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May 2009

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche with prayer wheel, India, January 2009

Rinpoche's Schedule
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!

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

    June – Maitripa College, USA
    26 Chod initiation
    27 & 28 Great Chenrezig initiation
    29 – July 1 Chod commentary

    September 8-22 (revised dates) Teachings on Light of the Path, Kadampa Center, Raleigh, USA

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in elevator with Ven. Roger, Ven. Jinpa and Ven. Kunsang, Indonesia, 2009
NEW Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Making Your Possessions Meaningful
You spent nine months in your mother’s womb and she experienced so much unbelievable pain when you were born. Then, for so many years, your parents sacrificed their lives for you and worried about you. When you weren’t obedient, they got angry and beat you and created negative karma because of you. They sent you to school to receive an education so
you could have a good life. They spent so much money for so many years for your shelter, food, and expenses. Then you spent so many years learning, from kindergarten and primary school to college. You finally got a degree and found a job and then endured hardship to save money for so many years. With the money, you bought a house and other things.

All the money you raised is a dependent arising. It didn’t only come from your own effort, but was dependent on your parents and their many years of hard work and their physical and mental exhaustion, on the education you received, on your many years of hard work, bearing many hardships. Wow! If all the work for this money became Dharma, that is one thing, but usually the work is done with anger, attachment, or ignorance and becomes only negative karma.

But if you offer everything to the Sangha, you create unbelievable merit. Sangha are living in a high number of vows and are unbelievably powerful objects. I think Western people want to help others because they see that others need things, but many Tibetan laypeople want to help out of interest for their own good karma, so that they have everything – happiness, wealth, long life, etc. – in future lives.

Giving to the Sangha is an incredible thing. One extremely poor person gave medicine and drink to four monks; they were not arhats, just ordinary monks. In the next life, that person was born as a very powerful and wealthy person. The karmic cause was very simple – just giving medicine and drink to four monks – but because karma expands, the result will be experienced over many lifetimes. If you offer to the powerful object of the Sangha with the motivation of bodhichitta, the result is even more powerful. You receive limitless skies of merit because you are thinking of benefiting numberless sentient beings – numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless human beings, numberless sura beings and asura beings, intermediate state beings – and bringing them to enlightenment. You can imagine the merit you gain if you offer to the Sangha with the motivation of bodhichitta.

You can serve the Sangha with your body, or through talking to people, or with your mind. And when you die, you can offer your money, your house, or your material possessions to the Sangha. Then there won’t be the problem of the family creating negative karma with each other, getting angry at each other because you didn’t give this or that. They fight and quarrel and then there are court cases. The problems explode like a volcano!

If your family is not Buddhist, they won’t make charity to others for you; they won’t give even one dollar to charity and dedicate for you. They use all the money that you raised with so many years of hard work, exhausting the body and mind. Of course, as I mentioned before, if it is done with virtue, then the result is happiness, but almost everything becomes non-virtue and then you have to experience the result, an unbelievable length of time in the lower realms. Then even in the human realm, you have to experience the possessed result and creating the result similar to the cause and creating the result similar to the action. Due to past habits, you create the same actions again in the human realm. Your family does the same thing, using the money only to create non-virtue. Your family may not like to hear this, but this is the reality.

If your family is Buddhist and they understand karma and care for you with compassion, they will use the money to do something for you.

Of course, if you have children and a wife or husband, it is different. You have responsibility to take care of them. However, it’s very nice to offer to the Sangha, to leave a will. Then the activities of the family don’t become non-virtue and you collect some virtue. You create virtue right now when you make the decision and then later, when the offering is actually made.

Colophon: Advice given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to Ven. Losang Monlam in March 2009 at Hotel Surya in Varanasi, India. Transcribed by Ven. Thubten Munsel and lightly edited by Michael D. Jolliffe and Ven. Gyalten Mindrol, April 2009.     

More advice from Rinpoche

Enjoy brief glimpses of Rinpoche on our streaming videos page, including Rinpoche and the young Tenzin Phuntsok Rinpoche at a ribbon cutting ceremony!

Praise of FPMT

Ven. Jinpa’s “Geshe Potowa of the 21st Century”
Center Services Director, Doris Low, writes that Ven. Jinpa’s article, “Geshe Potowa of the 21st Century,” which was published last month by FPMT News, received “lots of praise.” This intimate account of a day in the life of Lama Zopa Rinpoche gives a small taste of Rinpoche’s inspired activity. If you missed reading it the first time around, you’ll have a second chance when the article is reproduced by Mandala in the July-September issue.

Song Rinpoche’s mother, Geshe Tenzin Rabgye and Amy Cayton and Amrita (Bob Cayton's daugher), 2009

Kalachakra Center’s Excellent Use of Technology
The live webcast of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Medicine Buddha initiation at Kalachakra Center in Paris was a resounding success!  The format gives access to teachings that would otherwise be missed by hundreds of students. Many have lauded its excellent execution. Thank you! Thank you!

For more inspiration, please enjoy other statements of appreciation!

International Office News
The cover of the FPMT Annual Review 2008, designed by Melody Swan
Annual Review 2008
Out and Soon Available
International Office is pleased to announce that the Annual Review 2008 is out and will soon become available for all centers. This stunningly designed document is as informative as it is beautiful, giving an inspiring and exhaustive look at everything we’ve accomplished together. Please keep an eye out for the review, appropriately titled Your FPMT: Building a Compassionate World from the Inside Out – you will not want to miss it!
CPMT 2009 Wraps Up
 “Very successful, very encouraging” – Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s experience was shared by many of the participants at the recent CPMT which drew to a close on May 1, 2009. There was a record turnout with more than 180 representatives of the FPMT’s worldwide centers, study groups, projects and community services attending. The long life puja dedicated to Rinpoche on May 2 on behalf of all FPMT members and supporters had a collection exceeding $10,000. Highlights of the CPMT (featuring in particular all of Rinpoche’s advice) will soon be available for viewing via IVY’s website. Information on how access to the video recordings, minutes of the meeting, as well as the power point presentations given will be made available in the Members Area for the benefit of everyone working in the FPMT. You will be notified of their availability through the CPMT Yahoo! Group shortly.

CPMT 2009 was in many ways a powerful energy booster, building up personal inner resources (through the Inner Job Description training), as well as external resources (through familiarization with the Handbook, Education materials, Essential Education and otherglobal resources), to spur the FPMT towards realizing its mission. The message underlined by Rinpoche was compassion – and you will soon be receiving an updated quote containing that aspect of Rinpoche’s advice.

The success of CPMT 2009 owes itself as much to those attending as to those who could not – many, deepest thanks to everyone!

Beautify the Center Directory
As the Center Directory page on the FPMT website becomes more embellished, please remember to send your center images to us and beautify your address listing! For an example, see Gendun Drubpa in Canada.

Join Us by Becoming a Foundation Member

FPMT Snippets
Dick Jeffrey 1943 – 2009
In early April, news of Dick Jeffrey’s death travelled around the world. This comes from the directors and staff of Essential Education:

[We] are enormously sad to inform you of the death last week of Dick Jeffrey, Chair of the Board.

Twelve months ago, Dick was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and travelled back from India to his home city of Melbourne, Australia to have it removed. After months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, he underwent a second operation in March, which left him partially paralyzed. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at around 8 a.m. on April 2, 2009, shortly after a visit from his son, Lockie, and daughter, Pip.
Dick Jeffrey

Dick’s first Essential Education assignment was as director of Maitreya School in Bodhgaya, India, where he made an outstanding contribution to the development of the buildings, education curriculum and teacher training program. Hundreds of village children gained a free education as a result of his dedicated fundraising work, and anyone who visited the school will remember the warmth, delight and gentle pride with which he participated in the morning assembly or in special events.... The curriculum he developed was made available in both English and Spanish, and has inspired educators worldwide. 

When the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom (FDCW) was set up in January 2005, Dick’s understanding of and commitment to Essential Education made him a natural choice as the first Chair of the Board. As one of the principle architects of the organization, he generously came to London for several weeks each year, dedicating himself to establishing a clear vision and mission, developing guiding documents and advising on the Essential Education core curriculum. He was a leading presence at the European launch conference in 2005, and the Australian launch conference in 2006.

Here are some comments from those who worked closely with Dick:

“I keep seeing Dick's kindly face, hearing his calm, measured, often humorous responses, feeling his gentle presence. How very, very sad that Essential Education, Maitreya School and all the other projects will no longer have his expertise & skillful guidance.”

 “I am so very grateful to him for his kindness and his even, steady and gentle way of getting things moving, getting them done. And all that were touched by his ability to bring harmony into situations. I am honored to have worked directly with him.”

Ven. Thubten –
First Buddhist School Chaplain in Queensland, Australia
Ven. Lozang Thubten has become the state’s sole non-Christian school chaplain. Ven. Thubten works at Milpera State High School, a school which receives many refugee children who have often suffered from traumatizing experiences.

Her experience as a Buddhist nun and her dedication to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s stance that proselytizing is inappropriate works well for a school body primarily composed of Christians and Muslims. Not only have the students benefited from her relaxation classes, but also other non-Christian groups have been heartened by Ven. Thubten’s ability to finish the grueling bureaucratic process necessary to become a chaplain.

Some of the compassionate members of Wheel of Life Hospice Service, 2009
Wheel of Life
Hospice Service
Although already existing for five years, a group of dedicated individuals at Hayagriva Buddhist Centre in Perth, Western Australia are ready to officially announce the formation of Wheel of Life Hospice Service, a organization that aims to offer the gift of affection and love, companionship, emotional and spiritual support to those individuals and their families who are facing life-threatening illness, to the dying, to those who have died and to those who are left grieving.

With the support of Ven. Thubten Dondrub as their resident teacher, Wheel of Life Hospice Service meets twice monthly to discuss and meditate on topics related to death and dying, and to pray for those individuals on Prayers for the Dead and for any other people or pets of which they have become personally aware. In addition to these services, this burgeoning group already offers a six-week program for those interested in learning how to support the dying and ill.

Wheel of Life’s coordinator, Ven. Losang Chodron says, “It is only because of the advice and blessings of Rinpoche that this service exists, and I pray it will continue to exist and be of benefit to those beings that we have the karma to serve.”

Tim McNeill Profiled in Publishers Weekly
Wisdom Publications publisher, Tim McNeill, was profiled in Publishers Weekly, the leading trade magazine for the publishing and bookselling industry. The article describes briefly some of McNeill’s amazing past experiences and qualifications as wells as his work and vision for Wisdom Publications’ future, including a new book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason. We couldn’t be more proud or thankful of his amazing contribution to Buddhism and the FPMT!

Mani Retreat at IVY Open to At-Home Retreaters
The one-month (May 5 to June 6) Mani retreat held at Institut Vajra Yogini (IVY) will be open to at-home retreaters. Please keep a look out for future details on IVY’s website, and also on the CPMT and FPMT Yahoo! Groups.


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

Opportunities include building supervisor at Tushita Meditation Centre, India, volunteer positions at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, UK, and volunteer opportunities for Liberation Prison Project.

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

With love,
FPMT International Office