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To find more information as it becomes available, and for details of how to contact the center and register for these events, please go to Rinpoche’s Schedule. We have recently updated this webpage to be even easier for you to use!
January 22 – February 7 Guhyasamaja initiation and Commentary on Lama Chöpa at Potowa Center, Indonesia
February 15 - 23 Yamantaka initiation and Commentary on Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga at Amitabha Buddhist Centre, Singapore
March 3 – 31 Most Secret Hayagriva Retreat at Tushita Retreat Centre, Dharamsala, India
New Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Cultivating Service to Others
The most important thing for this life’s happiness, especially for the sentient beings you meet, is to have the thought: “I’m the servant and they are the masters, I’m the servant and they are the kings, they are the masters and I am like the dog. Sentient beings are the ones from whom I have received all my happiness. They are the dearest and most kind. They are the ones from whom all opportunities come, in relation to whom I have the opportunity to purify all my negative karma, create all the merit and attain enlightenment. So they are the kindest of all. I should use my body, speech and mind to serve others, especially the people of the center, as well as all the animals and insects.” This is also the attitude one should have with one’s family, or if you are a teacher or leader of a company, etc.
The purpose of a meditation center is to take care of the minds of others, to keep the mind in virtue as much as possible. This means keeping your own mind in virtue. You have to try. It is very good to try. If you can’t do that, you can’t help others. So your motivation should be to use your body, speech and mind to create even the smallest happiness in others. Many people in the world waste their lives. People try to climb mountains no matter what risk to their life. Some people use themselves as bullets, getting fired from cannons, and so forth, unbelievable things, putting their lives in danger to achieve such insignificant happiness in this life.
The Ornament of Sutra by Maitreya Buddha says, “The child of the victorious one who has stabilized the supreme perseverance of thoroughly ripening the multitude of sentient beings will work to have even one virtuous thought arise in a sentient being’s mind, even if it takes 10 million thousand eons, without getting upset.”
When you train the mind in positive virtue, especially a good heart trying to benefit others, it creates very good communication. There is no Great Wall of China or Germany between yourself and others. It brings so much happiness to you and others, and brings world peace.
Every sentient being has buddha nature. Even a mosquito can achieve enlightenment and liberation from the oceans of samsaric suffering if it practices Dharma. So especially for us who now have this precious human body with which can do so many things to liberate from any problem or circumstance that gives rise to problems, especially having a perfect human rebirth on top of buddha nature, we are able to achieve all the happiness for all future lives, even for insects, ants, cockroaches, spiders and snakes, even for a mouse. You can cause the mice and the ants to achieve all the happiness in future lives, and ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara and enlightenment. You are able to cause the four levels of happiness for all sentient beings, not only to liberate them from the oceans of suffering and bring them to enlightenment, but to do that as quickly as possible through tantric practice …
Taking refuge with renunciation to this life, with morality as the foundation (living in the ten virtues and abandoning the ten non-virtues), causes future good rebirth as a deva or human, especially perfect human rebirth with seven qualities, rebirth with the four Mahayana Dharma wheels, the eight ripening qualities or to be in a pure land.
Renunciation of samsara and living in the three special higher trainings causes liberation from the oceans of samsaric suffering. Then, with bodhichitta, taking bodhisattva vows and living in the six paramitas and the four methods of drawing in the sentient beings in order to achieve enlightenment.
Having taken initiation, living in the tantric vows, practicing pure appearance, generation and completion stages, causes one to achieve full enlightenment much quicker, within one brief lifetime of these degenerated times.
Contentment is not for others but with your own needs. Usually, we have attachment to so many different things, or to having many of a similar object (e.g., wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend, sexual relationships) and not content with one. Or wanting more money – when we have $1000, wanting $10,000, then a million, then a billion, it is endless. Then to get more, one engages in the ten non-virtues, cheats or even kills others. Then one gets into trouble and receives punishment, is sent to prison, becoming famous for negative mind – a bad reputation. Contentment means not needing more than you have or what you don’t have. You can understand better if you think of renunciation, it is similar, bringing peace in the heart by healing the mental sickness of attachment …
Virtuous actions and virtuous thoughts need to be developed until enlightenment is achieved. Always continuously develop completing the great works, as much as one can, like collecting merit, the cause of happiness, developing realizations, and achieving liberation and enlightenment. One should never be content regarding developing positive actions, virtue, which lead to one’s own and others’ ultimate happiness, enlightenment – always strive to do more. Apologize immediately if one did some mistake, harmed others, was disrespectful or said hurtful words. Forgive immediately if somebody gets angry, is disrespectful to you or harms you. Develop courage by thinking of the benefit to others, serving others. This is the best offering to the buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Excerpted from Letter to All Center Directors and Coordinators dictated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to Ven. Roger Kunsang and Ven. Trisha Labdron, Nov 5, 2009, Dehradhun, India, and edited by Ven. Trisha Labdron. Lightly edited for FPMT eNews.
International Office News
Photos of Rinpoche and Osel
There are new photos of Rinpoche and Osel. Enjoy!
Latest News from the Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund
By Ven Holly Ansett
In November 2009, FPMT was able to offer $19,710 for the monthly stipends of the current abbots, past abbots and main teachers of the Lama Tsongkhapa tradition, including the Ganden Tripa. These incredibly precious teachers do not receive any money from their monasteries.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama requested Lama Zopa Rinpoche to establish the Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund. For the last 11
years, FPMT has been offering a small monthly stipend ranging from $10 to $31 to the 150 teachers of Sera, Ganden, Drepung, Gyume, Gyuto, Tashi Lhunpo and Rato monasteries.
FPMT also was able to offer $8,885 for the annual Gelug exam that was attended by 540 of the foremost scholars from Sera, Ganden, Drepung, Gyume, Gyuto, Tashi Lhunpo and Rato monasteries. This year, the exam was held at Sera Monastery. This money covered the cost of travel for the monks who were traveling to Sera for the exam, as well offering the food and tea for all the monks attending.
Thank you to all the kind benefactors who continue to support the Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund. This project is critical to FPMT’s mission of preserving and transmitting the Mahayana teachings worldwide.
Materials have been added to the Basic Program web update page, including Gyaltsab Je’s Bodhicaryavatara commentary in English, translated by BP teacher Ven. Fedor. You’ll also find several meditations and charts for Mind and Cognition in Spanish (due to the consistent karma yoga efforts of MP student Ven. Teresa) and the French translation of Minds and Mental Factors, just in time for Nalanda’s tri-lingual BP!
Seven modules of Discovering Buddhism are now available online. Don’t forget Module 2, “How to Meditate,” is free. Enrollment key: calmabiding07. Check it out!
Important announcement: a request was made to Rinpoche to change the name of the online program that will highlight the teachings of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Over time, this will contain more than just the Light of the Path teachings from the retreat in North Carolina. As such, Rinpoche has chosen the name Living in the Path. Going forward, Living in the Path will be the name used for the online program that will start to be available on the FPMT Online Learning Center in early 2010.
NEW! The fourth in our preliminary practice series, The Preliminary Practice of Tsa-Tsas, contains all the instructions needed for creating tsa-tsas, including the actual practice and practical advice. In the book, Rinpoche reminds us that “making tsa-tsas pacifies obstacles, bad conditions, accidents, and sudden diseases like heart attacks and paralysis. By making tsa-tsas you pacify enemies, interferers and harms. You accumulate all merit, purify all obscurations, and in a future life, achieve the resultant three kayas.”
NEW! Keep your prayer books up to date! Comprehensive updates for Essential Buddhist Prayers Vols. 1 & 2 and the FPMT Retreat Prayer Book are now available. If you find these updates an unnecessary hassle, please read what our Spanish translator, Luis Portillo, had to say on the topic: When I started to translate previous versions of the Prayer Book, I felt disappointed every time that I had to change the version before it was printed. Later, I understood that we were fortunate for having a teacher who looked after us and kept us moving. The worst feeling is that of success, because it makes you sleep. So don’t worry about my complaining, because it’s just a joke, I am quite open to the changes that I bet will come soon. We are on a path, so it means we have to keep moving!
NEW! Comprehensive, extensive, and very inspiring publications available list from FPMT Education Services is now offered. Please print and make this list accessible as you see fit, especially to your SPCs and shopkeepers for their at-a-glance, easy-to-read catalog of resources.
Following Rinpoche’s advice, the Foundation Store has Lama Yeshe statues available so all FPMT centers can have Lama on their altars. What a lovely Christmas present!
Reminder! Most of the mantras recommended by Rinpoche to be included in prayer wheels now have microfilm masters. The cost per master is $150 and can be obtained from Education Services (note: this does not include the cost of microfilm printing.)
Announcement! Ven. Mindrol will be leaving for a three-and-a-half month retreat at the end of December. During her absence, center requests for materials (other than those in the Foundation Store) may not be fulfilled. We appreciate your understanding!
Mandala Turns the Light on Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Mandala’s January-March 2010 issue, “A LIGHT ON THE PATH: Lama Zopa Rinpoche” is the fourth in a series of issues dedicated to telling the story of FPMT. This edition in the series focuses on the incredible contributions of FPMT’s spiritual director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Filled with Rinpoche’s artwork, advice, accomplishments and inspiring quotations, this issue is a testament to Rinpoche’s tireless work for others.
For Center Directors, SPCs and Teachers
CPMT 2009 Updates
Looking at the participants at CPMT 2009, one would not have missed noticing that the youthful hippies who first followed Lama Yeshe and Rinpoche have become the community’s elders. Persons over 30 years old definitely outnumbered those younger. Like any other organization, the FPMT needs to attract and sustain the interest of new members – and the question does arise of whether it is reaching out to younger people.
Interestingly, it is the younger FPMT members who appear most invigorated by the challenge to ensure the FPMT stays relevant and exciting to their peer group. One of the steps they have taken is to start an online community “for young FPMT students to connect, communicate, network and keep in touch”. Do check out their ideas at FPMT Young Dharma
Ribur Rinpoche’s Reincarnation Found
The reincarnation of our much missed Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche has been found!
The young tulku, who currently goes by the name of Tenzin Pasang, was identified after the traditional checks and the observation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Born to a Tibetan family living near Sera Me, he bears out His Holiness’s prediction that the tulku will be found four to five years after the passing of Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche.
Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche himself had indicated to some monks that he will be reborn near Sera Me, and had expressed the intention to return to his labrang and to continue his work of benefiting all sentient beings.
A note from Ven. Roger on Rinpoche’s response to the discovery:
"We were just sent a photo of the newly recognized incarnation of Ribur Rinpoche. As soon as I showed Rinpoche the photo on the computer, Rinpoche did three long prostrations and then offered body, speech and mind and long khata and money offering ... and prayers."
Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang
Stopping the Gadhimai Slaughter
On hearing that 500,000 animals were going to be sacrificed over two days at Gadhimai (November 23 to 24, 2009), Rinpoche made the observation that the efforts being made to stop it by animal rights activists and Ram Bahadur Bomjon, the “Boy Buddha of Bara,” might not have effect.
Therefore Rinpoche requested, “please recite any number of the Golden Light Sutra and the Padmasambhava prayer for removing obstacles and for quick success.”
Sent to the CPMT and FPMT Yahoo! Groups, that request drew strong response. Emails from America to Australia, Asia to Europe arrived at the International Office to report that so many of the sutra and prayer were recited. As it turned out, the main event proceeded as planned although at some smaller venues, the slaughter was halted amidst local protests and the international outcry. Ostensibly there was limited success – but we can trust that the effect of every good intention and prayer goes way, way further!
Many thanks to those who added their efforts!
Opportunities to Offer Service in FPMT
Vajrapani Institute, California, needs a full-time Kitchen Manager – application closes shortly in December 2009!
Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco is looking for a suitably qualified person for the position of Spiritual Coordinator - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
And there are, as usual, many exciting opportunities to offer service in FPMT centers around the world.
Impermanence at Work
Maitreya Institut, Emst, Netherlands
New director – Maarten de Vries
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Ven. Kaye Miner
Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translation Program, Dharamsala, India
New director – Tim Van der Haegen
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Ven. Lhundub Chodron
FPMT International Office