FPMT Annual Review 2021: Sharing and Preserving the Dharma in a Changing World

Welcome to FPMT International Office’s Annual Review 2021: Sharing and Preserving the Dharma in a Changing World. The year 2021 continued to bring many uncertainties, fears, threats, and changes to the world in which we live. As evidenced by this year’s online annual report, despite the challenges, we continued to offer access to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s precious teachings, keep the international community connected and informed, offer guidance and structure to our affiliates, facilitate charitable giving to many worthy initiatives, and disseminate 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.

 

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at the stupa in the garden in Kopan Monastery, Boudhanath, Nepal, November 2021. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Advice From Our Spiritual Director

Where would we be without the guidance of our most precious spiritual director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche? During these difficult times, Rinpoche continues to offer profound advice and inspiration to the FPMT organization. Rinpoche’s message in this year’s Annual Review focuses on having the correct motivation. He explains how our purpose in life is to benefit every single living being, to cherish and offer compassion to not only those who benefit us, but those who are strangers, and even those who harm us.

Read Rinpoche's Advice

My Most Dear, Most Kind, Most Precious Wish-fulfilling Ones,

It is so important to continually develop compassion for sentient beings. That is the source of happiness for every single hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human being, sura being, asura being, and intermediate state being.

It is said in the sutra Perfectly Contained Holy Dharma of Arya Compassionate One (འཕག་པ་སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་གྱི་ཆོས་ཡང་དག་པར་སྡུད་པ་ལས):

If you wish to achieve enlightenment quickly, do not follow many Dharmas. Follow one Dharma. What is that? That is great compassion. Whoever has great compassion has all the Dharmas of the buddhas in the palm of their hands. They are achieved without effort. In short, great compassion is the root of all Dharma.

It is said in the Middle Gomrim:

Even if you are standing, even if you are going, you should meditate on great compassion toward sentient beings.

This just mentions two activities as an example, but it means all the actions—sleeping, eating, working, reading, writing, everything—should be done with compassion. This is the advice. Especially during that time, you yourself will be at peace and have happiness and other sentient beings won’t receive harm from you.

And it is said in the first verse of the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, as you know well:

Determined to obtain the greatest possible benefit
From all sentient beings,
Who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel,
I hold them most dear at all times.

This means by cherishing not only the people who help you but even strangers, who neither help or harm you, and then especially cherishing those who harm you—of course, bodhicitta is the best of great compassion—what you get from that person is enlightenment, the total cessation of every mistake, every defilement, and every subtle negative karma, and the completion of all realizations, sang gyä. That is what you get from that person who you call enemy, who abuses you, who harms you with their body, who harms you with their speech, or who harms you with their mind.

As I have mentioned many times in advice given to others, from every sentient being you receive all the past, present, and future happiness, including enlightenment, even the happiness you have in a dream. I can repeat it again here. From this obscured suffering sentient being, even the one who you call enemy, great compassion arises, wishing not only to free sentient beings from suffering but to take that responsibility upon yourself. Then, from there, bodhicitta arises. From bodhicitta, a bodhisattva arises. From a bodhisattva, a buddha arises. A buddha has two actions, one is their own heart’s action and one is within us sentient beings—that is, when we create good karma. So, all our good karma is the buddhas’ actions. Now you can see that from that buddha’s action, good karma, all the past, present, and future happiness, including enlightenment, happened.

Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, who we take refuge in at the beginning of a practice, cause us to protect karma, liberate us from the lower realms, free us from samsara, and cause us to practice the three higher trainings. And not only that, they cause us to achieve enlightenment by freeing us from being caught in the lower nirvana for many eons. Then they cause us to generate bodhicitta, practice the six paramitas, and so forth. Even these extremely precious ones, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, come from every sentient being, from your friends, strangers, and even your enemies. Therefore, the numberless Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, from whom you get all these benefits, come from this mosquito, from this tiniest insect near you on the table, on humid wood, or anywhere. So therefore, these sentient beings are the most precious, most kind, most dear, most wish-fulfilling. Even from this, it makes you think, “How dare I cause them unhappiness?” There is no way to do that. It is totally opposite: they are to be cherished the most. You can see they are the most important, precious one in your life.

So, as it says in that quotation from Middle Gomrim, all day and night your motivation should be compassion. Whatever action you are doing, you are doing it for sentient beings, dedicating it for sentient beings.

Then, the fourth verse of the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation says:

Whenever I see beings who are wicked in nature
And overwhelmed by negative actions and heavy suffering,
I hold such rare ones dear,
As if I had found a precious treasure.

Wicked in nature means being very selfish, very ignorant, holding the concept of true existence and also being ignorant of Dharma, of karma, due to which you regard wrong things as right and right things as wrong. And then it means being very impatient, angry, and so forth—having a bad nature.

Then they engage in heavy negative karma, like the heaviest negative karma of giving rise to anger or heresy to their own guru, giving up or renouncing their guru, and engaging in the heavy negative karmas of killing one’s father, killing one’s mother, killing an arhat, causing blood to a buddha, or causing disunity among the Sangha. By engaging in those heavy negative karmas, they harm themselves and harm others.

Then they experience life threatening diseases, such as leprosy, cancer, the virus, AIDS, and so forth, anything that is regarded as dangerous.

When you see someone like that, it is like you met a wish-granting treasure, something to cherish that is so precious and difficult to find again.

So that means when you see someone with such heavy suffering like this, such strong compassion arises. Then, depending on that, bodhicitta arises. Then that makes you achieve enlightenment quickly. So, that is why you regard those pitiful sentient beings as like having found a wish-granting treasure. By developing compassion, it becomes wish-granting. All your wishes, even your ultimate wishes, succeed quickly for you. So, you can see now how precious, most precious, that sentient being is for you.

It is like you found a diamond in the garbage in your house. Or nowadays, it is like you found a dzi [bead] in your garbage, from which you can get many millions and millions of dollars. It is like that.

This subject is very important. It is not just to read about very easily. It is not just reading it blah, blah, blah, then you are finished. It is not like that. You should feel it and you should realize it: Every sentient being is most precious. We need to do that, including myself.

Then, you have to know that Buddha, by generating great compassion and bodhicitta, as I mentioned before, for this sentient being, for this tiniest insect, for this very, very tiny insect or for the person who makes you angry, who bothers you, Buddha made charity of his holy body, his limbs, eyes, and head to other sentient beings for three countless great eons. It is not that Buddha only gave his body to the five tigers who were dying in Nepal, who later became his disciples in Sarnath when he turned the first Dharma wheel, from where the basic teachings of Buddhism started. It is not like that.

Buddha also practiced morality with much hardship for three countless great eons for this tiny insect, even a tick, or this person who you get angry with or who gets angry with you. Buddha also practiced patience for three countless great eons; and perseverance for eons according to the number of drops in the ocean for this one sentient being to generate bodhicitta or to bring them to enlightenment. He was able to bear hardships, able to have perseverance for that sentient being.

Then, Buddha practiced meditation for three countless great eons for this sentient being. And he practiced wisdom for three countless great eons for this tiniest being or this human being, this person, who you hate or who hates you, who harms you.

Then, by completing the merits of virtue and the merits of wisdom by completing the six paramitas, Buddha achieved the rupakaya and dharmakaya, the enlightened holy body and holy mind. Then, he was able to enlighten numberless sentient beings already before, is enlightening them now, and will enlighten them in the future, including us.

All that came from Buddha practicing the six paramitas for three countless great eons for this tiniest insect or that person. So now Buddha is able to bring you to enlightenment. You have to recognize that. Since Buddha did that, how dare you harm that sentient being? By generating compassion, you should only help them and not harm them. It is impossible to even say bad words or hurtful words to that person. You only say pleasing words.

Now the numberless buddhas, Dharma, Sangha, and all the statues, stupas, and scriptures that I read, that I do prostrations to, to purify my obscurations and negative karmas to achieve enlightenment, all this came from where? It came from this tiny insect or this person who you get angry with or who gets angry at you, who harms you. Therefore, their kindness to you is like the limitless sky. So, this is the reality, their kindness.

And this tiniest insect or the person whom you are angry with or who is angry with you, who harms you, who you call enemy, the numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas cherish them the most. They cherish them the most. Then the numberless buddhas became enlightened for this tiny insect or for this person. And the bodhisattvas are attaining the path to enlightenment for this tiniest insect or this person. They all cherish them the most, the most, as the most precious, the most kind, wish-fulfilling. So therefore, how dare you hurt them even with words? You can only speak nice, kind, pleasant, sweet words that give them much happiness.

It is said in the teachings of Buddha, but Nagarjuna gave it the title, Satisfying Sentient Beings (v. 6):

དེས་ན་སེམས་ཅན་ཕན་པ་བྱས་ན་ང་ལ་མཆོད་པའི་མཆོག །
སེམས་ཅན་གནོད་པ་བྱས་པ་ང་ལ་ཤིན་ཏུ་གནོད་པའི་མཆོག །
བདེ་དང་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ང་དང་སེམས་ཅན་མཚུངས་པར་མྱོང་བས་ན། །
སེམས་ཅན་རྣམས་ལ་འཚེ་བར་བྱེད་དེ་ང་ཡི་སློབ་མ་ཇི་ལྟར་ཡིན། །

Therefore, if you benefit sentient beings, it is the supreme offering to me.
If you harm the sentient beings, it is the supreme extreme harm to me.
Since I and sentient beings experience happiness and suffering in a similar way,
How can those who are harming sentient beings be my disciples?

So here, that “I and sentient beings experience happiness and suffering in a similar way” doesn’t mean Buddha has suffering. That would mean Buddha is not free from karma. It is not that. It means that just as sentient beings want themselves to be happy and free from suffering, Buddha has exactly the same wish for them. Buddha’s compassion and loving kindness to you is a hundred thousand times more than how much compassion and loving kindness you have for yourself. So, then can you imagine how much Buddha wishes sentient beings to have happiness? It is most unbelievable. Then, can you imagine how much Buddha wishes them to be free from suffering? It is most unbelievable. You have to understand that. So this quotation is very important. You should know it by heart and remember it in everyday life.

And Bodhicharyavatara (v. 6.113) says:

སེམས་ཅན་རྣམས་དང་རྒྱལ་བ་ལས། །
སངས་རྒྱས་ཆོས་འགྲུབ་འདྲ་བ་ལ། །
རྒྱལ་ལ་གུས་བྱ་དེ་བཞིན་དུ། །
སེམས་ཅན་ལ་མིན་ཅི་ཡི་ཚུལ། །

The qualities of a buddha are accomplished similarly
From sentient beings and the buddhas.
So why do you not respect sentient beings
In the same way that you respect the buddhas?

In the teachings of Nagarjuna based on the Buddha’s teachings, Satisfying Sentient Beings (v. 4ab), it says:

སེམས་ཅན་ཕན་པ་ཆུང་ཡང་དེས་ནི་མཆོད་པ་འབྱུང་འགྱུར་ཏེ། །
གང་གི་ཡིད་ནི་མགུ་བར་བྱེད་པ་མཆོད་པ་ཡིན་པས་སོ། །

Even if the benefit to sentient beings is small, it becomes an offering to the buddhas.
Whatever satisfies the minds of sentient beings becomes an offering.

The commentary says that anyone who satisfies sentient beings’ minds is satisfying the minds of the buddhas. That is why it becomes an offering to the buddhas. That means that if you are able to make sentient beings’ minds happy, that makes the buddhas’ holy minds so happy, so that is why it becomes an offering to them.

The next one (v. 4cd) says:

གནོད་པའི་བདག་ཉིད་ཅན་ནམ་གཞན་ལ་རྣམ་པར་འཚེ་བའང་རུང་། །
ལེགས་པར་སྦྱར་ནས་མཆོད་པར་གྱུར་ཀྱང་དེས་ནི་མཆོད་མི་འགྱུར། །

If it is harmful in nature or is harming others,
Even if it is well prepared and offered, it won’t become an offering.

The commentary says that by harming sentient beings it doesn’t make the buddhas’ minds happy. For example, it is like a mother who feels her son is as precious as her heart, so if you harm that son, it won’t satisfy the loving mother’s mind and will cause the mother’s mind to be unhappy and displeased. Like that, even if you perform hundreds, thousands, or millions of unbelievable offerings, very extensive offerings, and offer them to the buddhas, it won’t really become an offering because it doesn’t please the buddhas, just exactly like the loving mother’s mind is displeased by you harming her most beloved child.

The same text (v. 5) also says:

ཆུང་མ་དག་དང་བུ་དང་འབྱོར་དང་རྒྱལ་སྲིད་ཆེན་པོ་དང་། །
ཤ་རྣམས་དང་ནི་ཁྲག་དང་ཚིལ་དང་མིག་དང་ལུས་རྣམས་ཀྱང་། །
གང་ལ་བརྩེ་བའི་དབང་དུ་བྱས་ནས་ང་ཡིས་ཡོངས་བཏང་བ། །
དེས་ན་དེ་ལ་གནོད་པ་བྱས་ན་ང་ལ་གནོད་བྱས་འགྱུར། །

Under the control of compassion, I completely gave away
My wives, sons, wealth and a great king’s reign,
My flesh, blood, fat, eyes, and bodies to sentient beings.
Therefore, if you harm them, you are harming me.

Under the control of compassion, Buddha completely gave away his wives, sons, wealth, a great king’s reign, his own flesh, blood, fat, eyes, and even his bodies to every sentient being—to every single hell being, every single hungry ghost, every single animal, even the tiniest insect, every single human being, every single sura and asura, and every single intermediate state being. Therefore, if you harm a sentient being, you are harming Buddha.

It is so good to read more about bodhicitta and meditate on bodhicitta: the seven techniques of Mahayana cause and effect, the shortcomings of the self-cherishing thought, and the benefits of cherishing others. The most extensive one is the Wheel of Sharp Weapons. One can read through it and do extensive meditations on the self-cherishing thought. Then the short way is to meditate on the eight disadvantages of making mistakes to the guru; all those are shortcomings of the self-cherishing thought. Then, you feel competition toward those who have the same qualities as you do, the same wealth, or education, or whatever. You feel pride toward those who are poorer than you. You feel jealous toward those who have a higher education and wealth than you. This self-cherishing thought makes the life unhappy all the time.

Also, meditate on karma. By creating negative karma, such as the ten negative karmas, the ripened-aspect result is suffering in the lower realms. In one teaching, it says you get reborn in the lower realms for one hundred eons. Then, there are the three sufferings that you experience when another good karma causes you to be born once again as a human being. Even then there is so much suffering. For example, in the place where you live or where you are born, there is a lot of fighting, war, a lot of epidemic diseases, and dangers to your life. That is to do with the negative karma of killing.

Then, there is experiencing the result similar to the cause. You experience other people harming you as you harmed them in the past. Then you create negative karma again according to the past karma. For example, even in a human life, due to the habit again you do the action of killing—which has the base, thought, action, and goal—so again you create the four suffering results. It is said in the lamrim that the four types of sufferings that come from the ten nonvirtues are all the shortcomings of the self-cherishing thought.

Then as I said before, in daily life, if you check, you will see that the self-cherishing thought is always there, making your actions to not become beneficial to others, to not become a cause of enlightenment, and not even to become a cause to be free from samsara, or even to become a cause of the happiness of future lives. Like that, it is unbelievable, unbelievable, so unbelievable. So especially if you watch your motivation in daily life, you can see how the self-cherishing thought is so harmful all the time.

Then meditate on the benefits of bodhicitta, cherishing others. Read all the benefits of bodhicitta that are explained in Bodhicharyavatara. Read the book by Kyabje Khunu Lama Rinpoche, there are short verses, like the one His Holiness often says after taking the bodhisattva vow.

Whether you are in the city or at home, the minute that your motivation becomes the self-cherishing thought, you only think of I, then all the sufferings come. Ssssh. You think, “I have this problem. I have that problem.” You never think of others’ suffering, only yourself. Then that tortures you. You exaggerate it and make it bigger, like a balloon, then you have so much unhappiness. Then you engage in negative karma to get happiness. But all that is totally wrong. It is only negative karma, the cause of suffering.

Right away you can see that when your motivation is cherishing others, whether you are in the street or at home, suddenly your mind becomes happy. You can smile at others. When suddenly you think, “The purpose of my life is that I’m here to serve other sentient beings,” then you have so much happiness. Then you can smile at others. Before, with the self-cherishing thought, you squeezed your face. It became wrinkled. Others can see from your face that you have so much concern for your own problems. You can see the function of the self-cherishing thought, like that.

So whenever we experience difficulties with people—at home, at work, or in the centers—now I have mentioned all the reasons why, as you respect Buddha, you should respect sentient beings the same, as it says in Bodhicharyavatara. I mentioned many quotations, such as that by making sentient beings happy that becomes the best offering to the buddhas. We should do that even to the beggars, to anybody.

Thank you very, very much.
With much love and prayers,
Lama Zopa

Transcribed by Ven. Tenzin Namdrol, Kopan Monastery, Nepal. Edited lightly by Carina Rumrill for inclusion in the 2021 FPMT Annual Review.

 

Welcome From CEO Ven. Roger Kunsang

One of the highlights of our Annual Review every year is Ven. Roger Kunsang’s letter. Our CEO has once again offered an insightful overview of the past year for the FPMT organization in general, and for our International Office in particular.

Read Venerable Roger's Welcome

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Kopan Monastery in Nepal, where Lama Zopa Rinpoche has been since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. It is by far the longest time Rinpoche has spent in one place. After fifty years of constant travel to give teachings and initiations around the world, being in one place is quite a change for Rinpoche and has been of great benefit to the Kopan monks and nuns. Rinpoche has been offering teachings to the sangha as well as the local Nepali people who come to Kopan to receive teachings. I think this is very inspiring for the monks and nuns to have Rinpoche here for so long, and Rinpoche has become very much a part of the daily life at Kopan. Prior to the pandemic, Rinpoche has been just a blur for the Kopan monks and nuns. On the road all year, Rinpoche would appear each November for the famous one-month lamrim meditation course, known as the November Course, then leave soon after for the road again. Now we may be seeing a new phase where Rinpoche will spend more time at Kopan and less time on the road and around the world!

Due to the pandemic and Rinpoche hearing how worried and unsettled many people were about the reality of impermanence that COVID-19 brought home, Rinpoche started to teach on thought transformation (lojong) online in 2020 and continuing into 2021, using the situation to remind people what is most important in life – the practice of Dharma. We now have all these teachings covering many aspects of the Dharma available to anyone who wishes to access them. What is available, in English as well as other languages, is so very inspiring and includes lungs and rituals such as taking of the twenty-four hour eight Mahayana precepts.

Now we have a war in Europe, which is causing so much suffering, uncertainty, and fear throughout the world. And not just this war but environmental changes greatly affect us and this world we live in and depend upon. We are limited in what change we can bring about externally, but there is no limit to the internal change we can bring about through our Dharma practice, especially when received through and inspired by great masters like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe, and others.

FPMT International Office is Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s office, here to serve you through the FPMT centers, projects, and services around the world. We are Rinpoche’s compassionate hands, helping to fulfil Rinpoche’s wishes to bring the teachings of the Buddha to the world. What we need most in these uncertain times is COMPASSION and KINDNESS. This is our purpose.

Our FPMT Education programs, which have been developed over many years, are taught by highly trained teachers. We presently have forty geshes resident in centers, twelve resident registered teachers, and another 240 non-resident registered teachers. Our education programs combine practice and teachings to bring positive change in the heart. Over the past year we have been developing new education programs and revising our existing programs to include science and more understanding of meditation practice.

There has been so much generosity and compassionate support for our Charitable Projects. The grants we offered in 2021 directly benefited ordained sangha, the elderly, children, and animals, and helped create holy objects around the world.

There is so much more to rejoice about in this Annual Review, please take a little time to read it.

Thank you to everyone, with so much appreciation for everyone’s help in so many different ways that make all of this work possible.

roger kunsang

 

Message From Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors brings to their work a broad range of professional skills, backgrounds, and FPMT organizational experiences. Paula de Wys, who serves as the chair of the FPMT Board of Directors, shares this update on the work of the Board in 2021 and what they hope to accomplish in the coming year.

Letter from our Board Chair

Dear Friends,

For some people, 2021 was a boring year with lockdowns, working and studying from home, and following meditations and teachings online and not in one’s local center. For the members of the FPMT Board of Directors, however, it was anything but boring! Early in the year, three people (Dale Davis, Karuna Cayton and myself, Paula de Wys) were requested to join the Board to complement the existing group that then consisted of four venerable ordained monks and one layman. We are now a harmonious and more diverse group of eight people, including the three listed above, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi, Geshe Sherab, Ven. Roger Kunsang, and Eamon Walsh, and although more diversity would be good, working with eight people is already a sizable number to manage.

A year ago, the Protecting from Abuse Policy and Training Course were just being rolled-out, and it soon became apparent why it was so necessary to have these in place. Abuse can take many forms, and the feedback received both for and against aspects covered in the policy made it clear that abuse hurts and the results of it expand and do not just disappear. The positive effects of the improvement to our existing Ethical Policy are already obvious in the feeling of clarity and the sense of knowing what constitutes abuse, what to avoid, and what to do when abuse comes to our attention. We extend our gratitude to all those involved in creating and translating the extensive policies and training course, which had input and advice from board members, external individuals with expertise in these areas, International Office staff, and from Thirtyone:eight. We also are grateful to the staff at International Office and regional and national coordinators for supporting and monitoring the implementation of the policies and training and to all those centers and projects and affiliate staff who have already completed the training and implemented the policies. We feel that this new policy is definitely a step in the right direction for the FPMT.

One aspect of the work of the present Board that was not completed in 2021, and is our priority as we continue into 2022, is another very important subject: the future of the FPMT organization. Of course, as Buddhists we are aware that all things are in a constant state of change, and it is a key task of a Board of Directors to do its best to protect the organization it serves and to look toward the future. From the early days of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche up until the present, the FPMT organization has taken on the responsibility of helping to preserve the Mahayana tradition, or the Nalanda tradition as it is known, as exemplified by the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. At the same time, we are aware that we live in a time of social and economic flux, where traditions are changing, and assumptions based on past experience can no longer be made about how things will be in the future. We are most fortunate to have Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s wise guidance during this process. His ideas and wishes are crucial in making decisions about the future. We are also able to draw on collective experience from different cultural perspectives, which is vital in an organization such as ours. With an understanding of the forces now at work both in and outside of the FPMT organization, combined with creativity, idealism, and a healthy dose of practicality, we hope to tackle this challenge in a way that will help the organization to remain a force for preserving the Buddha’s teachings and helping all sentient beings in a way that fulfills the wishes of our teachers, past, and present. We will certainly keep you informed of the results of our efforts in this complex but very important undertaking.

Until then, we extend our heartfelt best wishes for the good health of all our kind teachers and students, for you and your loved ones, and for the success of all your virtuous activities for the sake of all mother sentient beings!

Paula de Wys
Chair, Board of Directors, FPMT Inc.

 

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 educational 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 150 centers, projects, and services around the world that have entered into or are in the process of entering into affiliation agreements with FPMT, Inc. Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Office, or FPMT International Office, is based in Portland, Oregon, US, 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 Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the larger organization; and provides support to FPMT centers, projects, and services.

Who We Are | Meet Our Board

Screenshot of Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching during the Twenty-one Tara statues consecration at Amitabha Buddhist Centre, Singapore.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Activities in 2021

Lama Zopa Rinpoche spent 2021 in Nepal, offering teachings at Kopan Monastery and Nunnery, and traveling for a variety of auspicious activities and compassionate service to others.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching on a throne with a vase of flowers next to him

Rinpoche giving teachings at Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery, Nepal, October 2021. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

From January through March, Rinpoche offered lamrim teachings to the monks of Kopan Monastery and to the nuns of Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery.

From March through November, Rinpoche continued offering thought transformation teachings, including the conclusion of the Sutra of Great Liberation oral transmission and teachings specifically offering advice for ordained Sangha. In May, Rinpoche also began giving teachings in Tibetan for Kopan monks and nuns. Additionally, Rinpoche put together some essential practices in Tibetan, which are freely available.

For nearly two months, Rinpoche taught at Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery. The teachings ended right before the Christmas holiday on December 22. These teachings were translated into Nepali from Tibetan, providing a rare opportunity for Nepali people to have access to Rinpoche’s teachings in their own language and were made available on the FPMT Tibetan YouTube channel.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche with a large decoracted cake in front of him

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with the birthday cake offered to him, Kopan Monastyer, Nepal, December 2021. Photo by Ven. Lhundrup Topgye.

A long life puja was offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi at Kopan Monastery on February 22, 2021. An additional long life puja was offered to Rinpoche on April 19.

Rinpoche’s seventy-sixth birthday was celebrated on December 3 at Kopan Monastery. The festive day included the offering of a large Tara statue to Rinpoche during the early morning Sixteen Arhats long life puja. The statue was offered to Rinpoche on behalf of the entire FPMT organization. Also, a special lunch was prepared for all Kopan monks, nuns, and guests, which included presenting a birthday cake to Rinpoche, young monks singing “Happy Birthday,” and short plays.

While at Kopan in late January, Lama Zopa Rinpoche consecrated large appliqué Twenty-one Taras and Eight Taras That Save from Fear thangkas in the courtyard located outside the monastery gompa along with Khadro-la (Rangjung Neljorma Khandro Namsel Drönme), Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi, Kopan Lama Gyupas, and Kopan nuns. Rinpoche advised on every detail of these thangkas, and it took over a year for them to be made.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche writing out the Prajnaparamita in pure gold

Lama Zopa Rinpoche writing out the Prajnaparamita in pure gold. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

In mid-May, Rinpoche began to write out the Prajnaparamita in pure gold after a break of ten years. Since 2011 when he manifested a stroke, Rinpoche hadn’t been able to work on this, as he felt his handwriting was not stable enough. Rinpoche has explained how important it is to write in one’s best calligraphy, due to the incredibly precious text that one is writing out. Under Rinpoche’s guidance several students have been writing out the Prajnaparamita on archival quality rainbow paper, including Ven. Tsering, who is now based at Kopan Monastery and is writing out volumes from the 12,000 verse Prajnaparamita in pure gold full-time, as well as Jane Seidlitz in the United States and Ven. Nina at Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery.

At the end of April, Rinpoche, Khadro-la, and Sangha spent time in the Maratika Caves doing prayers, including recitation of the Amitayus Long Life Sutra, for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Rinpoche has explained that “Maratika is the place where Padmasambhava achieved immortal realization, the state of Buddha Amitayus, the Limitless Light Buddha.” This visit was also to consecrate land for a future very large Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) statue in Maratika. Rinpoche returned to Maratika along with Kopan Lama Gyupa monks and nuns in September to further bless the land where the statue will be built. During the September visit, Rinpoche spent time meeting with local people, including the mayor of Maratika. He offered teachings to two hotel owners. He also blessed goats in Maratika which were liberated for his long life, gave two online Zoom teachings, and visited the main cave, which was opened only for Rinpoche, to make special prayers at the long life vase.

On June 21, Rinpoche consecrated a stupa that the Holy Objects Fund is sponsoring in Thame, Nepal. The new stupa stands nearly 46 feet (14 meters) tall with a base measuring 54 feet (16.5 meters) across. It took two years to complete and is larger than the previous stupa, which was destroyed as a result of the 2015 earthquake. Due to travel restrictions, Rinpoche wasn’t able to attend the consecration so he offered the consecration remotely from Kopan Monastery.

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered a teaching on February 8, 2021, at the request of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the FPMT organization on Recognizing My Mother: An Experiential Song of the View (tagur ama ngodzin). The text, by the eighteenth-century Tibetan Buddhist master Changkya Rölpai Dorjé, is focused on dependent arising and emptiness. At the beginning and conclusion of the teaching, Rinpoche read an introduction and dedication respectively that he had composed for the teaching in Tibetan and made mandala offerings to His Holiness.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama watching a video screen of Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering a mandala

Lama Zopa Rinpoche thanking His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the conclusion of his online teaching from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 8, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel, courtesy of the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

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On February 10, Lama Zopa Rinpoche visited Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling Monastery in Kathmandu with Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche to pay respects to the holy body of Chokling Rinpoche—who is Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche’s brother—and to offer an incense puja with Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche wearing a mask doing puja by himself

Rinpoche offering incense puja at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, May 2021. Rinpoche is offering these pujas to help all those suffering due to COVID-19, particularly all those in India, Nepal (including in Kopan Monastery and Nunnery), and throughout the world.

In March and early April, Rinpoche offered Mahakala puja with the Lama Gyupa monks at Kopan Monastery, bath offering with the nuns of Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery, and Amitabha puja and strong prayers with the Kopan nuns for all who died in the tragic Taiwan train accident on April 2, 2021.

At the end of April, Kopan Monastery and Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery experienced a COVID-19 outbreak. Rinpoche had already been doing continual practice and offering pujas for all those affected by the pandemic, and these activities became even more extensive during the outbreak at Kopan and the spikes in Nepal and India. Each day, Rinpoche offered incense puja (to purify obstacles), bath offering (a practice of visualizing or actually offering an ablution to the merit field in order to clear away obscurations and create merit), tea offering (an offering of divine nectar), and sur practice (to clear obstacles and create merit by making charity to the sentient beings of the six realms). These practices were offered in the four directions and dedicated to all beings suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal, India, Brazil, and throughout the world. Khadro-la regularly offered incense pujas at her location, which is not far from Kopan, and Losang Namgyal Rinpoche joined Rinpoche in reciting Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga before offering incense puja on occasion.

In June and July, Rinpoche and other lamas offered several powerful pujas in holy places around Kathmandu and nearby. These pujas were done to benefit all those affected by the pandemic in all ways and to mitigate the continued spread of the virus. As part of this, Rinpoche and the Kopan monks offered Most Secret Hayagriva tsog kong to benefit the entire FPMT organization and to remove obstacles related to the pandemic. Prayers to Hayagriva are especially beneficial in these degenerate times when sufferings and illnesses are uncontrolled. As a manifestation of Chenrezig, Hayagriva practice also helps develop compassion and is very powerful for generating merit as well.

Rinpoche frequently visited the great stupas of Boudhanath and Swayambhunath to circumambulate and make offerings and prayers. Sometimes Rinpoche would go in the evenings, sometimes after teachings, sometimes on the way back from trips in Kathmandu or other places.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Khadro-la, Mingyur Rinpoche, and Tosknyi Rinpoche during puja at Namo Buddha, Nepal

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Khadro-la, Mingyur Rinpoche, and Tosknyi Rinpoche during puja at Namo Buddha, Nepal, July 6, 2021. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

On Lhabab Duchen Rinpoche offered pujas, prayers, and five-colored khatas with Khadro-la at Swayambunath.

When Rinpoche goes to Swayambunath or Boudhanath he usually does korwa (circumambulation) while reciting the mantras that increase the power of making circumambulation. Students in attendance join in as Rinpoche recites out loud In Praise of Dependent Origination by Lama Tsongkhapa, followed by several repetitions of the Confession of Downfalls to the Thirty-five Buddhas and Vajrasattva mantra to purify. At the end of the circumambulations, Rinpoche leads a group offering of five-colored khatas to the stupa and dedication prayers. During the circumabulations, Rinpoche also offers incense and rice visualized as wish-granting jewels, blesses the dogs, and turns the prayer wheels. When circumambulating Swayambunath, Rinpoche stops in front of places where the bodies of those who have died are being cremated, spending a long time making prayers and reciting the requesting prayer to Chenrezig.

Following the conclusion of the teachings at the nunnery at the end of December, Rinpoche traveled to Pokhara. Located about 120 miles (190 kilometers) west and north of Kathmandu, Pokhara is a major tourist destination and is where the FPMT center Ganden Yiga Chözin Buddhist Meditation Centre is located. While there, Rinpoche used every moment to benefit others, offering Heruka incense puja, teaching at the center, and blessing the fish and all beings in the lake.

Rinpoche attended the winter debates of both Kopan Monastery and Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery in October.

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Rinpoche famously cherishes every sentient being and benefits beings in all realms continuously.

This year, Rinpoche bought six goats from a butcher on the side of the road in Kathmandu. These animals were liberated on behalf of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, all the Kopan monks and nuns, and for India and Nepal to be free from COVID-19. The goats were saved from death and will live the rest of their lives at the Animal Liberation Sanctuary near Kopan Monastery.

In August, Rinpoche liberated and blessed a water buffalo. These animals are often butchered for meat in Nepal.

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

Some of the students of Sangag Dechholing Gonpa School, Taplejung, Nepal, which receives support from the Social Services Fund.

Our Charitable Work

FPMT’s amazing Charitable Projects exist to benefit others in the most extensive ways possible. In 2021, an incredible US$3,798,254 was offered to initiatives including: support to 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 for your incredible kindness.

Highlights of 2021

The Social Services Fund offered support to seven different schools in Nepal and India that benefit thousands of students! In 2021, we offered an amazing US$250,432 to these educational institutions. These grants covered the entire operating budgets of the following schools:

Students of Sagarmatha Secondary School in Chailsa, Nepal, January, 2021.

  • Maitreya School, Bodhgaya, India, a free school for 300 students.
  • Rolwaling Sangag Choling Monastery School, Nepal, a free school that supports the education of 32 students.
  • Sangag Dechholing Gonpa School, Tapeljung, Nepal, a free school for 105 students.

In addition, grants were given to:

  • Ngari Institute, Ladakh, India, which provides education for 65 students. A grant was given for all the food for the students and staff for this year.
  • Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, India, where the salaries of all the teachers and staff, as well as textbooks and other resources, were covered.
  • Sagarmatha Secondary School in Chailsa, Nepal, a free school for 170 students that offers classes in Buddhist education. A grant was given for the salaries of all the teachers for the year, as well as for uniforms, and school supplies. With thanks to Yeshe Norbu Association for their continued support to this school.

Update on recent grant recipient:

  • Samtenling Monastery in Boudhanath, Nepal, provides education for 104 students. We are happy to report that due to a grant previously given, they have almost completed a new four-story school building. Thanks to Unione Buddhista Italiana for support in raising this grant.

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The Social Services Fund offered support to hundreds of Tibetans living in seven homes for the elderly in India. In 2021, we offered an amazing US$286,887 in grants to these eldercare homes, which covered the shortfall or the entire operating budgets of each:

  • Jampaling Elders’ Home, Dharamsala, provides food, shelter, and medical services to 156 residents.
  • Lugsam Samduling Home for the Aged and Disabled, Bylakuppe, looks after 46 residents, living in extremely modest conditions.
  • Rabgayling Old Age Home, Hunsur, is a modest eldercare home that serves 20 residents.
  • Dhondenling Old People Home, Kollegal, cares for 32 elderly Tibetan residents. In addition to covering the operating costs, an additional grant was given toward the completion of a community hall that will benefit all in the settlement as a place to meet, conduct prayers, and do community activities.

Elders receiving care at Doegueling Old Age Home, Mundgod, India, February 2021.

  • Doeguling Home for Elderly and Disabled, Mundgod, cares for 103 elderly residents. In addition to covering the shortfall of the budget, an additional grant was given to the corpus fund, which is already contributing to the sustainability of the home.
  • Old People’s Home Odisha Phuntsokling Settlement, Orissa, is caring for 19 Tibetan elders.
  • Chauntra Dhonden Old People’s Home, Bir, cares for 24 elders and support was offered for their building infrastructure.

In addition, construction continues for an amazing 35-foot (9-meter) stupa close to Rabgayling Old Aged Home in Hunsur, India, so the elders can easily generate merit by circumambulating it. Rinpoche has explained the importance of not only offering essential support to the elders but also providing ways to create merit, such as by circumambulating holy objects.

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The Social Services Fund offered substantial support to the poor and disadvantaged in Mongolia, Nepal, and India. In 2021, we offered US$267,540 in grants toward the annual operating expenses of the following organizations that are working directly with those most in need:

  • Shakyamuni Clinic, Bodhgaya, India, is a medical clinic that offers help to those most in need in Bodhgaya and surrounding areas.
  • 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 also cares for animals in need.
  • 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.
  • Patient Care Trust, an NGO operating in India, facilitates access to quality healthcare and organizes free medical camps with partner hospitals. This project is able to provide timely access to affordable quality healthcare for the socially marginalized Tibetan Refugees.

Additional support offered:

  • Monks blessing the new ambulance for Rabgayling Tibetan Settlement, Hunsur, India, July 2021.

    We sponsored two new ambulances, one for the Rabgayling Tibetan Settlement, which will be used to transport those in need to Phende Hospital, and another ambulance that will benefit 20,000 people living in two Tibetan settlements in Bylakuppe. The ambulances were urgently required during the peak of the pandemic and were equipped with extra oxygen supplies.
  • A grant was offered to Kopan Helping Hands and to the Central Tibetan Relief Committee for support in the form of direct cash assistance, as an emergency relief measure to alleviate the financial burden of the most vulnerable households in India and Nepal.
  • Sponsorship of food for 125 families in the Paonta Cholsum Tibetan Settlement, in Himachal Pradesh. This included essential staples of rice, wheat flour, cooking oil, dal, and eggs. This offering was made on His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 86th Birthday.
  • We offered a grant for the building of the Tsum Community Center in the Swayambhunath area. The center will serve as a place for people from the region of Tsum to gather and offer prayers, particularly at the time of death, and to teach the younger generation in the area about the cultural traditions of Buddhism.

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The Supporting Ordained Sangha Fund offers support to nunneries and monasteries around the world. In 2021, an incredible US$1,145,524 was offered to support the precious Sangha with food, accommodation, education, practice support, and medical expenses. Some highlights of the grants given include:

  • Some of the young monks of Shalu Monastery, Mundgod, India.

    Gyudmed Tantric Monastery, Mysore, India, for the creation of a new food fund for the 575 monks, which will in the future cover all the costs of food for the monastery.
  • Shalu Monastery, Himachal Pradesh, India, for the annual costs of food for the 50 monks who study there.
  • Thame Monastery, Nepal, for the annual costs of food for the 22 monks who study there.
  • Idgaa Choizinling Monastery, Mongolia, for the annual cost of food for the 60 monks who study there.
  • Tashi Chime Gatsal Nunnery, a Kagyu nunnery in Nepal, for the sponsorship of the 80 nuns’ food and medical expenses during the time of their 100 million mani retreat and during the months of reciting the Tengyur. In addition, three teachers’ annual salaries were covered so the younger nuns can receive a proper education in the nunnery.
  • Gaden Jangtse Monastery, Mundgod, India, home to 1,530 monks, to cover the costs of their food for three months.

Some of the nuns of Tashi Chime Nunnery.

  • 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 Geluk Exams. In addition, US$150,000 was offered toward the support of Gelug Buddhist Association Nepal.
  • Grants were given for sponsorship and support to various IMI sangha through the Lama Yeshe Sangha Fund.

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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 all beings. In 2021, US$276,097 was offered toward these activities, including offering to thousands of Sangha who undertake the practices. Highlights of the many auspicious actions sponsored include:

  • Monks of Gyudmed Monastery, India, reciting sutra on Lhabab Duchen, 2021.

    Ongoing pujas and prayers, including the recitation of sutras by ten thousand Sangha on the merit multiplying Buddha days, as well 100,000 recitations of the Twenty-one Taras, recitations of Tengyur and Kangyur, recitations of Prajnaparamita sutras, monthly extensive Medicine Buddha pujas, Most Secret Hayagriva extensive tsog offering, and many other practices. This year the offerings to the Sangha who offer the practices, were increased eightfold.
  • Pujas were arranged and sponsored for the health and long life of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, as well as for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
  • Many extensive pujas and prayers were performed for those affected by the pandemic; to prevent impending wars or disharmonies; for the animals killed during the Darsain festival and turkeys killed for the Thanksgiving holiday; additionally prayers, pujas, and sponsorship of tsa-tsa creation was offered for those who died.
  • 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.
  • The Protecting the Environment and Living Beings Fund arranged 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.
  • Through the Practice and Retreat Fund, individuals were sponsored to undertake seven months of 108 nyung na retreats for the tenth consecutive year.
  • The Prajnaparamita Project now has five people writing the Prajnaparamita Sutra (8,000 and 12,000 verses) in Tibetan script, with perfect calligraphy and in pure gold. Lama Zopa Rinpoche also began writing the sutra after a ten-year break. Each person is working on a different volume, and the writing is happening continuously.

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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 2021, US$237,795 was offered toward many holy objects, including:

  • Some of the stupas of the 100,000 Stupa Project at Land of Medicine Buddha, Soquel, California.

    One thousand Buddha statues to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. These beautiful, gold-gilded statues were carefully made and filled. In October 2021, the actual offering of the statues to His Holiness was made. And in recent online teachings of His Holiness, the statues can be seen in the background.
  • The Padmasambhava Project for Peace offered a grant toward the new 6 foot (1.8 meter) statue of Padmasambhava at Nalanda Monastery.
  • The Stupa Fund offered a grant toward the 100,000 Stupa Project at Land of Medicine Buddha, US.
  • The Prayer Wheel Fund offered a grant toward a 9 foot (2.75 meter) prayer wheel in Taplejung, Nepal.

Amazing news to rejoice in:

  • The building of a 45 foot (13.7 meter) tall Padmasambhava statue with a 15 foot (4.6 meter) throne has now begun in Maratika, Nepal.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s endless capacity for benefiting others is demonstrated by all the charitable projects that he has initiated. Rinpoche generously offers support to a variety of social and charitable activities; to monasteries, nunneries, and Sangha around the world; to FPMT centers, projects, and services; and for prayers, practices, pujas, and much, much more.

The Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund enables Rinpoche’s compassionate service to others to flourish, and this year was an incredible year for giving. In 2021, US$1,018,802 was offered through the Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund. Some highlights include:

  • Some monks of Gyudmed Tantric Monastery, Hunsur, India, enjoying a meal offered through the new Food Fund.

    Sponsorship of 108 Aspects of Chenrezig at Kopan Monastery, Nepal. These will be mounted on the walls of the newly built Chenrezig Gompa.
  • Sponsorship of a beautiful standing Ksitigharba statue to a remote village of Nepal as protection from disaster and the elements and for the benefit all of beings.
  • Sponsorship of the printing of a precious commentary on Heruka Body Mandala that was given by His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche. After being transcribed and checked extensively, it was printed in Tibetan and distributed free to monasteries and nunneries. His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered the foreword and Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche had previously requested Lama Zopa Rinpoche to actualize the project and print the books.
  • Offerings toward the new Gyudmed Tantric University Food Fund.
  • Offerings toward a retreat house for one of Rinpoche’s gurus and a number of others who are undertaking serious retreats.
  • Offerings toward the Dharma education of a number of young incarnate lamas who are studying in the great monasteries in India.

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Taking care of all sentient beings, including insects and animals, is a high priority for Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Rinpoche continually reminds 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 2021, US$40,612 was offered directly to benefit animals. Some highlights include:

  • Khadro-la and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Maratika, Nepal, blessing a goat Rinpoche had saved from death a years ago, April 2021. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

    Taru Gayphel Tsogspa Animal Welfare Society, Ladakh, was offered a grant for the care of the 85 animals at the facility. Additionally, Lama Zopa Rinpoche asked that eight 5 foot (1.5 meter) tall stupas be built on the land so that the animals can circumambulate the stupas.
  • Through the Animal Liberation Fund approximately 65,6721 animals were liberated and blessed at Kachoe Dechen Ling, Nepal, and Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, 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.
  • A horse in Italy, a water buffalo and many, many goats in Nepal were saved personally by Rinpoche this year. Rinpoche always spends a lot of time reciting mantras to each animal that is saved and taking them around holy objects.
  • Sangha in Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, Washington, US, continued the weekly animal liberation practice Charity to Ants and when possible blessed the beings in different lakes with mantras and blessed water.

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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 2021, US$148,605 was offered to support educational activities. Some highlights of the grants given include:

  • a monk with scientific equipment with a scientist, put seated on the ground

    A Sera Je monk wearing equipment to monitor brain activity with Prof. Bruno Neri, part of a Sera Je Monastic University, India, and University of Pisa, Italy, partnership, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Mind Science Academy.

    Sponsorships towards the translation of Sutra of Great Liberation, Ornament of the Essence, and other texts.
  • Sponsorship of the translation of 17 Nalanda Masters and History of Nalanda Monastery in Bengali.
  • Offerings for work on developing new educational programs.
  • Grants to the Mind Science Academy in Italy, which focuses on Buddhist mind science.
  • Grants towards support of students completing final FPMT Basic Program retreats in a center.
  • Annual Grants from the Merit Box to support a wide range of Dharma activity.
  • Offerings to assist with hardships incurred due to COVID-19.

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View Financial Charts for 2021 Charitable Project Grants

The table and chart outline the direct grants of US$3,798,254 during 2021 to FPMT’s Charitable Projects.

* Bodhichitta Fund disbursements include offerings to various monasteries and projects in India and Nepal of US$734,734; donations to FPMT centers and projects of US$73,476; offerings and sponsorship of holy objects of US$98,419; and sponsorship of Tibetan and Western Sangha, offering practices for the organization, and care of our Spiritual Director of US$112,173.

* 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 review.

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

Offering 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.

Programs

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

Highlights for 2021

  • Shakyamuni Buddha.

    The new Exploring Buddhism program was created to prepare students to engage in more advanced Buddhist studies, such as the FPMT Basic Program, through introducing key Buddhist philosophical concepts and connecting them to the context of practice and realization. The pilot program began in May 2021 and is currently hosted by twenty FPMT centers.
  • The new introductory-level Buddhist Mind Science course was in development to bring both Buddhist and scientific perspectives to bear on the mechanisms of suffering and happiness, finding mental balance, and how to discover and develop our potential for compassion and wisdom. The first module will have its pilot run in the second quarter of 2022.
  • Preliminary work on gathering feedback for revising the Discovering Buddhism program has been completed and the objectives of the revision have been finalized. The different components of the revised program will be rolled out in 2022.
  • The FPMT Masters Program is our most advanced education program. Residential and full-time, it consists of six years of study and a one year of retreat. Graduates support FPMT programs and centers as teachers, teaching assistants, tutors, interpreters, translators, and so forth. The current programs at Nalanda Monastery and Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa reached their completion with reviews facilitated by FPMT Education Services. Focusing on integration and practice, students discussed and wrote an essay for each of the six subjects studied, before entering their year-long retreats. 
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 under the advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and to be aligned with the highest academic standards. Being an international organization of Tibetan Buddhism, 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 Publications in 2021

New publications composed, arranged, or translated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche:

  • A long life prayer for Kopan’s Khen Rinpoche Geshe Thubten Chonyi composed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche—An Excellent Stream of Nectar of Immortality, translated by Sze Gee Toh
  • Names and Mantra of the Twenty-One Tārās, arranged by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, translated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Ven. Thubten Dekyong
  • Abbreviated Praise to the Twenty-One Tārās, translated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
  • Two texts translated on the urgent request of Lama Zopa Rinpoche:
    • The Benefits of Guru Padmasambhava Statues, translated by Ven. Tenzin Namjong
    • Noble Great Dharani, translated by Joona Repo; Also translated into Russian, Italian, and Spanish.

Other new practice booklets:

  • A Palden Lhamo prayer by His Holiness the Dalai Lama—The All-Pervasive Sphere of Great Bliss, Free of Elaboration: Requesting Activities of Palden Lhamo, translated by Ven. Tenzin Namjong
  • FPMT Essential Prayer Book
  • The Yoga of the Three Purifications of Śrī Cakrasaṃvara, translated by Joona Repo

New and Updated Translations in 2021

FPMT Translation Services has taken on translations of several long sutras on the advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Two of these sutras are expected to be be published in 2022:

  • The All-Expansive Great Liberation Sutra, translated by Ven. Gyalten Lekden
  • The Kṣitigarbha Ten Wheels Mahāyāna Sūtra from the Great Collection, translated by Gavin Kilty

Updates and revised editions:

  • Practices of Arya Sitatapatra, translated by Joona Repo
  • The Norbu Zangpo Zung, translated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s composition:

  • Extensive Offering Practice
  • Everflowing Nectar of Bodhicitta
  • Shakyamuni Buddha Daily Meditation
  • Vajrasattva Short Meditation

Wisdom Culture Series Publications in 2021

The Wisdom Culture series is a new collaboration between FPMT International Office and Wisdom Publications that published its first volume in 2021: The Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Lama Tsongkhapa. Philip Quarcoo’s translation is the first complete English-language translation of this essential lamrim text.

Mantras and Dharanis Updated in 2021

We checked, transliterated, and updated our collection of mantras and dharanis (zungs) with commentaries by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and common mantras recommended by Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Updated mantras and dharanis with commentaries by Lama Zopa Rinpoche:

  • The Six Syllable Wisdom Mantra
  • Mantra to Avert the Pollution from Consuming Offerings
  • Celestial Mansion Extremely Secret Sublime Success Mantra
  • Lotus Pinnacle of Amoghapāśa Mantra
  • Mantra of Great Wisdom Vimaloṣṇīṣa
  • Zung of the Completely Pure Stainless Light
  • Great Wisdom Mantra —The Dhāraṇī Mantra whose Recitation is Equivalent to Reciting the Whole of the Ārya Lankāvatāra Sūtra
  • The Mantra Promised by Ārya Mother Liberator Herself for Dispelling Obstacles and Achieving Success
  • And more …

Common mantras checked and transliterated:

  • Amitabha homage mantra
  • Amitayus mantras
  • Chenrezig mantras
  • Ksitigarbha mantras
  • Maitreya mantras
  • Medicine Buddha mantras
  • Namgyalma mantras
  • Five Powerful Mantras
  • Ten Powerful Mantras for the Time of Death
  • Mantras to Recite for the Dying
  • Most Secret Hayagriva – Request and Mantra
  • Miscellaneous Mantras: for washing, Make Charity of the Contaminants of the Body, Prevent Being Stained by Faults When Stepping on Holy Objects and the Shadows of Gurus and Holy Objects, Mantra to Bless Meat
  • And more …
Distribution

The Foundation Store is FPMT’s online shop with a vast selection of Buddhist study and practice materials in accordance with the lineage of our teachers.

Highlights for 2021

  • Rinpoche with new book from Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive “Lam Rim Year”, available in ebook format in the Foundation Store.

    In order to make it easier for FPMT students to find prayers and practice materials, we designed a new catalogue page of prayers and practices. From this page, students can find a collection of all FPMT Education Services prayers, practices, and advice materials that are available as downloadable PDFs, ebooks, and audio MP3s. This collection is organized into the following categories: Deity Practices & Prayers; Other Prayers & Practices; Mantras & Holy Names; Sutras & Dharani; Teachings, Advice, & Commentaries; Texts & Translations; Pilgrimage Manuals; and Printable Images and Audio Recordings.
  • More than 18,000 PDF and ebooks; 919 online programs; 2,120 digital audio; and 2,872 digital cards, posters, and calendar were downloaded.
  • The Foundation Store continued to distribute PDFs, ebooks, and audio from FPMT translation groups, Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, Kopan Monastery, FPMT nunneries, Wisdom Publications, Ediciones Dharma, FDCW, Nalanda Edizioni, and Happy Monks Publication, among others. A total of 4,973 of their titles were downloaded—a ninety-one percent increase over last year—including 1,535 prayers and practices in other languages.
  • FPMT Education materials are also distributed on third party platforms like Kindle, Apple, Google Music, Spotify, and others. A total of 2,556 ebooks were ordered through Kindle, Smahswords, and Google Play. Students ordered 407 FPMT titles through Print-On-Demand. A total of 215,476 mantras and mediations were streamed.
  • The Foundation Store processed 11,621 orders from 5,774 customers for a total of 26,960 individual items ordered. This generation a total of US$105,848 in sales and donations. Proceeds from Dharma items of US$75,942 was offered to a number of holy objects and Dharma services.
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.

Highlights for 2021

  • A total of 1,486 new accounts were created on the FPMT Online Learning Center. This brings the total number of registered users to 24,071. Users initiated 1,677 new discussion posts.
  • The OLC website received 50,721 visits from 17,083 visitors.

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

Foundation Service Seminar facilitator Annelies van der Heijden, Nalanda Monastery, France, September 2021. Photo by Ven. Zoksang.

Supporting Centers & Teachers

With the help of regional and 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 between Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT centers, projects, and services; coordinate Rinpoche’s teaching schedule (when travel is allowed); and facilitate the placement of resident geshes and teachers at centers.

Created in 2020, 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.

Centers and Teachers

A line of people dressed in white clothing holding white scarves as they approach the teacher seated at the front of the room.

Tony Migalka, Judy Wagner, Jan Vaughan, and Cathy Davis making long life offerings to Gen Dondrub at Buddha House, Adelaide, South Australia, June 2021. Photo by Joanne Foo.

At the end of 2021, there were 150 centers, projects, services, and study groups in 38 countries worldwide that are under the spiritual direction of Lama Zopa Rinpoche with support from FPMT International Office, including one new study group. Nine study groups closed this year, partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. One service closed. And one center reverted to a study group.

There are thirty geshes resident in FPMT centers and eleven registered teachers in residence. The FPMT Registered Teacher List includes 157 Foundational Buddhism Teachers and ninety-three In-Depth Buddhism teachers. In 2021, we registered eight new Foundational level teachers and three new In-Depth level teachers. Additional highlights include the following:

  • In March, we released the new FPMT Protecting from Abuse Policy, and its support, the FPMT Protecting from Abuse Training Course. This new policy and training were the result of our work with the recommendations made by Thirtyone:eight in the safeguarding audit we commissioned, combined with recommendations and input from various other key stakeholders, including work already done in this area by some FPMT centers. Thirtyone:eight reviewed the Protecting from Abuse policy and training course, and expressed their satisfaction with our implementation of their recommendations. The policy and course were translated into Chinese, French, Tibetan, Spanish, and Italian.

To complement the Protecting from Abuse policy, a new package of guidelines was released to increase support for all teachers. Resources in this package include the booklet Advice on How to Relate to Spiritual Teachers, the guidelines “Avoiding Allegations of Misconduct,” and a new presentation “Trauma Informed Practice in the Dharma Context.” Three versions of our new “Complaints and the Remedial Process” were also shared—one for registered teachers, one for resident geshes and teachers, and one for teachers on our Tibetan teacher List.

  • In June, the FPMT Inc. Board approved changes to the FPMT Publishing Policy for affiliates. The main change was based on a request to give local publishing services the right to the first option to publish teachings given at local FPMT centers. All FPMT publishing services agreed with the requested change, and this is now policy. This section of policy also includes policy and guidelines related to copyright, so we took the opportunity to also update the wording to more clearly include electronic or digital media.

Meetings and Training

FPMT service seminars provide support and training to those offering service, and those wishing to offer service, within FPMT centers, projects, and services. The seminars help develop a shared understanding of the FPMT mission and establish a firm basis to serve joyfully and effectively within the organization.

  • Students sit in a circle with notes on their foreheads

    FSS participants playing an Inner Job Description game, Nalanda Monastery, September 2021. Photo by Marine Cecilia.

    A Foundation Service Seminar was hosted by Nalanda Monastery, France in September. One participant shared:

“The FSS was a joy and happiness for me. It was very helpful to understand the structure of the FPMT, to feel the history of the organization. It helped very much as a coordinator because now I have a lot in terms of practical experience. I think it was for the first time when I really felt that I have a lot of people behind me… Now I feel like I’m part of a whole family.”

  • A Teacher Development Service Seminar was hosted by Nalanda Monastery in November. Nalanda Monastery commented on their Facebook page:

“The course instilled a strong sense of being part of a lineage in all those who participated. We all became aware of the potential that we have to share the Dharma in our own unique and creative way while at the same time preserving its pure essence. As Lama Yeshe said, ‘Everybody is teaching every moment of twenty-four hours of every day.’ To acknowledge this can make us aware of the profound influence we have on others, and thus the responsibility we have to embody what we teach. Besides the richness of content and discussion in the course, we also feel enriched by the sense of community that was invoked within us.”

All regional and national meetings were online this year. Regional and national coordinators continued to provide considerable support to affiliates through providing programming online and working out the safest ways to provide onsite services.

Other Highlights within the Organization
  • Live with Compassion poster at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.

    In June we created four beautiful high resolution posters combining Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Live with Compassion quote with portraits of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. This was because Rinpoche requested every FPMT center, project, and service to prominently display the quote, as it encapsulates the essence of the practice of students in the FPMT organization.
  • We offered Merit Box grants totalling US$35,950 to thirteen affiliates for beneficial purposes. (Fifteen grants were made in total, see the Merit Box homepage for more details.)
  • The UECW Pillar of Service: His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the patron of the FPMT project, the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom (FDCW), and provided a video message for their Compassion and Wisdom in Action conference. Lama Zopa Rinpoche also provided a video message for the conference, focusing on compassion and kindness.
  • The nineteenth FPMT International Sangha Day was celebrated. 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.
  • Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translation Program launched their fully online Tibetan language study program: Foundations in Tibetan Language.
  • The FPMT center Istituto Lama Tsong Khapa, Italy, created a Mind Science Academy to work on integrating ancient Buddhism wisdom (mind science) with Western secular academic study. As part of its work, the Mind Science Academy is collaborating successfully with several universities in Italy. This project is already bringing many benefits and could be used as a model for other FPMT centers to develop relationships with local universities and experience similar benefits.

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. In 2021, digital technology remained of the utmost importance for connecting with this international community.

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

Highlights for 2021

  • Our daily online blog, FPMT News, published 241 items. This includes thirty-three summaries of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s thought transformation video teachings plus additional posts sharing Rinpoche’s news and additional advice. 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.
  • The daily and weekly email digests of FPMT News reached more than 3,400 subscribers.
  • Our monthly e-newsletter, the FPMT e-News (International Office News), was sent to 47,000 recipients and included updates from FPMT International Office and the broader FPMT organization.
  • Six new photo albums were added to the Lama Zopa Rinpoche Photo Gallery, documenting Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s activities for the year.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people around the world connected with FPMT through Facebook and Twitter, and with Lama Zopa Rinpoche on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Our CPMT e-group shared information with the many people working in service within the FPMT organization.
Rinpoche Online

We continued to offer timely online access to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings through live video streaming and recorded video and audio.

Highlights for 2021

  • FPMT International Office offered thirty-three new videos from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, all recorded at Kopan Monastery in Nepal, as Lama Zopa Rinpoche was not touring due to the pandemic.
  • Rinpoche’s video teachings were translated into multiple languages. All of the teachings given by Rinpoche 2021 were translated into Italian and Spanish, and many into French, Chinese, and Portuguese.
  • A total of 136,600 hours of video were seen on FPMT’s YouTube channel, which is a thirty percent increase over the last year. Our videos had 1,090,000 views. A total of 14,423 hours of video were seen on Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Facebook page.
  • Ven. Joan Nicell transcribed all of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings and the transcripts are available for download.
  • The essence of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings is continuously being captured in short videos excerpts. We continued to produce these short videos—commonly referred to as Essential Extracts—in three languages. All of these short videos are accessible from our Essential Extracts landing page and each have transcripts.
  • FPMT International Office continued archiving and organizing digital media into a digital assets management system. We archived more than 50,000 images dating back to 1999 and more than 100 videos in 2021.
  • In August, in order to facilitate listening to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings, we launched a podcast featuring Rinpoche’s full-length teachings. The podcast has twenty-two episodes and was downloaded 1,740 times. You can find this podcast in most popular podcast apps searching for “Lama Zopa Rinpoche full-length teachings.”

Find complete video, transcripts, and MP3 audio from Rinpoche’s teaching events: fpmt.org/rinpochenow/.

Our Website

International Office’s website, FPMT.org, had more than 1.2 million unique views in 2021. With the on-going pandemic, the functionality and usefulness of our website continued to be a top priority.

Highlights for 2021

  • We migrated to a new social media sharing plugin that allows us to seamlessly publish our posts to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • In preparation for WordPress’ launch of the Gutenberg editor we upgraded several versions of jQuery and PHP code replacing deprecated functions in our theme, templates, and plugins.
  • We added Google’s ReCaptcha V3 software on our registration and login pages. This not only makes our website more secure, but also implements Google’s latest technology that verifies if someone is human without any interaction from the end user. For example, the end user no longer needs to type in a phrase, match images, or check a box saying “I am not a robot.”
  • We installed the Yoast SEO plugin allowing us to customize our meta information for pages and posts on our website. This allows us to increase our page rank in search engines using the latest strategies.
  • We transitioned all of our web images to use Google’s WebP file format, replacing the JPEG, PNG, and GIF formats. WebP yields files that are smaller for the same quality, or of higher quality for the same size. It supports both lossy and lossless compression, as well as animation and alpha transparency.
  • We installed the Slider Revolution plugin on our website allowing us to display current announcements in visually dynamic ways.
Mandala

In March 2021, we published the last issue of Mandala magazine as a digital PDF magazine. The issue’s cover story, “The Time to Practice is Now: Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Teachings on Thought Transformation during the Time of COVID-19,“ provided a detailed summary of the key points Rinpoche taught on in 2020, shared materials associated with these teachings, and explored how the FPMT community was responding to the first year of the pandemic.

With the dissolution of Mandala magazine, we engaged in a process of reviewing and reimagining how we share news, advice, updates, new videos, and other online content with our readers. We also made updates to staffing and formed a Communications department.

The online, multimedia content that is now published daily on FPMT.org represents the continuation of Mandala. To help highlight and navigate this content, we’ve created new pages and made some updates and changes to existing pages, including:

  • A new What’s New page, where you can find a wealth of new stories, videos, podcasts, photos, and more on FPMT.org.
  • An updated In-Depth Stories page. This is where you can find our longer stories that cover a wide array of topics—from pilgrimage tales to interviews with students about their study and practice, from profiles of teachers to explanations of key aspects of Buddhist practice.
  • A new Obituaries page, where you can read about students who have recently passed away. You can also find links to our new process for submitting obituaries.
  • Updated Submission Guidelines. If you would like to submit or suggest a story for FPMT.org, be sure to read over these guidelines.
  • An updated Mandala page, where we share the history of our beloved magazine and links to the Mandala archives and other important resources.

We continue to explore and imagine new and expanded ways to bring you the advice, stories, interviews, and updates that help you feel inspired and connected to the international FPMT community.

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 2021, US$5,295,000 in donations and legacies to FPMT-managed funds came from 2,950 supporters in 77 different countries.

Fundraising

Friends of FPMT

With an average of over 1,000 active supporting members each year, our Friends of FPMT membership program for International Office provides a solid base of support for our work. Friends supporters in turn are offered access to online study courses and programs, downloadable materials and ebooks, electronic archives of Mandala Publications, the Liberation Calendar, and more. In 2021, 1,184 supporters donated $288,961 as Friends of FPMT.

Work a Day for Rinpoche

Each year, in the weeks leading up to Saka Dawa, the Work a Day for Rinpoche drive inspires support for the Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s International Office. The concept of the campaign invites supporters to offer a day’s work earnings (or any amount) in dedication of Rinpoche’s vision, essentially “working a day” for Dharma projects and activities of the office. Included in the campaign is one of Rinpoche’s Vast Visions for the organization—to recite the Sutra of Golden Light as much as possible around the world—offering a way for inspired students to participate outside of financial donations. The Work a Day for Rinpoche Fund received $62,671 in offerings, coming from 50 countries, in 2021.

Give Where Most Needed Fund

This fund offers an unrestricted option of giving. Donations received can be used for any International Office activity or for other projects or initiatives that serve the FPMT mission. The fund provides stability and resources for when new projects arise or for any unplanned budget shortfalls. The Give Most Needed Fund received $99,498 in generous support from donors in 2021.

International Merit Box Project

The year 2021 marked the nineteenth year of Merit Box Project grant making. We disbursed US$34,950 donated by Merit Box practitioners in support of FPMT communities. Fifteen Dharma projects within the FPMT international community received these funds. We invite you to see the list of recipients. With the rapid digitization of our lives effecting the use and distribution of physical Merit Boxes over the years, the sustained generosity and dedication of Merit Box supporters and supporting communities is something to rejoice in!

Income, Expenses & Disbursements

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 Directors¹. Finances are divided between general funds (unrestricted), and funds designated for specific charitable projects (restricted funds).²

In 2021, total unrestricted operating income for International Office was US$1,327,024, and total operating expenses were US$1,088,154, resulting in an operating surplus of US$238,870.³

In 2021, the total restricted income for the Charitable Projects was US$5,295,000, and the total disbursements and expenses for credit card and administration fees were US$4,084,043.

FPMT also processes and manages funds on behalf of others, and in 2021 these funds had income of US$1,373,030 and disbursements of US$988,686.

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 2021.

* 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 2021 in this photo gallery of our activities around the world this year. We invite you to rejoice along with us through this beautiful visual presentation. View the gallery.

Big Thanks to All!

All of our 2021 accomplishments are due to the kindness of the FPMT centers, projects, services, teachers, students, volunteers, and benefactors who supported us this year.

We also offer our heartfelt thanks to our generous 2021 volunteers, who gave their time and enthusiasm with sincere devotion:

  • All of the Sangha offering service at Kachoe Dechen Ling, Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, Root Institute, Kopan Monastery, and Ganden Do Ngag Shedrup Ling who offer daily prayers, practices, and extensive offerings for the FPMT organization.
  • The Sangha at Nalanda Monastery and in particular Ven. Tenzin Thekchok; the students and tsa-tsa makers of Ganden Tendar Ling Center (Moscow), Aryadeva Study Group (St. Petersburg), and in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and in particular Tatiana Ilina and Andrey Lomonosov; and the Sangha at Kachoe Dechen Ling and Buddha Amitabha Pure Land who make extensive prayers and tsa-tsas for those who are sick or have passed away.
  • Regional and national coordinators past and present: Ianzhina Bartanova, Paloma Fernandez Garcia, Selina Foong, Lara Gatto, Frances Howland, Francisco “Kiko” Llopis, Mauricio Roa Mackenzie, Drolkar McCallum, Ven Barbara Shannon, Deepthy Shekhar, Peter Stickels, and Gilda Urbina.
  • FPMT Service Seminar Coordinator, Amy Cayton; and all Service Seminar registered facilitators.
  • The generous individuals who volunteer their time to us in a variety of ways—Geshe Thubten Jangchub, Geshe Ngawang Sangye, Geshe Lobsang Sherab, Gen Tenpa Choden, Ven. Lobsang Sherab, Ven. Thubten Tendar, Ven. Lhundrup Topgye, Ven. Tsen-la, Ven. Fran Mohoupt, Ven. Tenzin Namdrol, Ven. Thubten Munsel, Ven. Dekyong, Ven. Steve Carlier, Ven. Tenzin Namjong, Ven. Tenzin Legtsog, Ven. Gyalten Lekden, Ven. Tenzin Dekyong, Ven. Tenzin Gyurme, Ven. Angie Muir, Ven. Thubten Choying, Ven. Thubten Kunkyen, Ven. Tenzin Dorje, Ven. Jinpa Gyeltsen, Alexis Ben El Hadj, Matt Bourgeois, Laura Haughey, Alexandria Levy, Angela Neo, Francesca Paoletti, Tubten Pende, Vianney Remple, and Debra Thornburg.

We also offer much gratitude and many thanks to Michael Jolliffe, who started working for International Office in May 2008 and left in March 2021. Michael worked as an assistant editor for Mandala and as editorial staff for Education Services. Much gratitude and thanks to Ven. Joan Nicell, who became our Foundational Program Coordinator in August 2014 and stepped down from that position in March 2021. Heartfelt thanks to Tom Truty, who served as the director of FPMT Education Services from 2010 to August 2021. And many thanks to Nicole Parisi-Smith, who was the assistant editor for Mandala from March 2018 to August 2021.

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 Lama Zopa Rinpoche 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 2022, may you have perfect happiness and be free from every suffering!

Thank you so much for reading our Annual Review 2021
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 below, or contact our Office Assistant:

Charitable Projects | Education Services | Center Services | Teacher Services
Communications | Foundation Store | Donor Services | Finance

Annual Review Archive

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

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