FPMT » FPMT News Around the World http://fpmt.org Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:23:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 News from Jamyang Mindrol-ling Study Grouphttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/news-from-jamyang-mindrol-ling-study-group/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/news-from-jamyang-mindrol-ling-study-group/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:34:32 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=39993 ... Read full article]]> The Revd. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury with Sikh representative Kulwant Singh Dhesi and Ven. Dawa. Photo courtesy of Jamyang Mindrol-ling.

The Revd. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury with Sikh representative Kulwant Singh Dhesi and Ven. Lobsang Dawa. Photo courtesy of Jamyang Mindrol-ling.

Staff from Jamyang Mindrol-ling, a study group in Coventry, United Kingdom reports:

With the current interest in mindfulness meditation growing, Jamyang Mindrol-ling has launched a new meditation group which meets twice a month in Coventry. The aim is to root the practice firmly in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition while giving anyone who is interested a chance to try out or practice this ancient technique for calming the mind and body. 

Meeting on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month, the group is led by Jamyang Mindrol-ling’s resident teacher Ven. Lobsang Dawa, who is also continuing the ongoing Discovering Buddhism course with classes on karma and refuge in 2015.

Venerable Dawa was amongst a group of Coventry Faith representatives who were invited to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Revd. Justin Welby on his recent January 2015 visit to Coventry.

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 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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Ven. Ann McNeil Passes Awayhttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/ven-ann-mcneil-passes-away/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/ven-ann-mcneil-passes-away/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:00:38 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=40800 ... Read full article]]> Ven. Ann McNeil teaching at Chenrezig Institute, Eudlo, Australia, 1975. Photo courtesy of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

Ven. Ann McNeil teaching at Chenrezig Institute, Eudlo, Queensland, Australia, 1975. Photo courtesy of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

Ven. Ann McNeil, one of Lama Yeshe’s and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s most senior Western students, passed away on Sunday, February 22, 2015, in British Columbia, Canada. Known as Anila Ann, she became a student of Lama Yeshe in 1970, when she met him in Kathmandu, Nepal. She ordained the same year, which you can read about in the post “Ann McNeil and Ordination,” on Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive’s “Big Love” blog.

Anila Ann was the first director of Chenrezig Institute (CI), the first FPMT center, founded in 1974 in Eudlo, Queensland, Australia. Chenrezig Institute shared on their Facebook page that “it is due to [Anila Ann’s] kindness, and the kindness of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, that we are here today. She lay the foundations for the flourishing, colorful Buddhist center that CI is today. We are incredibly grateful for all she did for us and the Dharma.”

Anila Ann McNeil. Photo courtesy of FPMT North America's Facebook page.

Anila Ann McNeil. Photo courtesy of FPMT North America’s Facebook page.

More recently, Anila Ann talked about her work as a Buddhist chaplain with prisoners in a 2011 interview with Mandala.I loved teaching no matter the classification of the prison,” she said. “As far as teaching goes, it was very unusual to have the same students for less than four or five years. I’ve known most for 10 years and longer.” 

Let your happiness show,” she said in the same interview. “Look people in the eye with a big smile and say ‘Hello, hi, how are you?’ Be ready to assist anybody if they want it.”

Anila Ann was a true FPMT pioneer. (The Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive has many photos of Anila Ann from the early days of FPMT.) She touched countless lives over her more than 40 years of serving her gurus, helping to spread the authentic Dharma in the West and leading the way for many students to come. She will be deeply missed. 

We will run a full obituary for Anila Ann McNeil in our next print issue. 

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 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 Double Feature in Canadahttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/dharma-film-festival-dalai-lama-awakening-and-compassion-in-action/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/dharma-film-festival-dalai-lama-awakening-and-compassion-in-action/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 20:12:36 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=39701 ... Read full article]]>
Lama Yeshe Ling's promotional material for its "Dalai lama Double Feature." Image courtesy of Lama Yehse Ling Centre.

Lama Yeshe Ling’s promotional material for its “Dalai lama Double Feature.” Image courtesy of Lama Yehse Ling Centre.

On January 25, Lama Yeshe Ling, an FPMT center serving the greater Toronto area in Ontario, Canada, hosted a screening of two documentary films featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama – Dalai Lama Awakening and Compassion in Action – with question and answer discussion with director Khashyar Darvich. Spiritual program coordinator David Gould shared some news on the event:

“The event these films document is a gathering in Dharamsala, India, of 40 professionals in science, art, education and business, who are given the task of synthesizing new solutions to world problems. For 10 days this group met with His Holiness and worked on problems and solutions. If this sounds familiar, it may be due to an earlier film called Dalai Lama Renaissance of which the current films are the director’s cuts. We had 134 members of the wider community (mostly new faces) come for the screening. We found that promoting these films was very easy – the Dalai Lama opens doors!

“The first film, Dalai Lama Awakening, is a journey taken by a collection of people with differing perspectives trying to find ways to work together and be constructive. One thing that makes this film so effective is that the audience witnesses how all participants softened and opened their hearts over the course of the event. The conclusions they eventually come to may not surprise a Buddhist, but were quite unexpected among the participants. The second film, Compassion in Action, presents some of the problems they settled upon and some of the constructive approaches the group and His Holiness recommend.

“Through the power of film and the power of the presence of His Holiness in these films, our guests regularly left comments like ‘life-changing.’ Personally, having seen both films twice now, I am not embarrassed to say I cried with inspiration throughout both films, maybe even more the second time around. We recommend that everyone consider hosting a screening.

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 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 Practices Dates for Year of the Wood Sheep 2142http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/dharma-practices-dates-for-year-of-the-wood-sheep-2142/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/dharma-practices-dates-for-year-of-the-wood-sheep-2142/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:30:30 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=40655 ... Read full article]]> Screen shot from AstroTibet '15. Photo courtesy of Liberation Prison Project.

Screen shot from AstroTibet ’14. Photo courtesy of Liberation Prison Project.

Dharma Practice Dates on FPMT.org is a collaborative project between FPMT International Office and Liberation Prison Project, an FPMT service offering Dharma support to interested prisoners around the world. Dharma Practice Dates is drawn from the Liberation Tibetan Calendar, prepared by Nawang Thartho and based on Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute’s calendar with additional advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Geshe Nawang Dakpa.

The calendar marks auspicious and inauspicious dates for various activities in addition to days that are favorable and unfavorable according to the combination of elements of earth, air, fire and water. These combinations impact on the effectiveness of one’s activities as well as one’s health.

Liberation Prison Project also makes the calendar available as an app – AstroTibet ’15 – on iTunes, for iPhones and iPads, and from Amazon and Google Play for Android devices. AstroTibet ’15 contains the full calendar and also features audio recordings of the mantras for each month, chanted by Geshe Sangpo and Ven. Lhamo at Kadampa Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States, so you can hear the mantra pronunciation and tunes.

Purchases of Liberation Tibetan Calendar in print and as an app support the beneficial projects of Liberation Prison Project.

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 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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New Online Feature Story from Mandala!http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/new-online-feature-story-from-mandala/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/new-online-feature-story-from-mandala/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 19:45:00 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=40607 ... Read full article]]> Sera IMI monks working on memorization, Bylakuppe, India, 2014. Photo by Sandesh Kapur.

Monks working on memorization at Sera IMI House, Bylakuppe, India, November 2013. Photo by Sandesh Kapur|www.felis.in.

“Memorization: Beneficial Exercise for the Mind,” our online feature story for February, has just been published! American monk Ven. Tenzin Gache (Brian Roiter), who just finished his seventh year at Sera Je Monastic University, writes about the history and role of memorization in monastic education and offers memorization tips to help lay students build their own memorization skills. Earlier this month, Ven. Gache received the top award in Sera Je’s lo gyü chenmo (Great Memorization Exam), having committed 873 pages to memory. Here’s a short excerpt from Ven. Gache’s article, which you can read in its entirety on FPMT.org/Mandala:

In his biography of his teacher, Khedrub Je claims that Lama Tsongkhapa would memorize an astounding 17 folios (34 pages) of Buddhist text per day. Two natural reactions to this statement might be, “Is that even possible? It must be exaggerated,” and “Is that really a constructive use of one’s time and energy?” Without giving direct answers to these questions, I would like to respond first by describing a little bit about the place of memorization in Buddhist practice, both historically and today, and some of its potential benefits.

Memorization has played a central role in the Buddhism’s saga since its earliest days. For the first few hundred years, the sutras and their commentaries were not written down. Monks and nuns would work together to keep these discourses in memory, orally passing them on to the next generation. In the First Council of Arhats shortly after the Buddha’s passing [also known as the First Buddhist Council, c. 550-450 BCE], his attendant Ananda recited from memory the entirety of the Sutra Pitaka [the collection of sutras], while another monk, Upali, recited the discourses on vinaya [monastic discipline]. Even after these discourses were committed to paper, memorization remained a standard practice in the monasteries and nunneries of India. The great scholar-practitioner Acharya Vasubandhu [c. 4th century CE] is said to have maintained a yearly ritual wherein he would sit upright for several days, gradually reciting all of the texts he had memorized in a bathtub of oil to keep himself awake. More recently, Geshe Rabten [1921-86 CE] observed a similar yearly ritual, but without the oil.

Memorization of the sutras and their commentaries is a standard monastic practice in all Buddhist countries, but here I will focus mainly on its expression in my own monastery, Sera Je, one of the three great Gelug monastic universities now located in South India. … read more

In case you missed last month’s online feature, “Jeffrey Hopkins’ Transmission of Honesty,” you can read it now. If you like Mandala’s online features, consider becoming a Friends of FPMT, which supports our work as well as the education programs of FPMT.

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Geshe Kelsang Wangmo Visits Jamyang Buddhist Centre Londonhttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/geshe-kelsang-wangmo-visits-jamyang-buddhist-centre-london/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/geshe-kelsang-wangmo-visits-jamyang-buddhist-centre-london/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 19:24:55 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=40166 ... Read full article]]> Geshe Kelsang Wangmo teaching at Jamyang Buddhist Centre London, November 2014. Photo by Natascha Sturny.

Geshe Kelsang Wangmo teaching at Jamyang Buddhist Centre London, November 2014. Photo by Natascha Sturny.

“We were very honored to welcome Geshe Kelsang Wangmo last November,” said Jamyang Buddhist Centre London’s Natascha Sturny. “She kindly agreed to visit us as part of her first UK tour at the invitation of FPMT UK.

“On the evening of November 14, Geshe Wangmo gave a public talk on her experience of studying to become a geshe. The big gompa was full with people happy to meet Geshe-la for the first time and curious to hear her story.

“Many of the audience probably knew that she was the first woman in history to receive the Geshe degree, but to actually hear the story from herself was a great pleasure, often funny and definitely ‘mind blowing.’ Geshe Wangmo enthusiastically, and with a good portion of humor, explained in detail of how she became a geshe. The audience was charmed by her personality, eagerly listening and asking questions. Many were left admiring Geshe Wangmo‘s strength and determination to go through the scholastic curriculum for over 16 years.

“On November 16, Geshe Wangmo gave a day-long teaching on ‘Is the Buddha Reliable?’ Basing the talk on her own translation of and previous teaching on the second chapter of Dharmakirti’s Commentary on Pramana, she gave a superb overview of the chapter’s four sections that establish the Buddha is valid, authoritative and reliable.

“We eagerly await her return sometime in the next two years as she has promised to teach for four days on the same chapter, giving more depth to her presentation of each of the sections.”

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 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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Grants from Merit Box Project Support Carers in UK and Australiahttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/grants-from-merit-box-project-support-carers-in-uk-and-australia/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/grants-from-merit-box-project-support-carers-in-uk-and-australia/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 18:56:15 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=39999 ... Read full article]]> Ani Barbara Shannon & Tracy Chau during a Repaying the Kindness holiday celebration.

Ani Barbara Shannon and Tracy Chau during a Repaying the Kindness holiday celebration

Every year, the International Merit Box Project collects offerings from students all around the world and disburses them as grants to deserving FPMT centers, projects and services. Since 2001, almost US$1,000,000 in Merit Box grants has been given to build stupas, help long-term retreaters cook and stay warm, publish Dharma books, and fund many, many other activities.

Two of the 14 most recent grants went to support community service initiatives in the caring field.

With their community being hit hard by funding cuts in public services, a team from Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London was inspired to develop Repaying the Kindness, a program to give back to those who take care of others. This compassionate program brings in carers from all ages and backgrounds to rejuvenate with yoga, counseling, celebrations, group trips, art therapy, and simple warm chats over tea and cake.

Jane Sill, co-director of Repaying the Kindness, shared about the program recently, “Our aim is to be sustainable and to be able to offer some kind of continuity and care at a time when so many lives are being affected by cuts and stoppages of public provision. As such, we are happy to be able to offer a quiet and relaxing place to re-energize and reconnect, allowing our carers to be able to carry on with renewed strength in their caring roles.”

Another Merit Box grant went to Karuna Hospice Service in Australia and funded the new development of a spiritual carer training program for FPMT students who want a Buddhist-oriented training to provide spiritual care to the sick and dying. Once implemented, it will help meet the needs of those in the community looking for spiritual end-of-life care by creating well-trained, FPMT-registered spiritual carers.

At the end of the course, participants will be able to speak about the importance of spirituality at the end of life and assist people to explore their beliefs; offer basic spiritual support that aligns with the FPMT lineage for people who are dying or bereaved; offer Buddhist ritual and practices in pre- and post-death situations, as well as during the actual dying process; and conduct Buddhist funeral services.

Mike Fry & Robin Bath enjoying a meal together through the Repaying the Kindness Project.

Mike Fry and Robin Bath enjoying a meal together through the Repaying the Kindness Project

The International Merit Box Project was created by Lama Zopa Rinpoche as a method to enhance the generosity practice of FPMT students. The practice includes an offering box that can be added to one’s altar to make cash and coin offerings throughout the year, and teachings from Rinpoche on how to best do so. If you would like to start doing Merit Box practice, order a free Merit Box Practice Kit for yourself or friends today. You may also give to the 2015 Merit Box grants by making a direct donation online until March 31.

To see what other projects and activities the Merit Box Project has supported, please visit the Merit Box Project homepage. 

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Milarepa Center October Newshttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/milarepa-center-october-news/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/milarepa-center-october-news/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 22:38:43 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=39965 ... Read full article]]> Milarepa Center landscape, Barnet, Vermont, October 2014. Photo by Linda Bryan.

Milarepa Center landscape, Barnet, Vermont, October 2014. Photo by Linda Bryan.

“The seasons are changing and Milarepa Center has been filled with programs throughout the fall,” shared work study participant Tommy Nimrod with Mandala in October 2014. “A work party was offered to celebrate summer’s end and prepare the grounds for the rest of the year.

“Leaves falling in the backdrop reminded us of impermanence as Geshe Tenley from Kurukulla Center taught about the six perfections during a three-day retreat. The foliage provided a picture-perfect scene for our first Mindful Photography day-long led by Linda Bryan and an animal blessing with Geshe Soepa. During Geshe Soepa’s three-week visit, Geshe-la also led evening talks on the benefits of OM MANI PADME HUM, Medicine Buddha, being vegetarian, and the problem with attachment, along with a two-night lecture series on patience and compassion at a local library.

“As the days grow shorter, our hearts found warmth by the inspiring words of Geshe Soepa as he led a four-day bodhichitta retreat. With thoughts of better serving our community in mind, the staff and members of the center had the honor of traveling to Boston and attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings on the Eight Verses of Mind Training.

“In the midst of autumn, we are getting ready for winter. With snow at our doorstep, the air feels brisk and the trees are becoming bare. As we move forward we remember the words of Thoreau: ‘It’s not what we look at that matters, it’s what we see.'”

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 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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MAITRI Charitable Trust Supports World Leprosy Dayhttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/maitri-charitable-trust-supports-world-leprosy-day/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/maitri-charitable-trust-supports-world-leprosy-day/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 18:12:02 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=39719 ... Read full article]]> On World Leprosy Day 2014, Adriana Ferranti (at right with blue bag) works with MAITRI staff and volunteers, January 2014. Photo courtesy of Adriana Ferranti.

On World Leprosy Day 2014, Adriana Ferranti (at right with blue bag) works with MAITRI staff and volunteers, January 2014. Photo courtesy of Adriana Ferranti.

On January 25, MAITRI Charitable Trust participated in World Leprosy Day, founded in 1953 by French writer and humanitarian Raoul Follereau. Director Adriana Ferranti serves some of India’s poorest people in the state of Bihar and has worked for 25 years to eradicate Hansen’s disease (leprosy), a treatable bacterial infection, and to reduce the stigma against physical disability associated with the disease. This year, Adriana and her staff decided to share a brief video to illustrate the work they do daily.

Watch “MAITRI World Leprosy Day” on YouTube.

Since MAITRI’s founding, the organization has expanded its services to the public and currently offers physical rehabilitation for disabled people, health clinics to control the spread of tuberculosis, pre- and post-natal support programs, HIV- and AIDS-related services, education programs, clean water and afforestation programs, aid programs, and animal clinics. Two short videos, “Seven Days of MAITRI” and “Actions of MAITRI” give a taste of what MAITRI staff and volunteers accomplish each week.

Watch “Seven Days of MAITRI” on YouTube.

 

Watch “Actions of MAITRI” on YouTube.

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 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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News from Finland’s Tara Liberation Study Grouphttp://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/news-from-finlands-tara-liberation-study-group/ http://fpmt.org/news-around-the-world/news-from-finlands-tara-liberation-study-group/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 18:00:11 +0000 http://fpmt.org/?p=37814 ... Read full article]]> Geshe Sherab and Mikko Putkonen in front of the Sibelius Monument, dedicated to the Finnish national composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), Helsinki, Finland, October 2014. Photo by Jere Valkonen.

Geshe Sherab and Mikko Putkonen in front of the Sibelius Monument, dedicated to the Finnish national composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), Helsinki, Finland, October 2014. Photo by Jere Valkonen.

Student Maria Suominen from Tara Liberation Study Group in Helsinki, Finland, reports:

The past months have been busy for our small yet active group. In the summer of 2014 we hosted the Maitreya Loving Kindness Tour and in the autumn we have been blessed with several inspiring teachers. We are fortunate to have a committed new coordinator, Mikko Putkonen, who is full of energy and ideas, and who helps activate the group when it comes to volunteering and joining our forces.

In September, Glen Svensson taught us about the stages of the path, greatly supporting our studies on Discovering Buddhism, Module 3. Prior to that, Joona Repo gave insightful teachings on the module. In October, we were happy to get Geshe Thubten Sherab to Helsinki. His four days here provided us with instructions on how to prepare for death, as well as on helping others confront the inevitable. This gave a wonderful start for our studies on Module 5 and Geshe-la’s sense of humor made the topic less somber. Two people took refuge from Geshe-la, while many were thankful for the opportunity to renew refuge and lay vows with him. We will continued to receive guidance from exceptional teachers when Ondy Willson came to Helsinki in November and Ven. Robina Courtin in December.

In August the Maitreya Loving Kindness Tour attracted more than 400 visitors; thanks to people from different Buddhist groups who helped make the relic tour a success. Internationally speaking, some of us attended Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy. Mikko and Susanna (Mikko’s wife) visited the Institut Vajra Yogini in France, where Mikko attended the Foundation Service Seminar. Other group members went for teachings at Jamyang in London and at Root Institute in India.

Find more information about Tara Liberation Study Group on its new Facebook page.

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 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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