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(For the confirmed schedule and details of how to book for these events, please contact the center directly or go to http://fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/schedule.php)
Rinpoche is currently in Mongolia to host and teach during the EEC4, May 26 – June 23rd. See below for more news about this wonderful event!
Unfortunately, due to an important appointment, Rinpoche will not be able to teach in Korea this year.
Rinpoche will give the Great Medicine Buddha initiation at Maitreya Instituut, Amsterdam, then move to Maitreya Instituut, Emst for CPMT 2004, August 24 – 29th, and will give 21 Tara initiation during CPMT. The official long life puja on behalf of FPMT will be offered to Rinpoche on August 30th.
Rinpoche will lead another long retreat on Ganden Lha Gyema at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy between Sept 3 – 30th. This will begin with Rinpoche giving Yamantaka initiation between September 4 – 6th.
Rinpoche will teach at the Kopan November course.
Rinpoche has mentioned this frequently:
‘I want to preserve all the advice I have given to all the centers, especially advice about building holy objects within/outside the centers. So that the advice is done correctly, so that it happens, to remind people and for historical purposes.
The reason to keep all the advice is to remind people, so that the project happens, to support it and make sure people follow the correct advice and to make sure everything happens as I said.’
So, next week we will ask each center to send through a list of projects requested by Rinpoche for us to create an archive of this advice.
During the Mahamudra Retreat at Buddha House, Rinpoche met with all the center directors who were participating, and during that meeting gave these thanks, which are relevant to ALL FPMT center directors and so on!:
‘So I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart to every one of you for your hard work, your dedication, your service to help sentient beings, whose continuation of samsaric suffering has no beginning. But with our help, that can end. Because they have Buddha nature, therefore it is possible for them to end their suffering, but they need help. So having established centers in many parts of Australia and many parts of this world, many students are dedicating their lives offering service for other sentient beings to meet the Dharma, creating the conditions to put the Dharma into practice. So I want to thank from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for the directors and all those who work in the center, for their dedication.
One thing is that their suffering didn’t begin with this life, beings accumulated their suffering from beginningless rebirths. The other thing is, as I often mention, I use often the reason that all our numberless past, present future happiness, realization, enlightenment, any collection of goodness is all received by the kindness of every single sentient being, there isn’t one from whom we don’t receive our happiness, from everyone, every insect, every human being, every hell being, every hungry ghost, every sura, asura, every sentient being: so they are the most precious, most kind ones. That is another reason to repay their kindness.
So I would like to thank all of you on behalf of all the sentient beings! On behalf of numberless hell beings, on behalf of numberless hungry ghosts, on behalf of numberless animals, all the insects we see outside, on behalf of everybody, on behalf of all those beings, I thank. They can’t thank, because they can’t speak, but by taking human birth this time, I am saying thank you! On behalf of all those human beings as well who have received so much help from you, from your effort, from the whole community of each center, so like that. I think this is continuing Lama Yeshe’s wishes. This organization is continuing Lama’s holy wishes to benefit the world, not just this world, but benefitting all sentient beings.
For example, the person by coming to the center learns about bodhicitta and the potential to actualize compassion to all living beings, so each time when the person begins the sadhana they generate the motivation of bodhicitta to benefit all sentient beings and free them from suffering and bring them to enlightenment; doing service in daily life, generating bodhicitta at the beginning; doing prostrations, making offerings, generating bodhicitta at the beginning, the thought to benefit all sentient beings; so even from that, each time they generate the motivation of bodhicitta it benefits sentient beings – from that person numberless sentient beings receive all their temporary, ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara, enlightenment from that person.
Now there is no bodhicitta realization, just the imitation, thinking that way, but then eventually that will become realization, it leads to realization. That person’s mind becomes that 24 hours a day. So then they become a bodhisattva, with no thoughts other than thoughts seeking happiness for others, only working for other sentient beings, developing wisdom, method, path, any skill needed to benefit others – in the text it says there is nothing the bodhisattva doesn’t learn to benefit others. Then deeper and deeper benefit, actualize the path, achieve enlightenment and then able to do perfect work for numberless sentient beings.
So all these benefits come from the center. That means the director who takes the mountains of responsibilities on their shoulders, their head – and also on their nose! – and everybody, all the staff at the center who take responsibility for different works, of course the teacher, translator, from their effort from their effort in essence each person coming to the center and learning about compassion and bodhicitta, even though they don’t have the realization, they just imitate, just try to generate that attitude, they get endless skies of merit – they’re listening to enlightenment, so this will free them from all samsaric suffering, then they will be able to bring numberless sentient beings to enlightenment. So you are offering that. All these benefits come from the center, you are offering all these benefits. Even though it’s only a small group, but what each person does for numberless sentient beings will eventually effect, eventually bring all sentient beings to enlightenment. So that’s how we should look in the long run, that we are offering skies of benefit to sentient beings.
This is the way to bring peace and happiness in the world, by giving education, not by force, but by giving education, then from their own side beings stop harming others, and benefit others. So the centers which teach the lam-rim play the most important, most active role for bringing peace in the world. It’s the key organization for really bringing world peace.
(transcribed and edited by Claire Isitt)
At the request of Ian Green, director of the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion (Bendigo, Australia), Rinpoche wrote a long letter extolling the benefits and importance of holy objects. Rinpoche really wants this to be used widely, so the letter is available in the Members’ Area of the FPMT website (under Center Advice from Lama and Rinpoche), and centers planning fundraising initiatives for holy objects are very welcome to choose excerpts from that letter to use to support your fundraising.
Rinpoche said it is: ‘Best to have the whole letter available in any center which has or is creating holy objects (such as big statues, stupas) then the center can take out the quotes and put them around, and then also post up the whole piece, so that it is easy to read, so that people can know how important it is. These quotations from the Buddha are very important to inspire people.’
Here are some excerpts from the letter:
‘In just one second, it is so easy to collect merit because there are so many pictures of deities and buddhas; even in one photo there are many buddhas, such as the Guru Puja merit field or the thirty-five Buddhas, even in one picture there are so many merit fields. Each time you prostrate to them you collect that many causes of enlightenment, that many causes of liberation from samsara and, by the way, happiness of future lives. And not just one time – from each holy object, having prostrated with two palms together, because karma is expandable you enjoy the resultant happiness of deva or human rebirths and much more happiness for so many eons, not only for a hundred lifetimes but for thousands of eons.
Even though I try as much as possible to do this whenever I see holy objects, sometimes it is not easy to remember every time I enter the room unless I make a really strong determination in the morning.
From the “Sutra of the Exalted Compassionate-Eye Looking One”:
If even for 10 million eons one explains the admiration (benefits)
Of any human being who circumambulates this stupa of the savior of the world;
One is unable to finish explaining them.
So here you can understand how easy it is to collect the most extensive merit; you just need to open your eyes, if you are intelligent and know how to do it. In monasteries, nunneries, temples or centers it is important to have many holy objects, many statues, stupas, tsa.tsas and pictures, as many as possible. Also in your own house, in your meditation room, even outside, in the countryside, anywhere in the world, particularly in public places like roads so that many people can see the holy objects, you can actually build a big statue or stupa, or carve mantras on stone or wood.
Even if you teach Dharma to sentient beings, not everyone comes to listen; some are not interested, some are children and some are old people and so cannot come. If you make holy objects, not only inside but especially outside in public places then everyone can see, believers and non-believers, everybody gets so much benefit as Buddha explained in the quotations above. Because of the power of the holy object it doesn’t require deep devotion or faith to gain all these benefits.
…. the statue is a manifestation of the Buddha. Even if you meet the actual Buddha, do prostrations or make offerings, the merit and result are not greater than circumambulating, prostrating, making offerings or offering service to a holy representation of Buddha. This is very exciting. The best way you can use and enjoy your life is by supporting the building of holy objects.’
On May 12, 2004, His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent a letter of support to Sean Jones, the director of the fourth Enlightenment Experience Celebration. Here is an excerpt from the letter:
‘I am very happy to know that the fourth Enlightenment Experience Celebration is being held from 26th May to 22nd June 2004 in Ulaanbaatar under the auspices of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. Over four weeks, Mongolians and visitors from elsewhere will have an excellent opportunity to receive traditional Buddhist teachings that, originating with the compassionate Buddha Shakyamuni himself, have been practiced and passed down from teacher to disciples over many centuries.
This chance to receive teachings from such fully qualified and experienced masters as Denma Locho Rinpoche, Choden Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche is rare and fortunate, an occasion for rejoicing.
The Enlightenment Experience Celebration is likely also to attract participants from many other parts of the world, which will offer opportunities for regarding cultural exchanges amongst all those who attend. Events such as this allow us to foster that feeling of universal brotherhood and sisterhood, an understanding and belief that we really are part of one big human family that is so necessary if we are to establish peace and happiness in the world. Within the context, as individuals what is particularly important is that we develop a kind heart, a sense of love, compassion and respect for others.
I offer my greetings to everyone who attends and participates in the Celebration and pray that as interest in Buddhism begins to flourish in Mongolia once more it may contribute to a corresponding increase in inner peace and happiness in the world at large.’
From Ven. Roger:
‘Mongolia and EEC4 are off to a good start – apart from a few Mongolian scrums! Rinpoche and the relics were met at the airport at midnight by the Prime Minister’s wife, Foreign Minister, two other Ministers and the media – it was such an important event for them to receive the relics. The Prime Minister apologized he couldn’t be there and is coming on the 3rd June to the teachings and to view the relics. The relics received a police escort into town ……. Mongolian style …..anybody coming the opposite way was forced off the road!
Yesterday about 3 – 4,000 people viewed the relics and it looks like it is just starting. 30 police have been assigned 24 hrs a day for the next month as security. At the teachings it is hard to say but around 2,000 attended the first day. An area outside the Gompa which we built and which sits 2000 has been prepared for people. There is a constant stream of people, with at least a 1000 people in the Gompa all day…. it is very very busy but also very inspiring to see the devotion.
On Saka Dawa literally thousands and thousands came to view the relics. The line was so long you wouldn’t believe it and all through the day it was like that. I didn’t see the end of the line till 9pm and that is late for Mongolians! The Prime Minister visited the Gompa during lunch. During lunch Rinpoche attended the main Saka Dawa event at Ganden with the Prime Minister and ministers…it was a cultural show and Rinpoche gave the main Dharma talk to a large crowd in the open air in front of the monasteries. The Mongolians were quite orderly …..we did have 30 police to help…….. it was only when the crowd occasionally caught sight of Rinpoche that there was a surge and it was either run or try to form a human wall.
Compared to last year’s Saka Dawa there were so many more people, so that is very inspiring …we hope next year there is even more ..and more!
Every morning Rinpoche gave very down to earth practical advice on what Dharma is and how you use it daily life. Really pithy stuff. The Mongolians we have heard from are extremely happy and the Westerners are over the moon!
It really feels this is the beginning of the revival of Buddhism in Mongolia – very very inspiring!
Rinpoche gave this important advice recently:
All FPMT Hospices should be using Buddhist methods to benefit people. If your hospice service is not doing this at present, please can you look at how to make this transition.
‘We need to make our hospices and hospice services beneficial, so we can do this by being Buddhist. There is not much use to have a hospice that is without Buddhism.
If the dying person doesn’t want Buddhist prayers to be done, then the hospice workers can do Buddhist prayers in a subtle skilful way, for example saying the blessing mantras in the form of a song, or blowing on the body while silently reciting mantras, but we MUST do Buddhist practice for the dying. This helps them. For example with a person who is hallucinating, you don’t do what they ask because you know that they are sick, so in the same way we need to do Buddhist practice for the dying [even if they say they don't want it]: of course don’t do it in a way that disturbs them, but we must do it as this has the most benefit for them.
One can generate oneself as Chenrezig, then recite 10 malas of Om Mani Padme Hum, or recite the Chenrezig long mantra, then help the patients.
By reciting mantras for the patients this helps to purify negative karma and helps the person to die peacefully and to have a good rebirth. If a person has a hard time at the time of death this is the result of their past negative karma, but this does not always apply – maybe they have an easy death, but after death their past negative karma ripens, or they die very unpeacefully but after death, because that negative karma is purified then they go to a pure land.’
Clarifying note from Ven Roger:
‘The methods used don’t have to be labelled ‘Buddhist’, but FPMT hospices should be clear as to what are the Buddhist means and methods to help people. Those methods can be couched in a Universal Education way sometimes, but Rinpoche’s point is clear that the bottom line is that FPMT Hospices are to help people not just in the ordinary existing ways – they are already out there – we need to use our understanding of and expertise in Dharma to benefit others – because that really makes a difference!’
From the Mahamudra Retreat in Australia, Ven Roger writes:
‘We had a millipede invasion here during the course – they were everywhere! Rinpoche spent time every day taking them off the road, and getting others to make sure they were not trodden on. Then the artists Dale and Jonathan painted this and gave Rinpoche – it’s quite large.’ (See photo in the Gallery)
Statements of Appreciation
A few days ago I completed a year of retreats…at two FPMT centres (though I have visited and am very familiar with several others). The staff of the two centres could not have been kinder and more supportive. It is especially through appreciating their cultures of care and support for retreatants that I have renewed my admiration for the FPMT, and thereby for your [Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s] extraordinary holy activity for sentient beings…
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