Mandala Today

Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing rescued goats, Bodhgaya, India, March 2014. Photo by Ven. Sarah Thresher.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing rescued goats, Bodhgaya, India, March 2014. Photo by Ven. Sarah Thresher.

Senior English nun and FPMT-registered teacher Ven. Sarah Thresher shared this story about a generous offering to the goats of Root Institute for the July-September 2014 issue of Mandala. Root Institute is a thriving FPMT center in Bodhgaya, India, the site where Buddha became enlightened:

Winter in Bodhgaya, India, can be cold. In January and February temperatures dip and nighttime is difficult without warm clothing.

This winter many goats were brought to Root Institute, the FPMT retreat center in Bodhgaya, the location of Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment. They were rescued from slaughter at roadside butchers by visiting pilgrims who then brought them to the center to be looked after. (It’s very hard to pass by these butchers and watch the goats tied up awaiting death standing next to the skinned corpse of the previous goat to be killed.) However, many of the goats were already sick when they were sent to the butcher and by the time they reached the center they were traumatized and weak and often died. …

Read more …

From Mandala July-September 2014

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche being greeted, Kushinagar, India, December 13, 2013. Photo by Andy Melnic.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche being greeted, Kushinagar, India, December 13, 2013. Photo by Andy Melnic.

FPMT has more than 20 centers and study groups in four Spanish-speaking countries and Mandala features several articles translated into español, available for free online. 

Student and coordinator of Thubten Kunkyab Study Group in Mexico Alejandro M. García recently translated “La Gran Estupa de la Compasión Universal” and “Progreso Gigantesco Para Los Proyectos Maitreya,” which appeared in English in the April-June 2014 issue. Spanish-speaking students can now read about the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Australia, slated to be the largest stupa in the Western world and the venue of the CPMT 2014 meeting in September, and about the progress of the Maitreya Projects, among the largest FPMT holy objects currently being planned and built in India.

In addition to what Mandala offers, FPMT education and practice materials, including advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, are available in Spanish through the FPMT Foundation Store, FPMT Hispana, and Ediciones Mahayana. You can find links to Spanish-language books by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, published by Ediciones Dharma, on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. In addition, Spanish translations of many sutras can be found on FPMT.org via the search function.

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from over 160 FPMT centers, projects and services around the globe. If you like what you read on Mandala, consider becoming a Friend of FPMT, which supports our work.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche with Jamyang Buddhist Centre resident teacher Geshe Tashi (left) and Ven. Sherab, Rinpoche's attendant, enjoying the Kalacharka mandala in the Peace Garden near Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with Jamyang Buddhist Centre resident teacher Geshe Tashi (left) and Ven. Sherab, Rinpoche’s attendant, enjoying the Kalachakra mandala in the Tibetan Peace Garden near Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Rinpoche’s public teaching in London, “Enlightened Courage,” can be watched as a streaming video recording. Rinpoche began the July 10 teaching by talking about the importance of the mind for creating happiness. He discussed how Dharma practice is the best psychology and how it can create the best healthy mind. If you don’t take care of your mind, if you use it like garbage, Rinpoche warned, then nothing pleasant results in this life and in future lives.

“The key thing is the mind,” Rinpoche said. “Happiness, you switch life to happiness or you switch mind to suffering. Like TV, which channel you want? Some war and fighting, or something very beautiful, countryside, something peaceful, people enjoying. What you do with your mind, its like that. So everything is about the mind.”

Rinpoche went on to teach about bodhichitta, Lama Atisha and lam-rim practice. He shared a Tibetan saying: “The turtle perseveres slowly, goes very slowly, but reaches there. Whereas the flea jumps, is jumping, but doesn’t reach far.” He explained that perserverance and continouity are very important to Dharma practice. Rinpoche also discussed karma.

The public teaching was organized by Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London. Rinpoche’s teaching in Leeds are also available as video recordings.

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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"Seeking the Source" by K. Kendall. Creative Commons Attributions via Flickr.

“Seeking the Source” by K. Kendall. Creative Commons Attributions via Flickr.

“Buddhist in the Trenches” columnist Sarah Shifferd offers insight into her personal experience with Mahamudra, a practice of the mind focused on mind in the July-September 2014 issue of 
Mandala.

Mahamudra is like standing in front of an aquarium. Normally, we’d watch the fish, but this time, we watch the water the fish swim in. The fish are still there, still swimming by, but the mind is on the water that holds them. With our minds, normally we are engrossed in our thoughts. In other forms of meditation, we create the thoughts and images that are supposed to be there. But this time, we just watch mind. The thoughts are still there, still arising and falling away, but mind is focused on mind.

Not only is mind focused on mind, but mind is all there is. Nothing exists but mind. All thoughts, all sensations, all objects, all sounds are merely mind. There is no “out there” to disturb the “in here,” and ultimately, the “in here” that is disturbed is revealed to be just mind. Nothing more.

The more we experience just mind, the more spacious and blissful we feel, and the harder it is for people or events to knock us out of that state. Ultimately, the mind becomes strong, unmovable even by catastrophic events. …

Read more …

From Mandala July-September 2014

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche with the card "Compassion is of the Utmost Need," created by FPMT Education Services, Land of Medicine Buddha, California, September 2013. Photo by Chris Majors.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with the card “Compassion Is of the Utmost Need,” created by FPMT Education Services, Land of Medicine Buddha, California, September 2013. Photo by Chris Majors.

To help FPMT students around the world access the resources they need, FPMT Education Services have been working to restructure the pages, links and downloads on the FPMT Education Services sections of fpmt.org. You can find links to prayers and practices, sutras and mantras, advice, teachings and much more under the “Education” tab on fpmt.org.

FPMT Education Services has been called “the heart” of the FPMT organization because it creates high quality study programs suitable for all levels in accordance with the wishes and guidance of FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche. These programs are available in FPMT centers, as homestudy materials, or via the FPMT Online Learning Center. Education Services also publishes various practice materials in hard copy and digital formats, and works with a global network of educators, trainers, translators and publishers to develop valuable training programs and translations.

“If you look, then you can understand how fortunate we are having the opportunity to study [Dharma], Lama Zopa Rinpoche said. “With our Dharma knowledge and practice we can give the light of Dharma to others, in their heart. I think that’s the best service to sentient beings, the best service to the world.”

Please take a look at all the education resources that are available to you and share your suggestions (education@fpmt.org) for the continued improvement of the FPMT Education pages. 

The work of FPMT Education Services is supported in part by donations to the FPMT Education Fund and Friends of FPMT.

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Khadro-la in New Zealand, April 2014. Photo by Carey Aburn.

Khadro-la in New Zealand, April 2014. Photo by Carey Aburn.

Mahamudra Centre, an FPMT retreat center in Colville, New Zealand, hosted an eight-day lam-rim retreat with Khadro-la (Rangjung Neljorma Khadro Namsel Drolma). The well attended retreat, which ran April 27-May 4, was described as “extraordinary” and “beyond words.”  Ven. Nangsel, Mahamudra Centre director, shared with Mandala highlights from the retreat for the July-September 2014 issue.

From the beginning, students quickly realized we were experiencing something rare and special when Khadro-la looked at us directly and said simply, “It’s not easy to practice Dharma, is it!” From there she took new and old students alike in hand, giving many examples of how as students we go astray in the practice of the Dharma, practicing for the material comfort of this life – food, clothes and good reputation – and endlessly engaging in practice, performing rituals, our commitments and mantras without any real understanding of what we are doing. Khadro-la was crystal clear: Dharma is about mental transformation, and if we are not experiencing positive results from our practice, looking to the Dharma for shortcomings isn’t the answer. Instead, we need to recognize the negativity associated with self-cherishing and self-grasping and see the faults in our own attitudes. …

Read more and see more photos …

From Mandala July-September 2014

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche on Vulture's Peak, India, March 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche on Vulture’s Peak, India, March 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

While staying at Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India, in February 2014, Lama Zopa Rinpoche translated an explanation of the eight auspicious signs, adding brief commentary. Rinpoche’s interest arose from a “conversation when Rinpoche was questioning whether it was OK to step over the eight auspicious signs or not,” shared Ven. Sarah Thresher, who served as scribe for Rinpoche’s dictation. 

“Probably many of us do not know how important these eight auspicious signs are and how they affect our lives,” Rinpoche said. “They can be used externally to help with one’s own success as well as with the FPMT organization to be successful in benefiting others and working for the [dissemination of the] teachings of the Buddha. Putting these eight auspicious signs around everywhere, outside and also inside the rooms, makes things very auspicious. It is not necessary to put all eight together, and they don’t all need to be in the same place. They can be placed separately at different locations, but you should have all of them. …”

You can read the entire advice in the online edition of Mandala July-September 2014.

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche being offered the hand-traced Heart Sutra by Dechen Bloom, Portland, Oregon, US, April 2014. Photo by Mandala.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche being offered the hand-traced Heart Sutra by Dechen Bloom, Portland, Oregon, US, April 2014. Photo by Mandala.

April 21, 2014, was a big day for Dechen Bloom, age six. Lama Zopa Rinpoche was visiting Dechen’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, and Dechen had something special to offer Rinpoche. Leading up to Rinpoche’s visit, Dechen had been working very hard to both memorize the Heart Sutra and to write it out, dedicated to Rinpoche’s long life.

Dechen bounced with excitement as he waited for Rinpoche to arrive at FPMT International Office. When Rinpoche’s car pulled up, Dechen was out on the sidewalk with his copy of the Heart Sutra. He offered it, smiling, to Rinpoche, who was very pleased. He also recited it on video for Rinpoche the previous day.

This offering to Rinpoche had been a couple of years in the making. As Dechen grew from a toddler into a young boy, his mother, Carina Rumrill, had noticed that while Dechen was able to read, count and learn shapes and colors much more quickly than other children his age, his behavior seemed to her to be a lot more difficult. As he reached school age, she took him to be tested by the local school district to see what they thought was going on. They identified him as having ASD (autism spectrum disorder), specifically they told Carina he had Asperger syndrome and sensory processing disorder.

Ven. Robina Courtin was visiting Portland during this period and spending time with Dechen. (She has known him since his birth.) She encouraged Carina, who is the former managing editor of Mandala and now editorial support for FPMT International Office, to not label him with any disorder and to try and view his behavior in the context of Dharma teachings. …

See the video and read more … 

From Mandala July-September 2014

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Tenzin Ösel Hita and Lama Zopa Rinpoche after having lunch together, Italy, June 16, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Tenzin Ösel Hita and Lama Zopa Rinpoche after having lunch together, Italy, June 16, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Tenzin Ösel Hita both attended His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s recent public teachings in Livorno, Italy, June 14-15. The following day, Ösel joined Lama Zopa Rinpoche for lunch.

Rinpoche was in Italy through the end of June. He gave teachings at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa June 28-29. Rinpoche taught on June 28 and conferred the long life initiation of White Tara on June 29.

Ösel recently finished the semester of studies in Hawaii, and later in 2014 will be taking teachings from Geshe Gendun Chomphel at Sera Je Monastery.

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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Saka Dawa butterlamp offering with "Old Lama Gyupa," Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamsala, India, June 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Tushita Meditation Centre.

Saka Dawa butterlamp offerings with “Old Lama Gyupa,” Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamsala, India, June 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Tushita Meditation Centre.

Tushita Meditation Centre is a bustling FPMT center in Dharamsala – the seat-in-exile of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Tushita staff recently wrote Mandala, sharing news about their Saka Dawa events:

Saka Dawa is one of the most important festival days of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar, celebrating Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana. This year Saka Dawa fell on June 13. To begin the day, we held a butterlamp light offering puja with our resident “Old Lama Gyupa,” Ven. Thubten Dorjee, to make prayers and dedications for our center, sponsors and all sentient beings.

Students read the Golden Light Sutra in front of Lama Yeshe's Stupa, Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamsala, India, June 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Tushita Meditation Centre.

Students read the Golden Light Sutra in front of Lama Yeshe’s Stupa, Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamsala, India, June 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Tushita Meditation Centre.

Later, many people joined us for a special program of open drop-in sessions, including “What the Buddha Taught” with FPMT-registered teacher Glen Svensson, a group reading of the Golden Light Sutra on the lawn by Lama Yeshe’s Stupa, and a movie screening of the The Life of Buddha, an excellent BBC documentary. 

While the movie was showing, Tushita staff, volunteers and monastics used the auspicious day to refresh the statue boxes on Lama Yeshe’s Stupa. The statues were offered new clothes, and we were able to finally install the Ratnasambhava statue that we had made in Nepal to replace one that was stolen a year or so ago.

The program of Saka Dawa events concluded with a Medicine Buddha puja and then light offerings with meditation at Lama Yeshe’s Stupa.

Additionally, 15 hardcore practitioners joined our final set of nyung nä retreats, which ended on the morning of June 14.

It was also our beloved dog Nying-je’s 9th birthday. Before being renamed Nying-je Chenmo (Great Compassion) by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, she was previously called Saka Dawa, after the auspicious day she turned up at Tushita in 2005. Then, she was a malnourished, stray spitfire puppy. Now, she’s a well-fed, leisurely older woman, but still a very endearing character, much loved by all.

You can see more photos from Tushita’s Saka Dawa events on Facebook.

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from over 160 FPMT centers, projects and services around the globe. If you like what you read on Mandala, consider becoming a Friend of FPMT, which supports our work.

Nying-Je Chenmo at an introductory course led by Glen Svensson at Tushita. Nying-je Chenmo recently turned 9. Photo courtesy of Tushita Meditation Centre.

Nying-je Chenmo at an introductory course led by Glen Svensson at Tushita. Nying-je Chenmo recently turned 9. Photo courtesy of Tushita Meditation Centre.

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