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More than 30 ordained Sangha attended the recent Light of the Path retreat with Lama Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT’s Sangha community, which comprise the International Mahayana Institute (IMI), has played a crucial role in the development of FPMT. To recognize this contribution, FPMT celebrates International Sangha Day on July 31 this year. This is the twelfth year of honoring Sangha with a special day, which falls on the Wheel Turning Day: Choe Khor Due Chen – The First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma.
You can celebrate Sangha by:
- Showing respect for and appreciation of Sangha
- Generating deeper awareness of the Sangha jewel
- Donatinh to the Lama Yeshe Sangha Fund
From the early days of the FPMT, monks and nuns have served tirelessly to help bring the benefit of the Buddha’s teachings to the far corners of this planet. The IMI community has approximately 280 monks and nuns who continue to serve throughout the FPMT in many capacities as registered teachers, directors, spiritual program coordinators, editors and more. Many of these Sangha members are able to attend retreats with Lama Zopa Rinpoche due to the support of the Lama Yeshe Sangha Fund and IMI.
In 2007, Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave a talk recognizing the enormous contributions of senior Tibetan Sangha to the development of FPMT Education programs as well as the importance of all Sangha:
“… [The West] has gradually been developing respect for Sangha, which didn’t exist for many years. But in Western society, the life and culture, it’s not easy. I think it’s a challenge being in such a country, where the culture and everything is dedicated to developing delusion. Everything is like that. I would say that it is incredibly heroic and brave to be able to stay as a monk or nun in such a country and culture. I think it is great – these beings are unbelievable heroes; in Tibetan it’s called pawo. Obviously, it is easier in a place where there are no obstacles, in an isolated place where there are only Sangha, no one else. By mixing with people who have a totally different culture, and then being able to live in your practice, in the vows, that’s really being a great hero, that’s a great challenge. That hero is unbelievable. That is a hero over delusions, not a hero from killing many millions of people, which is what worldly people regard as a hero. The real hero is a hero over the delusions, who is able to conquer the delusions. You have given freedom to yourself, not allowing delusions to have dictatorship over you: you become the controller, it’s the other way around, which brings liberation and enlightenment to yourself, and through that to others, to numberless sentient beings. I think that’s unbelievable; those beings are really heroes. …”
More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.