- Rinpoche's Current Activities and Schedule
- His Holiness and our Lamas
- Lama Osel Rinpoche
- Rinpoche Hosts His Holiness
- Advice to a Center Director and Students
- Rinpoche Encourages us all
- Benefit of Prayer Wheels
Rinpoche has just been in Kopan Monastery for the consecration of Geshe Lama Konchog's stupa (click here for a photo). Rinpoche is now in Singapore and will give a teaching and Green Tara initiation over the weekend, and then spends three weeks in Hongkong giving various teachings and initiations (see http://www.fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/schedule.php or contact individual centers for more information).
Rinpoche will teach at Tubten Kunga Center, Florida between April 8 - 13th, before going to Institut Vajrayogini, Toulouse for the Four Kadam Deity Retreat (April 18 - May 11). Rinpoche then goes to Moscow, Russia to teach for the first time there from May 19 - 29th.
Then it's time for EEC 4 in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia! (The Enlightened Experience Celebration No. 4, June 1 - July 7). Rinpoche wants EEC 4 to be held in Mongolia so that young Mongolians can see non-Mongolians appreciate the benefits of their native religion. This will encourage them to look into Buddhism again. It will be another amazing EEC, with teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Choden Rinpoche, Geshe Sopa Rinpoche and of course Lama Zopa Rinpoche. You can participate for as little as two weeks of the event and we encourage everyone to attend. For more information and to book, please go to http://www.fpmt.org/eec/
Following Mongolia, other events in Rinpoche's schedule are to attend Geshe Sopa Rinpoche's annual teachings in Wisconsin; USA, His Holiness' teachings in New York and the first Tibetan Dharma Center Conference of the Americas in September; Choden Rinpoche's continued Lam-rim teachings at Land of Medicine Buddha; and to teach at the annual Kopan November course.
HIS HOLINESS AND OUR LAMAS
NEWS OF LAMA OSEL RINPOCHE
From Ven Roger Kunsang:
'Rinpoche and Lama attended the Delhi Dharma Celebration (an annual public talk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, organized by Tushita Delhi), together with about 4,000 attendees. His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a very nice thank you to Rinpoche and Lama, saying how much they had done for spreading the Dharma in this world. His Holiness also said that when he was young he had a lot of resistance to memorizing. His Holiness then pointed to Lama Osel and said "just like him" and laughed a lot, then went on to say how important the extensive study is and the memorizing as a basis for the extensive study. His Holiness emphasized that the Tibetan tradition follows the tradition of Nalanda, comes from the great great pundits of Nalanda. It was very inspiring.
While in Delhi, Rinpoche had two long discussions with Lama Osel, one more personal and the other on emptiness, with them both debating, and then Lama listening closely to Rinpoche explaining, questioning Rinpoche now and again.
Geshe Gendun Choepel, Lama's teacher in Sera, told Rinpoche that if Lama is able to keep up his studies properly for another 10 to 15 years he will be exceptional and there will be no one like him when it come to presenting the Dharma. '
HOSTING HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA IN BODHGAYA
Report from Ven Roger in January:
'His Holiness arrived at Maitreya land 2 hours ago, Marcel and the crew (under Rinpoche's instruction) did an unbelievable job transforming the office block into a Potala! It took 3 months with the usual day and night work. A week before, an advance Tibetan party made an inspection and said His Holiness's bed was too elaborate (it was made by the best Tibetan carpenter existing and absolutely exquisite), they said that should be changed as His Holiness would not like it. The carpenter went flat out to make a simpler version going all night last night and finishing just before His Holiness arrived this morning. His Holiness's attendant arrived first, saw the bed and immediately asked for the elaborate one to be put back in His Holiness's bedroom. With a lot of grunting, pushing and shoving .. just in time ! The place looks unbelievable! A big pat on the back for those who made it possible.'
And thanks from Lobsang Jinpa, Secretary to His Holiness the Dalai Lama;
'I am writing this mail to express our profound gratitude for your kind hospitality at the Maitreya Project. The arrangements you have made at the Maitreya Project were superlative, and you have taken special care for the security of His Holiness. His Holiness enjoyed the stay at the Maitreya Project. All the members of the entourage highly appreciated the wonderful arrangements. I would also like to request to kindly convey our deep sense of gratitude to Lama Zopa Rinpoche and your colleagues too.'
Rinpoche often says directors go through a lot of hardship and suffering in their job, they attract a lot of criticism - this is much stronger purification than doing a 3 year retreat, MUCH MORE POWERFUL! And much more effective than doing Vajrasattva retreat. So recently one center director experienced this quite strongly, and this is the exchange between Rinpoche and the center:
Lama Zopa Rinpoche:
'This period is really an opportunity for practicing the path of patience. The purpose of practicing patience is to have immediate peace and happiness within you. That moment when you don't get angry means you don't harm yourself, cause unhappiness and your mind becomes negative emotion. It is like a bomb in yourself! Even if you are killed in a war by a bomb, it doesn't necessarily mean you have to be born in the lower realms; you can be born in the upper realms. The bomb of anger is billions of times worse for you than any external bomb. When it arises, you create negative karma and throw yourself into the three lower realms, where you have to experience unbelievable suffering for an incredibly long time-eons!
It is said by Shantideva in the Bodhicharyavatara that the negative karma created by one second of anger causes us to experience the three lower realms for eons. There is no need to say with the negative karma collected from infinite past lives. Also one can't go to the realm of the happy transmigratory being.
Another quote is that the merit collected for one thousand years by making charity and offerings to Those Gone to Bliss and so forth is destroyed by one second of anger.
So there are four main disadvantages to anger:
1) The first one is how much you have to suffer in the three lower realms.
2) The second one is about also destroying that many eons of merit.
3) The third is that it delays realizations, in dependence upon with whom you get angry and create the negative karma.
4) Then in your next lives you have an ugly body. Practicing patience brings a beautiful body in your next lives.
This is just talking about how it is unbelievably harmful to oneself. Being angry one time is so harmful, so there is no need to talk about if it happens all day long or for weeks, months or years. It is something unbelievably terrifying. From being angry one time comes unbelievable suffering.
And with anger you can't really work with others. They get upset and leave because they are so unhappy with you and seeing this makes you unhappy. After you get angry that makes others angry and this makes you angry again! One has made oneself the target for others to get angry at you and harm you with harsh speech and the mind of dislike. If anger gets worse it can cause even physical harm.
With patience you don't get angry with sentient beings. In that way sentient beings receive peace and happiness from you. Each time you stop being angry by practicing patience it becomes your most practical contribution to world peace. It brings so much peace and happiness to your own world, mind and heart. For others it brings peace and happiness not only to this world but to all living beings. If you are able to practice patience in this life, it will be much easier in future lives. By developing your mind in patience through the continuity of lives, you will bring happiness to all living beings.
Also, each time you are closer to completing the paramita of patience, it means you are closer to enlightenment and much closer to bringing all sentient beings to enlightenment. So, you can see that each time you practice patience there are long-term results. It is the power of the mind. Not only can you bring sentient beings temporary peace but full enlightenment.
Even in a company/business you can change the person when you don't like them, but that happens all the time, so it is difficult to bring the mind in peace, whereas with patience the mind is happy all the time.
Therefore, this [period of time as center director] is an extremely great opportunity to gain experience of patience. Each time you wake up you must plan this-especially today! And be mindful when that circumstance happens. If you don't make a strong plan in the morning you won't remember the teachings when anger happens. Practicing patience/controlling anger becomes easier and you will have less anger the more one cherishes others in daily life. You should think that each person you meet is the source of numberless past happinesses and will be the source of numberless future happinesses, including the realizations of the path to enlightenment. Then respect others and practice kindness towards them, especially towards those who get angry with you.
So now I will conclude:
Practice patience, cherish others by remembering their kindness, and respect and practice kindness to others.
Then everyone will love and support you and be your friend. They will be surprised and change their minds. They will get inspired when they see that your mind can change and develop. This shows the power of the mind, especially those with whom you got angry and who got angry with you.
Thank you very much for all your hard work for the center and FPMT.'
AND FROM RINPOCHE TO STUDENTS AT THE CENTER:
My very dear students, who are seeking liberation and enlightenment,
After this person became director, I heard quite a number of people's minds became in turmoil, erupting in anger, like a volcano.
In the teachings it is said, "Think that the Guru-Buddha manifested in this way, saying these unpleasant words, to help me to practice patience." In other words, the Guru-Buddha created this situation.
Another one is: By looking at the person as a sentient being and at how much that sentient being is suffering, you see them as pitiful, as if your mother was possessed by a spirit, with no control. It is the same with sentient beings controlled, or possessed, by the mara anger; they have not one single freedom, but are totally used by the demon of anger. Even looking at someone as a sentient being helps us not to arise anger, because sentient being means unenlightened, suffering, without freedom, hallucinated and obscured, deluded with wrong concepts.
In reality there is no truly existent I, there is no truly existent anger, there is no truly existent other person. That is the fundamental hallucination and this concept believing in a truly existent I is the king of the superstitions, the hallucinated minds. In reality none of this exists. Everything is empty. The person is empty, the harsh words are empty, the anger is empty and you yourself are empty.
RESPONSE FROM THE CENTER DIRECTOR:
'I think Rinpoche is quite right, I have a problem with developing compassion, especially with a certain type of people. I hope Rinpoche is not too much disappointed by my very poor practice.
Anyway, I warned Rinpoche from the very first day that he was going to receive a lot of complaints and he laughed a lot at that, but this is exactly what has happened. On the other side, when you want to make a change there will necessarily be people whose interests and positions are touched, and these usually cry out their dissatisfaction very loud.
I want to express my deep thanks to Rinpoche for the chance he gave me: though defeated many times by my afflictions, I really made an extensive and intense practice, and I am sure that this experience will leave a very positive effect on my mind and my eventual evolution.'
Ven Roger said: 'Actually I would like to use your letter as an example of how a director should accept to resign when the time comes.'
RINPOCHE ENCOURAGES US ALL
Rinpoche recently sent this card to a new study group, which is relevant to all centers, study groups and projects:
'My very dear fortunate ones,
whose heart is opened for liberation and to bring others, who are numberless, to liberation, full enlightenment. I am very happy to hear the group is stable, continuing to learn the path to enlightenment and practice.
Please continue to learn from your resident teacher as much as possible while he is there. Later you will rejoice so much, even after you have achieved enlightenment and after you have enlightened all suffering beings, still you will enjoy the Dharma, even at that time there is nothing in the life better than meditating on the Lam-rim (practicing Lam-rim) this is the best life because it is not suffering and you get everything from this, you can give all the happiness to all suffering beings.
With much love and prayers for all of you to have meaningful lives.
As we all know, Rinpoche is rarely without his prayer wheel, and this explanation by Rinpoche makes it clear why this is (taken from Rinpoche's introduction to Lorne Ladner's excellent book on prayer wheels, published by Wisdom). Rinpoche has a sign with handwritten quotes from the
scriptures hanging around his own prayer wheel:
"You need to have a lot of merit, to be a very fortunate person, to engage in this practice and have faith in its benefits... Why? Because this practice is the easiest way to purify all the negative karmas. Even the heaviest ones, the uninterrupted negative karmas, get purified through turning a prayer wheel. Even a fully ordained person who has broken all four root vows will get purified. Negative karmas are completely purified, one collects merit like the sky, and one especially develops compassion."
For more advice from Rinpoche on the benefits of prayer wheels, please go to http://www.fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/advice/
February 7th, 2003