FPMT » Mandala Today http://fpmt.org Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:30:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jeffrey Hopkins’ Transmission of Honestyhttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/jeffrey-hopkins-transmission-of-honesty/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/jeffrey-hopkins-transmission-of-honesty/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 18:00:49 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=39240 ... Read full article]]> Professor Jeffrey Hopkins, Maitripa College, Portland, Oregon, United States, September 2011. Photo by Marc Sakamoto.

Professor Jeffrey Hopkins, Maitripa College, Portland, Oregon, United States, September 2011. Photo by Marc Sakamoto.

Dr. Jeffrey Hopkins, now 74, is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and one of the world’s top scholars of Buddhism. He has published 42 books, acted as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s translator, and had a long academic career during which he trained many prominent Tibetan Buddhist scholars and translators. He currently leads UMA Institute for Tibetan Studies. Dr. Hopkins has been remarkably open in public about a wide range of matters, such as his initial lack of faith in His Holiness, past-life memories, a near-death experience, his youthful delinquency, his sexuality, and so on.

Donna Lynn Brown interviewed him in December 2014 to find out what lessons his honesty might hold for other Buddhist practitioners.

Dr. Hopkins, what is the source of your frankness? Why are you so open?

I was born in 1940 in Barrington, Rhode Island, and I was in my teens in the 1950s. There was a group of us who were disgusted by the aims that were being presented to us: merely making money and so forth. There was a lot of rebellion that was focused against the dishonesty of society, which gradually in my own mind became a matter of seeking my own integrity. My own integrity meant a great deal to me.

I was part of a juvenile gang that got into difficulty with the law, in the sense of increasingly violent pranks, drinking and so forth. It was a relief when I went to a liberal prep school where students were given a great deal of responsibility for their own governance. Despite all my acting out at my public school, I responded very well in that kind of environment, and got excellent grades, because we were respected as people, which is something I had lacked prior to that. Then, in my first year at Harvard, I read Walden by Henry David Thoreau and I was inspired to leave Harvard for the woods of Vermont. I stayed in a small one-room cabin and read, wrote poetry, walked a lot, dreamt out my recurrent trapped dreams, and I believe at that point, began finding my own integrity. And I kept returning to that kind of life.

I was inspired by Herman Melville’s novel Typee, which is set in the Marquesas, north of Tahiti near the equator, and Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence about the artist Paul Gauguin, who painted in the South Seas. It was 1960 and when Vermont got too cold for the wood heater, I went to the woods in Rhode Island. When that got too cold, I shipped out of New York as a passenger on a freighter to Tahiti. I had gotten used to meditating in Vermont on the lake that was down below, and by gazing off into space. On the freighter I would lie on my back and stare upward, filling my mind with the blueness of the sky. The Pacific Ocean was clean and tremendously calm and I filled my mind with that. I didn’t have a visa for Tahiti and after a while some official noticed this and asked me to leave. I used all but my last $15 to take a seaplane to Hawaii. It was nuts, but it was a search for my own integrity.

You were among the earliest scholars to show respect for Eastern scholars, and acknowledge what you learned from them, rather than claiming that you knew more than your “native informants.” Where did your intellectual honesty come from?

This was related to my attitude of searching. Why would I pretend that what l learned from a Tibetan scholar was something I put together myself? Why would I treat these people as somehow different from myself? I thought it was very important, extremely important, to treat every Tibetan scholar fairly, to give them credit for their part in producing any book. I was criticized for this by other professors in my own field. But it just made more sense to have, say, Lati Rinpoche, be a co-author, than to footnote everything he said. In time, people came to understand what collaboration meant. The old saying of “East is East and West is West” doesn’t carry over to how you treat people on the title page of a book.

Photo courtesy of Donna L. Brown.

Photo courtesy of Donna L. Brown.

By making clear what came from others, you revealed that the Western scholar wasn’t always the final expert. Did other academics criticize you for that?

Yes, they did, and I just chose to ignore it. I spoke recently at the Tsadra Translation & Transmission Conference about singing my own song, and what I meant is that certain priorities needed to be righted, and we would right them by how we acted and what we did. It means acknowledging the help you receive and the roles others play, and if those roles are prominent enough, then the person deserves equal billing as the author or the translator. If I couldn’t have understood the text without somebody informing me of its meaning, then that person has played an equal role in its translation even if they don’t know English, because I couldn’t have translated it otherwise. Not to mention the person’s contribution to the footnotes or the explanation that goes along with the translation. This approach has come to be generally accepted. And then also I wanted to point out that many of the academic concerns that Tibetan and Mongolian scholars have are similar to ours. Both sides can learn from the other, though I don’t like talking about sides. I think we are all more or less in the same soup.

Sometimes in Dharma centers people avoid sharing their real views or feelings. This helps maintain harmony, but at a price. It makes me wonder about the balance between building community and nourishing the individual.

I would compare it to when I started in academia. At that time, there was a lot of shouting among scholars. I thought it had a lot to do with how little we knew about the subjects we were talking about. And I had to admit that of myself also. I was so egregiously, embarrassingly ignorant on many of these topics. I could see how I could stumble into trying to cover up my ignorance by shouting or making a big fuss over something I knew that somebody else didn’t know. And then I tried very hard to avoid doing that, and to create an atmosphere in which I was not doing this. I think as this profession and its members have become more educated, there’s been less need to yell at each other, and this may be true in Dharma centers also. I’ve found in the two translation conferences I’ve been to, and many of these translators are members of Dharma communities, that we have no need at all to shout at each other or show off what we know because we are deeply impressed by what we don’t know. We are really happy to hear about these topics from our colleagues and friends who do know something about them. Then it’s easy to get along.

A community’s insistence on people toeing a line may have a lot to do with being neophytes. And the number of times that neophytes repeat the name of their organization or their lama really strikes me as a sign of weakness. Let’s just stop doing that. Still, within the monastic community, there are rules. Outside of the community, you don’t say nasty things about the community, because that disrupts the image of the community, and spreads gossip and so forth. But that implies that there can be criticism within the community. You’ve got to air differences and so forth. You should. But you can’t be arguing all the time, or sharing everything you think. Nevertheless, a healthy community has to have some way of airing what’s going on. You can’t be covering up all the time because it will explode, and the disharmony that will result from that is not going to be helpful.

On a personal level, I try to make the chance of hypocrisy less by admitting in public some of the things that I’m up to. For example, I gave a talk in a city recently and I was really surprised when the people there gave me some money, in envelopes, afterwards. But then also, at the same time, I was very greedy about that money. I kept wondering how much was in each envelope. And I was very careful to put those envelopes down beside me (laughs) so that nobody would walk off with any of them. And I mentioned it to my host afterwards, admitting how greedy I was about it. I try to make this a habit. I don’t make up stuff to disclose, because there’s plenty of it without making anything up. I may not disclose everything, but at least a whole lot of it. Disclosing it relieves tension, whereas hiding is really counter-productive, because when you hide, you have to simulate the opposite – and, wow, you just get into trouble. I get into trouble!

Professor Jeffrey Hopkins, Maitripa College, Portland, Oregon, United States, September 2011. Photo by Marc Sakamoto.

Professor Jeffrey Hopkins, Maitripa College, Portland, Oregon, United States, September 2011. Photo by Marc Sakamoto.

Is this an aspect of the path? Does not being open reduce energy available for practice?

I think that’s very, very true. Energy is wasted by hiding, and what you are hiding gets worse and worse the more you hide it. It’s self-destructive. You know, sometimes when I talk about morality, I’ll just say, “I’m embarrassed about what I am saying, but in any case, I’m trying to present what the books teach as it’s written, and I’m not claiming that I can actually enact this, I want to be clear.” That makes it a lot easier to talk about it. If it’s compassion and the fact that I get angry in certain situations, then it’s easy for me to talk about what I get angry at and use that as an example. Being frank about myself undermines my own negative reactions.

But we have to be judicious about what we say. We can’t be stupidly open. It’s not easy.

Buddhadharma focused its Winter 2014 issue on abuses of power in Dharma communities. One theme was “no more secrets,” because abuses flourish when people deny, cover up, or ostracize those who speak out. What are your thoughts on this?

I’m not an active member of any group. I’m a member of groups, but from a distance, which gives me a certain safety valve. I don’t give any quarter to lamas and so forth who act contrary to moral codes. To me that’s simply improper. If I’m asked about that person, I just say what I’ve heard, I don’t cover up, or at least I hope I don’t. I’m open about what I’ve heard and I’ll say, “Beware.” Covering up or pretending that seemingly ill behavior is the way great lamas behave – I’m just not going to say that. I think that’s simply wrong.

You have mentioned that your relationship with His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very frank. How open should we be with our lamas?

It depends on what the lama can stand! The lama may not want to hear about it. And then what can you do? You may have to go find some other lama, if that’s what you need. Like with anyone, your friends for example, there are certain subjects that some people don’t want to hear about. Even your closest friend may not want to hear about your stomach troubles. So you don’t talk about it. And how much can anyone stand to hear about your sex life? Or your health problems? Even if you’re at death’s door, five minutes is the max. It’s a bore. You shouldn’t expect more than that.

Westerners seem to value openness more than Tibetans. Is there a cultural difference?

I don’t think Tibetans are different from us. Maybe they are getting away with being secretive about how they are running things here (laughs). They are just getting away with pretending that this is the way that they do it. Tibetans among themselves give each other a hard time. They hold each other to account. Whereas some of them come over here and act as if they are kings or queens. They’ll do whatever they can get away with. You don’t have to let them.

Some Westerners, like you, say they have past life memories. While this may come from a desire to be special, there must be some who really were practitioners in the past. Should people be open about memories if they have them? What about the narcissism factor?

I was faced with this during the five years I was at Geshe Wangyal’s monastery in New Jersey in the early 1960s. People would come to visit and talk about their past lives. They were usually princes and princesses. I was looking forward to the day when someone would come and say they were a garbage collector. It’s something that kept me from telling my own story because I didn’t want to be put in the category that I was putting these people in, which has to do with their own aggrandizing imaginations. With myself, I felt what memories I had were rather ordinary. I had to inspect those few memories to figure out what my so-called status was. I didn’t feel glorious. I had to deduce from a few pieces of information what my status might have been. It took a long time for that to come through. I’m suspicious of people who remember themselves as having been very glorious.

Still, I stay neutral on whether people should talk about memories. Although I’m suspicious, I’m not going to put it down. I know in my case that these are actual memories, so I know that does occur. But I wouldn’t blame anyone for being highly suspicious if I told my own story in any detail. They might think, “The guy’s a nut!” I’ve had that kind of thought with respect to others. But some people have related their stories to me, and their memories are not self-glorifying. I don’t have any reason to question them. I do accept for sure that people remember.

Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia looked into a lot of reincarnation stories, and checked some against facts he could track down. One of the points that he made was that quite a number of people remembered their past lives because they died in the midst of violence. It was quite often not a case of great spiritual attainment, but that there was some violence that impressed on them what was going on, and that caused the memory.

Canadian tulku Elijah Ari has been open since childhood about his past life memories and went through a lot of difficulties.

I know Elijah Ari. I find his story quite poignant. He and I had quite opposite trails. He has been open throughout and I’ve been closed throughout. I actually forgot it for quite a while and then even after I remembered, it was decades later that I was willing to talk about it at all except with a couple of people. It’s been quite a journey for him, and I really respect what he’s had to go through to be this open. He paid a huge price. For me, coming out as gay was a big step at the time I did it, but coming out as remembering your past life, as far as I’m concerned, is much larger than that.

Professor Jeffrey Hopkins, Maitripa College, Portland, Oregon, United States, September 2011. Photo by Marc Sakamoto.

Professor Jeffrey Hopkins, Maitripa College, Portland, Oregon, United States, September 2011. Photo by Marc Sakamoto.

What does it really tell us if someone has past life memories? Does that make them special now?

I think that Dr. Ian Stevenson’s story about people remembering because they died in the midst of violence indicates that it doesn’t automatically make you special. What will make you special is what you do in this lifetime. If you think about it, that is true of anybody, recognized or not.

Liushar Thupten Tharpa, who was the equivalent of foreign minister in the old government of Tibet, went out to greet His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he first came to Lhasa; Liushar told me he was watching the little child to see if this was the right one. But he didn’t come to any conclusion then whether this was the right or the wrong child. Later he was this Dalai Lama’s representative in New York, after which he came to our monastery in New Jersey, and then stayed on in the USA as a permanent resident. Then the Dalai Lama called him back to Dharamsala. There were a number of years during which Liushar had not seen this Dalai Lama in action on the home front, although he had visited India for important events. Anyway, after he went back to India, I saw him. He said, “Do you know what he is doing?” and he recounted to me how busy this Dalai Lama was conducting ordination ceremonies, teaching, giving initiations, all of the many things he was doing. And he said, “Now we can say he is the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara.” You see? By way of his actions! That question about whether there were signs that he was the last Dalai Lama was totally wiped out. It didn’t matter. His Holiness’ actions were sufficient. Whether he was or not didn’t make any difference because in his waking day he was endlessly performing these actions.

While you are open about many things, you also choose to keep certain things private, such as your own attainments, and ways you’ve helped others – for example, with their books or academic work.

There’s a tradition about not being open about your own attainments and your own deeper experiences, and I don’t even tell my friends. It’s out of the question, I feel, that I’m going to talk about these things. As for helping others, it’s important to do – and keep quiet.

Any final thoughts on honesty?

If honesty became one’s only watchword, one could become a pain in the ass, and narcissistic, and a total bore. I hope by giving an interview like this, pretending to be honest, I don’t create a trap for myself! That I would become infatuated with this – really. And start deliberately acting this way, thinking, “I’ve got to be honest! I’ve got to find something to be honest about!” And turning myself into not just a 25- or 50-percent jerk but a 75- or 90-percent jerk (laughs). Warn me if I do. Tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey Jeffrey, you are turning into a 100-percent jerk.”

We are basically incapable of saying who we are, and when we start doing that, we really have to be careful, because we aren’t going to be right. There may be some grain of truth – but also some grain of foppishness. I’m trying. I’m still trying to find my own integrity.

“Jeffrey Hopkins’ Transmission of Honesty” was produced as an online feature by Mandala Publications, and is supported, in part, by programs like Friends of FPMT.

Donna Lynn Brown is a regular Mandala contributor and a student at Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon, US.

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Belated Obituary for Jacques Haesaerthttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/belated-obituary-for-jacques-haesaert/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/belated-obituary-for-jacques-haesaert/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=35521 ... Read full article]]>  

Jacques Haesaert. Photo courtesy of Ambroisie Association.

Jacques Haesaert. Photo courtesy of Ambroisie Association.

In September 2014 during the CPMT 2014 meeting, managing editor Laura Miller met with student Françoise Majeste who revealed that a close student of Lama Yeshe and a long-time student of Institut Vajra Yogini in France – Jacques Haesaert – had died over five years ago, but had never been honored in Mandala. We’re happy to now share this tribute to Jacques’ life from his friends and students.

Jacques Haesaert, 67, died in Graulhet, France, July 2009, from a stroke

By Marilyn Magazin and Brigitte Jordan on behalf of the members of the Ambroisie Association

Five years have gone by since our doctor, teacher and friend, Jacques Haesaert, passed on. When he died in July 2009 at the age of 67, we were so unprepared and perturbed that none of his many students in France and Spain thought to send an obituary to Mandala magazine. Jacques was a member of Institut Vajra Yogini in Marzens, France and benefited not only his patients, but also his many students who came to his introductory classes on Tibetan medicine at the institute and his in-depth study programs. Now in remembrance of him, we write this biography as a tribute to him and his work.

Jacques Haesaert was passionate about learning and taught himself to read even before starting school in France. His personal studies of biology, natural medicine, the powers of plants and minerals, archeology, religions, Egyptology, cooking, music, to name a few, surely helped him assimilate Tibetan medicine later on. As well as working in France, Jacques spent many years in Africa and later worked in the Phillipines with local healers.

In 1974, his spiritual search brought him to India where he had his first contact with Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and the medicine practiced in this country. In Nepal he became a disciple of Lama Thubten Yeshe who encouraged him to study Tibetan medicine. Jacques followed Lama’s advice and studied many years in Dharamsala, India with Dr. Ama Lobsang Dolma.

We do not know all the details of his many years of study, treating and accompanying patients in India as a Tibetan doctor, but we do know that he also studied with Dr. Tsering Dinggang and worked for some time with the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa in Calcutta, with the most destitute of people.

In this 1982 forward, Lama Yeshe praises Jacques' work writing "Jaques Haesaert has studied with us for several years ... He has researched extensively into all aspects of Tibetan medicine, culture, mind psychology and religion. His work is authentic, and his style is good."

In this 1982 forward, Lama Yeshe praises Jacques’ work writing “Jaques [sic] Haesaert has studied with us for several years … He has researched extensively into all aspects of Tibetan medicine, culture, mind psychology and religion. His work is authentic, and his style is good.”

In 1981, Lama Yeshe asked Jacques to share his knowledge with the Western world in a way that was adapted to the special needs of the people living in those places in actual times. After returning to France, Jacques treated patients and taught for the rest of his life.

As well as a practicing Tibetan Buddhist, he was also a Christian and Bible scholar. Jacques often made parallels between passages in the Bible and teachings of Buddha.

Faithful to the ethics of a Tibetan physician, he expected no pay for his consultations, only accepting offerings. In his later years, he made only two appointments a day so he could remain for hours with each patient in order to treat the patient as a whole and help the person to understand the cause of his ailments, and not just treat his symptoms.

Jacques always intended to write a book so many people could benefit from the knowledge and wisdom he accumulated over so many years, applying Tibetan medicine to the West. He wanted to help Westerners discover the extraordinary and practical knowledge offered by this system. For him it was important to show, through Tibetan medicine, how people can become responsible for their mental and physical health, conscious of their potential for happiness, love and wisdom, and of the errors that would lead them to suffering.

Just months before passing on, after years of our begging for them, he gave to us, his students in France and Spain, his nearly finished book that he used for his classes. He compiled it over decades and organized the information into chapters used for his teaching. Jacques explains important teachings from the medical tantras and elaborates on many aspects of what is health and disease, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. Moreover, he explains many aspects of Tibetan medicine from a Western point of view.

We, his students and members of the Ambroisie Association, are in the process of translating it from French to English, Spanish, and German. It was his heart-felt wish to help preserve the extensive knowledge and wisdom that is Tibetan medicine from being lost or diluted.

You can find Jacques’ piece “Nature the Great Healer” in the June 2004 issue of Mandala.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche requests that “students who read Mandala pray that the students whose obituaries they read find a perfect human body, meet a Mahayana guru and become enlightened quickly, or be born in a pure land where the teachings exist and they can become enlightened.” While reading obituaries we can also reflect upon our own death and rebirth, prompting us to live our lives in the most meaningful way.

More advice from Lama Zopa Ripoche on death and dying is available on Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice page.

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Mongolian Sutra Reading Picnic for His Holiness’ Birthdayhttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/mongolian-sutra-reading-picnic-for-his-holiness-birthday/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/mongolian-sutra-reading-picnic-for-his-holiness-birthday/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 13:00:51 +0000 http://fpmt.org/mandala/?p=33252 ... Read full article]]> The students of Golden Light Sutra Center negotiated the terrain around Aglag Monastery with ease, Mongolia, July 2014. Photo courtesy of

The students of Golden Light Sutra Center negotiated the terrain around Aglag Monastery with ease, Darkhan, Mongolia, July 2014. Photo courtesy of Ven. Tezin Tsapel.

Ven. Tenzin Tsapel, director of Golden Light Sutra Center in Darkhan, Mongolia, reports on the group’s celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s July 6, 2014 birthday:

A group Golden Light Sutra Center students went on a sutra reading picnic for His Holiness’ birthday celebration. We hired a mini-bus for the two-hour drive to Aglag Monastery, 13 kilometers (8 miles) off the Darkhan/Ulaanbaatar road. As we drove in, the valley became quite narrow, and heavily treed, very green and culminated in small, steep mountain with unusual natural rocky outcrops, enclosed by a ring of mountains. From the car park we walked up the step gravel drive to the main monastery and cluster of buildings. The center piece was an ornately painted monastery building with a commanding view. 

We settled in to recite the Vajra Cutter Sutra in front of the central Amitabha altar and then joined the stream of visitors upstairs paying respect to the holy images and Buddha relics and viewing an odd assortment of mythical beast models.

The path led behind the main building and around a very beautiful but very steep and slippery mountain track past numerous carved holy images, mantras and syllables, as well as a few obstacle-course rock formations. My initial concern for some of the older members of our group gave way to respect as our hardy Mongolian ladies made their way around mountain. We stopped on the way for some birthday cake and fruit and made our way to the grass base for our late picnic lunch.     

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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Choe Khor Sum Ling Enjoys Discovering Buddhismhttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/choe-khor-sum-ling-enjoys-discovering-buddhism/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/choe-khor-sum-ling-enjoys-discovering-buddhism/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 13:00:10 +0000 http://fpmt.org/mandala/?p=32765 ... Read full article]]> Ven. Tenzin Namdak teaching at Choe Khor Sum Ling, Bangalore, India, April 2013. Photo courtesy of Choe Khor Sum Ling.

Ven. Tenzin Namdak teaching at Choe Khor Sum Ling, Bangalore, India, April 2013. Photo courtesy of Choe Khor Sum Ling.

“As part of the ongoing Discovering Buddhism course at Choe Khor Sum Ling, we recently organized a four-day non-residential retreat,” said center member Shanti Gopinath in an email to Mandala in July. “Under the adept guidance of Ven. Tenzin Legtsok from Sera Je, students reflected and meditated upon the outlines of two topics from the program: ’The Spiritual Teacher’ and ’Death and Rebirth.’ The meditation sessions invigorated all that we learned theoretically in these two modules. The retreats included reflection and guided meditation. Ven. Legtsok’s pragmatic approach to the reflection, contemplation and meditation process made the concepts easier to understand, clearer and deep seated in our minds.”

“Bangaloreans are mostly a staunch working community and so a non-residential retreat in the heart of the city was well received. Participants were happy to break away from everyday monotony and the distractions of ordinary life.

“Our next four-day residential retreat in August 2014 will be at Gyume Tantric Monastery in Hunsur. The retreat will be led by Ven. Tenzin Namdak from Sera Je. The retreat will incorporate guided meditations focused around the topics outlined in the Discovering Buddhism modules ‘All About Karma’ and ‘Refuge.’ Gyume Monastery is in a Tibetan farming settlement four hours’ drive from Bangalore and is a perfect setting for our next retreat.”

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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Dharma Idea: Blessing Kayak Paddleshttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/dharma-idea-blessing-kayak-paddles/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/dharma-idea-blessing-kayak-paddles/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://fpmt.org/mandala/?p=33232 ... Read full article]]> Kayak paddle with Namgyälma mantra, Waldo Lake, Oregon, US, August 2014. Photo courtesy of Mandala Publications.

Kayak paddle with Namgyälma mantra, Waldo Lake, Oregon, US, August 2014. Photo courtesy of Mandala Publications.

A third-year Maitripa College student sent Mandala this idea on how to use the Namgyälma mantra to make kayaking a more beneficial experience. “The Namgyälma mantra is extremely powerful,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaches. “It is the main mantra to purify and liberate beings from the lower realms, purify negative karma, and help those who are dying or have died ….” Here is her account:

During a rituals and ethics class, we learned about water tsa-tsas. While kayaking one day, I started thinking about how many times my paddle was in the water. I wondered if there was a way to do something like the water tsa-tsas with my paddle. 

Waldo Lake, Oregon, US, August 2014. Photo courtesy of Mandala Publications.

Waldo Lake, Oregon, US, August 2014. Photo courtesy of Mandala Publications.

I came across an article about Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Namgyälma mantra board and blessing all the creatures in the water and whomever comes in contact with the water. I put two and two together and started asking around about a way to put a mantra on a kayak paddle.

The mantra that I used is actually a bumper sticker that I got through the FPMT Foundation Store. Before putting on the sticker, I first did the Jorchö practice and recited some of the mantras I found in the tsa-tsa book. Afterward, I dedicated the merit. Since it’s important to protect the mantra, I cover both of the paddle blades with stuff sacks for storage, taking them off before paddling and putting them back on when I’m done.

The new stickers have really changed the way I treat my paddles and my mindset while paddling. I recite a mantra most of the time as I paddle and dedicate at the end of the kayak outing.

The Foundation Store, managed by FPMT International Office, provides Dharma materials and supplies to interested students around the world. All proceeds from the shop are used to further the charitable mission of FPMT Inc.

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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Vajrapani Institute Continues No-Fees Kopan West Retreathttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/vajrapani-institute-continues-no-fees-kopan-west-retreat/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/vajrapani-institute-continues-no-fees-kopan-west-retreat/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 22:41:41 +0000 http://fpmt.org/mandala/?p=33244 ... Read full article]]> Vajrapani Institute's main gompa. Photo via vajrapani.org.

Vajrapani Institute’s main gompa. Photo via vajrapani.org.

Vajrapani Institute in Boulder Creek, California continues its experiment with “no-fees” Kopan West lam-rim retreats, the next scheduled for November 21-30, 2014 and taught by FPMT-registered teacher Glen Svensson. Kopan West is a 10-day introductory lam-rim course modeled after the successful Kopan November retreats held in Nepal since the early 1970s.

In 2013, the center piloted a new generosity-based system for covering the retreat’s costs, abandoning the traditional fee-centered model. They told participants they would not be charged and asked them at the end of the retreat to instead reflect on what they had gained and make a contribution to next year’s attendees. 

“The teachings from Kopan West continue to impact me as I apply Buddhist practices in my daily life and has inspired me to further study,” said Sahar Bintamal, a November 2013 retreatant. “My attendance at Kopan West would not have been possible without the donation/generosity model. I feel honored that my donation will support another student to experience the lam-rim teachings in the coming year.”

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.

Gelek Sherpa painted Lama Yeshe's cremation stupa, Vajrapani Institute, Boulder Creek, California. Photo via vajrapani.org.

Gelek Sherpa painted Lama Yeshe’s cremation stupa, Vajrapani Institute, Boulder Creek, California. Photo via vajrapani.org.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche Teaches on the Merely Labeled ‘I’http://fpmt.org/mandala-today/lama-zopa-rinpoche-teaches-on-the-merely-labeled-i/ http://fpmt.org/mandala-today/lama-zopa-rinpoche-teaches-on-the-merely-labeled-i/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:09:56 +0000 http://fpmt.org/mandala/?p=33422 ... Read full article]]> Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving the motivate before the long life initiation during the CPMT 2014 meeting, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 17, 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving the preliminary teaching before the long life initiation during the CPMT 2014 meeting, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 17, 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave an exhilarating teaching on the merely labeled ‘I’ and emptiness during the preliminary teachings for the Amitayus long life initiation given during the CPMT 2014 meeting in Australia. A recording of the teaching is now available on the CPMT livestream page.

Rinpoche will be webcast live giving the concluding talk and dedication of the CPMT 2014 meeting on Thursday, September 18, at 4 p.m. AEST (UTC+10, click here for time zone conversions). 

Here’s an excerpt from a long letter Rinpoche dictated to Ven. Holly Ansett in 2008, published on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, with extensive advice on emptiness and the merely imputed ‘I’.  Rinpoche advised:

“… The I, or the self, action and object are dependent arisings. The I exists being imputed in dependence upon its base, the aggregates. Here aggregates refers to form, feeling, recognition, compounded aggregates and consciousness. The I exists in dependence upon the aggregates; the I is merely imputed to the base, the aggregates, which exist in mere name. So, the I is empty of existing from its own side, empty of existing by its nature; it does not exist inherently.

“It is the same with any action. How an action actually exists is as a dependent arising. It is not independent, but a dependent arising. ‘Action’ is labeled on what the body, speech or mind does. It exists, but dependently. Any action, no matter what name it is given, is merely imputed by the mind. It is not independent, but a dependent arising. Action does not exist from its own side; it does not exist by its nature; it does not exist inherently, or truly.

“It is the same with any object. In dependence upon the base and the thought, something is labeled ‘object.’ The object came from the mind, not from the base. You could say that it exists from the side of the mind, or in dependence upon the mind, which imputes, or designates, it. But it also exists in relation to its base. So, it is the same with an object: it does not exist from its own side.

“Therefore, I, action and object are all totally empty. They are not nonexistent, which is nihilism, but they do not exist from their own side. They do exist from the side of the mind in relation to the base, but they do not exist from their own side. Therefore, they are totally empty from their own side. This is the same with all the rest of phenomena. Nothing exists from its own side. While they exist, all phenomena are totally empty of existing from their own side. They exist in mere name and function in mere name, but that doesn’t mean that they are nonexistent.

“This is a very subtle explanation of how the I, action, object and all other phenomena exist. It can be explained in a gross way, but here this is an extremely subtle explanation. Phenomena exist in mere name, being merely imputed by the mind. Here one needs to study and one needs to analyze, which means really check how things exist. …”

The complete advice “The Merely Imputed I” is part of “Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book” on the website of Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

Mandala will be covering the CPMT meeting with daily updates and new photos. 

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

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Day 4 of CPMT 2014: Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Vast Visions, the Five Pillars of Service and Sanghahttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/day-4-of-cpmt-2014-lama-zopa-rinpoches-vast-visions-the-five-pillars-of-service-and-sangha/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/day-4-of-cpmt-2014-lama-zopa-rinpoches-vast-visions-the-five-pillars-of-service-and-sangha/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:05:38 +0000 http://fpmt.org/mandala/?p=33402 ... Read full article]]> Day 4 CPMT 2014, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Victoria, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Ven. Roger Kunsang and Ven. Holly Ansett during a presentation on Day 4 of CPMT 2014, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Victoria, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Day 4 of the CPMT 2014 meeting began with Lama Zopa Rinpoche leading the morning motivation in the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. (A video recording of this is available on the CPMT Livestream page.) It was the perfect start to a busy and chilly day.

After breakfast, the North America regional coordinator Drolkar McCallum shared her experience with the Inner Job Description (IJD), explaining how she’s “fallen in love” with doing the practice. She then led participants through a short reflection on listening, part of the developing skillful communications section of the IJD.

Vens. Sisilia, Trish and Paloma outside the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Vens. Siliana, Trisha and Paloma outside the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Ven. Roger Kunsang, CEO of FPMT, and Ven. Holly Ansett, FPMT charitable projects coordinator, spoke on Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Vast Visions and the Five Pillars of Service. “The organization is about giving value or meaning to an individual’s life — giving us a clear understanding of our purpose of being,” Ven. Roger said as a way of orienting his presentation. “That’s what we do. That’s who we are. You can’t underestimate it. And I haven’t found anything better to do. The difference we’ve made in the world up to today, I’d say, it’s huge.” Lama Zopa Rinpoche arrived as Ven. Roger talked about the importance of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche to the work of FPMT and the importance of everyone offering service to FPMT and to the Lamas.

Linda Gyatso speaking on Day 4 at CPMT 2014, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Linda Gyatso speaking on Day 4 at CPMT 2014, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Ven. Holly Ansett presented Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Vast Visions for FPMT, describing the story behind it and its development with Rinpoche adding in commentary throughout. Ven. Holly described how much amazing work has already been done to actualize Rinpoche’s expansive wishes.

Linda Gyatso, the new director of the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, introduced the organization. Linda explained that FDCW helps to develop and promote Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom, the secular education programs and initiatives that have grown out of a vision articulated by Lama Yeshe.

After a tea break, Ven. Roger offered more insight into the importance of good local governance, emphasizing the critical role of a well-organized and educated local board of directors. He then discussed how the Five Pillars of Service are a way of translating the vast visions into goals to which centers can aspire that engage their communities most broadly. The Five Pillars are:

  • Dharma
  • Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom
  • Social and/or community service
  • Interfaith activities                                                 
  • Revenue generation activities

He explained that this isn’t new in the sense that many centers, projects and services are already engaged in many of these pillars.

Francois Lecointre, director of Institut Vajra Yogini (IVY) in France; Denise Macy, director of Land of Medicine Buddha (LMB) in California, US; and Fabienne Pradelle, director of Vajrapani Institute in California, explained how the work of their respective centers matches up with the Five Pillars.

Wendy Cook, Ven. Lindy, Matthe Poxon during tea break on Day 4 at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Wendy Cook, Ven. Lindy, Matthew Poxon during tea break on Day 4 at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

After a tasty lunch, three panelists addressed an issue critical for the development and growth of centers, projects and services in the session “Developing Fund Raising and Revenue Generation.”

Hup Cheng Tan, center director of Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore, explained how ABC makes extensive offerings, hosts festivals and creates many, many activities for students to make offerings and to offer sponsorships. For many present, the scope and results of ABC’s activities were mind blowing. Hup Cheng also mentioned that ABC has a retail shop and used feng shui when designing their building, but emphasized that generosity and merit generation were at the heart of their revenue generation work.

Harald Weichart helps change the fuel for the space heaters at CPMT 2014, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Harald Weichart helps change the fuel for the space heaters at CPMT 2014, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Tony Steel, center director of Vajrayana Institute, Sydney, Australia, explained how the center started to organize and host large conferences as a form of revenue generation, specifically “Happiness & Its Causes,” which has had His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a featured speaker, and also the conference “Mind & Its Potential.” Tony explained that he has drawn on his background in business while leading the center’s work in this area. As a way to evolve, Vajrayana is trying a new initiative: organizing exhibition events that generate money through selling sponsorships and exhibition space. They are currently working on one focused on wellness.

Sarah Brooks, spiritual program coordinator of Kadampa Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, US, explained how Kadampa Center operates on a donation only basis. She explained that at first the center tried raising funds by asking for a specific donation at events, but now they have no suggested donation, letting attendees decide their level of contribution. They also offer opportunities to sponsor teachers, pujas and holy days. Since they’ve moved to this model, they have been receiving more donations than before. The center also encourages students to set up a regular, automatic monthly donation, instead of trying to raise money with once a year type fundraising campaign. The center also makes sure to emphasize the practice of generosity and to show sincere gratitude to donors and active community members.

Ven. Holly was then invited to briefly list all of the incredible merit-generating activities that are being done through the FPMT Puja Fund. All present took a moment to rejoice in the beneficial activities being supported by this fund.

Jane Willis and Miffi Maximillion from Langri Tangpa Centre outside of the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Jane Willis and Miffi Maximillion from Langri Tangpa Centre outside of the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

At this point, the session was opened up to questions and sharing from the audience. Andy Wistreich from Land of Joy, a project to create a retreat center in the UK, announced that the project is completing the purchase of the property that they had found in northern England. In July 2014, Rinpoche visited and blessed the land.

“You create the merit and the money will come,” Andy explained. “It’s very important to not worry about money; worry about merit.” He continued that if you or your center asks Rinpoche a very specific question about creating merit for your project, you will get very specific advice. And if you properly carry out the advice, the money will come. He also said that Land of Joy hopes to employ a generosity model.

Denise Macy, from LMB, described some of her experiences with undertaking large projects and talked about a recent fundraising campaign. Members of the LMB community turned their very large prayer wheel continuously for 24 hours and exceeded their fundraising goals. She emphasized the importance of a “can do” attitude and a willingness to take a risk.

Ven. Chantal Carrerot and Drolkar McCallum leading a presentation on International Mahayan Institute with Lama Zopa Rinpoche listening on CPMT 2014 Day 4, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Ven. Chantal Carrerot and Drolkar McCallum leading a presentation on International Mahayana Institute with Lama Zopa Rinpoche listening on, CPMT 2014 Day 4, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Miffi Maximillion, spiritual program director of Langri Tangpa Centre in Brisbane, Australia, explained the center’s popular “prostrate-a-thon,” in which participants took pledges for doing prostration for world peace. She said they saw the event primarily as a merit raising event and had “heaps of offerings” in the center during the event. In addition to creating merit, Miffi said the event also created a great community feeling.

Ven. Chantal Carrerot director of International Mahayana Institute (IMI) and Drolkar McCallum led a presentation on IMI, the community of FPMT’s monks and nuns. Ven. Chantal described the more than 40-year history of IMI and their invaluable contribution to building the international FPMT mandala; they were the “pioneers.” As of today, IMI had 280 Sangha members in 29 countries who are in retreat, studying, teachings and offering service. Participants talked with partners at their tables about the centers, projects and services that they knew of that have benefited from Sangha involvement. There were no shortage of instances to discuss. Then everyone took a few minutes to rejoice in all the activities of IMI Sangha members. 

Drolkar then described current and future projects to support Sangha, drawing attention to the Lama Yeshe Sangha Fund. Afterwards, small groups gathered to discuss issues on Sangha and reported back to the large group.

Sangha meeting at CPMT 2014 Day 4, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

IMI Sangha members meeting with Rinpoche during the small group discussion period at CPMT 2014 Day 4, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Drolkar also led the end of day reflection, asking participants how they did with their practice of listening. “Was your listening unbiased? … Was it patient? … Did you listen with interest?” she asked. Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who had observed in most of the day’s meeting, led the dedication.

After dinner, Ven. Paloma Alba and Gun Cissé shared their stories about meeting the Dharma as part of the evening’s Wisdom Culture program. Like previous evenings’ presentations, despite the draft and chill in the stupa, their stories warmed the audience with laughter and inspiration.

Ven. Paloma and Gun Cissé sharing their stories of meeting the Dharma, Day 4 CPMT 2014, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Ven. Paloma and Gun Cissé sharing their stories of meeting the Dharma, Day 4 CPMT 2014, Australia, September 16, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Mandala will continue sharing updates and photos from the CPMT 2014 meeting as the meeting continues.

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 Attends Day 2 of CPMT 2014http://fpmt.org/mandala-today/lama-zopa-rinpoche-attends-day-2-of-cpmt-2014/ http://fpmt.org/mandala-today/lama-zopa-rinpoche-attends-day-2-of-cpmt-2014/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 20:25:26 +0000 http://fpmt.org/mandala/?p=33324 ... Read full article]]> Lama Zopa Rinpoche listening to Andy Wistreich's question during CPMT 2014, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche listening to a question during CPMT 2014, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche arrived at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion during the morning tea break on the second day (September 14) of the CPMT 2014 meeting, currently being held at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Australia. After tea, Rinpoche joined a small group discussion on the proposed idea for an international FPMT Advisory Council. After lunch Rinpoche attended the presentation on FPMT Education Programs and participated in a small group discussion on the topic. Rinpoche then had an open question and answer session with participants.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche following the path from the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion to Thubten Shedrup Ling, Victoria, Australia, September 14, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche following the path from the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion to Thubten Shedrup Ling, Victoria, Australia, September 14, 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

For more on CPMT 2014, visit Mandala’s blog.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.

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CPMT Day 1: Lama Zopa Rinpoche Gives Inspiration and Advicehttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/cpmt-day-1-lama-zopa-rinpoche-gives-inspiration-and-advice/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/cpmt-day-1-lama-zopa-rinpoche-gives-inspiration-and-advice/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 00:46:54 +0000 http://fpmt.org/mandala/?p=33297 ... Read full article]]> Rinpoche prostrating before offering the body, speech and mind mandala to a photo of His Holiess the Dalai Lama on the throne, Great Stupa, Australia, September 2014.

Rinpoche prostrating before offering the body, speech and mind mandala to a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the throne, Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia, September 2014.

The first day of the CPMT 2014 meeting got off to a blessed start. Representative of the Jaara people, the native Aboriginal tribe of the Bendigo, Victoria, area, performed a smoke ceremony and traditional dances and offered Lama Zopa Rinpoche a traditional sacred gift, representing a connection between the Jaara and the people of the FPMT.

Ven. Gyatso, director of Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery, which is one of the three FPMT centers hosting the CPMT meeting, welcomed FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi, who is the present abbot of Kopan Monastery and resident geshe at Amitabha Buddha Centre. Gyatso recalled how Lama Yeshe had been on the property many years earlier and had pointed out where there was to be a stupa, a monastery, a retreat center and other facilities. And now, Gyatso said many of these things have become or are becoming actualized.

Liam Chambers, director of the Atisha Centre, another of the hosting centers, spoke next, inviting participants to envision an organization “where everyone is being the best that they can be.” He then challenged all present to actually be the best that they can be at the meeting and out in the world. He also recognized the 30 years of work and service offered by people to create and sustain Atisha Centre.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering a khata to the Guru Rinpoche statue at the Great Stupa, Australia, September 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering a khata to the Guru Rinpoche statue at the Great Stupa, Australia, September 2014. Photo by Laura Miller.

Judy Green welcomed participants on behalf of the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. The vast interior of the stupa serves as the venue for the meeting. She also recalled how 33 years ago Lama Yeshe had drawn in the sand his vision for the complex of centers and said, “We’ve done our best to fulfill Lama’s wishes.” She shared how His Holiness the Dalai Lama had blessed the site of the stupa in 2007, saying he saw it as a future gathering place for interfaith and scientific dialogues.

The meeting’s facilitator, Sandra Stubbings, was introduced. Sandra is both a professional facilitator and former SPC of Chang-tong Chen-tong in Tasmania and has completed the 16 Guidelines training (a Universal Education in Compassion and Wisdom program). She has also helped FPMT Australia with its national meetings.

The majority of Day 1 was blessed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, offering inspiration and advice. In the morning session, Rinpoche gave the motivation for the meeting, which can be watched online. After lunch Rinpoche gave a second talk, speaking on the evolution of FPMT and the special qualities of Lama Tsong Khapa’s teachings, among other things.

Ven. Paloma Alba sharing ideas from the discussion she had on preserving the Gelug tradition, CPMT 2014, Australia. Photo by Laura Miller.

Ven. Paloma Alba sharing ideas from the discussion she had on preserving the Gelug tradition, CPMT 2014, Australia. Photo by Laura Miller.

The day also had many opportunities for participants to talk to each other, including a lunch-time meeting of the national and regional coordinators attending the meeting, who discussed ideas for how to best share and disseminate the information and experience of the CPMT 2014 meeting. After Rinpoche’s afternoon talk, participants had lively and engaged discussions with partners on how to better learn and practice in order to preserve the Gelug tradition, which was a question suggest by Rinpoche. Before going to dinner, ideas on this were shared with the larger group and everyone seemed to have had fruitful discussions.

Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi speaking at CPMT 2014, Australia. Photo by Laura Miller.

Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi speaking at CPMT 2014, Australia. Photo by Laura Miller.

After dinner, Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi talked about his experience becoming a Kopan monk at the age of 12 in 1974. Khen Rinpoche described life as Kopan and how he was part of the first group of Kopan monks to study at Sera Je. After completing his geshe degree, he said that Lama Zopa Rinpoche asked him to become the resident geshe at Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore in 1999. Khen Rinpoche said that at the time he thought he would “just try it for a year;” the center just celebrated his 15th year as resident geshe.

Khen Rinpoche was asked to become the abbot of Kopan Monastery in 2011, after Khensur Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup manifested advanced cancer. Khen Rinpoche shared how Kopan Monastery has grown over the years and what it offers now. There are about 380 monks and 400 nuns at Kopan and its sister nunnery Khachoe Ghakyil. They receive education in English, science, math and other topics as well as a Buddhist philosophy and other traditional topics. Kopan and Khachoe Ghakyil serve as a source of current and future geshes for FPMT centers around the world, with about 15 geshes so far coming from Kopan. To close, Khen Rinpoche said very humbly, that he was speaking “just as an example of how Kopan benefits people.”

Mandala will continue sharing updates and photos from the CPMT 2014 meeting as it continues.

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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