular things & the state of the world in general, it occurred to me that we are never alone. Whenever we sit down (or get up, as the case may be) to do our practice there are always many others around the world doing just that as well! I don’t just mean members of The Dzogchen Community – although I’m sure it’s true – but all kinds of people in many different places & cultures, united by the same (if broad) intent. Great masters you never heard of! Yogis in caves, private mystics in humble little houses, folks singing on mountain tops & in churches, practicing mantra in monasteries, hospitals & kitchens: all kinds of meditation, prayer & ceremony going on right now in this moment. I call it The Real Worldwide Web.

& that is just the apparent world, known to our senses. Chögyal Namhkai Norbu often reminded us that there are many worlds, dimensions of existence & beings of whom we are not usually aware. Add that to the mix & whenever you do your practice that network of support & inspiration is always there, maybe not so far away. I also recall Rinpoche saying that whenever we sing the Song of the Vajra there are always Dakinis singing it right then too.

Because this idea really helped me I made the habit of reminding myself about it & so the idea of the global mantra chains within our community really speaks to me. Usually they are announced on Norbunet, the international email list for the Dzogchen Community.
If you haven’t joined Norbunet you can find information here:

The idea is to produce a particlar mantra uninteruptedly, worldwide, on a particular day. In the email announcing it there will be a brief explanation of which practice we will be doing & the date which has been chosen for the mantra chain. The day is divided into 24 hour long slots & by clicking on a link in the email you can fill out a simple form & sign up to support the global community practice for an hour. You’re also asked to write a brief report by email to confirm that you took part & how many people were in your group. I’ve done this a few times now: Tara Mantra, Naggon, The Short Ganapuja of Jigme Lingpa & Guru Dragphur are practices I have participated in in the past. Usually we are asked to start the mantra five minutes early & finish five minutes after the cut off time to ensure that the baton has been passed. Of course you have no idea who is practicing before you or after you, or who if anyone, shares your slot. We usually do some simple preliminaries first & dedications afterwards, so the whole thing can take up about one hour twenty minutes or so of your time. It’s worth it!

There is a famous saying you hear about “a little often,” which I heard Rinpoche  say, but there is also a case for sometimes doing longer sessions of practice. It may not be perfect the whole time, but you can learn a lot & by the end of your session you are always in a very different place than when you started. (At least that is my experience.)

The last global mantra chain, just over a week ago at the time of writing, was a mantra chain of Guru Dragphur. On 11th of October in 2016 there were 970 practitioners from 48 countries keeping the recitation of Guru Dragphur’s mantra active in a global chain for 24 hours. Rinpoche was very happy about that! Sadly, this last time the chain was broken! There were 176 practitioners in 25 countries, but it wasn’t enough. The time slot of 1-2 am GMT wasn’t filled & only one person, bless them, held the space for 10-11 am GMT.

So I’m writing in the hope that more members of the UK Community might be inspired to join in with global mantra chains in the future. Then we all become part of the Real Worldwide Web & we girdle the earth with our songs of vast aspiration, good intention & liberation for all beings.

Barry Patterson.