In Sept 2016, just a week before Merry Colony and Harry Sutton were to depart for a five month sojourn to Nepal and India, Lama Zopa Rinpoche advised Merry to take over the directorship of the center for “just a year or a little more”. As the center was struggling to make ends meet the idea had been put forward to possibly sell the property. Rinpoche felt the better option would be to offer the center to the sangha. Thus, Merry and her partner Harry were tasked with managing this transition and ushering the center into this new phase. As it turned out there were not enough sangha able to take up the offer and in June, 2017 it was decided to keep running Milarepa as a center, with an emphasis on retreat. With Merry and Harry’s task done, Dawn Holtz took over as director in Dec, 2017.
In their 15 months merry and harry offered many Nyung Na retreats, teachings with Kendall Magnussen and Martha Tack, a family camp, and many community outreach events. But the highlight of their stay was hosting Cherok Lama Rinpoche at Milarepa for ten day in the middle of a very snowy February. During his time at the center Rinpoche gave a public talk, met with the local sherpa community, blessed the land, and generally spread great joy amongst all who met him.
Despite not being able to gather in enough monks and nuns to make a viable sangha community, merry and harry’s tenure was an important one for the center and helped bring it back online as a FPMT center offering a monthly program for the public and excellent retreat conditions for individuals.