FPMT Annual Review 2023: Repaying the Kindness, Looking to the Future

We welcome to FPMT International Office’s Annual Review. We invite you to take your time with these various reports as this was an unprecedented year and we have a lot to share and process in the sections below. 

2023 was an extremely impactful year for students of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT International Office, along with the entire FPMT organization, navigated some unprecedented challenges following the sudden news of Rinpoche showing the aspect of passing away on April 13, 2023. 

Despite the shock and grief experienced by those around the world, students of Rinpoche bonded in prayer and an energized commitment to fulfilling Rinpoche’s wishes for the organization and to practice what Rinpoche taught. 

As you will read in the many summaries included below, we continued to offer access to our lamas’ teachings; kept the international community connected and informed about news and advice following the passing of Rinpoche; offered guidance and structure to FPMT centers, projects, and services; facilitated charitable giving to many beneficial initiatives dedicated to helping others and based on the wishes of Rinpoche; and disseminated the Dharma to all who wish to receive it.

Please join us in this overview of some of our more notable accomplishments as an office and organization this past year. Our main objective this year was to work more diligently than ever to repay Rinpoche’s kindness by fulfilling his wishes for the organization, and to look enthusiastically to the future in order to formulate a plan of success for the entire FPMT family.   


Altar holding Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s holy body, Kopan Monastery, Nepal. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Passing into Parinirvana

At 9:30am on April 13 at Kopan Monastery in Nepal, FPMT’s most precious guru and spiritual director, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, entered his final meditation. The impact on students, friends, FPMT centers, beneficiaries, and supporters around the world following the loss of Rinpoche cannot be estimated.

Immediately following Rinpoche’s passing, “every inch of Kopan” was in prayer and service as several thousand individuals came to pay respects and offer prayers, and to process this immense loss. The supportive and kind atmosphere, impeccable coordination and handling of logistics, and the care and detail needed for Kopan to receive and look after hundreds of guests from around the world daily—this effort at a time of losing the guru is something to truly consider and rejoice in. Round-the-clock practices and prayers in the presence of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s kudung (holy body relic) and a weekly offered puja culminated on May 31 (the 49th day of Rinpoche passing) with an extensive Heruka Lama Chopa puja.

From the moment we received the heartbreaking news, FPMT International Office coordinated to make news, updates, and advice available to students as quickly as possible through our various communication channels, as well as to help disseminate the important updates issued from the FPMT Inc. Board of Directors regarding the future of the organization.

Around the world, FPMT affiliates, great lamas, monasteries, lay communities, and friends engaged in group prayers, pujas, and practices for Rinpoche’s swift return and we were so moved by the outpouring of kind and heartfelt tributes and condolences

Ven. Robina Courtin wrote an extremely moving obituary for Rinpoche, “This Is the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, This Is the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life”, and we created a four-part photo gallery of Rinpoche’s inspiring and beneficial life. It is our wish that these resources, along with others you will read about below, help students process the passing of their beloved guru, give confidence in the leadership of the organization to continue Rinpoche’s legacy, and to pay tribute to Rinpoche’s life of selflessly benefiting others. 

Details of Rinpoche's Passing

A Letter from Khenrinpoche Geshe Chonyi

A week after Rinpoche’s passing, Khenrinpoche Geshe Chonyi, abbot of Kopan Monastery, shared the following letter to explain the sequence of events:

As everyone knows, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, in order to free us from the grasping at permanence, has taken the aspect of passing into parinirvana. Undoubtedly, many are deeply concerned and wondering what is happening now. Therefore, I would like to briefly explain the current situation.

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche was invited to attend a Dharma function in the Tsum region of Nepal. There, several local groups were celebrating the one-hundredth year of declaring the Tsum Valley as a non-violence area and promoting vegetarianism, as well as their formal commitment to continue in the same way for another hundred years. Rinpoche went as requested to grace this function and bestow a Hayagriva initiation to the faithful.

Rinpoche after his visit to the Kagyu monastery, Tsum, April 11, 2023. Photo by Marko Gospodjinacki.

The elevation of this area is 3,700 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level. Due to some signs of altitude sickness, Rinpoche decided to return to Kathmandu and Kopan Monastery earlier than planned. Around 9:30 a.m. on April 13th, sadly, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche showed the aspect of passing away here at Kopan Monastery. As soon as Rinpoche began his clear light meditation, we informed His Holiness the Dalai Lama who advised that students engage in the practice of Cittamani Tara, recitation of The Essence of Eloquence by Lama Tsonghapa, and perform the self-initiations of Heruka and other deities.

Accordingly, all of the disciples and ordained Sangha began these practices immediately. Likewise, we have received letters of prayer, condolence, and advice from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness the Karmapa, His Holiness Sakya Trichen, and from various other lineage lamas. For this we express our deepest gratitude.

On April 14th, around 10:00 p.m., when monks reached the point in the Guhyasamaja sadhana of the four goddesses evoking the deity to arise from dharmakaya song, Rinpoche arose from his clear light meditation. This was reported to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Rinpoche’s other teachers from whom we sought guidance. They advised that, as Lama Zopa Rinpoche has done extensive deeds for the Dharma, and has thousands of disciples from all over the world, it would be good to preserve Rinpoche’s holy body in order that his many disciples can gradually come to pay respects. Therefore, we are now in the process of preserving Rinpoche’s holy body according to traditional practice.

Although in actuality, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche is already a fully enlightened buddha, in order for all of us disciples to accumulate merit and purify negativities, and for the swift return of an unmistaken reincarnation, for seven days we are performing the following prayers twenty-four hours per day: the self-initiations of Yamantaka, Guhyasamaja, and Heruka, Vajrayogini self-initiation, recitations of the Essence of Eloquence, the three root texts (The Ornament of Clear Realizations, Entrance to Middle, and Treasury of Knowledge), Medicine Buddha puja, Heruka Guru Puja, and others.

During this time, many lamas who were close to Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche and many lay people are continuously coming to pay respects and make offerings. Likewise, we offer thanks to the Great Monastic Seats of Sera, Drepung, Ganden, and the Upper and Lower Tantric Colleges, many other Gelukpa monasteries in Nepal, and other monasteries as well as lay associations who performing prayers in solidarity.

For the entire forty-nine-day period, we will perform the following prayers for twenty-four hours daily: special rituals related to preserving the holy body, Yamantaka and Vajrayogini self-initiations, Guru Puja, recitation of Praise of Dependent Origination, Chanting the Names of Manjushri, the King of Prayers, The Ornament of Clear Realizations, Entrance to Middle, and the swift return prayer composed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Finally, to all faithful disciples who have a connection with Rinpoche, whether direct or indirect, I sincerely request you to come together to fulfill all of Rinpoche’s advices whole heartedly, and complete the unfinished projects that remain until the unmistaken reincarnation of Rinpoche comes and again takes responsibility to continue Rinpoche’s enlightened activities.

Ven. Roger Kunsang’s Talk Regarding the Day of Lama Zopa Rinpoche Showing the Aspect of Passing Away

On April 27, Ven. Roger Kunsang gave an extremely moving talk at Kopan Monastery about Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s health in general, and the details of Rinpoche’s passing.

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Stupas for Rinpoche's Swift Return

A magnificent 42-foot (12.8 meters) high Stupa of Complete Victory is being constructed at Kopan Monastery to create the cause for the swift return of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and for all his wishes to be actualized exactly as he planned.

Anila Ngawang Samten, Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s sister, constructed an eight level, 12-foot high and 11-foot wide Victory Stupa at Lawudo Gompa, Nepal, for the swift return and success of all Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT’s projects.

Consecration of the Victory Stupa in Lawudo, Nepal, built for the swift return of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

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Swift Return Prayers & Advice from H. H. the Dalai Lama

For the convenience of students, we compiled a booklet consisting of a swift return prayer composed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama along with a small a collection of additional prayers for Rinpoche’s return, composed and offered spontaneously by other distinguished lamas with whom Rinpoche had a connection in this lifetime, including Khensur Jhado Rinpoche, Rangjung Neljorma Khandro Tseringma, and Lelung Rinpoche.

Additionally, we have shared essential advice from His Holiness the Dalai Lama for students of Rinpoche, and we will continue to share advice as we receive it.

The monks of Sera Je Monastery offering prayers for Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s swift return.

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Fulfilling Rinpoche's Holy Wishes

40-meter high Amoghapasha painting on a cliff above Lawudo, Nepal.

Fulfilling the gurus’ holy wishes is a very important part of inviting the guru to return. Of particular note this year, in terms of fulfilling Rinpoche’s wishes, we were so pleased about the following achievements:

The Dalai Lama Centre for Tibetan & Indian Ancient Wisdom: A Monumental Achievement Toward Peace

One of Rinpoche’s main goals and most sincere wishes was to support His Holiness the Dalai Lama in any way he possibly could.
In 2020, Lama Zopa Rinpoche offered 30 acres of land in Bodhgaya to His Holiness, after being asked if he would consider doing so by the previous Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration’s government-in-exile, Lobsang Sangye, and delegates from His Holiness’s office. This was the land which had previously belonged to the Maitreya Project. Rinpoche happily accepted to make this offering to help actualize His Holiness’s wish to build an international institute promoting human values of kindness and compassion, in this area so deeply blessed with Buddhism.

On January 3, 2023, Rinpoche and Ven. Roger attended—along with several thousand attendees including both Central and State Government ministers, Tibetan officials from The Dalai Lama Trust, as well as other FPMT organization and Maitreya Project members— a foundation stone laying ceremony for His Holiness’s new center in Bodhgaya, India, The Dalai Lama Centre for Tibetan and Indian Ancient Wisdom, located on the land offered by Rinpoche.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the occasion of the laying the foundation stone for The Dalai Lama Centre for Tibet and Indian Ancient Wisdom in Bodhgaya, India, January 3, 2023. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

The existing 24-foot Maitreya statue that is currently on the property has been refurbished and will remain there on the land. The large Maitreya statue in the enlightened aspect, which was a vision of Lama Yeshe, will be part of stage two of the development of the center.

Long Life Puja for his Holiness

Three hundred and fifty members of the FPMT organization, including 150 who joined the event from abroad, participated in the hugely successful long life puja offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, on May 24, 2023.  This was something Rinpoche has been speaking about and wanting the FPMT organization to offer for over five years. Following just a few weeks after Rinpoche’s passing, this was an incredibly moving event in honor of Rinpoche’s wishes. 

While speaking to the audience, His Holiness commented:

“These long-life prayers are being offered today by the FPMT, an organization with many centers around the world that has for quite some time been led by the late Zopa Rinpoche. A very trustworthy person, Rinpoche has recently passed away and I pray that his reincarnation will be able to serve the Dharma and sentient beings in his next life. …

“Zopa Rinpoche really did his best. He worked immensely hard for the teachings and to benefit sentient beings. I hope his reincarnation will also be a proper custodian of the Dharma and pray that that may be so. You should do the same.”

1,000 Shakyamuni Buddha Statues Offered to His Holiness

One of the most amazing achievements in 2023 for fulfilling Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s wishes was the creation and offering of one thousand statues of Shakyamuni Buddha. Lama Zopa Rinpoche wanted to make this offering during the long-life puja that was offered by FPMT to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The work started in February 2023 with the commission of one thousand statues to be created by various statue makers in Nepal. The art of the statues had been carefully checked by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the statue makers created each statue based on this. Each statue was gold gilded, faces painted, and carefully filled and consecrated before they were offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Large Painting of Amoghapasha at Lawudo on Drak Karma Cliff

Twenty-five years ago, Lama Zopa Rinpoche began expressing the wish for a large painting of 1,000-Armed Chenrezig to be painted on a 100-foot high cliff named Drak Karma above Lawudo in Nepal, approximately 4,200 meters above sea level (over 13,000 feet) so everyone in proximity could see it. In the last few years Rinpoche specifically said for the painting to be of Amoghapasha—an emanation of Chenrezig.

This 31-foot high by 21-foot wide (9.5 meters high by 6.4 meters wide) painting is now complete! It has been painted directly on the cliff face overseeing the whole area. Funds for this project were raised by the Thamichowa community; Anila Ngawang Samten (Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s sister) provided all the necessary materials and tools needed for painting; and Ven. Nyima Tashi, Ven. Thubten Tendar, and Pasang Dekyi helped to actualize this incredible project.

Guru Bumtsog event with the large Padmasambhava thangka on display, December 16, 2023. Photo courtesy of Kopan Monastery.

Large Padmasambhava Thangka at Kopan Nunnery

One of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Vast Visions for the FPMT organization was for many FPMT centers to have huge thangkas displayed during events for the public.

For the eighth year in a row, a very large thangka of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) was displayed and an auspicious 100,000 tsog offering event (Guru Bumtsog) took place at Khachoe Ghakyil Ling (Kopan Nunnery). This will now be an annual event at Kopan Nunnery on December 3, Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s birthday, to commemorate Rinpoche’s life and fulfill Rinpoche’s wishes. Students of Rinpoche are encouraged to plan to come to this extremely joyous and auspicious event when they are able.

We were also so happy to share that in 2023 Tara Institute in Australia was able to display an incredibly precious Twenty-one Taras thangka at the Melbourne Town Hall, and Amitabha Buddhist Centre displayed their 50 ft x 30 ft Amitabha Buddha thangka at their Vesak celebration.

Twenty-one Taras Project at ABC

This year, Amitabha Buddhist Centre (ABC) in Singapore completed an ambitious holy object project advised by Lama Zopa Rinpoche which was first expressed as one of Rinpoche’s wishes in 1995. The project added statues of all the Twenty-one Taras, each standing twenty-four inches high, to the altar in ABC’s beautiful gompa. This was completed in August 2021 and Rinpoche offered a teaching via Zoom during the consecration ceremony in October of that year. This project finished in 2023 with the completion of an exquisite golden aura adorning each of the statues.

108 Nyung Na Retreats

Institut Vajra Yogini (IVY) in France hosted its twelfth series of 108 Nyung Na retreats from November 2022 to June 2023. One of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Vast Visions for the FPMT organization was to sponsor people who make a serious commitment in this life to complete 1,000 Nyung Na retreats, and IVY kindly began to host the retreats every year to help fulfill this vision.

Pilgrimage Book of Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini

Geshe Thubten Sherab, Headmaster of Kopan School, completed a pilgrimage book as advised and sponsored by Lama Zopa Rinpoche this year. The book has been published by Lumbini Buddhist University and Kopan Monastery. This recently published edition was volume one of two and covers the sacred sites of the Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini. This volume is almost 200 pages and took three years to complete. Rinpoche’s wish was for it to be published in both Tibetan and Nepali. The Tibetan version had 500 copies printed and 1,000 copies were printed in Nepali. This work will also be translated into English. With around 45 different sites covered in this volume—all of which Geshe Sherab has visited—the book includes photos of each site, an extensive bibliography, and index including all sources and references.

“The Effects of Smoking and Living a Healthy and Happy Life” Book Release

On December 24, 2022, Lama Zopa Rinpoche attended a book release celebration at Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery, Nepal, for his new book in Nepali, titled The Effects of Smoking and Living a Healthy and Happy Life. The event drew over 600 guests, including dignitaries such as Mr. Gagan K. Thapa from the Nepali Parliament’s House of Representatives. While this happened at the end of 2022, we wanted to mention it here along with other recent achievements to fulfill Rinpoche’s wishes as this was something Rinpoche was so incredibly happy about and the book was a long time in the making. This book will be released in English in the future and we look forward to sharing details of this publication when it is available. 

Geshe Legtsok, the Light of the Path 2023 retreat leader. Photo by Kira Dane.

Light of the Path Retreat

Originally meant to be a continuation of five teaching events with Lama Zopa Rinpoche that began in 2009 in North Carolina, US, the Light of the Path (LOP) 2023 at Kopan Monastery became a retreat for Rinpoche’s students to honor his life and teachings as well as the practice lineage he had so carefully passed on to us over more than fifty years. 160 people from thirty countries attended the retreat.

Heart Sutra Retreat

In July 2022 Rinpoche expressed his wish to lead a Heart Sutra Retreat. This year we were pleased to announce a Heart Sutra Retreat at Kopan Monastery from April 15-20 of 2024.  His Eminence the 104th Ganden Tripa Rinpoche will offer commentary during the retreat and Ven. Steve Carlier will lead meditations. This retreat will follow a commemoration, on April 13, of one year since Rinpoche showed the aspect of passing away.

Life Practice Advice Page for Students

One of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s highest priorities was providing guidance to students’ requests for advice on daily and lifetime practices. We are so happy to let you know we have created a new page that is based on Rinpoche’s essential daily practice and lifetime practice advice.

This is his essential advice and by following this advice, students can feel confident they are following and practicing according to Rinpoche’s heart advice.

FPMT Charitable Projects

This year, nearly US$3.4 million dollars was offered in charitable support to projects deemed important by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, including supporting ordained Sangha, investing in the main teachers of the Lama Tsongkhapa tradition; providing essential support and health care to the elderly, children, and disadvantaged in India, Nepal, and Mongolia; sponsoring holy objects such as statues, stupas, and prayer wheels; and offering continuous prayers and practices for the success and benefit of the entire FPMT organization and all beings. You can read all about the grants offered for charitable projects further down in this review. 

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Tributes & Condolences

We continue to be moved by the outpouring of kind and heartfelt tributes, condolences, and notice of prayers being offered from great lamas, friends, and monastery officials around the world. We created a page to honor these warm messages, photos, and activities; particularly those activities which occurred in the first 49 days after Rinpoche’s passing.

His Eminence Ganden Tri Rinpoche presiding over Heruka Lama Chopa puja, Kopan Monastery, April 19, 2023

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Photo Galleries

In order to keep students connected in their efforts and grief, following Rinpoche’s passing, we published several photo albums this year, including a four-part gallery of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s life, a gallery of Rinpoche’s activities leading up to his passing, a joyful gallery of Rinpoche’s Dharma plushy toys, and six galleries documenting all of the prayers around the world done for Rinpoche’s swift return.


Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Kopan Monastery, March 25, 2023. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Lama Zopa Rinpoche offered four teachings at Kopan Monastery on April 7, 8, and 9 before leaving for Tsum Valley on April 10. As we now all know, Rinpoche showed the aspect of passing away on April 13, and as such, these teachings are particularly precious as they are the last organized and recorded teachings Rinpoche offered in this life.

This essential, clear advice below is particularly meaningful to all of us offering service within the FPMT organization. This advice was offered by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on April 9 during his longer teaching, and excerpted here in two parts for inclusion in our 2023 Annual Review.

Read Rinpoche's Advice

The One Answer is to Practice Lamrim

If you want to make your life really fruitful, really meaningful, the one answer is to practice lamrim. Otherwise, your life is spent in hallucination. There are many different levels of hallucination. Your life is spent in distraction, with attachment and anger, but especially with attachment. Like that, your life is spent in hallucination. …

Even if you’re working, even if you have to do a job to make money, your motivation should be to benefit sentient beings, to serve sentient beings. Do you understand?

You should be humble and respectful with your body, speech, and mind. You should be kind to everyone, even those who criticize or harm you. You should be kind, polite, and serve others with your body and speech.

It makes people so happy when you speak politely to them. With holy objects, you have a mind of devotion, but with sentient beings, you should have compassion.

The Quickest Way to Enlightenment

The guru is more precious than Buddha Vajradhara.

The guru is the creator, the doer, who manifests the numberless buddhas. This is mentioned in the tantric teachings. When you receive teachings in the future from someone with whom you have a guru-disciple relationship, this is the meditation that you should do. You are receiving the teaching or initiation from all the buddhas. You are also receiving it from your special deity. Do you understand?

You have to have that understanding. It is so precious, so precious, so precious. It is similar when you are making offerings or offering service. You are making offering or offering service to the one who is more special than all the buddhas, more special than even your own deity.

You have to keep all that in your mind; you have to keep it in your diarrhea book [Rinpoche often jokingly referred to a students’ Dharma journal for notes, quotations, and teachings as their “diarrhea book”]. I have just mentioned the essence of the practice of guru yoga. It is mentioned very clearly in the long Six-Session Yoga. Even if you are offering a meal, tea, water, or a candy, since the numberless atoms of the guru’s holy body are all the buddhas, it means you are offering to numberless buddhas.

Even in each atom there are numberless buddhas. Whatever it is—you’re offering service, receiving teachings or advice or a scolding—it is all the buddhas; it comes from all the buddhas, so, from your mind-seal deity.

So, that is the guru yoga practice, and that is the reality.

Through that, you then receive the blessings of the guru; then through that, you achieve enlightenment.

Okay, thank you. Thank you very much. I’m not advertising that I’m buddha. I’m not saying that.

Generally, this is how you should think in the future, okay. Yes, for you, your guru is more precious than the numberless buddhas, more precious than your own deity. That is so important.

Think this with everything: with every offering and offering of service, with receiving advice. It’s so important. You then collect the highest merit and experience the greatest purification. Do you understand?

This is the quick way to achieve enlightenment.

Transcribed and subsequently edited by Ven. Ailsa Cameron from the audio recording of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s April 9, 2023 teaching at Kopan Monastery. Excerpted for inclusion in the 2023 Annual Review by FPMT International Office.


Letter From CEO Ven. Roger Kunsang

Our CEO, Ven. Roger Kunsang, always provides extremely meaningful letters overviewing the organization’s progress for each FPMT Annual Review we publish. This time, Ven. Roger had an enormously difficult task commenting on the past year. It is so fitting and moving that he used this opportunity to outline an intimate portrait of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s life and many qualities, and to inspire us all to continue to fulfill Rinpoche’s wishes as well as we possibly can. 

Read Ven. Roger's Letter

So Much Has Been Achieved, So Much More to Do: A Letter from CEO Ven. Roger Kunsang

Dear friends,

Once a small boy about five years old, in a high remote mountainous area of Nepal, called Rolwaling, fell into a fast flowing freezing cold river and was caught in the strong current. His head was sometimes breaking the surface as he was not able to swim. The thought arose in his calm mind, “Now this small body merely labeled Zopa is about to die.” It was a worry free mind. Fortunately, his uncle managed to pull him out of the river. He had been on his way to offer some boiled potatoes to some strange-looking yellow haired foreigners visiting the area. The connection was there! A small boy in a very remote mountain area of the Himalayas reaching out to foreigners.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche as a child in Rolwaling. Photo by Tom Weir

Born in a very poor family (Rinpoche does not remember his father and thinks he died when Rinpoche was in the womb), Rinpoche was sent to Rolwaling when very young to stay in the monastery with his uncle (a monk). Several years later he was taken to Pagri, Tibet where he stayed in Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s monastery waiting to go to Sera Je Monastery in Lhasa. A few years later Rinpoche suddenly had to flee Tibet due to the Chinese invasion and stayed in the refugee camp in Buxa, India. It was there Rinpoche started taking teachings from Geshe Rabten, and as Geshe-la was very busy, he was introduced to Lama Yeshe. So started the unique relationship between Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe.

In 1970 in Kathmandu Rinpoche met Ang Nyima– who said he had taken initiations from the Lawudo Lama (Rinpoche’s previous life) whose name was Lama Yeshe [Lama Kunsang Yeshe]. At that time Ang Nyima offered each lama a text. To Lama Yeshe he offered a text on Heruka, and to Rinpoche a lamrim text by Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen, the great lojong text, lojong chen mo. This, Rinpoche said, was where he received his inspiration to teach and so started the Kopan course—the one month courses at Kopan—two each year in the early years, and later only one a year in November (due to the heavy overseas teaching schedule of the two lamas).

So many people from all over the world have attended “the Kopan one-month November course” and had their lives changed dramatically! In one month a real purpose to life—a meaningful purpose—was found! They went back to their countries and wanted to share the Dharma with their friends, so gradually centers started all around the world, the first in Australia, Chenrezig Institute. The “family feeling,” as Lama Yeshe called it, arose.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in a group photo from the Fourth Meditation Course, Kopan Monastery, spring, 1973. Photo courtesy LYWA Collection.

In 1984 Lama Yeshe passed away and the FPMT organization was left to Rinpoche. Rinpoche first tried to offer the organization to his gurus, but they did not accept. Finally, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said Rinpoche should take responsibility for FPMT. Rinpoche went on the road for the next 46 years, constantly traveling from center to center teaching and giving initiations—no break! No weekends or days off, until the Covid pandemic began in 2019. Rinpoche spent the last four years of His life in Kopan Monastery teaching, attending pujas, and inspiring the monks and nuns.

Rinpoche lived the Dharma Path, there was no separation, day and night. He was a great ascetic yogi—no doubt! Mind free of the eight worldly dharmas and never separate from bodhicitta and emptiness. Rinpoche lived his life completely devoted to others.

lama zopa rinpohe with hand on goat blessing it

Rinpoche blessing and reciting mantras for two goats that had just been saved from the butcher and live at Animal Liberation Sanctuary, Khachoe Ghakyil Ling (Kopan Nunnery), July 2020. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Rinpoche was always thinking of how to benefit animals, insects, and other small creatures. When in Nepal/India Rinpoche often stopped to free goats, chickens, or other animals meant to be killed for meat. At the bottom of the Kopan Hill there were always goats tied up in front of the butcher shop (common in Nepal and India) waiting to be slaughtered. Rinpoche would never pass without buying/saving them. Sometimes Rinpoche would talk with the butcher, trying to convince him to stop killing, but the butcher would explain to Rinpoche that he has to support his family. After months Rinpoche convinced him to give up killing and would sometimes send him financial support. When the retired butcher broke his leg, Rinpoche helped him with the medical expenses. There was really no end to Rinpoche’s generosity and kindness. Day and night it never ended—always the focus was on ways to benefit others.

Rinpoche never went to bed. He always sat on the bed doing prayers and meditating, surrounded by many texts that were open at different places. Night was also a time to work, to answer students’ letters about practice and health issues, etc. Rinpoche never took his robes off except when, after about 14 days, we would convince Rinpoche to shower.

Rinpoche would never get out of his robes, he would never lie down, he would never stretch out his legs – he was always sitting in the meditation position. Indiana, USA. 1974. Photo by Barry Kaplan.

When His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Root (around 2005) and Rinpoche was showing the altar to His Holiness, His Holiness said to Rinpoche, “This is your predecessor Rinpoche.” Rinpoche was standing in front of the statue of Geshe Potowa.

Soon it will be a year since Rinpoche showed the aspect of passing away. A lot has happened in that time. We are all doing our best to fulfill Rinpoche’s holy wishes, to continue and complete Rinpoche’s projects, and trying to put into practice what Rinpoche taught, in essence: bodhicitta, kindness, and compassion. To practice what Rinpoche taught and to help to fulfill Rinpoche’s many projects is key to repaying the kindness of the Guru and creating the cause for Rinpoche’s quick return.

Rinpoche has given us so much and left us with such an amazing opportunity. We have a worldwide organization to do just that! We have so many dedicated and committed students all over the world who have built and created this organization—the lamas did not do it by themselves, so many dedicated students over the last 50 plus years dedicated their lives to bringing the Dharma to where it was not. Such an extraordinary effort by so many, inspired by and committed to Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe. So much has been achieved, so much more to do.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2006 said, “Lama Zopa Rinpoche follows my guidance sincerely, very expansively and with 100 percent trust. He has unwavering faith and pure samaya, not only faith and trust but whatever I instruct Zopa Rinpoche has the capability to accomplish it. So whatever dedications Lama Zopa Rinpoche makes I also pray to accomplish this and you should do the same.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Lama Zopa Rinpoche, 2008.

After Rinpoche showed the aspect of passing away, His Holiness said, “Rinpoche made the precious mind of enlightenment the foundation of his practice, if Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s followers, who have been left behind properly emulate the Guru’s life, it is exactly that which will definitely fulfill Rinpoche’s wishes.”



The FPMT Inc. Board of Directors with the Kopan Board of Directors, Kopan Monastery, Nepal, September 2023.

Message From Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors brings to their work a broad range of professional skills, backgrounds, and FPMT organizational experience. These skills and experiences were urgently called upon this year as the organization navigated the unexpected developments associated with Lama Zopa Rinpoche showing the aspect of passing away. Paula de Wys, who serves as the chair of the FPMT Inc. Board of Directors, shares this update below on the work of the Board in 2023 and what they hope to accomplish in the coming year.

Read a Letter from our Board of Directors

Welcome to this year’s 2023 Annual Review. We appreciate so much all of the input and support we have received during this challenging year. Below we share an overview of what we, as a board of directors, have accomplished, addressed, and begun to tackle over this past year.

In the course of the past year the Board of Directors posted regular updates and reports on the CPMT list-serve. These were also published on the FPMT Daily News blog and are available for all to read on the FPMT website. Our aim in doing this is to inform people about what we are doing and working on and also to create a communication channel through which we can hear and learn from you.

Because the information in these updates was often long and comprehensive this letter attempts to be less detailed. However, we invite all those who are interested in knowing more about our work to please read the updates and reports on the website. Let us know what you think!

The year 2023 began exceptionally well, with a long-awaited meeting at Kopan of the FPMT, Inc. Board of Directors that included our Spiritual Director Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche. At that time, the Board also met with Gaden Tri Rinpoche and Khadro-la (Rangjung Neljorma Khadro Namsel Drönme), both of whom kindly gave of their time and counsel. With the theme,Working on our Future, it was a full-on and fruitful week and we were able to hear Rinpoche’s ideas and wishes on a number of topics, including the role and future of the Board, of Kopan Monastery, of spiritual advisors and also Rinpoche’s thoughts on succession.

In our minds and hearts much of this information was for “later” and so it was a great shock and profoundly sorrowful when just three months later, on April 13, Rinpoche manifested entering into Paranirvana and was no longer with us physically.

This board has always felt a strong sense of responsibility for the organization. However, the realization that according to the Bylaws of FPMT Inc. and the wishes of Rinpoche himself, we were now to be the leaders of the organization – in the worldly sense, that is – made the need for cohesion and clarity of purpose stronger than ever.

A visit to H.H. the Dalai Lama a few weeks later gave a sense of stability and confidence. His Holiness spoke of what a trustworthy Dharma friend Rinpoche had been, and when requested to help find Rinpoche’s reincarnation He said that he felt a responsibility to find the unmistaken reincarnation in order to help sentient beings. His Holiness added that Rinpoche’s wishes concerning the leadership of the FPMT were good and that he would continuously offer every possible support to the organization. A video and transcript of this meeting can be found on the FPMT website.

The overriding realization of the Board and many others throughout the world was that the best way to truly express our respect and devotion to Rinpoche was simply to implement his teachings and continue to fulfill our holy guru’s wishes.

By continuing to bring the Dharma to sentient beings, practicing the Dharma personally, and expressing it through all that we do in the centers, projects, and services within the FPMT mandala, we honor Rinpoche and preserve his work and lineage. This idea clearly resonated with individuals and centers throughout the organization and there are countless examples of how it was, and still is, being expressed.

Long Life Puja for His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Rinpoche had long requested His Holiness to accept a long life puja in Dharamsala sponsored by the FPMT and performed by the monks and nuns of Kopan Monastery. Although the date that had been set for this special event was a month after Rinpoche’s passing, we all felt that it was important to make sure that it take place according to Rinpoche’s wishes. The puja was extensive, amazingly beautiful and the Kopan Sangha managed it impeccably. His Holiness was clearly very pleased and expressed his appreciation to the FPMT Sangha and students in an audience held with His Holiness the next day.

Transition Period

Right after the long life puja for His Holiness, the Board met again at Kopan at the end of the ceremonies marking the 49th day after Rinpoche’s passing. Without Rinpoche physically present, we felt strongly that we had entered a period of transition. We set out to review different functions of what we do at the various levels of the organization. There is much that is working very well and beneficial and there are other matters that need attention in order to improve and develop. Looking at the numerous activities, structures, systems and procedures in the organization is a process that will take time and patience but is already underway and will continue over the next year and half or more. We expect that this period of transition will finish in 2025, after the results of the CPMT meeting that is being planned have been worked out (see below).

What Did the Board Do in 2023?

  • Good communication at all levels is vital to a well-functioning organization. To that aim, we issued regular Board Updates and have opened a special email address for direct communication with the Board (fpmtboard@fpmt.org).
  • We increased our participation in regional and national meetings. In the last few months, various board members have taken part in the Spanish National Meeting, New Zealand National Meeting, Italian National Meeting, the East and Southeast Asian Regional meeting and the UK National meeting.
  • Major work has started, together with the International Office, on the CPMT meeting of 2025. The working title is Advancing Our Gurus’ Vision of a World Guided by Compassion and Wisdom, which captures the aspects of preservation, continuity, and development that are so important to the FPMT. Preparation for this meeting has started with surveys going out to the centers and students. The agenda will be based on what comes out of these surveys and the meeting itself will help create a strategy for the future. The aim is to form that strategy together by looking at how to implement and nourish the vision of our teachers, the very basis for planning for the future of the FPMT.
  • In general, one of the qualities we are working on further developing is inclusivity. This can take many forms, one of which is looking at criteria and processes to bring on additional board members. You can expect more news on that in the course of 2024.
  • Ven. Thubten Pemba, formerly an FPMT Board member for many years, re-joined in 2023 at the request of Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche. We were very happy to welcome him; his fresh ideas and points of view are an enrichment of the Board.
  • Ven. Pemba was instrumental in organizing the very successful Geshe Meeting that was held at Kopan at the beginning of this year but was conceived of and planned in 2023. You can read more about this important conference which was attended by more than 30 geshes and geshemas from all over the world as well as five FPMT board members.
  • Kopan Monastery is where the FPMT began in the early 1970s, founded by Lama Thubten Yeshe and his main disciple, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. It has become a serious monastic institution for both monks and nuns (currently more than 700 in total), has an exceptional educational program for them, and offers excellent courses for others, including the renowned November lamrim course. Kopan has grown organically over the years, parallel to the other FPMT centers and activities outside Nepal. We are now looking at how these two branches of the FPMT can support each other more. To that end, the Kopan Board and the FPMT Inc. Board came together at an historic first meeting in early May to explore the future of Kopan and its development as the spiritual heart of the FPMT and an inspiration for the world at large.
  • This year saw the inception of a Legal Team to advise the Board and International Office on various topics. This team is made up of professional lawyers who all have long experience and have held various functions with the organization over the years.
  • With this Legal Team we worked on various aspects of the FPMT Inc. Bylaws (statutes). This was essential, due to the passing of our Spiritual Director, Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche. In collaboration with the International Office, we are reviewing other FPMT policies as well.
  • We were also greatly aided by Robyn Brentano, who came on this year as an advisor. Robyn continues to help by bringing her years of expertise and experience in organizational development, fundraising and strategic planning to our aid in this time of transition.

In the absence of the physical manifestation of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the present FPMT Inc. Board of Directors remains even more than ever before dedicated to fulfilling the wishes and vision of our holy gurus. However, we expect that by the end of the transitional period the positive effects of our efforts will warrant a less hands-on approach. Until then, we hope that you will follow our work and progress via the regular reports on the FPMT website.

The last paragraph of the December 2023 Update reflects our wishes for you and all sentient beings at this time:

May 2024 be a year that brings peace in this world. May the emanation of compassion, H.H. the Dalai Lama, enjoy stable good health. May all our respected teachers and their students also be healthy and have success in their practice. May all of the FPMT organization flourish and bring benefit to all.


Who We Are & What We Do

The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) is devoted to preserving and spreading Mahayana Buddhism worldwide by creating opportunities to listen, reflect, meditate, practice, and actualize the unmistaken teachings of the Buddha, and based on that experience, spread the Dharma to sentient beings. Every organization has its own distinctive culture, and in FPMT centers, projects, and services, reflected in policies, charitable giving, and education programs, FPMT “Wisdom Culture” remains at the heart of all our activity.

FPMT, Inc. is a nonprofit Buddhist organization incorporated in the State of California, US. There are currently 132 centers, projects, study groups, and services around the world that have entered into or are in the process of entering into affiliation agreements with FPMT, Inc. or FPMT International Office, and provides the necessary framework for all FPMT activity; develops and delivers high quality education programs and materials; maintains several primary channels for communication; manages charitable projects key to FPMT’s mission; coordinates communication between the Board of Directors and the larger organization; and provides support to FPMT centers, projects, and services.

Contact Our Staff | Meet Our Board

Continue below to Our Charitable Work or Return to the Main Menu

Lama Zopa Rinpoche welcomed by the children of Sangag Dechholing Gonpa School on arrival at Taplejung, Nepal, March 3, 2023. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Our Charitable Work

FPMT’s amazing Charitable Projects exist to benefit others in the most extensive ways possible. In 2023, an incredible US$3,486,569 was offered to initiatives including: supporting ordained Sangha, investing in the main teachers of the Lama Tsongkhapa tradition; providing essential support and health care to the elderly, children, and disadvantaged in India, Nepal, and Mongolia; sponsoring holy objects such as statues, stupas, and prayer wheels; and offering continuous prayers and practices for the success and benefit of the entire FPMT organization and all beings.

Please join us in rejoicing in how the Charitable Projects, on behalf of the entire organization, have been working to actualize compassion in a tangible way. Our ability to offer this support is due to the kindness of so many people. Thank you!

Highlights of 2023


Children of the Maitreya School, Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India.

The Social Services Fund offered support to eight different schools in Nepal and India that benefited over 1,500 students! In 2023, we offered US$263,938 to these educational institutions in India and Nepal:

  • Maitreya School, Bodhgaya, India, provides free schooling to 233. When Lama Zopa Rinpoche visited the school in January 2023, he also personally offered new shoes, tracksuits, and T-shirts to all the students.
  • Ngari Institute, Ladakh, India, provides education for 69 students. The grant given covered all the food for the students and staff for the year.
  • Sangag Dechholing Gonpa School, Tapeljung, Nepal, offers a free education, with Buddhist classes to 105 students. Lama Zopa Rinpoche was able to visit the school in March 2023 and attended the inauguration of the new school building.
  • Sagarmatha Secondary School in Chailsa, Nepal, offers a free education, with Buddhist classes to 220 students. The grant covered all the salaries for the teachers for the year, as well as for uniforms, and all school supplies.
  • Rolwaling Sangag Choling Monastery School, Nepal, is situated in a remote region of east-central Nepal along the Tibet border. The grant provided free education, with Buddhist classes, for 27 students.
  • Tashi Lhunpo Monastery School operates under the Tashi Lhunpo Cultural Society in Bylakuppe, South India. A recurring challenge faced by the school is the recruitment of qualified and experienced teachers. To address this, we offered a grant for one year of sponsorship for all the teacher salaries.
  • Gaden Jangtse Monastic College is situated in South India. Its primary focus is on providing education and training to monks, with a particular emphasis on Buddhist philosophy, scripture, debate, and meditation. Currently there are 570 students and 15 teachers on salary. We were very happy to extend support toward the Teachers Salary Fund.
  • Namgyal Tantric College, situated in Dharamsala, India, stands out from other Tibetan monasteries due to its unique purpose: serving as the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We provided a grant to support the salaries of the dedicated teachers of this college.

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The Social Services Fund offered support to hundreds of Tibetans living in six different homes for the elderly in India. In 2023, we offered US$169,067 in grants for the operational expenses of each of these eldercare homes in India and Nepal:

Elders of Odisha Phuntsokling Settlement.

  • Jampaling Elders’ Home, Dharamsala, India, provides food, shelter, and medical services to 76 residents. The grant also provided medical assistance, as well as vital improvements such as door replacements and repainting of the old building.
  • Lugsam Samduling Home for the Aged and Disabled, Bylakuppe, India, looks after 38 residents living in extremely modest conditions.
  • Rabgayling Old Age Home, Hunsur, India is a modest eldercare home that serves 13 residents. The oldest resident, Mr. Karmi, is 99 years old, while the youngest, Mr. Gyamtso, is 79 years old.
  • Old Age Home, Kalimpong, India is home to 25 elders. The grant also supported medical expenses and repainting the building.
  • Old People’s Home Odisha Phuntsokling Settlement, Orissa, India is taking care of 17 Tibetan elders, six of these elders are above 90 years of age. This elderly home also organizes visits from spiritual teachers who deliver short discourses on the teachings of Buddha and also visits from school students who perform Tibetan songs and dances, and everyone gathers to share a meal together, fostering a sense of community and connection.
  • Doeguling Home for Elderly and Disabled, Mundgod, India, provides cares for 63 elderly residents. In addition to covering the shortfall of the budget, an additional grant was given for eight individuals to undergo various surgeries. These procedures included knee replacements, spine surgery with fusion, and hip replacements with all the necessary additional care during the postoperative stage.
  •  Tenzingang Settlement is situated in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh in India. Responding to the request made by the Central Tibetan Administration, we offered a grant to renovate the roofs for two destitute families.
  • Kamrao Settlement is situated in Himachal Pradesh, close to Paonta Sahib. This settlement currently, has a population of 173 individuals and does not have any elderly facilities. We provided a grant for the rebuilding of a house of one family living in very poor conditions.

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Poor & Disadvantaged

The Social Services Fund offered substantial support for health and essential services to those disadvantaged in Mongolia, Nepal, and India. In 2023, we offered US$219,091 in grants toward the annual operating expenses of five different organizations that are working directly with those most in need, as well as funds for a new ambulance:

  • Mother care clinic offered through Maitri.

    Shakyamuni Clinic, Bodhgaya, India, is a medical clinic that offers help to those most in need in Bodhgaya and surrounding areas. The grant supported the operational expenses of the clinic, such as salaries, medical supplies, overhead costs, and maintenance.
  • MAITRI Charitable Trust, Bodhgaya, India, helps the sick, especially those with leprosy and tuberculosis by offering mobile clinics and care to mothers and children, and in addition cares for animals in need. The grant covered a significant portion of MAITRI’s annual budget.
  • Lamp of the Path, Mongolia, offers a soup kitchen with free food, free medical support in a health clinic, and educational programs centering around the epidemic of alcoholism. It also provides a mobile kitchen to improve people’s health through increased accessibility and quality traditional nutritious Mongolian food. It has two main objectives: enhancing the nutritional quality for the poor bedridden and disabled individuals in the Ger district, and expanding community-oriented projects. The meals are delivered throughout five working days.
  • Sera Mey Social Service Society operates within the premises of Sera Monastic University in Bylakuppe, India. During the summer of 2023, their focus was on raising awareness about the increasing number of dengue fever cases in the community. With thanks to a grant from Italian Buddhist Union we were able to provide a grant for a new ambulance.
  • The Integrated Indigenous Tribal Children Ministries of India is building a home specifically designed to accommodate homeless children. The primary objective is to offer a stable living environment where these children can find solace, access necessities, and receive proper care and support. We offered a grant toward the building.
  • Patient Care Trust, an NGO operating in India, facilitates access to quality healthcare and organizes free medical camps with partner hospitals. This project provides timely access to affordable quality healthcare for the socially marginalized Tibetan refugees. The grant given with thanks to the Italian Buddhist Union provided a portion of the overall budget.
  • Tibetan Heart Foundation, based in New Delhi, India, is an NGO dedicated to supporting the local Tibetan community. Its primary objective is to raise awareness about heart-related issues through programs and free medical camps in Tibetan exile communities, as well as assisting patients in accessing the best heart hospitals and raising funds for their treatment. A grant was offered toward their annual expenses.

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The Supporting Ordained Sangha Fund offers support to nunneries and monasteries around the world. In 2023, US$529,466 was offered to support the precious Sangha with food, accommodation, education, practice support, and medical expenses. Some highlights of the grants given include:

Lunch offering at Gyudmed Tantric Monastery.

  • Gyudmed Tantric Monastery, situated in Hunsur, Karnataka, India accommodates approximately 575 monks. To support the demanding study schedule of the monks, Lama Zopa Rinpoche wished to create a food fund project to ensure a stable source of funds for providing nourishing meals. This endeavor seeks to establish an endowment fund to cover the annual costs of daily meals for all monks. In 2023, according to the request from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, a grant of US$100,000 was given to support the new food fund. Rinpoche’s extraordinary commitment is evident in the US$1,318,056 already raised or personally contributed for this fund. The overarching goal is to raise a total of US$3 million, with US$1,681,944.00 remaining to be raised.
  • Shalu Monastery is located in Himachal Pradesh, India. A grant was offered for the annual costs of food for the 55 monks who study there. This monastery is committed to reviving and preserving the Bhulug lineage tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which was founded by the Sakya master Buton Rinchen Drub in the 4th century.
  • Thame Dechen Chokhorling Monastery is a Nyingma Monastery in the region of Solu Khumbu, Nepal. Since 2017, we have been providing the means for three nourishing meals per day to the 22 devoted monks residing.
  • Idgaa Choizinling Monastery, Mongolia. Since 2015, we have been providing funds for sustaining the dietary needs of the monks of this monastery—specifically covering the costs for lunch and dinner. This contribution ensures that the 32 Mongolian monks are provided with nourishing meals throughout the entire year.
  • Tashi Chime Gatsal Gumba Nunnery is located in the heart of Bigu, a rural municipality in Northeastern Nepal. Twice a year, these dedicated nuns of Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism undertake one or two 100 Million Mani Retreats. We have been extending sponsorship to the nuns of Bigu since 2010. This sponsorship encompasses vital necessities such as food, gas, firewood, transportation, medical expenses, and offerings to the Sangha upon completion of the three month retreat.
  • Sera Thekchenling Lachi Cultural Society is situated in the region of Bylakuppe in South India. This year we provided a grant for renovating the kitchen and dining hall to ensure a better space for preparing and taking meals and enhance the overall experience for all those who attend vital events at Sera Lachi.
  • Sera IMI House, part of Sera Jey Monastery, is providing a supportive environment for non-Himalayan monastics seeking to live and engage in the profound program of studying Tibetan Buddhist philosophy at Sera Je. A grant was provided for the much-needed installation of a new tile roof for their house.
  • Zigar Thupten Shedrupling Institute, located in the serene surroundings of Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, is a small monastery in the lineage of the Drukpa Kagyu. Lama Zopa Rinpoche pledged US$200,000 to assist in fulfilling the needs of this monastic community, specifically covering all necessary food expenses. This year we contributed to a two-year provision of necessary sustenance for the dedicated community of 62 monks who reside in the monastery.
  • Detong Ling Nunnery serves as a project of O.Sel Ling Centro de Retiros, an FPMT retreat center in Andalusia, Spain. A grant was given to cover the cost of constructing a separate cabin to house their new heating system.
  • The International Sangha Forum in Bodhgaya, India, held a four-day program in December 2023 with over 2,000 monastics from different Buddhist traditions to initiate discussions on the Three Higher Trainings and the role of Buddhism in the twenty-first century. Its goal was to foster continual dialogue and collaboration between practitioners of the Pali and Sanskrit traditions, recognizing commonalities and appreciating differences. We were happy to offer sponsorship to the program in support of travel, food, and accommodation for monastics attending the conference.
  • During the 49-day period following Lama Zopa Rinpoche showing the aspect of passing, many prayers and pujas were made for Rinpoche’s swift return. FPMT International Office made offerings to the various monasteries and nunneries in Nepal and India, with the sincere request for them to pray for Rinpoche’s swift return and for the FPMT organization to carry out Rinpoche’s legacy exactly as Rinpoche envisioned. In support of this endeavor, the Supporting Ordained Sangha Fund also contributed 40% of the total amount offered to the 15,000 dedicated Sangha members, as well as to the monasteries and nunneries who participated.
  • From the Lama Tsongkhapa Teachers Fund, grants were given for monthly stipends and annual offerings to all the main teachers of the main Gelug monasteries, the past and current abbots, as well as sponsorship of the annual winter debate and Gelug Exams.
  • We administered grants offering support toward the Research and Training of Specialist Geshes and Geshemas and to the Tibetan Medical & Astro Institute in India, Men-Tsee-Khang, along with a branch clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal, to provide stipends for six participants of the Nyepa Sum Project, which focuses on researching various health conditions.

Participants of the 2023 Gelug Annual Exam.

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Prayers & Practice

The power of prayer is extremely powerful in actualizing the path, overcoming obstacles, healing, and creating merit. The Puja Fund and other funds arrange and sponsor continual prayers for all within the FPMT organization and beings. In 2023, US$397,697 was offered toward these activities, including offering to thousands of Sangha who undertake the practices. Highlights of the many auspicious actions sponsored include:

  • FPMT Board members Paula de Wys, Khenrinpoche Geshe Chonyi, and Ven. Roger Kunsang offering a mandala to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, May 24, 2023. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

    Offering the Long Life Puja to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on May 24, 2023 in Dharamsala as well as offering 1,000 Buddha statues.
  • Partial sponsorship of the extensive prayers and pujas during the 49 days after Lama Zopa Rinpoche showed the aspect of passing away, as well as contributing to the offerings to the 15,000 Sangha who offered the prayers and pujas and their various monasteries and nunneries.
  • Ongoing pujas and prayers, including the recitation of sutras by 10,000 Sangha on the merit-multiplying four Buddha days, as well two different recitations of the 100,000 Praises to the Twenty-one Taras, recitations of the Kangyur, and recitations of Prajnaparamita Sutra.
  • Monthly extensive Medicine Buddha pujas, Most Secret Hayagriva extensive tsog offering, and many other practices.
  • Monthly offerings were made to some of the most precious holy objects in India and Nepal, including robes to the Buddha statue in Bodhgaya, India; and fresh paint and umbrellas to the Swayambunath and Boudhanth stupas in Nepal.
  • Continual light and extensive water and light offerings were sponsored, with extensive prayers around the world. Continual offerings were made in front of the stupa that holds the holy body of Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche in Chailsa, Nepal.
  • Specific pujas and monthly recitations of precious sutras, such as the Golden Light Sutra and Guhyasamaja Root Tantra for the protection of the world and disasters caused by the elements.
  • Offerings for prayers and practices for those who have passed away from the Prayers for the Dead Fund.

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Holy Objects

Rendering of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Stupa of Complete Victory.

Due to the power of the holy objects, one can purify negativities and create merit simply by making contact with them. The Holy Objects Fund, Stupa Fund, Prayer Wheel Fund, and Prajnaparamita Project, among others, provide the support needed to create holy objects around the world. In 2023, US$930,405 was offered toward many holy objects, including:

  • Creating and offering an incredible one thousand statues of Shakyamuni Buddha to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. These beautiful statues were gilded in gold, filled with mantras, faces painted, and consecrated.
  • Sponsorship of a seven-feet high Kalachakra statue for Lawudo Retreat Center, Nepal. This statue now graces the Lawudo Gompa.
  • Building the 42-feet tall Stupa of Complete Victory in Kopan Monastery. Dedicated to the swift return of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and fulfillment of all his holy wishes.
  • A grant was given for the building of a 115-feet high statue of Shakyamuni Buddha at Dhondenling Settlement in Kollegal, India.
  • The Prajnaparamita Project now has two people writing the Prajnaparamita Sutra (8,000 and 12,000 verses) in Tibetan script, with perfect calligraphy and in pure gold. Each person is working on a different volume, and the writing is happening continuously.
  • The Stupa Fund offered sponsored stupa tsa-tsas being made for those who pass away, as well as other tsa-tsas for those who are sick and also contributing toward the 12-feet high and 11-feet-wide Victory Stupa built at Lawudo Gompa for the swift return of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

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Bodhichitta Fund

Nuns offering Cittamani Tara Puja for Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s swift return, Kopan Monastery, April 2023. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s endless capacity for benefiting others is demonstrated by all the charitable projects that he has initiated. Rinpoche still generously offers support to a variety of social and charitable activities. Grants are offered to monasteries, nunneries, and Sangha around the world; to FPMT centers, projects, and services; and for prayers, practices, pujas, and much, much more. Many of these grants were requests that Rinpoche made right up until early April 2023, and we are trying to fulfill to the best our ability.

The Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund reflects Rinpoche’s compassionate service to others and this year was an incredible year for giving. In 2023, US$960,228 was offered through this fund. Some highlights of how these funds were used include:

  • The new food fund and long-term endowment for Gyudmed Tantric Monastery, Hunsur, India.
  • Toward the seven-feet high Kalachakra statue for Lawudo Retreat Center, Nepal.
  • 115-feet high statue of Shakyamuni Buddha at Dhondenling Settlement in Kollegal, India.
  • Costs for electricity for the year at Kopan Monastery and Kopan Nunnery, including all of the light offerings.
  • Funds for a shelter specifically designed to accommodate homeless children by the Integrated Indigenous Tribal Children Ministries of India.
  • Support to the local Tibetan community through programs and free medical camp through the Tibetan Heart Foundation, New Delhi, India,
  • One year of sponsorship for all the teacher salaries at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery School, Bylakuppe, South India.
  • Contribution to the Teachers Salary Fund at Gaden Jangtse Monastic College, South India.
  • Support for the salaries of teachers at Namgyal Tantric College, Dharamshala, India.
  • Sponsorship of individuals at Institut Vajra Yogini, France, to undertake an incredible seven months of 108 nyung na retreats, now in its twelfth consecutive year.
  • Retreat room sponsorship at Institut Vajra Yogini for those who wish to undertake a three-year Vajrayogini retreat.
  • Funds for he displaying of the very large thangka of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), and 100,000 tsog offering event (Guru Bumtsog) at Khachoe Ghakyil Ling (Kopan Nunnery). This includes offering to all the Sangha and lunch, tea and tsog to everyone who attended the all-day puja.
  • A new set of robes was offered to all of FPMT’s resident teachers.
  • A three-feet high Green Tara statue was created and dedicated for one student who passed away.
  • Coverage for the medical expenses of a long-term student and one of the earliest students of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche were offered.
  • Sponsorship was offered for the publication and the book release of a new book on the pilgrimage to holy places in Nepal.
  • Sponsoring a portion of the extensive prayers and pujas during the 49 days after Lama Zopa Rinpoche showed the aspect of passing away, as well as offerings to 15,000 Sangha and various monasteries and nunneries.
  • Offering support for several Sangha who are offering service to the organization.
  • Offerings were made for the Dharma education of several young incarnate lamas who are studying in the great monasteries in India.
  • Offerings were made to all of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s gurus and also the incarnations of all Rinpoche’s gurus. This was an explicit wish of Lama Zopa Rinpoche to happen after he shows the aspect of passing away.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering prayers to a rescued water buffalo Rinpoche named Bodhichitta. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

The Animal Liberation Fund supports saving animals from untimely death. It also offers grants to different organizations that are saving animals from death and caring for them with food, medicine, and shelter for the rest of their lives. Taking care of all sentient beings, including insects and animals, has always been a high priority for Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Rinpoche continually reminded us not only to refrain from harming any being, but to also create the causes for the animals to receive imprints of Dharma by taking them around holy objects and reciting mantras and sutras to them. In 2023, US$18,930 was offered directly to benefit animals. Some highlights include:

  • Approximately 63,196 animals were liberated and blessed at Kachoe Dechen Ling, California, US, and Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, Washington, US.
  • An annual grant was given toward the operating costs of the Animal Liberation Sanctuary in Nepal, which provides ongoing shelter and care for animals that have been rescued.
  • Support was given for food and medical care of a horse in Italy.
  • Sangha in Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, Washington, US, continued the weekly animal liberation practice, Charity to Ants, and blessing the beings in different lakes with mantras and blessed water.

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Education & Preservation

The Education and Preservation Fund supports Dharma study and contributes to the development of Buddhist education programs and the preservation of the Dharma through the publication of Dharma practice materials and translations. In 2023, US$173,156 was offered to support educational activities. Some highlights of the grants given include:

  • Santiniketan Bengali Translation Team with newly translated Bhavanakrama text. Visva-Bharati University, Department of Indo-Tibetan Studies, West Bengal, India.

    A grant for the Bengali translation and editing of Bhavanakrama by Kamalashila.
  • Sponsorship for the translation from Tibetan to Bengali and English of Bodhipathapradipam (Atisha’s Lamp of the Path to Enlightenment, Suhrllekha (Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend) and Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattva.
  • Support for the development of new education programs and materials.
  • Support of educational activities in Mongolia.
  • Through the Translation and Scholarship Fund grants were given for the translation of Vajrayogini self-initiation, Heruka Chakrasamvara Body Mandala commentary by Trijang Rinpoche. and A Precious Garland: A Commentary on Engaging in the Deeds of a Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryāvatāra).
  • Grants were also given for FPMT Masters Program scholarship and toward the support and education of a geshe studying at a university in the United Kingdom.

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View Financial Charts for 2023 Charitable Project Grants

The table and chart outline the direct grants of US$3,486,569 during 2023 to FPMT’s Charitable Projects.

¹ The disbursement figures do not include expenses for administration fees and credit card merchant fees and are inclusive of some interfund disbursements, which will be subject to audit adjustments during our annual independent financial revie

² Bodhichitta Fund disbursements includes offerings to various monasteries and projects in India and Nepal of $881,608, donation to FPMT centers and projects of $81,170, offerings and sponsorship of holy objects of $24,320 and sponsorship of Tibetan and Western Sangha, offering practices for the organization and care of our Spiritual Director of $124,905.


Continue below to Offering Study & Practice Resources or Return to the Main Menu

FPMT Masters Program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, 2023.

Study & Practice Resources

FPMT Education Services offers a wide range of programs and materials to support introductory to advanced Buddhist study and practice. This includes our FPMT Education Programs, available in FPMT centers and online; our prayers and practice materials, offered in digital formats; and our translations of key Buddhist texts, created by translators and editors around the world.

FPMT Education Services would like to extend huge thanks to all our online elders and assessors, who skillfully respond to comments in our online forums and painstakingly review student assessments and points for reflection. They provide the personal human touch that continues to make these online programs work so well.

Additionally, Education Services relies on many dedicated and generous people who offer time and support to various projects.
Thanks to: Khenrinpoche Geshe Chonyi, Geshe Losang Sherab, Geshe Tenzin Legtsok, Geshe Tenzin Namdak, Ven. Steve Carlier, Ven. Tenzin Namjong, Ven. Tenzin Gyurme, Ven. Robina Courtin, Ven. Joan Nicell, Aidan McMurrer, Amjad Khalaf, Beth Martin, Catherine Bowman, David Gray, Doris Low, Ginny Marsala, Hans Burghardt, Hayli Weitz, Holly Forrer, Jared Jones, Jess Plumb, Kathy Honeck, Katrina Moxey, Laura Haughey, Marina Brucet Vinyals, Mary C. Lutz, May Ng, Ong Cheng Cheng, Rhona Sawyer, Steff Hill, Stefania Nalon, Sue Waite, and Toh Sze Gee.

Highlights for 2023


We offer a range of programs suitable for those at the introductory, foundational, and in-depth levels.

Introductory and Foundational Education Programs
FPMT’s introductory courses are short courses that allow students to try out different meditation techniques, learn the basics of Tibetan Buddhism, and explore essential advice for the time of death and for making life meaningful.

In 2023, two new programs have been successfully piloted, revised and made ready to be launched in 2024.

Buddhist Mind Science: Activating Your Potential is a new introductory level course on Buddhism. It features the study of key Buddhist concepts from both Buddhist and comparative scientific perspectives. The course design emphasizes an experiential approach to the materials and flexibility in its presentation. Its seven modules explore the cultivation of mental balance, warmheartedness and wisdom on a journey toward lasting happiness.

The foundational level program, Exploring Buddhism, was well received during its pilot starting from 2021. It has been revised with a new curriculum covering both Buddhist philosophy and practice in eight modules. This program helps to familiarize students with the concept of text-based explanations featured in our in-depth programs. It also provides an explanation of prayers and practices commonly done in the FPMT, as well as the preliminary practices (ngondro) performed in the tradition.

In-Depth Education Programs: FPMT Basic Program (BP) and FPMT Masters Program (MP)
The FPMT Masters Program (MP) provides an intensive, full-time study of Buddhist sutra and tantra, based on the unique vision of Lama Thubten Yeshe and developed with the help of the late Geshe Jampa Gyatso. Inspired by the geshe studies curriculum in traditional Gelug monastic universities, it provides serious students of Lama Tsongkhapa’s tradition greater depth of study and practice and the opportunity to become qualified FPMT teachers.

The FPMT Basic Program (BP) is a five-year, twelve-subject course of studies designed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. It provides a practice-oriented transmission of the Buddhadharma to committed students ready to progress beyond foundational level study and practice. They develop a thorough understanding of the complete path to enlightenment, supported by meditation, retreat, and integration in daily life. Graduates offer service as Introductory and Foundational level teachers and facilitators, and support centers’ programming as teaching assistants, online tutors, and coordinators.

At the beginning of September 2023 Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy started their fourth FPMT Masters Program. Throughout the year we worked with Nalanda Monastery, France, to prepare for their second MP, starting early 2024, ensuring that conditions are met for sponsoring the salary of the MP teaching assistant.

Full-time residential BPs started in September 2023 at Nalanda Monastery in France and Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy. Several centers worldwide are continuing to offer successful BPs that are less intensive without being lesser in quality. This is the nature of the BP and was Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s wish: to provide centers with an in-depth Dharma education program that can be implemented at various levels, including review, retreat, and final exam.

Education Services provides translations and oversees the quality of course materials in English, Italian, Spanish, French, etc. In 2023, this included:

  • commissioning translations and updates for the main Middle Way text
  • producing updates of the MP Study Manual for Ornament (in three volumes)
  • re-writing the Guidelines for Implementation for both MP and BP

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Translations & Materials

FPMT Education materials are essential resources for our students worldwide. In addition to creating new materials, we regularly review and update existing items in keeping with the advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and to be aligned with the highest standards in translation. Being an international Tibetan Buddhist organization, we also provide translations of materials into various languages, which is essential for the success of our students and the preservation of our lineage.

New Materials and Publications in 2023

Translations Commissioned on the Advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche

  • The Sutra of Great Liberation, translated by Ven. Gyalten Lekden
  • The Kshitigarbha Ten Wheels Mahayana Sutra, translated by Gavin Kilty
  • The Innermost Essence of the Arya Manjushri Tantra, translated by Ven. Tenzin Namjong

Publications Composed, Arranged, or Translated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Lama Zopa Rinpoche Practice Series

  • An Abbreviated Chakrasamvara Tsog, by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
  • An Abbreviated Meditation-Recitation of the Goddess Kurukulla, by Lozang Thinle
  • The Heart’s Utmost Need, by Phabongkha Dechen Nyingpo
  • Morning Prayers and Motivation, by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
  • A Tea Offering Prayer: The Incomparable Guide, by Gendun Gyatso
  • Song Possessing the Four Mindfulnesses, by the Seventh Dalai Lama, Lozang Kelsang Gyatso

Lama Zopa Rinpoche Teaching Archive

  • Advice on Death
  • Circumambulating Holy Objects at Home
  • Create Skies of Merit by Making Offerings and Circumambulating Stupas
  • How This Human Life Becomes the Method for Achieving Complete Buddhahood through Study and Service
  • Patience Is of Utmost Importance
  • Why the Guru Shows the Aspect of Making Mistakes
  • Wish-fulfillment for all Animals

Designed Cards with Quotations Provided by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

  • The Four Verses
  • Offerings to Buddha Statues
  • Verse to Put at the Base of Paintings and Statues of Milarepa

    Card which Rinpoche designed and wanted displayed next to any Milarepa statue, or thangka.

Provisional Materials Produced in Support of FPMT Centers’ Activities

  • A Compilation of Prayers for the Long Life Offering to His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
  • Sitting and Walking Meditations by Lama Zopa Rinpoche (Light of the Path retreat meditation guide).
  • Torma Gyatsa, Hundred Torma Offering Practice by Phabongkha Rinpoche

Materials for the Swift Return of Lama Zopa Rinpoche

  • “A Prayer for the Swift Return of Lama Zopa Rinpoche,” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama with additional prayers by other distinguished lamas
  • Heruka Lama Chopa and Supplementary Prayers for the 7th day pujas at Kopan Monastery for Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s swift return

Additional Materials

  • Chanting the Names of Noble Manjushri
  • Praise to Avalokiteshvara (Po Praise) in three languages – Tibetan, English, and Chinese

Ongoing Works in Progress
Work continues on several other major translation projects, including the translations of all three versions of the Golden Light Sutra, Changkya Rolpai Dorje’s pilgrimage guide to Mt. Wutai and Trijang Rinpoche’s commentary on the Chakrasamvara body mandala.

Work in progress also includes translation review of the Vajrayogini self-initiation by Phabongkha Dechen Nyingpo, Hevajra sadhana and a supplementary ritual text by Khedrub Geleg Palzangpo, and the extensive mandala offering to Chittamani Tara by Trijang Rinpoche. Work also began on the translation of the Chittamani Tara retreat sadhana and the editing of a detailed commentary on the Six Yogas of Naropa by Khenzur Gyume Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa.

Updates and Revisions
We also reviewed and edited old translations against the original Tibetan source texts, and/or checked and transliterated mantras in practice booklets.

The Lama Zopa Rinpoche Practice Series and Teaching Archive is available at: fpmt.org/education/prayers-and-practice-materials/lzrps/

Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Composition and Translations

  • A Ritual to Perform When Undertaking Activities on Inauspicious Days
  • Dharani Which Accomplishes All Aims
  • The Exalted Zung Called “Eliminating Obscurations”
  • Meditation on Kurukulla
  • Kshitigarbha Practice
  • Mantras to Recite for the Dying
  • Prostration Instructions, Mantras, and Meditation

Updates on Some Essential Practices

  • Gyalwa Gyatso long sadhana
  • The One Hundred and Eight Names of Arya Kshitigarbha and the Dharani Mantra
  • Mantra from the Sutra of Great Liberation
  • Medicine Buddha Mantras
  • The Melody of the Wings of Dancing Bees: A Tsog Song
  • Name mantras and benefits
  • Praises to the Twenty-One Taras in three languages – Tibetan, English, and Chinese
  • Six-Session Guru Yoga
  • Statues and Stupas – Part 2: Building and Blessing Holy Objects
  • White Umbrella Deity Practices (Sitatapatra)
  • The Yoga of the Three Purifications of Shri Chakrasamvara

Wisdom Culture Series
The Wisdom Culture series is published by Wisdom Publications in association with the FPMT under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche to make available key works for the study and cultivation of the Mahayana Buddhist path, especially works of masters within the lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa and the Geluk tradition. The Swift Path: A Meditation Manual on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment by Panchen Losang Yeshe, translated by Szegee Toh was released in 2023.

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The Foundation Store is FPMT’s online shop with a vast collection of Buddhist study and practice materials written or recommended by our lineage gurus. Items in the Foundation Store are made available for Dharma practice and educational purposes, and never for the purpose of profiting from them. Please read FPMT Foundation Store Policy Regarding Dharma Items for more information.

Distribution of Materials in 2023

Downloads this year included:

  • 32,506 PDF and ebooks (19% more than in 2022)
  • 888 online programs
  • 3,643 audio recordings
  • 1,293 digital cards, posters, and protection items

The Foundation Store continued to distribute PDFs, ebooks, audio from FPMT translation groups, Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, Kopan Monastery, FPMT nunneries, Wisdom Publications, Ediciones Dharma, Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, and Happy Monks Publication, among others. A total of 3,853 of their titles were downloaded.

FPMT Education materials are also distributed on third party platforms like Kindle, Apple, Google Music, Spotify, and others.

  • A total of 2,615 ebooks were ordered through Kindle, Smashwords, and Google Play
  • Students ordered 464 FPMT titles through Print-On-Demand
  • A total of 43,833 mantras and meditations were streamed

The Foundation Store processed 18,347 orders from 7,645 customers for a total of 41,563 individual items ordered. This generated a total of US$88,738 in Foundation Store donations and an additional $17,211 was offered as donations to charitable projects. Proceeds from Dharma items of $69,295 were offered to a number of holy objects and Dharma services.

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Online Learning

The FPMT Online Learning Center (OLC) provides an opportunity for students from all parts of the world to study Buddhism online according to their interests and needs. Programs include Discovering Buddhism, Living in the Path, FPMT Basic Program, Heart Advice for Death & Dying, Buddhist Meditation 101, and Buddhism in a Nutshell.

The Long Retreat Preparation page at the FPMT Online Learning Center was enriched with retreat instructions offered by Ven. Charles, a highly regarded Nyung Na retreat leader and experienced meditator. This teaching was recorded at Nalanda Monastery for students preparing to enter their three-month retreat that completes their FPMT Basic Program (BP) and is now available for all students who wish to do the program completion retreat of three months (for BP) or one year (for MP).

  • A total of 1,097 new accounts were created on the FPMT Online Learning Center, this brings the total number of registered users to 26,116 from over 200 countries.
  • Users initiated 534 new discussion posts.
  • The OLC website received approximately 120,000 visits from 4,500 visitors.


Continue below to Supporting Centers and Teachers or Return to the Main Menu

Participants in the 2023 Foundation Service Seminar Retreat at Kopan Monastery.

Supporting Centers & Teachers

Working closely with five regional and six national coordinators, Center Services assists FPMT centers, projects, services, and study groups (which are probationary centers, projects, and services), establish and sustain good governance structure to support the preservation of the Mahayana tradition now and into the future. We facilitate communication with the board of FPMT Inc. and FPMT centers, projects, and services; and facilitate the placement of resident geshes and teachers at centers.

The Teacher Services department oversees different matters relating to teachers. This work includes overseeing the registration process for non-Tibetan teachers, updating the FPMT Registered Teacher List and the Tibetan Teacher List, handling grievances and complaints, working on safeguarding issues related specifically to teachers, and looking for ways to improve support for teachers in all fields of their activities.

We offer sincere thanks to the following:

  • Regional and National Coordinators present and in the recent past: Ven. Tashi Choedup, Nicolas Brun, Bengu Fetzer, Selina Foong, Lara Gatto, Frances Howland, Mauricio Roa Mackenzie, Drolkar McCallum, Ven. Barbara Shannon, Irina Roldan, Peter Stickels, and Gilda Urbina.
  • FPMT Service Seminar Coordinator, Annelies van der Heijden; and Service Seminar registered facilitators: Amy Cayton, Charlotte Elliot, Paloma Fernandez, Francois Lecointre, Drolkar McCallum, Martha Portillo, Gilda Urbina, and Wendy Ridley.
Snapshot of the Organization

During 2023, many centers, projects, services, and probationary entities (study groups) continued the ongoing reflection on their operations and the new hybrid of onsite and online activities which have become the norm. Some found that the local energy and support needed to make the entity viable was no longer available. As a result, two study groups closed, and one center stepped back into study group status. Two study groups transitioned into satellite groups of an FPMT center. Alongside this, one study group was able to successfully become an FPMT-affiliated center.

At the end of 2023, there were 107 centers, projects, and services; and 25 study groups, in 31 countries.

There are 41 geshes and 9 registered teachers resident in FPMT centers. The FPMT Registered Teacher List includes 158 Foundational Buddhism Teachers and 93 In-Depth Buddhism teachers. In 2023 we registered 16 new Foundational level teachers.

Highlights from this year include:

  • Regional and National Meetings: Regional and national meetings took place in person and online. Regional and National Coordinators continued to provide considerable support to affiliates and pending affiliates.
  • Three hundred and fifty members of the FPMT organization, including 150 who joined the event from abroad, participated in a very moving long life puja offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, on May 24, 2023.
  • A Foundation Service Seminar (FSS) retreat was hosted by Istituto Lama Tsong Khapa, Italy, in April, with 34 participants from 9 countries. A second FSS retreat was hosted in Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in September, with 40 participants from 14 countries, including for the first time in such a seminar, ten geshes and geshemas from Kopan.

Other Highlights in the Organization:

  • Originally meant to be a continuation of five teaching events with Lama Zopa Rinpoche that began in 2009 in North Carolina, US, the Light of the Path 2023 at Kopan Monastery became a retreat for Rinpoche’s students to honor his life and teachings as well as the practice lineage he had so carefully passed on to us over more than fifty years. 160 people from 30 countries attended the retreat.
  • Several FPMT policies and guidelines were reviewed following Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s passing.
  • The FPMT International Sangha Day was celebrated on July 21. International Sangha Day provides an opportunity for monastic and lay communities to come together in recognition of their interdependence and celebrate the ways in which they mutually rely on each other’s practice of the Dharma. For lay students, it’s a great time to learn about the International Mahayana Institute, which is the international community of monks and nuns in the FPMT organization.
  • In 2023, US$22,800 in grants were awarded from the Merit Box to support affiliates with their beneficial projects (see our Fundraising Tab under Operations & Finance for more details).

Continue below to Connecting the FPMT Community or Return to the Main Menu


Connecting the FPMT Community

International Office communicates with FPMT centers, projects, services, study groups, teachers, students, and supporters around the world on a daily basis.

Our Information Technology (IT) infrastructure makes sure you can reliably access the information and resources you need—from our FPMT News blog to our online education programs offered through the FPMT Online Learning Center, from digital practice materials in the Foundation Store to donations pages for our FPMT Charitable Projects.

Our IT department also ensures that the International Office itself as well as all our staff members worldwide have a reliable, secure, and privacy-conscious digital infrastructure in which to work and offer support to the vision of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and to all our centers, projects, and services.

Keeping In Touch

Through our robust website, daily blogs, our monthly digital e-newsletter, the CPMT e-group, and various social media accounts, we keep in touch with the FPMT global community and foster a sense of connectedness. This year, our communication channels were particularly essential to keep the FPMT community informed, connected, and supported following the loss of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Highlights for 2023

  • Our daily online blog, FPMT News, published 186 stories in 2023. This included news and updates following Lama Zopa Rinpoche showing the aspect of passing away and updates from the FPMT Inc. Board of Directors; summaries of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings and advice; teachings and advice from Lama Yeshe; news and updates from FPMT centers, projects, and services; FPMT Education Services; FPMT Charitable Projects; and FPMT Center Services comprised the remainder of FPMT News items.
  • International Office’s website, FPMT.org, had over 1,321,608 million unique views in 2023, an increase of 300,000 more views from 2022.
  • Immediately following the news of Rinpoche’s passing, we created the Updates Regarding Lama Zopa Rinpoche page on fpmt.org. This page made it easier for students to find all news, updates and advice regarding Rinpoche’s passing, as well as connect students to the wider community.
  • The daily and weekly email digests of FPMT News reached more than 3,300 subscribers.
  • Our monthly e-newsletter, the FPMT e-News (International Office News), was sent to over 46,000 email recipients and included updates from FPMT International Office and the broader FPMT organization.
  • We published several photo albums this year, including a four-part gallery of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s life, a gallery of Rinpoche’s activities leading up to his passing, a joyful gallery of Rinpoche’s Dharma plushy toys, and six galleries documenting all of the prayers around the world done for Rinpoche’s swift return.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people around the world connected with FPMT through Facebook and Twitter, and with Lama Zopa Rinpoche on Facebook, X (Twitter), and Instagram.
  • Our CPMT e-group shared information with the many people working in service within the FPMT organization.

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Rinpoche Online

We continued to offer access to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s recorded video and audio teachings.

Highlights for 2023

  • Rinpoche’s teachings from April 2023 at Kopan Monastery were published as four videos, complete with transcripts, on the Rinpoche Available Now (RAN) page. As these were Rinpoche’s last recorded teachings in this life, they are particularly meaningful to students.
  • The complete teachings of the 2022 Kopan November Course were published in high quality on the RAN page in English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese resulting in 17 videos per language. The teachings provided by FPMT Russia can be accessed from the same page.
  • The podcast “Essential Extracts,“ received a total of 7,855 views for its 26 episodes. The full-length teachings podcast was updated with all remaining teachings given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche before his passing in April.
  • We livestreamed many of the prayers and pujas happening at Kopan after the passing of Rinpoche to support students all over the world in their efforts to pray for the swift return of our precious guru and to stay connected to the activities around Rinpoche’s holy body. Almost 200 livestreams were made available on YouTube resulting in 300,000+ views.
  • FPMT media resource management has started to process previously unpublished videos. Teachings of Rinpoche from 2006 at Tara Institute were published to our RAN page, as well as a three-hour interview that Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave in 2005 in Aptos, CA, on the importance of Universal Education.
  • Video views on YouTube increased by 50% with a total of 1.4 million views and 166,000 hours watched. Subscribers nearly doubled in 2023.
  • A set of highly edited and fully subtitled video extracts was created for the Kopan 2023 Light of The Path Retreat and was greatly appreciated by the participants.
  • A set of teachings that had been published on DVDs and sold in the Foundation Store in the past were converted into Essential Extracts videos and will soon be published on YouTube.

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Website and IT Administration

Highlights for 2023

  • @FPMTInc is the organization’s official feed on X.

    We created a second administrator account for fpmt.org in order to have a backup in the event that the main administrator ever lost access. The account was set up with two factor authentication in order to keep this user role secure.
  • We created developer accounts for each of our X accounts (formerly known as Twitter). Now that X is under new management they are monetizing posting to their platform. In order for us to continue posting to X we had to create developer accounts, submit an application process, and create secret keys and passwords.
  • We finished converting our Google Analytics accounts for all of our websites to the new GA4 format. This required adding their new GA4 snippet code to all of our website templates, validating that the new code was pulling in analytics, and then archiving our fifteen years of previous statistics.
  • We upgraded the Moodle software and the Lambda theme on the Online Learning Center. There was a major upgrade of both requiring testing, code rewriting, and style sheet updates.
  • We installed a new database and file backup system on the fpmt.org website. 
  • We upgraded our web server to PHP 8.2. This was a major software upgrade that required detailed testing of 58 plugins and our theme templates to make sure that any deprecated functions were updated to their new equivalent.
  • We implemented a new feature in our Rocket Cache software to combine all CSS code into one file and to remove redundant style rules. This makes the site load more quickly and be more efficient.
  • We performed weekly maintenance and security updates of our IT infrastructure, to keep all software up to date with the latest security patches and bug fixes.
  • As part of a larger project that involves migrating our photo galleries away from our current Google account, we exported all our Photo Galleries and copied the description of all pictures in Google Photos and added them to each photo’s metadata.
  • We reviewed and updated our IT policies to make sure that they stay relevant and up to date.
  • We also performed our annual review and update of the disaster recovery procedures, which will make possible to restore our Information Technology systems if a major event occurs and one or more of our systems must be restored or recovered from scratch.
  • As part of our effort to provide education to IOF staff about our IT infrastructure and to improve key skills and create awareness about ongoing security threats, the IT department sent monthly educational emails to all International Office staff.

Continue below to Operations & Finances or Return to the Main Menu

Operations & Finances

FPMT International Office is responsible for managing and supervising the finances of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, Inc. (FPMT, Inc.) as directed by its Board of Directors. Finances are divided between general funds (unrestricted) and funds designated for specific charitable projects (restricted funds).  The FPMT Development department serves the supporters of the FPMT mission and works to ensure that FPMT International Office activities and projects have the financial resources needed for their fruition. In 2023, US$3,384,687 in donations and legacies to FPMT-managed funds came from over 3,900 supporters in 81 different countries.


Illustration of the Four Harmonious FriendsFriends of FPMT

International Office’s membership program plays a vital role in supporting our work and activities each year. Friends of FPMT supporters receive access to what they are helping International Office provide to others: free access to online study programs, downloadable FPMT Education materials, the Mandala online archives, as well as other gifts, such as Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive publications, the Liberation Tibetan Calendar, and prayers sponsored at pujas during the Buddha Days throughout the year. In 2023, 956 Friends of FPMT supporters gave US$239,506 to FPMT International Office.

Give Where Most Needed Fund

This is our unrestricted reserve fund that supports any project or activity that is working towards the FPMT mission. The Give Where Most Needed Fund can provide urgent support to new projects or activities, or help with unexpected budget shortfalls. The fund receives year-round support with a focused campaign held annually in December before the fiscal year ends. US$92,722 in donations were received from generous donors in 2023.

International Merit Box Project

After 21 years, and a global transition into digital currency, when physical Merit Boxes are no longer distributed, the International Merit Box Project still receives generous support from students and FPMT communities around the world. The Merit Box fund continues to provide much-needed grants to local FPMT centers, projects, services and study groups, as well as other projects that align with the FPMT mission. In 2023, twelve projects received grants, totaling US$22,800. In total, since 2003 the Merit Box fund has awarded US$1,239,580 through 354 grants.

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Income, Expenses & Disbursements
  • In 2023, total unrestricted operating income for International Office was US$1,226,405 and total operating expenses were US$1,110,257 resulting in an operating surplus of US$116,148.
  • In 2023, the total restricted income for the Charitable Projects was US$4,651,492 and the total disbursements and expenses for credit card and administration fees were US$3,749,756.
  • FPMT also processes and manages funds on behalf of others and in 2023 these funds had income of US$1,433,056 and disbursements of US$902,387.
  • A donation of $70,000 was also received in 2023 for our first named endowment.

Unrestricted Funds

Unrestricted funds do not have any donor-imposed restrictions, and are used to fulfill the various activities and operations of International Office. The table and charts give a summary of income and expenses for 2023.

* Notes:

  1. Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, Inc. (abbreviated as FPMT, Inc.) is the legal entity of FPMT International Office. The terms FPMT, Inc. and International Office are interchangeable. In practical terms, the International Office functions and serves as Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s office, therefore the guidance of our Spiritual Director is implicit.

  2. Restricted funds include all the charitable projects of FPMT, Inc. as outlined on our website in addition to certain other charitable projects as directed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the Board of Directors.

  3. Operating expenses exclude depreciation and unrealized gains (losses) on investments and exceptional items.

Our Year in Photos

Please explore more highlights from 2023 in these two photo galleries of our activities around the world this year. We invite you to rejoice along with us through this beautiful visual presentation. View Gallery 1 and Gallery 2.

Big Thanks to All!

All of our 2023 accomplishments are due to the kindness of the FPMT centers, projects, services, teachers, students, volunteers, and benefactors who supported us this year. 

We would also like to sincerely thank all of the Sangha at Kachoe Dechen Ling and Buddha Amitabha Pure Land who offered service, extensive offerings and prayers for those who are sick or have passed away; the Sangha and students who offered extensive offerings and prayers for the FPMT organization and all beings at Root Institute, Kopan Monastery, and Ganden Do Ngag Shedrup Ling, and the Sangha and students who recite sutras monthly and make prayers to pacify the elements and protect those harmed by disasters of earth, wind, fire, and water.

After 22 years of dedicated service, Claire Isitt resigned as Center Services Director this year. We are immensely grateful to Claire for her invaluable service to the organization over all these years.

How You Can Get Involved

You can support our work by volunteering and attending teachings at your local FPMT center or finding out about their online teachings and events, making a contribution to our charitable projects, enrolling in our Friends of FPMT program, participating in one of our education programs, or offering your prayers and good wishes. Your support and kindness allow us to continue our work.

Dedications at the pujas sponsored by the FPMT Puja Fund at the great monasteries throughout the year are made especially for purifying obstacles and creating merit for Dharma activity to flourish in FPMT as well as for all students, supporters, and FPMT friends who are ill or have died, and for all those who have worked tirelessly and sacrificed so much to benefit the organization in different ways.

In 2024, may you have perfect happiness and be free from every suffering!

Thank you so much for reading our Annual Review 2023
You can explore our archive of Annual Reviews from prior years below, or return to the Main Menu.

If you have any questions, please contact our staff in the relevant department listed on our website

Annual Review Archive

Below is a catalog of our FPMT International Office Annual Reviews dating back to 2006, in online and downloadable PDF formats.