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FPMT News
December 2008

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Smiling, joyous Rinpoche in Mongolia, September 2008.
Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang
 
Rinpoche's Schedule
To find more information as it becomes available, and for details of how to contact the center and book for these events, please go to Rinpoche’s Schedule. We have recently updated this webpage to be even easier for you to use!  

    2008
    Dec. 10 – 20 Teaching during the one month course, Kopan Monastery, Nepal

    2009
    January – Amitabha Buddhist Centre, Singapore
      17 Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga commentary
      18 Animal Liberation; Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga commentary,
            refuge and lay precepts
      20 – 22 Guhyasamaja initiation
      24 Most Secret Hayagriva puja
      26 Chinese New Year blessing
      29 - 30 1000-Arm Chenrezig Great Initiation
      1 Feb - Long life puja for Rinpoche

    February – Potowa Center, Jakarta, Indonesia
      7 – 9 Heruka Five Deity initiation
      13 – 15; 20 – 22; 27 – Mar 1 Lama Chöpa commentary

    April 18 – 19 Great Medicine Buddha initiation, Kalachakra Centre, Paris, France

    April 26 – May 2 CPMT Meeting, Institut Vajra Yogini, France

    May 5 – June 6 1000-Arm Chenrezig Great Initiation and 100 million Mani Retreat with Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Institut Vajra Yogini, France

    October 1 – 15 Teachings on Light of the Path, Kadampa Center, Raleigh, USA

 
Peals of laughter in Pomaia, Italy, June 2008.
Photo by Piero Sirianni
NEW Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche

FPMT Centers Bring
Compassion into the World
Rinpoche recently gave thanks to those helping an FPMT center by donating to its activities:

“My heartfelt deep appreciation to those who are helping and supporting the center, this is really an incredibly amazing way of benefiting others and is the real way to world peace. FPMT centers, in essence, bring compassion into the world – that’s what we do. So you can see how important it is to support the center and the benefits that support brings to others.”


The Most Important Work
Key points for us from Rinpoche, written to a center experiencing some disharmony:

“The most important work is bringing harmony with people. It is important to have a soft, gentle heart, to have patience with those who are difficult even though you need to make the correct decision externally.

When the motivation isn’t good, is not sincere, is not bodhicitta, especially then … THAT ITSELF IS THE PROBLEM, it then becomes a city of problems.”

More advice from Rinpoche

Enjoy brief glimpses of Rinpoche on our streaming videos page, including Rinpoche blessing animals, leading a meditation on emptiness and raising a prayer flag pole!

 
Praise of FPMT
We rejoice in sharing this wonderful and well-deserved praise about the FPMT organization from an FPMT-registered touring teacher, Andy Wistreich, with you!

“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
Rinpoche at the end of profound teaching in Pomaia, Italy, June 2008.
Photo by Piero Sirianni
your [Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s] extraordinary holy activity for sentient beings. I have reflected on how marvelous it is in the world of suffering, war, depression, social dissatisfaction and spiritual denial, to have these oases of perfection, the FPMT centres. Moreover I have witnessed some unfortunate, unethical activities in other Buddhist organizations that make one feel so sad. Also, the FPMT is generating study in the tradition of Je Rinpoche and yogic practice leading to enlightenment in a unique way. Compared to other organizations, the FPMT shines with virtue and a deep harmony. Of course there are superficial problems that come and go within FPMT – this is only to be expected – but I recognize that these are insignificant compared with the tremendous benefits to all beings generated through FPMT activities.”

For more inspiration, please enjoy other statements of appreciation!

 
International Office News

Welcome to the New Center Services Director!
Doris Low, from Singapore, has joined the International Office team and will formally take over from Claire as Center Services Director on December 15.

Doris has been FPMT’s Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator since 2002, and has a broad and deep familiarity with FPMT. She became a Buddhist under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 1991. Rinpoche remains her principal teacher; his vision is her inspiration. She often travels out of Singapore in order to attend his teachings, and each year, undertakes month-long retreats with his advice.

Her role as Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator has given her a direct involvement and point of personal contact with FPMT centers, projects, services and fellow students. She has also helped coordinate FPMT-registered teachers’ visits to the region. At Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore, Doris regularly helps with Dharma publications. For example, she edited and oversaw the production of the Centre’s commemorative yearbook in 2007.

Doris’ devotion to Lama Zopa Rinpoche and his vision for the FPMT, her cultural background and ability to converse in Mandarin and Cantonese, as well as professional experience in corporate communications mean that she is excellently-qualified to serve you all as Center Services Director.

Education Programs
Progress is being made with the groundwork planning for Light of the Path (LOP), a quintessential lam-rim experience with Rinpoche, starting at Kadampa Center, USA Oct 1-15, 2009. Please keep an eye out for updated information on the web and in future issues of the FPMT News. You will not want to miss this!

Ven. Joan Nicell, Masters Program Coordinator in Italy, has prepared a very inspiring report on the last Masters Program for immediate viewing. Consider printing some portions for your bulletin boards.

Materials
Heart Practices for Death and Dying is now available at the Foundation Store. This new volume contains all the essential practices to be performed when someone has died as advised by Rinpoche. Together with its compendium volume Heart Advice for Death and Dying (out in Dec-Jan), these volumes update and replace the earlier edition Advice and Practices for Death and Dying. While nothing in this earlier edition is incorrect, we received feedback that it was cumbersome and difficult to use, and so we have split the volume in two – advices and practices – and added more advice!

Training
An abbreviated two-day Foundation Training in Compassionate Service was joyfully offered by Allys Andrews and received by more than 40 students at Chenrezig Institute as part of the Australian Regional Meeting Nov 12-13.
 
Shortly thereafter, a successful one day Inner Job Description (IJD) training was led by Amy Cayton as part of the North American Regional Meeting on Nov 23. Participants, as always, were happy to get to reconnect with who we are, what makes us different and to discuss ways of integrating the IJD evaluation card back at their centers.

Attendees of the North America Regional Meeting, in Portland, Oregon, USA, November 2008.
Photo by Noah Gunnell

Foundation Membership now includes the Mandala eZine, launching this month! Join us by becoming a Foundation Member and lend your heart to the cause of happiness for all.

For Center and Project Directors, SPCs and Teachers

Photos of Rinpoche with His Holiness the Dalai Lama
We have added two lovely photos of Rinpoche with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the FPMT Members Area. These photos were taken by Ven. Roger Kunsang and are offered in the hopes that these will benefit your center, project and service – download and use skillfully!

Discovering Buddhism Updates and Retreats
Please remember to check for Discovering Buddhism updates in the FPMT Members Area before beginning any DB module. New resource material and information is often posted on this page. Most recently, some alternate required and suggested readings have been listed for many of the modules. As well, please don't forget to always send us a schedule of the DB retreats hosted at your center so that we can add them to our list of Discovering Buddhism retreats which is accessed by many of our DB at Home students.

Education Programs Brochure
Some of you may have seen the FPMT Education Programs Brochure which briefly describes all our standard programs and gives a contact addresses for how to get more information. To date, we have felt these brochures are most effective at Kopan, Root and Tushita as so many students pass through these centers and don't know where to go next. If you feel it would help your center to make such a brochure available, a print copy can now be downloaded from the FPMT Members Area.

Do You Need Software Training?
For anyone in need of software training, particularly design and layout, don't forget Harald Weichhart’s generous offer! Harald has recently helped our translation coordinators in France and Germany to learn the InDesign program for their education materials. Conni Kraus in Germany reports that “our software training for InDesign was DELIGHTFUL! The training had an optimal balance of learning general basic features of the program and specific customization to our particular needs … I'm lacking the words for sufficiently recommending this training to everyone in our organisation.” Elea Redel from France adds, “It is wonderful that Harald is here ... a great help for me as he is willing to do this transfer to InDesign. Then I will have to continue and adjust ... the big job being done almost.... I don't know how we would have done without Harald!!!! A wonderful gift.”

In order to facilitate requests for training, Harald has created a brief survey, which includes more information about the time needed for each type of training. Please fill out the survey if you are interested in requesting training.

CPMT 2009
April 26 - May 2, 2009
Institute Vajra Yogini, France

FPMT's Vast Mandala: Who We Are and What We Do

All those offering service in the FPMT mandala as center/project director, resident and touring teachers, spiritual program coordinator, board member, study group and regional and national coordinators are invited and strongly encouraged to attend – more information available in the FPMT Members Area!

 
A very curious Relics Tour observer from Jungle Friends in Gainesville, Florida, USA, November 2008.
Photo courtesy of the Heart Shrine Relic Tour
FPMT Snippets

Relics at the
Monkey Sanctuary
The Heart Shrine Relic Tour recently paid a special visit to a primate sanctuary, Jungle Friends, in Florida, USA. The sanctuary’s 118 inhabitants, some of who previously were subjected to extremely cruel experiments or unnecessary medical surgeries performed in a vain and misguided effort to turn these wild jungle animals into “pets,” benefited immensely from the relics’ blessings. Carmen Straight and Cristian Cowan,
Relic Custodians for the current Americas Tour, describe their time spent with the primates as “special and moving,” and remark how “sobering” it was to realize the suffering the animals experienced because of human desire and ignorance.

Latest News from the Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund
Please Rejoice! In November 2008, FPMT sent $18,230 to sponsor the attendance of 650 monks – the top scholars from Sera Je Monastery – at the annual winter debate session (Jang Debate) at Gaden Monastery. This money covered the cost of transport (24 buses and 650 train tickets), food and offerings. The annual winter debate includes monks from Sera along with the top scholars from Gaden and Drepung Monasteries.

FPMT also sent $18,442 towards the monthly stipend for 137 abbots, ex-abbots and teachers of the Lama Tsongkhapa tradition, including the Gaden Tripa. These incredible teachers do not receive any money from the monasteries and so for many years FPMT has been offering a small monthly stipend ranging from $31 to $10 to the main teachers from Sera, Gaden, Drepung, Gyurme, Gyuto, Tashi Lhunpo and Rato Monastery.

FPMT sent $6701 for the Gelug exam attended by 424 monks at Drepung Monastery. This money covered the cost of travel for the monks and the teachers, as well as offerings, food and tea for all the monks attending the exam.

Thank you to all the kind benefactors who helped the FPMT support the Lama Tsongkhapa tradition in this way through the Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund.

Sharing My Experience from My Sick Bed
Dr. Pik-Pin Goh, director of Kasih Hospice Service in Malaysia, shares some lovely experience of the power of FPMT materials to help with sickness:

“I would like to share with you my experience gathered from the sick bed. I certainly will be a better doctor now that I have experienced what it is like to be a patient.

Wednesday: Three days before surgery I was given the book entitled Practice of the Five Powers: Preparation for Death written by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. While I read, each sentence was like Rinpoche talking directly to me. So clear and appropriate. Tears of joy flowed and I was so happy to have a great guru. I have no fear facing the uncertainty of surgery and its outcome.

Sunday: The first day after I returned home from the hospital, Lama Zopa's book, How to Be Happy, landed on my table, sent by the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. I read it sentence by sentence, and it was like a direct teaching from my guru. I was especially touched by his teaching on the dissolution of the four elements. First, the body dissolves into the earth, and I think now my body enables people to build houses, to plant trees, to dig for gold and petroleum. Then, water dissolves into the streams, rivers and oceans, and I think the water element is now drinking water for all sentient beings, home to the fishes and irrigation water for paddy fields. Then fire dissolves into heat, warming the people in winter, who are cold without shelter, in the fire places of many homes, as energy and electricity. Then wind dissolves into air for those who need breath, as the breeze for those who are experiencing heat. Wow, such a great practice, combining the dissolution of the elements and tonglen together! Rejoice!

Wednesday: Today my throat aches when I speak for too long. Lesson learned: talk only when essential, speak only what is wise. (In the past, I spoke too much, most of which was not necessary.)

These are the lessons I have learned from the sick bed. I am sure you will rejoice. I’m going back to work tomorrow.”

We wish her a very speedy and complete recovery!

 
Connecting Our Dharma Practice with Our Life in the World
For a long time the community at Land of Medicine Buddha, USA has practiced the path of non-harming towards sentient beings. Land of Medicine Buddha is happy to report that we have just completed the green business certification process to expand our practice of non-harming to the environment.

The Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program is a successful partnership of environmental agencies, utilities and nonprofit organizations that assist, recognize and promote businesses and government agencies that volunteer to operate in a more environmentally responsible way. To be certified "green," participants must be in compliance with all environmental regulations and meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution (such as using more efficient lighting, using less toxic products) and minimizing waste.

It helps to have this certificate because being recognized as a Green Business:
• Improves employee morale & the health of the workplace
• Gives a marketing edge over the competition
• Strengthens the bottom line through operating efficiencies
• Gives recognition as an environmental leader

We appreciate the encouragement Lama Zopa Rinpoche offered to students in Mandala [Oct/Nov 2006] after seeing the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” and are happy that we found a local organization in the Monterey Bay Area that supports businesses in taking this important step towards cherishing others.

 
Opportunities to Offer Service in FPMT
Keep checking for interesting opportunities to offer service in FPMT centers around the world.

Opportunities include Retreat Centre Caretaker at Oseling, Spain; Caretaker at Vajrapani Institute, California, USA; and several volunteer positions at Mahamudra Centre, New Zealand.

 
Impermanence at Work –
Center, Project and Service Details Changes
NB: center details are always most up to date in the directory on the FPMT website.

Atisha Centre, Australia
Acting director – Diane Gee (kindly offering service for the next six months)
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Ben Karmay

Gendun Drupa Center, Switzerland
www.gendundrupa.ch/

Kadam Sharawa Buddhist Institute, Australia
New spiritual program coordinator – Janette Robinson
With grateful thanks to outgoing coordinator – Mandy Acton

Kunsang Yeshe Retreat Centre, Australia
Tel: +61 2 4782 1263
Stephanieb@maristyc.com.au
www.kunsangyeshe.com.au/

Langri Tangpa Centre, Australia
New director – Richard Taylor
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Bruce Monley

Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Program, India
Tel: (91) (1892) 226324

Tushita Meditation Centre, India
New director – Linda Lowry
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Drolkar McCallum

Yeshe Gyaltsen Center, Mexico
www.budismocozumel.com/

 

With love,
FPMT International Office