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Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling
Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling is the FPMT center in Copenhagen, Denmark, founded in 1997. It’s a young and active center that, in addition to traditional Dharma teachings and pujas, offers mindfulness classes and also has a hospice project, called Pure Land of Medicine Buddha (Medicin Buddhas Lysende Klare Land), as well as a publishing service called Dharma Wisdom Publishing (Forlaget Dharma Visdom). They are looking forward to a visit from Lama Zopa Rinpoche in July 2015.
Martin Lyngby-Nielsen is the director of the center and visited FPMT’s International Office in May 2015. He sat down with Mandala for a short chat and we started talking about the Five Pillars of Service in FPMT: Dharma, Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom, community/social service, interfaith work and revenue generating activities.
“I really like the five pillars. It’s really a good and broad way of expanding the Dharma in the vision of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche,” Martin said during his visit. He then explained how Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling is engaging with the interfaith pillar in Copenhagen.
Denmark is, generally speaking, a quite secular culture, but Christianity is still the strongest religious presence in the country. In the past few decades, Islam has become the second largest faith in Denmark, mostly due to immigration. These cultural shifts have created an awareness of the need for interfaith dialogue and Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling is taking part in its development.
“We are working together with other religions in a few different ways. We are represented on Copenhagen’s municipal board of intercultural affairs, where we work with different religions,” Martin explained. “For example, every year there is a multicultural festival in Copenhagen and it is organized by the municipality. At the festival, they have a faith tent and we are there together with representatives from Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Jewish groups. Amongst other activities, there is a quiz that people can enter to win a prize. They have to answer questions about different religions. And to do that, they have go around to all the different religious representatives in the tent and find the answers. It’s quite a good idea, because it really gets people to engage. It also creates an opportunity to network between the different religions.
“Another interfaith event took place after the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen in February [when a cultural event and a Jewish synagogue were attacked by a gunman, who killed two men and injured five police officers]. After that there was quite some effort organized by an interreligious organization that we are also part of. We worked together to have interreligious dialogues and squarely address some of the problems facing our communities. It’s really strengthened and increased the interreligious dialogue happening in the city and we’ve created a very good network. We’ve been to some of the meetings where the Jewish rabbis are present with the Muslims imams and Christian priests and so forth. It feels like such an important way to prevent more problems. All the religious representatives that are present at these meetings are supporting the integration of immigrants to Denmark and are using religious values in a constructive way.
“I think our interreligious work is very important. It’s really something that can benefit the community as a whole, so we as Buddhists have a responsibility to engage in that. And we are showing that we are standing together. Even though the Buddhists are quite a minority, still we are there and present with the others. Working together and talking together makes a lot of difference. When you live in secular societies, it’s important that the religious can talk together about some of the problems they face, but it’s also important that we can also talk with the people who may not believe in anything. They may not understand so well the interreligious issues and the religious values that motivate actions, so we can talk about that, which is important.
“I think the event like the faith tent is successful in many ways and can happen anywhere,” Martin said. “This kind of thing can be organized especially around community festivals. Just having the different religions standing together like that is enough – you don’t even have to do much. There’s a very strong impact on people to see us standing together. It’s quite amazing.”
You can find Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling online at www.fpmt.dk.
For more on the Five Pillars of Service, see fpmt.org/tag/five-pillars/.
Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling in Copenhagen, Denmark, shared their new logo with Mandala. The logo was drawn by Sonam Sherpa.
The Danish center wrote, “maybe other centers who see it will become reenergized about their own processes of developing logos according to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s wishes.”
Advice from Rinpoche on logo design is available for directors of FPMT centers, projects and services in the “Center Members Area” of fpmt.org.
Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of 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.
“Warm greetings from here in Pure Land of Medicine Buddha,” project coordinator Maria Domsholt wrote to Mandala. Pure Land of Medicine Buddha is the hospice project of Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling, the FPMT center in Denmark. In September, the project began organizing 19 volunteers to cover both night and day shifts for dying people in their last days of life. Volunteers also visit with chronically sick and terminally ill people. Medicine Buddha puja and prayers are part of the volunteers practice as well.
“When one of our patients die, a volunteer paints the name of the patient on a small stupa that had been filled and blessed from Kopan Monastery. We give that to the family of the patient,” Maria wrote.
Volunteers also continue training to use the Liberation Box, a collection of Dharma tools for the time of death assembled according to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice. Materials on how to use the Liberation Box have been translated into Danish and edited by Dharma Wisdom Publishing, another project of Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling.
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 have news you would like to share, please let us know.
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