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May 2008

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Hong Kong, March 2008.

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.

    Rinpoche’s visits to Brazil and Colombia have been postponed until 2009.

    June – Crestone, Colorado, USA
      6 – 8   Mahamudra teachings and Medicine Buddha initiation

    June – Kunsang Yeshe Center and FPMT Australia
      17 - 22  Retreat on Bodhicitta
      21  Manjushri initiation
      22  Vajrayogini initiation

    July 29 – 2 Aug   Teachings at Kadampa Center, North Carolina, USA

    Sept 16 – 28   Teachings at Do Ngak Sung Juk Centre, Japan

    Dec – Teaching at November Course, Kopan Monastery, Nepal

    May 5-June 6  Twenty One Tara and Yamantaka Retreat, Institut Vajra Yogini, France

“This is the heart of our organization –
Live with compassion.
Work with compassion.
Die with compassion.
Meditate with compassion.
Enjoy with compassion.
When problems come,
Experience them with compassion.”
- Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang
India, March 2008.
Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche

War - Inner and Outer
While having lunch at a coffee shop during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in New York City, Rinpoche met a nun in the Kagyu tradition who said that Rinpoche was the first lama she had met, years ago.  She told Rinpoche that she had done two 3 year retreats, but was not a good student. Rinpoche went on to say:

"I think she was being polite. So I told her you should always remember that retreat means making war on delusions.

You have to always remember this: this is inner war, but this is a one-time war. Once you defeat delusion by ceasing the cause, the seed of delusion, by actualizing the remedy, which is the path, it doesn’t come back again. Once the seed is removed the delusion never comes back, so this is just a one-time war. Outside external wars are endless, because you have to fight again and again.

In Shantideva’s Bodhisattvacharyavatara, Shantideva mentions that the outside enemy never ends, however many you are able to kill. Shantideva used the example that if the whole earth is covered by thorns so that you want to cover the whole earth with leather, there is not enough leather to do that.  However if you have leather under your foot, it’s as if the whole earth is covered by leather. Shantideva said the meaning is that once the inner enemy, delusions, are destroyed, it’s as if all outside enemies are destroyed.”

Death Tells Us What To Do
A young girl who was very sad because her grandfather had just died received this advice from Rinpoche:

“What happened to your grandfather is a great teaching for us, it shows the reality of life, it is telling us what we need to do with our life. There is nothing more beneficial than holy Dharma.

That doesn’t mean just talking about Dharma texts, it means transforming one's mind into virtue and especially transforming it into the path to liberation and enlightenment, which means liberating all sentient beings from the oceans of suffering and its causes. Bringing sentient beings to enlightenment, which is peerless happiness. This is something for which they have been longing and is their most important need. This is what everyone is longing for but is not really aware of. Not many are aware that such a thing as highest peerless happiness can be achieved.”

Enjoy new brief glimpses of Rinpoche on our streaming videos page.

International Office News

Kim Hollingshead Passes Away
Kim, Administration Director at International Office, died of a heart attack on Tuesday afternoon just outside the International Office building in Portland, Oregon, USA.  He had a known heart problem, and it seems he died immediately.

With amazing good karma on Kim’s part, within 40 minutes of Kim being declared dead, Yangsi Rinpoche (director and resident geshe at Maitripa Institute) and other students were doing prayers as advised by Lama Zopa Rinpoche by Kim’s body, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Choden Rinpoche were doing prayers for Kim in California, and Geshe Ngawang Dragpa (resident geshe at Tse Chen Ling) was making prayers and checking the best timing astrologically for the practical aspects of Kim’s death. 

International Office staff and many students at Maitripa Institute participated in Lama Chopa (Guru Puja) dedicated to Kim's perfect rebirth, led by Yangsi Rinpoche.

Many, many thanks and heartfelt appreciation to all of you around the world who have included Kim in your prayers – the power and the support of the FPMT family at times like these is truly wonderful.  We here at International Office will miss Kim very much, and we know that his friends around the world will miss him too.

Obituary »

Inspiring Attitude from an FPMT center director:
When I first took on the role as Director I took criticism very much to heart as I wanted to be successful in running the Centre. Now I expect criticism, listen to it but don’t let it worry me. Criticism is very useful; if taken with a positive mind it allows us all to grow.

This alone is such a precious gift of Dharma that Rinpoche has enabled me to learn through serving him. Shantideva gave so much excellent advice on this; if I do get a dent or two I take time out with him.

For a Centre to grow we have to accept that it is unlikely that any of us are perfect yet have a lot to learn from each other. So if something is not working we need to try and fix it in a manner that allows everyone involved to have that opportunity to grow.

This and other helpful advice will be used to update FPMT's Center Director Helpbook - dear center directors, please keep sending Claire tips and comments which you would like to share with fellow center directors!

Mandala Magazine
The June-July issue will be available around May 7, and contains an in-depth look at the Tibet situation from the Dalai Lama, Robert Thurman, Yangsi Rinpoche and advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche. We have a brand new column from one of our FPMT teachers, Ven. Tenzin Chonyi, entitled ‘Mixed Motives,’ that really gives us food for thought, plus more sangha news from IMI – and some intriguing information from our new publisher!

Merry Colony Returns to International Office
We are very happy to announce that Merry Colony is back from retreat and is continuing to offer service as Education Director!
FPMT Snippets
After the residential portion of Chenrezig Institute’s One Hundred Million Mani Retreat had concluded, Ven. Lhamo, the spiritual program coordinator wrote to Lama Zopa Rinpoche:

"We of Chenrezig Institute would firstly like to offer to you every moment of merit accumulated during the Mani Retreat held here at Chenrezig Institute this year, in which a dedicated group of Sangha and lay people completed 3,153,000 recitations of Om Mani Padme Hum. In accordance with your holy wishes we dedicate this merit to the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to you, our precious Guru. May all your holy wishes be instantly fulfilled and may you remain long with us, turning the wheel of dharma for the sake of all migrators while ever cyclic existence remains.

Rinpoche’s Response:
My most very dear students,
I am very happy to hear of what you have done...this is really “GREAT!” I will dedicate the merits and pray for everyone of you who participated in the Mani (not money) Retreat. Please I offer my thanks and greetings to all of you from here in Mexico.”

Rinpoche with mariachi band in Mexico, April 2008.

Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang
Connecting Our Dharma Practice with Our Life in the World

Dharma and the Art of Motorcycle, Car, and Travel Maintenance....
Is there a link between mindfulness, travel, and the wellbeing of indigenous communities?  The amount of fuel our travel consumes, and the “footprint” of the fuel used, both have a direct and indirect effect on people in faraway parts of the globe. Millions of people are already being affected by food price increases, not only as a result of shortages caused by climate change droughts and floods, but also as a result of subsidies diverting food-crop land to biofuels - which often use more fossil fuel to produce than they embody! Finding ways to reduce our harmful impact on others is a wonderful meditation on mindfulness and compassion.

To explore these and other ideas, join
lots of love, Elaine -
Shen Phen Thubten Choeling, Study Group for Socially and Ecologically Engaged Buddhism

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

Opportunities include various volunteer positions and work exchange programs, and two USA centers looking for chefs!

Offer of Service

Fred Lemstra and Maya Toledano would like to offer service (as a couple) to an FPMT center or project. They have been helping at Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamsala, and are highly recommended by Drolkar, Tushita’s director!

Fred is mainly interested in supervising building projects, but is open to all other suggestions. He says “I love working with people and organizing teams and projects”.  He has a background in successfully running his own construction company.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche would like to feed all beings…! Hong Kong, April 2008.  

Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang

Maya says “I would be happy to do any kind of administrative work (reception, book keeping, website) but I am more than happy to do whatever is needed (gardening, kitchen etc...)”

Fred is fluent in English/Dutch/German, basic Hebrew. Maya is fluent in English/Hebrew, basic Dutch. They would prefer a position with a stipend since they can’t cover all expenses on their own. If you have positions which you would like to discuss with Fred and Maya, please contact Claire!

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

Atisha Centre, Australia
New spiritual program coordinator – Gen Blades
With grateful thanks to outgoing SPC – Ruby Karmay

Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, England
New director – Wendy Ridley
New spiritual program coordinator – Ven. Mary Reavey
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Gabrielle Hamilton and SPC - Bob Charlton

Kalachakra Centre, France

Khamlungpa Center, Mexico
New director – Ana Paula Perez
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Gandhi Magana

Losang Dragpa Centre, Malaysia
New director – Dr. Hock Bee Lee
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Lillian Too

Mahamudra Centre, New Zealand
New spiritual program coordinator – Hannah White
With grateful thanks to outgoing SPC – Ven. Tenzin Desal

Rinchen Zangpo Study Group, Mexico
Filmon Garza 231
Col. Las Margaritas
Torreon, Coah CP 27130
Tel: (52) (871) 717 1522

Shedrup Ling, Mongolia
New director – Batsaikhan Baldandorj
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Gunjiimaa Ganbat


With love,
FPMT International Office