In 2006, for the first time in the history of the Nalanda Tradition, Nyingma, Kagyü, Sakya and Gelug traditions have formed an umbrella organization called Nepal Buddhist Federation (NBF). Since then, NBF has been engaging in many activities, including organizing the Rime Chirim Tendo Chenmo Monlam, a prayer festival for Saka Dawa dedicated to the healthy and long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the heads of the four Tibetan Buddhist schools, all other great masters, as well as for world peace.
The festival, now in its sixth year and taking place at Tharlam Sasang Namgyal Ling Monastery, Bouddhanath, Nepal, is a great historic achievement and a sign of growing harmony within the four schools of the Tibetan Buddhism. Four hundred Sangha members were invited from each of the four schools. In addition to the pujas and prayers offered, breakfast, lunch and dinner was also offered to each Sangha member as well as a small offering.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, through the Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund, was happy to offer US$6,187 toward this year’s festival.
You are welcome to donate any amount to support this project which directly supports the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa.
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Every day, 8,300 meals are served to all 2,500 monks studying at Sera Je Monastery through the Sera Je Food Fund. Before each meal, all of the monks offer prayers and dedications to all of the many kind sponsors of the Sera Je Food Fund which provides an annual operating budget of US$280,000 in order to provide 3,029,500 meals every year.
This video shows the monks offering prayers, before lunch. The prayers are always dedicated for the supporters of the Sera Je Food Fund.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the Sera Je Monastery Abbot are also seen enjoying the same nutritious vegetarian lunch offered to all the other monks.
You may donate any amount to this incredibly beneficial project which provides one of the most fundamental needs for life – food – and allows the monks to focus on their studies without the burden of sourcing and preparing their own meals.
Ngari Khangtsen, the khangtsen of Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Thegchok in south India, has recently begun their new Temple Project.
In their own words, “We have outgrown the old 1983 prayer/ assembly hall made to house a maximum of 50 persons. In the new quarters, there is room for a brand new spacious prayer hall. Today, we have over 150 monks ranging from the very young to the very old. And we have definitely outgrown the old prayer hall. On hot summer days, the hall just does not accommodate enough oxygen for the number of praying and reciting participants!”
The Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund recently offered support to this important project. Lama Zopa Rinpoche was inspired to support this project and help it achieve fruition.
US$100,000 was offered to this project which has an estimated budget of over US$500,000.
Nagri Khangtsen also has a school in Ladakh and The Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodchitta Fund is also sponsoring, for the second year, the entire cost of a year’s food offering for the children studying at Ngari Institute of Buddhist Dialectics.
Please rejoice in the building of this new temple for the monks of Ngari Khangtsen.
“Path to Geshe” by William Judge and Bodhi Leaf Productions tells the story of monastic life at Sera Je Monastery. You can learn more about this wonderful film on the Bodhi Leaf Productions website. You can also view the trailer below.
Sera Je Monastery is the learning institution of many of FPMT’s teachers. Nearly all of the 46 geshes teaching in FPMT centers around the world come from Sera Je Monastery. Since 1991, the Sera Je Food Fund has been offering meals to all the monks studying at this monastery. The fund currently offers three vegetarian meals a day to all 2,500 monks studying at Sera Je.
This film is now available to the public and can be purchased via Amazon.
Yeshe Norbu Association is an Italian FPMT non-profit association which supports important projects benefiting Tibetan refugees and children. One project that Yeshe Norbu has benefited immensely is the Sera Je Food Fund. Over the past ten years, Yeshe Norbu has contributed funds to cover over 3 million meals provided by the Sera Je Food Fund.
This is something amazing to rejoice in. Please watch this video which outlines all of the charitable work undertaken by Yeshe Norbu Association for the benefit of Tibetan refugees and children who need the support so desperately.
Every day, the Sera Je Food Fund offers three vegetarian meals to all of the monks studying at Sera Je Monastery (with an additional 800 monks from the Sera Je School joining for breakfast). The fund currently offers 8,300 meals every single day.
The amount of food required for this offering is astounding. For example, a typical month’s worth of meals requires, among many other ingredients:
- 98 gallons of cooking oil
- 2,601 pounds of flour
- 2,280 pounds of rice
- 36 bottles of soy sauce
- 5,300 bananas
- 510 bundles of green vegetables
It costs approximately US$280,000 to offer three meals every day to all of the monks.
If you would like to contribute to the Sera Je Food Fund, you may offer any amount you are able.
- US$10: Provides three vegetarian meals a day to one monk for one month
- US$120: Provides three vegetarian meals a day to one monk for one year
- US$780: Provides three vegetarian meals a day to all 2,500 monks for one day
- US$5,460: Provides three vegetarian meals a day to all 2,500 monks for one week
- US$280,000: Provides three vegetarian meals a day to all the 2,500 monks for one year
Lama Zopa Rinpoche recently raised US$20,000 for the Tashi Chime Gatsal Nunnery, Nepal, for the building of ten rooms for the nuns’ accommodation.
The offering was made from a number of extremely kind benefactors in Singapore.
Providing quality housing for Sangha is a priority for Rinpoche, he also recently offered $US50,000 toward the building of rooms for monks at a monastery in East Asia.
In addition, very year since 2009, Lama Zopa Rinpoche has sponsored the nuns of Tashi Chime Gatsal Nunnery to complete one and now two 100 million mani retreats (100 million recitations of the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM). In addition to the 100 Million Mani Retreats, Rinpoche is offering all the cost of food to all the nuns for this period as well as the cost of a very qualified geshe to stay during the retreat in order to give lam-rim teachings. One of these retreats is offered through the kindness of a benefactor, and the other through the Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund.
In addition to this, Kopan Monastery has offered robes to all of the nuns of Tashi Chime Gatsal Nunnery.
Please rejoice in this continued support to the nuns of Tashi Chime Gatsal Nunnery.
You are welcome to offer any amount to the Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund
Lama Zopa Rinpoche had a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Sera Je Monastery on January 2, 2014. Ven. Roger Kunsang shares that during the interview, His Holiness highly praised the three great monasteries (Sera, Ganden and Drepung) for their learning and for preserving the teachings of the Buddha in their entirety. Then His Holiness said that even the Buddha had to eat so that he could teach, and it was the same with the great Indian pandits – they needed to eat in order to be able to teach others. The monks need to rely on food in order to be educated in these great establishments of learning and His Holiness said that this is why the food fund that Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT has established and offered for many years[the Sera Je Food Fund] is so very important.
What is Offered?
Every month an incredible amount of food is bought, prepared and offered through the Sera Je Food Fund in order to provide food for the 2,500 monks of the monastery.
For example, over three recent months US$11,458 (712,243 rs) was spent on food purchases for breakfast. Food is offered to 3,300 monks for breakfast. This included:
- 8,631 pounds of flour
- 6,831 liters of milk
You can see more details about what is offered daily for breakfast.
For lunch, US$16,111.26 (1,001,502 rs) was spent on food purchases over three recent months.
- 51,380 bananas
- 4,432 bundles of green vegetables
You can see more details about what is offered daily for lunch.
US$11,287 (701,620 rs) was spent on dinner over three recent months. This included:
- 97 bottles of soy sauce
- 5,260 pounds of rice
You can see more details about what is offered daily for dinner.
During His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Jangchub Lam-Rim teaching event at Sera Je Monastery
The Sera Je Food Fund Kitchen offered dry food to all of the monks as the kitchen was not able to prepare food due to some restraints associated with this massive event. However, during that period the kitchen made sure all the monks had the food to prepare themselves.
This ongoing offering is possible due to the incredible kindness of so many who supported the Sera Food Fund over the last twenty-two years, as well as the team at Sera Je Monastery: Ven. Ngawang Sangye, Ven. Rabten, Ven. Kelden; the amazing cooks and monastery staff and administration including the monastery manager, Geshe Thubten Monlam. On behalf of all the monks: Thank you for your incredible support and please rejoice in this amazing offering that we are able to make every day of the last twenty-two years to over 2,500 monks.
You are welcome to offer any amount at any point to this incredible daily offering of food to Sere Je Monastery’s most precious Sangha.
For over ten years the Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund has sponsored a special annual oral examination of Sera Je Monastery’s top scholars who have shown incredible aptitude for memorization. In 2013, 225 students were awarded new robes and khatas (cost of US$4,307.50) for their accomplishments of memorization.
Memorizing any of these texts is considered an incredible feat, two of the scriptures were memorized by just a few scholars. The Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund is very happy to be able to recognize and support these monks in this way.
- 93 students memorized The Essence of Eloquence on the Art of Interpretation (Dang-Nge)
- 95 students memorized The Clear Meaning of the Paramita (Drelpa-Don-Sel)
- 11 students memorized Skab Dangpoi Spyi Don by Jetsun Chokyi Gyaltsen
- 1 student memorized Collection of the Six Treaties on the Middle Way
- 25 students memorized Shantidava’s The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
You can catch a glimpse of the effort needed to memorize texts like these listed above, as well as the incredible dedication needed for scholars at this level, by reading an account published in Mandala from Ven. Tenzin Gache (Brian Roiter) who became one of the very few Westerners to participate in the rik chung debate held at Sera Je Monastery.
If you would like to contribute to the offerings to these top scholars:
The Sera Je Food Fund, which was started by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 1991, currently offers more than 3 million meals each year to the monks of Sera Je Monastery, allowing the monks there to focus on their studies.
“I just want to explain some things about the Sera Je Food Fund, just for your education and also maybe you can pass some of this on,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche advised in 2011 while at Tushita Meditation Centre in Dharamsala, India. “[To paraphrase,] Buddha said in the Arya Sanghata Sutra: the result of making charity, even the size of a single strand of hair, is happiness that you will experience for 80,000 eons. You will enjoy great wealth. …
“This quote means if you make charity of anything, even just a tiny amount, the result of this is happiness for an unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable length of time. Just from making charity one time,” Rinpoche continued.
“Regarding the Sera Je Food Fund, this is making offerings to Sangha … wow … wow! Can you imagine the merit of that? Even making small charity the size of a single strand of hair? Can you imagine? In the monastery there are Sangha living in the five vows, but the majority of the Sangha are living in higher vows such as getsül (36 vows) and gelong, a fully ordained bhikkshu (253 vows). Most of the Sangha are gelongs and living in highest number of vows … wow … wow … wow! One creates so much merit by making offerings to Sangha due to the power of the object. …”
For more, you can read Rinpoche’s complete advice, “Benefits of the Sera Je Food Fund.”
Learn more about the Sera Je Food Fund, including its history, and watch videos of the fund’s work by visiting the Sera Je Food Fund website.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an organization dedicated to preserving Mahayana Buddhism through offering the Buddha’s authentic teachings and to facilitating reflection, meditation, practice and the opportunity to actualize and directly experience the Buddha’s teachings. Sign up to receive news and updates.
In December 2013, The Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund was very pleased to offer US$6,398 toward the 2013 Gelugpa Examination which was held at Gaden Lachi Monastery, Mundgod, India, September 2013.
Over 500 of the top scholars from the main monasteries attended the exam.
The Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund offered food expenses and all travel expenses for the top scholars to be present at Gaden Lachi for this annual exam. In addition, two full days of food was offered to all the participants.
US$1,4578.88 was also offered toward the monthly stipends given to the current abbots, past abbots and main teachers of the Lama Tsongkhapa tradition including the Gaden Tripa Rinpoche, Gaden Trisur Rinpoche, Shartse and Jangtse Choegyal, Khen Rinpoche, Khensur Rinpoche and Lama Umtse. This small monthly stipend ranges from 1,500 rs – 500 rs (about US$8.20 – US$24) a month and supports these incredibly precious teachers’ basic needs. This allows them to be able to focus more of their time on transmitting Dharma to their students at the monasteries and strengthening their own practices.
The Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund was extremely happy to offer a total of US$20,976.88 in December toward the preservation of the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism and toward supporting this annual exam and cultivating future teachers.
Please rejoice in this offering. You are welcome to offer any amount to the Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund in support of its mission:
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