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January/February 2008

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Any center that has hosted Rinpoche knows He travels with a great deal of luggage!
(Four suitcases of texts, one suitcase of holy relics, one suitcase of gifts, and one set of robes…)

Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang
 

Rinpoche's 2008 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.

    March – Mahayana Buddhist Association, Hong Kong
      21  Medicine Buddha jenang
      23  Animal Liberation

    April – Mexico
      4   Public talk in Guadalajara
      5 – 14   Lam-rim retreat with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha guru yoga
      12 – 13   Medicine Buddha initiation

    May 17 – 26   Teachings at Centro Shiwa Lha, Brazil
    May 27 – June 2   Teachings at Centro Yamantaka, Bogota, Colombia

    June 5 – 7   Mahamudra teachings and Medicine Buddha initiation, Crestone, USA

    Sept 23 – 30   Teachings at Do Ngak Sung Juk Centre, Japan

    Dec – Teaching at November Course, Kopan Monastery, Nepal

    2009
    April 26 - May 2  CPMT Meeting, Institut Vajrayogini, France
    May  Long retreat at Institut Vajrayogini, France
    More details to come!

 
A reminder to all that new pictures of Rinpoche are regularly added to the website. Some of the letters Rinpoche is reading in this picture are the 250 personal invitations he received from students in Mexico.

Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang
New Advice from
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Thanksgiving Report
December 2007 – This report was compiled at Rinpoche’s request due to Rinpoche’s concern for all the turkeys killed to provide the meal for Thanksgiving, the American family holiday celebrated in November.  It was sent out in time for Christmas, which of course is another big celebratory meal often featuring turkey…

Excerpt:

“Probably, in previous lives, many millions of these turkeys were humans who killed turkeys for Thanksgiving. This means that unless they change their mind, the people
who killed this year’s turkeys will be reborn as turkeys in future and killed under similar circumstances. Perhaps as soon as next Thanksgiving, some of them will be eaten.

Turkeys are so powerless. If they could, I’m certain they’d demonstrate strongly against the humans who kill them. But if they did they’d probably get killed for that as well.

This is not the news from CNN or the BBC; this is the news from Kachoe Dechen Ling.”

Practices to Dispel Fires (and other Disasters of the Elements) 
Rinpoche has advised: “When there are fires the best thing to do is rely on the Medicine Buddha, to do Medicine Buddha puja. Medicine Buddha practice can also be done for anyone who is sick, dying or even who has already died. This is the best practice to do.

Medicine Buddha practice is not only for healing. In addition, it is very powerful for success and for solving any problems. Medicine Buddha practice is good for someone who has died, for family problems, for someone who is sick, for receiving happiness and freedom from suffering, for finding a job, for success in business, and for all one's wishes to be actualized.”

On the back page of the Feb/March issue of Mandala magazine, you will find the Heart Mantra of Arya Vairochana in colour, designed by Rinpoche – Rinpoche thought that people can cut it out and frame it, as just displaying it in your home is a method to prevent fires.

Read Ven Holly Ansett's story of how the mantra came to be designed and the subsequent fire in Rinpoche’s house.

We regularly add Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice to the Advice section of Rinpoche’s official homepage.

 

New FPMT Study Groups and One Closed Center
Maintaining the total number of FPMT centers, study groups, projects and services worldwide to 152!

Machig Labdron Study Group
    524 San Anselmo Ave.
    San Anselmo, CA  94960, USA
    Tel: ( 415) 994 3788
    mmrandall@yahoo.com
    Coordinator Margaret Randall

Yogi Saraha Study Group
    Romulo Naon 2134, Belgrano R, Cap. Fed.,
    Buenos Aires, CP 1430, Argentina
    Tel: (54) (11) 4541 7112
    yogisaraha@gmail.com
    Coordinator Ven. Tubten (Susana Contreras)

Closed FPMT Center
Sadly, Hayagriva Center in Taoyuen, Taiwan has closed. With grateful thanks to all whose time, energy and donations enabled the center to benefit beings.

 

One Hundred Million Mani Retreat
In 2000, Lama Zopa Rinpoche asked Chenrezig Institute to host a one hundred million Mani mantra retreat, in which the collective recitations from all participants would be added together to make 100,000,000. Chenrezig Institute has been hosting this retreat each year, in the form of a residential retreat and an at-home practice.  Would you like to join their at home practice this year?

“I am very, very happy to hear the Mani retreat is going ahead.  This will definitively bring peace and happiness to all sentient beings, especially peace to this world. It is really a great thing to do, it is really great that this is happening; my prayers and big love are with you all.
Lama Zopa”

Ways to Participate in the Mani Retreat
Option 1: Gompa Retreat
This year's formal Mani Retreat will be held from February 26th to March 17th. For more information, email spc@chenrezig.com.au.

Option 2: Home Retreat
The retreat commenced in November and will continue until Saka Dawa on June 18, 2008. In his great kindness and aware of our extremely busy lifestyles, Lama Zopa has composed a short practice available to anyone who wishes to participate in the retreat from the convenience of their own home. Participants from abroad may register a pledge by emailing spc@chenrezig.com.au . This also means that it doesn’t matter where you live in order to join us!

If you can spare 20 minutes per day, ten of those minutes you may wish to spend on the practice and another 10 on reciting the OM MANI PADME HUM mantra. If you feel comfortable to do so, you may pledge a specific number of mantra recitations on a daily basis. Once you have registered or expressed interest via email the short practice will be emailed or posted to you. Generally speaking this practice can be done quite quickly and then time can be spent on the recitations, followed by the dedication.

 
International Office News

Oseling, Spain – Ven. Nerea Basurto
Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling, Denmark – Ven. Nawang Pende

We currently have short biographies for our Touring Teachers listed – we would love to have short bios for our wonderful resident teachers too!  Please send these to Claire.

Center Logos
In November 2007, Rinpoche added to His extensive advice about designing logos for FPMT centers:
“It would be best if the logo was embossed, and definitely not light or fading in color. If the logo is embossed this helps for the center to become strong.”

Read the full advice in the FPMT Members Area.

Education Materials
Practices of Namgyälma
The practice of Namgyälma removes obstacles to long life and brings powerful purification for all sentient beings.

“There is unbelievable benefit in the practice of Namgyälma. I have translated completely the benefits of Namgyälma and the story of how the Namgyälma deity happened. It’s very good if you are able to read the story and the benefits. Reciting this text is very, very powerful for purification.”
– Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Education Programs
Chenrezig Institute honored its Basic Program graduates with a certification ceremony and party, complete with speeches and presents. Five graduates were present, two others are teaching in USA and New Zealand; two more will do the exam this month. Thus CIN's program joins Maitreya Institute and Lama Tzong Khapa Institute, together making up a total of 21 (soon 23) FPMT Basic
Geshe Tashi Tsering with Chenrezig Institute’s Basic Program graduates. December 2007.
Program graduates who have successfully completed the entire BP, including retreat and final exam. At ILTK another 6 students received their BP Homestudy certificate. The next BP final exam is planned to take place in 2009.

And...the Basic Program goes Czech! BP graduate Ester Bilkova translates the BP texts into Czech and will be Teaching Assistant for the on-line forum, while TA Ven. Kevin Middleton, BP graduate and MP student, will visit regularly to lead short retreats and review weekends for the five year Basic Program homestudy course offered by Czech Republic's Dompipa Study Group, starting in January.

Mandala
The latest issue (Feb-March 2008) is now out with a lengthy feature on the life and death of Geshe Jampa Gyatso, who died in November. This amazing geshe is much missed, but what a wonderful legacy he leaves behind for his devoted students at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa and graduates of the Masters Program.

Remember that Mandala is a means of communication between not only FPMT centers and students but for people everywhere. In future issues you will read about how this affects you, and how you can be involved in the ever-increasing circle that is our community. Now is the time to become a subscriber – by doing so you are helping Mandala to grow and, at the same time, you are ensuring that you are kept up-to-date with some exciting developments.

Meanwhile, we know there are many people out there whose sterling work for the Dharma needs to be recognized. They are never going to push themselves forward, but you know who they are: perhaps it’s a veteran Geshe or FPMT teacher, a center staff member, or a friend of FPMT who is giving great service. Our series called “The Giving Tree” is the opportunity to let the rest of us know about the bodhisattvas in our midst. Contact the editor@fpmt.org and let Mandala publish the story of their unsung achievements.

Merit Box Reminder from Chuck Latimer, Merit Box Coordinator
THANK YOU to everyone who has already submitted their Merit Box Donation for 2007. There is still time to send in your donation. You can go to the Virtual Merit Box and make a credit card donation or see our collection information page for more options. Remember; please do not send cash through the mail.

In addition, all center directors and center based Merit Box coordinators, remember that January 15, 2008 was the deadline to complete your requests for projects to be considered as part of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s distribution of funds for 2007. If you have not sent in your application, please do so immediately. Just email it to meritbox@fpmt.org.

Thank you again to everyone who has submitted their Merit Box donations and applications.

 

FPMT Snippets

Thank You!
Thank you to all the centers who have confirmed that they are reciting Diamond Cutter Sutra for Ecie Hursthouse, as requested by Rinpoche. Ecie's family has a very detailed blog about her condition.

As you may have seen recently in the August edition of Mandala magazine the large statue of Green Tara that is being made by Bertrand Cayla at Lama Zopa Rinpoche's request for Osel Ling in Spain, is at the stage of near completion before being cast in bronze. 
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is very happy with the art of this statue, so if any center is considering a Tara statue, do consider this one.
Update on Green Tara Statue
Julie Brown, Coordinator of Tara Projects, writes, “The project goes back to 2001 and has taken longer to realize than expected, but certain changes along the way have opened unexpected doors, namely a better material to cast the statue and the potential for more statues to be made. Bertrand always conceived his design of the statue with the possibility of having moulds made to allow it to be copied and cast, but originally that was just for Osel Ling's commissioned statue.

The process is at an exciting stage now that we have found a (potential) foundry in Spain with a price around one third of the original quotes.  What seems to a helpful next step is to make the statue more affordable for centres, Osel Ling
included, by sharing some of the original creation costs and mould making costs. This we hope will also give us a sound base to invite outside investors and sponsors to contribute to some of the grosser expenses.

So now we are able to offer the possibility of accepting requests for the statue from other centres and practitioners. The estimated cost of a bronze cast of the statue is around 50,000 euros plus transport/shipping from the foundry in Spain.  We can put together a more comprehensive budget, as we have for Osel Ling, to cover the broader costs of setting up on-site and gold leaf finishing, etc.

More information about this statue and the fundraising so far are on our website which has pages in English, French and Spanish.  A very useful contribution would also be a link to our website from fellow sites to help us reach a wider audience.

The feedback we have had so far has been so encouraging, we would really like to take the offerings and enthusiasm of the current sponsors/donors and make their contribution count by realizing this and other statues soon!

Thank you very much”

First Dharma King Arrives at International Office

Yangsi Rinpoche makes an offering of incense to the newly arrived statue of the first Dharma King of Tibet, Songtsen Gampo. December 2007
 

Opportunities to Offer Service in FPMT
Keep checking http://www.fpmt.org/resources/jobs.php for interesting opportunities to offer service in FPMT centers around the world.

New Opportunities include spiritual program coordinator at Atisha Centre, Australia; Milarepa Center in USA is looking for volunteers.

 

Impermanence at Work – Center Details Changes
NB: center details are always most up to date in the directory on the FPMT website, http://www.fpmt.org/centers/

Animal Liberation Sanctuary, Nepal
sanctuarynepal@animail.net

Aryatara Institut, Germany
New director – Monika Sandmeier
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Jena Bruer

Chenrezig Nuns Community, Australia
Manager Ven. Lhagsam

Chokyi Gyaltsen Group, Malaysia
fpmt.cgc@gmail.com

Kurukulla Center, USA
New spiritual program coordinator – Ven. Tenzin Desal
With grateful thanks to outgoing SPC Debra Thornburg

Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Programme, India
New director – Carol Beairsto

Publication, Translation and Education, Mongolia
khulan@mongol.net

Root Institute, India
New spiritual program coordinator – Kirsti Kilbane
With grateful thanks to outgoing SPC Melissa Mouldin

Shedrup Ling, Mongolia
Tel: (976) (11) 321 580
fpmt@mongol.net

Tara Liberation Study Group, Finland
(Group Meeting Address)
Elonpyora Ry
Vilhovuorenkuja 20, 00500 Helsinki

Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling, Denmark
Kompagnistræde 22, 3 tv, baghus
1208 Copenhagen K
New spiritual program coordinator – Anne Norup Lauridsen
With grateful thanks to outgoing SPC Alejandro Savio

 

With love,
FPMT International Office

 





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