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Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book
Dharma Organization Work : Advice to Dharma Centers

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche at various locations (Last Updated Jul 29, 2009)

Building at the Center

Completion of a Stupa
Rinpoche sent the following advice to a center director who provided an update on the completion of a stupa.

My very dear Jim,
Thank you very much for completing the stupa. The prayer wheels are also a very good idea. All these activities continuously benefit sentient beings and bring them to enlightenment, so I thank you very, very much. It’s so good to have many different ways to benefit sentient beings.

Of course, Brian is a good help. He also helped with a very beautiful altar at another center. His talent is very good and he has a lot of experience.

A billion thanks to both of you and to all those people who have been helping there.

With much love and prayer...

PS: This also helps so much to quickly purify negative karma. The stupa looks so good.

Renovations at the Center
Rinpoche gave the following advice to a center that was about to start major renovations.

There are quite a number of pujas that need to be done just prior to starting the renovations. In some cases, pujas need to be performed while the renovations are being done.

In general, for all this renovation work, you need to do the following practices on the land, in the area of the renovations and before the renovations begin: 

  • She-nyin dü-dog: three times
  • Gyab-shi: three times
  • Read the eight thousand stanzas of the Prajñaparamita three times

Regarding expanding the gompa and dining room, it’s important to do:

  • The four pujas of the four protectors: three times
  • Druk-chu-ma puja: eight times
While the renovations are actually being done, it’s important to do:
  • Protector puja and tea offerings each day, in particular Dergye, prior to the renovations, and daily while the renovations are being done.
For Zone B, you need to do:
  • Four Mandala offering to Tara and also protector prayers, as well as Dergye and the protector prayers. Dergye should be done on a daily basis while the renovations are being done
Prior to the renovations in Zone B, you need to do druk-chu-ma puja three times.

Building a New Gompa After a Fire
After a fire broke out in one of the FPMT’s oldest centers and burnt the gompa down, Rinpoche sent this message to the center.

Dear Geshe-la and Sangha, who are looking for virtue and liberation, who are learning Dharma to help yourself and others, dear Laura and all my dear Dharma brothers and sisters,

When we invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the land in Bodhgaya for the Maitreya statue, to participate in the puja for 1,000 offerings to Maitreya, His Holiness at that time said that we would succeed in building the statue. After the puja, when everyone had left the land, the huge thangka of Maitreya and the altar with thangkas around it caught on fire and everything was burned and destroyed completely. All that was left was an image of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Immediately on hearing this, His Holiness’s ritual attendant said that everyone had taken it as an auspicious sign. Ribur Rinpoche also said that it was an auspicious sign.

I think what has happened at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, with the blazing fire destroying the gompa, is an auspicious sign that you have overcome all the problems through this blazing fire. Anyway, I thought Lama Tzong Khapa gompa was strange, even though it was blessed by so many high lamas, such as His Holiness Ling Rinpoche and Song Rinpoche, and so much work and effort was made for this gompa.

The fire gives us the opportunity to build an enlightened and encouraging gompa, not a place to eat pizza and mozzarella. We definitely need a very beautiful gompa that becomes an encouragement to everyone, to depressed people, to people who believe they are helpless, something which brings the greatest joy and fulfillment to the heart for everyone.

It is also a teaching on impermanence. Do not hold onto things which are impermanent, which are a dependent arising, like a butter lamp, which depends on causes and conditions, like lightning, like a water bubble, like clouds, also like a star in the daytime, like the defective view of the senses … an illusion, a dream. All this was said by Buddha. We recite these lines every day. We should realize that the gompa was a causative phenomena, something that was but is not now.

Thank you very much and big love to everyone. I am waiting to see the wonderful beautiful nice new gompa. Thank you very much. Grazi. I am going to try to come and see you soon. When the new gompa is complete we will invite His Holiness to teach in it. Maybe we can invite Geshe Jampa Gyatso’s incarnation.

Much love and prayer...

Thank You and Rejoice! 
Rinpoche sent the following message to a Dharma center on the occasion of it getting a new building.

All my dear brothers and sisters,
I just want to explain simply how meaningful it is that we have Dharma centers, so that we can help so many sentient beings while they have this most precious human body. We can awaken them to the unmistaken causes of happiness and suffering through explaining the Buddha's teachings on karma, which is our experience, not merely belief. By offering this education we open their lives to all happiness – not just that of this life, but that of future lives, the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara, and the peerless happiness of full enlightenment.

How fortunate and happy I am! How fortunate and happy we are!

We awaken sentient beings by explaining what compassion is, the need for compassion, and how to develop it. This causes them to achieve the peerless happiness of full enlightenment and enlighten numberless other sentient beings by ceasing all their defilements and completing all the qualities.

How fortunate and happy I am! How fortunate and happy we are!

We awaken sentient beings by teaching them the basis of Buddhism – the two truths, conventional and ultimate – and educating them as to the very nature of the “I,” aggregates, and all other phenomena, which are empty. By understanding emptiness, sentient beings can understand the conventional truth of how things exist, not according to the hallucinating mind but according to wisdom, which accords with reality.

This offers sentient beings liberation and gives them the confidence that they can definitely achieve ultimate freedom through studying the teachings and meditating on them, thus developing and actualizing the wisdom that directly ceases all gross and subtle defilements. Developing the ultimate wisdom realizing emptiness – the only wisdom that directly separates gross and subtle defilements from the mental continuum – gives sentient beings the inconceivable freedom of achieving full enlightenment and the cessation of all suffering.

How fortunate and happy I am! How fortunate and happy we are!

In this way, we open sentient beings' ultimate wisdom eye by awakening them to how samsara and its pleasures are only in the nature of suffering. We inspire them to free themselves from the oceans of sufferings of the hell, hungry ghost, animal, human, sura, and asura realms and achieve the ultimate, everlasting happiness of total liberation. Thus, we liberate them from the prison of samsara; we release them from samsara's cage, bound by delusion and karma from time without beginning. We also liberate them from the pleasures of samsara by awakening them to how these pleasures are only in the nature of suffering; how samsara – the desire, form, and formless realm aggregates – is only in the nature of suffering, being caused by karma and delusion, the impure mind, contaminated by the seed of disturbing thoughts. All realms of samsara are in the nature of pervasive compounded suffering.

We awaken sentient beings by giving them the opportunity to listen to the teachings of the omniscient one, our kind, compassionate Guru Shakyamuni Buddha; to reflect and meditate on the teachings they have heard; and actualize the path.

Giving them the opportunity to listen to and reflect and meditate on the teachings on the four noble truths gives them a clear understanding of what liberation really is and shows them the path to achieve it. We educate them to avoid the experience of not just the suffering of pain and the suffering of change (samsaric pleasure) but also to free themselves forever from the fundamental suffering, the basis of the other two, pervasive compounding suffering, thus giving them a complete definition of liberation and how to actualize it.

How fortunate and happy I am! How fortunate and happy we are!

We educate the most kind, precious sentient beings in the tantric path – secret mantra, Vajrayana – liberating them from all suffering and its cause and bringing them to full enlightenment not only quickly, but in the very quickest way.

How fortunate and happy I am! How fortunate and happy we are!

We cause sentient beings to meet a spiritual guide – a qualified guru who shows them the whole path, lives in the practice of the higher training of morality, elucidates the complete path to enlightenment without mistakes, and guides them to liberation and full enlightenment.

How fortunate and happy I am! How fortunate and happy we are!

We not only give sentient beings an extensive, clear understanding of sutra and tantra but also educate them in the lam-rim – the arrangement and gradual practice for one person to achieve enlightenment that integrates the entire 84,000 teachings of the Buddha and makes it very easy for sentient beings to go about gaining enlightenment without any confusion.

How fortunate and happy I am! How fortunate and happy we are!

Thus, the Dharma center plays a most important role by taking responsibility for the peace and happiness of all sentient beings, particularly those in this world.

How fortunate and happy I am! How fortunate and happy we are!

Thank you very much to the director, teachers, all precious members and organizers, all pure students, daily meditation practitioners, and those who serve with great devotion the teachings of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all sentient beings.

With much love and prayers...

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