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Rinpoche at Nalanda Monastery being interviewed for French TV, May 2009
Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving Chöd commentary at Maitripa College, June 2009
To find more information as it becomes available, and for details of how to contact the center and register for these events, please go to Rinpoche’s Schedule. We have recently updated this webpage to be even easier for you to use!
NEW Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Large Thangkas and Thangka Festivals in FPMT Vast Visions
Rinpoche has encouraged as part of the Vast Visions for FPMT to support, create and display large thangkas, and to host thangka festival days where many people can gather to enjoy the beauty and power of the holy artwork, and participate in making offerings and other virtuous activities.
One such thangka event is held annually at the Land of Medicine Buddha in California. Into its seventh year, the Annual Medicine Buddha Festival Day was an enormous success. A procession of offerings accompanied the huge and exquisite Medicine Buddha thangka to its display grounds. Attended by Kyabje Choden Rinpoche, the festival featured prayers, music, dancing, public talks on Tibtean medicine, activities for children and the exhibition of the Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour.
Enjoy brief glimpses of Rinpoche on our streaming videos page, including a link to the streaming videos from the Mani retreat at Institut Vajra Yogini!
“Face painting” – one of the activities for kids.
Procession leading the Medicine Buddha thankga from the gompa up the hill to the Memorial Shrine, with music, banners, scarves, incense and flowers.
24 ft Medicine Buddha thankga is unveiled, displayed between two tall redwood trees along with the first four of the newly commissioned Eight Bodhisattva thangkas.
here and I’m averaging four hours sleep a night and I’ve done 47,000 prostrations and …
How would we lay people tell our friends about this last month? How would we explain the sleep deprivation, the fifteen hour’s sitting a day, the pain, the discomfort, the purification, the precepts, the whole works? How would we explain our south of France holiday that had no alcohol, clubs, swimming pools, no sex? How would we explain all this?
In a word … Rinpoche.
Who else could put us through all this?
Who else could help us understand and endure it?
Who else could give us the chance to do 100 million manis for His Holiness?
Who else could give us a month face to face with our self-cherishing?
Who else could help us open our hearts to others?
Who else could introduce us to our minds and give us the tools to deal with it?
Who else could inspire and energize us so we can actually enjoy it?
Who else could create this pure land we are living in?
In four words … Kyabje Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.
You are patience, but maybe when teaching us you still have to use the mantra You gave us to increase patience. Many of us who have sat before You for decades still haven’t got it but You never give up on us. You never give up on anyone. Rinpoche, never ever give up on us no matter how long it takes.
With the way You live, You are our ultimate role model, showing us by example how it is possible to live in complete purity.
You combine wisdom and compassion in a way that is the perfect antidote for all of us ‘illusioned’ students. Knowing our minds, You have the skill to crack even the thickest of the thick-skulled ones amongst us. You take us from tears of unbearable compassion to tears of laughter, laughing at Yourself, playing with words, even sometimes manifesting forgetfulness to make the old ones amongst us feel better.
The breadth of the methods You use on us is amazing. Amazing! No matter how deluded we might be, You have a means to bring us benefit. You teach us to trust You, and You teach us to take responsibility for our own lives.
You present us the broadest picture and the finest detail, from how to play the cymbals to the meaning of one word in a prayer. You play with our minds, creating conditions where we are confronted with our delusions and with our true (yet not truly existing) potential.
While we sleep our blissful four hours a day, You work, endless projects manifesting and growing like the offerings You ask us to make. It’s impossible to conceive the breadth of Your vision, the scope of Your projects. Manifesting in human form for us, surely in reality You must have a thousand arms and a thousand eyes just to be able to do a thousandth of the work You do for sentient beings.
Unexcelled master at explaining wisdom, even turning the dedications into a teaching on emptiness! From the most profound, to the most practical, effective methods we can use in our everyday life, for all the sentient beings who aren’t even there. At all. In the way we perceive them.
Above all, You are compassion. Unimaginable and vast compassion for all beings, from the wounded pigeon to the plane crash victims, to all of us wandering the six realms, full of delusions and suffering. Your incredible kindness to all us students!
When our self-cherishing reacts to the hours and the practice, You are our compassionate torturer.
When our minds are drunk with lethargy, You are our wake-up call.
When our self is crying ‘me, me,’ You are our bath of compassion.
When the child within cries enough, You lead us from delusion to awaken our potential.
When our hearts are open, You are our mother and father, all-loving.
You are always in our hearts, but …
What a joy! What a joy! To have You here with us for a full month! To be part of Your mandala and experience the family feeling of the FPMT. Like the mandala offering splitting into atoms, we’ll carry this inspiration back with us all over the world.
With our dull minds we can’t see a millionth of Your great qualities, a billionth, a zillionth, and yet, in our own deluded way, we can see some of what You do for us.
While we thrash about in samsara, eating, sleeping, working, making mistakes, You remain there immutable, the heart of our hearts.
Wow! You started the retreat by saying we should do for liberation what people do for football. People cheer when their country wins the European Cup. (Cheers! Cheers!) But here, at the end of this amazing – AMAZING! – retreat, we have just won a million European Cups full of merit (Cheers! Cheers!), a billion European Cups full of merit (Cheers! Cheers!), a zillion European Cups full of merit (Cheers! Cheers!), skies full of European Cups full of merit! (Cheers! Cheers!)
And that’s another thing. You’ve taught us how to rejoice.
So, Rinpoche, please, please, please have a long, long life. Please, please, please remain to guide us forever through all our future lives. Please be the unerring guide to all mother sentient beings and lead us all to enlightenment (which is empty from its own side) without even a second’s delay, by Yourself alone!
Precious Rinpoche, please, please, please live long!”
For more inspiration, please enjoy other statements of appreciation!
FPMT International Office is very sorry to say goodbye to Cheryl Gipson, who served as Director of Development from June 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. We deeply appreciate all that Cheryl has given to IOF and FPMT. Before Cheryl officially joined our team in Portland, she volunteered considerable time, working closely with Chuck Latimer, Eamon Walsh and the late Kim Hollingshead to upgrade FPMT’s technology structure and interface it with a dependable fund raising program. Cheryl was instrumental in converting the International Office’s database to an online database, Salesforce, which allows the office to more successfully manage our relationships with donors, members and supporters. Additionally, Cheryl has been the driving force behind our successful Membership Program composed of students and friends working together to support FPMT’s global activities. Cheryl leaves us to join Convio, a leading non-profit internet software company based in Austin, Texas, focused on online marketing, fundraising and advocacy. This is an incredible opportunity for her professionally and we’re encouraged that she’ll, “be able to benefit many, including the FPMT family.”
NEW! Heart Advice for Death and Dying, a program for FPMT centers, is now available on the Foundation Store. The program contains a detailed outline for five teachings and ten meditations. The hard copy version of the program also contains our new book Heart Advice for Death and Dying, 170 pages of commentary by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and MP3 CD of teachings and guided meditations by Ven. Sangye Khadro. A PDF version of the program is also being made available. Please note the PDF version does not include the book and MP3 CD so it is advised to purchase this separately as a resource for both teacher and student. For the same reason it is also advised to purchase Heart Practices for Death and Dying.
Basic Program: Nagarjuna C.E.T. Barcelona has completed their BP final exam with 8 out of 14 having passed. They will complete the three month retreat, starting with one month this summer, so as to earn their actual BP Completion Certificate. Thank you Barcelona!
Light the Path: The first of what is planned as an annual teaching event for the next five years is coming up quickly. These teachings by Rinpoche on Atisha’s text will be hosted by Kadampa Center in North Carolina, USA September 8-22. It is envisioned that a Light of the Path online program will be developed from these teachings and grow to include teachings by both Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche on all the fundamentals of the path: lam-rim, guru yoga and tantra. Sangha and teachers in particular are encouraged to attend this event. For those who cannot attend the teachings will be webcast.
NEW! Another resource we have recently made available on the FPMT Affiliates Area is a selection of self-evaluation cards that can be utilized by individuals or as part of any FPMT program. As good moral conduct is such a critical component of FPMT integrated education, these cards have been developed over the years to assist individuals wishing to track their behavior in an easy way. These self-evaluation cards have been used in both the Masters Program and various FPMT Service Training programs and it is hoped they will now be used more widely.
This is now available on the FPMT Affiliates Area, and is downloadable in English language, in letter and A4 formats, as well as for translation! Introduced at the CPMT, the Display Pack enables each FPMT center, study group, project and service to make known its organizational identity and message. Please use Rinpoche’s composition on compassion widely – the practice of compassion is a defining characteristic of the FPMT!
As the Center Directory page on the FPMT website becomes more embellished, please remember to send your center images to us and beautify your address listing! For an example, see Gendun Drubpa in Canada.
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Unique Activity for Saka Dawa
Many groups reported doing extensive virtuous activity for Saka Dawa, with some describing some particularly unique activities ….
Yeshe Gyaltsen Center in Cozumel, Mexico, for example, had the grand opening of their new center facilities on Saka Dawa. Moya Mendez, director, writes:
“… [W]e had moved our gompa various times from one location to another (each time smaller!), so my husband and I decided to go ahead and build the gompa. We started on May 18th and then I got it into my head that it would be very auspicious to have the grand opening on Saka Dawa. So I explained to the builders, electricians, plumbers, etc. about this auspicious day and that I would really like to have it done by then, and they truly performed miracles, working extra hours, happy to get plenty of merit!
It is a Mexican style with Tibetan colors, Mexican clay tile floor and wrought iron detail on the windows. The most spectacular piece was the door. My carpenter has a mute Mayan man who sometimes works for him and does incredible carving, and I explained how beneficial it would be for him to carve the auspicious symbols, so we built a large double door with the 8 auspicious symbols on the panels ….
There is also a garden with grass, and a kitchen, bathroom and palapa (palm shelter), so we can have tea and get-togethers after class, or eat our tsog!”
Metta None, director of Potowa Center, Indonesia, reported
“… [f]or Saka Dawa activity, in the morning we cooked with our brothers and sisters at Potowa Center. The meals were then distributed to homeless children, women and families, living mostly under the bridges in the center of metropolitan Jakarta, the wealthiest city of Indonesia, but where millions of people still live under the poverty line. This was a truly joyous
experience to witness the power of caring and generosity on the faces of these people. In the afternoon, we went to an orphanage for children with physical and mental disabilities. The highlight of the visit was a puppet show put up by our center members to illustrate the power of kindness. To the surprise of the orphanage’s caretakers, the puppet show was able to capture the residents’ attention, and make them unusually calm, cheerful, happy and behaving better! Additionally, we donated two wheelchairs, food, medicines, toiletries, diapers and various cleaning supplies to them.”
At a brief audience in Paris, Rinpoche personally offered 102 million recitations of the compassion mantra by the FPMT community to the Buddha of Compassion, His Holiness Dalai Lama.
Most of the recitations were accumulated at the Mani retreat led by Rinpoche at Institut Vajra Yogini (IVY) in France, which kicked off with close to 400 participants. Many members of the FPMT community joined in through home retreats off-site.
Included in the FPMT’s Vast Visions is the goal to gather 100,000 collections of 100 million mani recitations for encouraging the cultivation of the good heart. We are off to a great start – in addition to the IVY event, two retreats are being sponsored at Lapchig and Lhadak, which will have the additional merit of aiding the under-resourced monastic communities there.
IVY’s webcast of Rinpoche’s teachings at the Mani retreat were so popular that their website was getting 1,000 hits a day. Its success really shows webcasting is an effective means of reaching a wider audience for the host center and for the dissemination of Rinpoche’s teachings.
Keep checking for interesting opportunities to offer service in FPMT centers around the world. Volunteer positions are available at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, England, and O.sel.ling Retreat Center, Spain, among others.
Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India, urgently needs a Kitchen Manager from September 2009 to March 2010. Being in Bodhgaya, those working at Root literally walk in the footsteps of the Buddha! Applicants may contact email@example.com.
Chenrezig Institute in Queensland, Australia, has been looking for a Spiritual Programme Coordinator for some time. For more detail, please contact Maureen Walshe via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NB: center details are always most up to date in the directory on the FPMT website.
Atisha Center, Australia
New director – Cherry Rattue
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Diana Gee
Brazilian National Office
New national coordinator – Agnaldo Graciano
With grateful thanks to outgoing national coordinator – Marly Ferreira
Shantideva Meditation Group, USA
New coordinator – Ven. Lobsang Yangchen
With grateful thanks to outgoing coordinator – Aliki Nicolaides
Losang Drakpa Center, Malaysia
New director – Eric Gan
With grateful thanks to outgoing director – Yeo Puay Huei
New spiritual program coordinator – Yeo Puay Huei
With grateful thanks to outgoing co-spiritual program coordinators – Quah Kean Yang and Kieren Lim
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Dharma is a total way of life. It’s not just for breakfast, Sundays, or the temple. If you’re subdued and controlled in the temple but aggressive and uncontrolled outside of it, your understanding of Dharma is neither continuous nor indestructible.