Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book
Working for the Dharma :
Service and Support of the Dharma
- Generosity and Charitable Projects
- Offering Service
- Rinpoche's Thank-you Cards, Letters and Gifts
Generosity and Charitable Projects
|Rinpoche sent this letter to a kind benefactor who made a donation to help a Dharma center.|
My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling Altan,
Billions, zillions of thanks from my heart to you, for your devotion to the teachings of the Buddha and compassion for sentient beings. That is really great. These are two good reasons why a Dharma center should be formed.
If we devote our life to a religion that is not logical or truthful, but is just based on faith or mere belief—or on someone's influence or belief—compared with the quality of the Buddha’s teachings, it is not worthwhile. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, many people just have faith and for the time being, that is OK. It’s difficult to say it is wrong, however, in Buddhism we learn, even if we don’t practice there are results. Buddhism is logical; it works, especially if we practice and have faith.
If we practice what the teachings say, we will achieve enlightenment, the highest, greatest benefit, so we will be able to free numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts and animals, those we see everywhere. We can free the ants, the insects and the beings in the ocean—even insects we cannot see with our eyes, but through a machine. All those beings that fly, the butterflies, and those on the ground and in the grass; even the tiny ones that fly in the sky and those that are under the ground, as well. Also, numberless humans, not just in this world, but in numberless universes, and asuras and suras. We are able to free them all from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment, peerless happiness, the total cessation of suffering; not just the cessation of suffering. Wow, wow, wow, that’s really great!
This is what happens by learning and practicing Buddhism and by actualizing the path—as each sentient being progresses on the path and achieves enlightenment.
Thank you very, very, very much your kindness, for this donation to help the centers. Why Buddhism? The benefit is for every sentient being—not missing out even one sentient being. Can you imagine!
PS: I wish that Muslims, Christians and those of other religions have the compassion found in Buddhism. That will bring the whole world together.
|Rinpoche sent the following letter thanking all the benefactors from Malaysia and Singapore who contributed to rebuilding Domo Geshe Rinpoche's labrang.|
My very dear wish-fulfilling jewels,
I want to thank you a zillion, billion times for your sincere heart offerings for rebuilding Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s labrang, especially for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to stay there. The incarnation of the past yogi completed his studies, became a geshe, and returned to his monastery when mainland China took over Tibet. He was put into prison but he was released because he was from Sikkim. He brought trucks of philosophy texts for the Sera Je monastery monks to learn in Buxa. That yogi passed away in America.
But the khangtshen’s elder monk, Gelong-la, asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama whether the incarnation would be beneficial to sentient beings, and if so to please check where he was. If not, then not to check his whereabouts.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama checked and said he would definitely be beneficial to sentient beings. His Holiness checked and found him in Bylakuppe, South India. This reincarnation’s actions are like the elderly Lama’s qualities. Even though he was very small, when the villagers came to see him, by blowing on them they would be healed. A monk with painful knees was healed by the reincarnation beating the knee.
I became a monk at Domo Geshe’s monastery in Tibet. That great yogi founded this monastery, and Lama Govinda, the German professor and author of The Way of the White Clouds, met Domo Geshe Rinpoche in Tibet. Our very first Western student, Princess Zina Rachevsky, read this book and , went to look for Domo Geshe Rinpoche in Darjeeling, but met us at Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s monastery in Darjeeling.
I think it will be very beneficial to be able to continue the tradition. I think your help for him will be very beneficial. In the future, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama comes, you could visit.
With so much love, my prayers for your long life, and for success according to the Dharma.
|Donation to Kopan|
|Rinpoche sent the following handwritten card to a very kind benefactor who made a big donation to Kopan Monastery.|
Thank you very much, a billion, billion, billion times over, a zillion, trillion times, numberless, like the sky, from the bottom of my heart.
Your kind donation is causing and bringing all happiness and inner peace in this life, such as satisfaction. Even much more unbelievable, it is bringing continual happiness and peace in all future lives. This is unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. What a great, most unbelievable thing.
Then, there is liberation from oceans of samsaric suffering and its causes, all the karma, delusion and its seeds. Wow! Wow! Wow! How unimaginable. Then, look, wait, one more wow! It is also bringing full enlightenment for so many people. For each year of the thirty-two years of Kopan Monastery, which is shining the Dharma light, Kopan sends numberless sentient beings, who shine too, to the numberless beings in the rest of the world. It sends so many people, as the months and years go by.
This happiness is for so many years. I hope you will live for zillions of years, be healthy, teach and guide meditation, and smile.
With bigger and biggest love, HA HA HA HA, and prayers for you from the Lawudo Himalayan yeti.
Here is a symbolic offering of a nice smiling bell from Dehradun. Tibetan people live their life by making bells. HA HA. Kopan brings so many many people inner happiness, peace, and Dharma happiness in their lives, the same unbelievable temporary happiness in future lives, and, most important, the cessation of samsaric suffering and its causes. This is most unbelievable—enlightenment. Wow!
|Donation to Amdo Eye Center|
|Rinpoche sent the following letter thanking a person who had made a large donation to the Amdo Eye Center in Tibet.|
My very dear brother Mike,
I just want to express how unbelievably generous, compassionate, and brave-hearted you are for benefiting other beings who have a great need in this world, particularly for helping all those people in Tibet who are blind, to open their eyes. What incredible happiness you are giving them. This means hundreds and thousands and thousands of people over the years will benefit. So many people will receive unbelievable benefit from you.
First, you are creating a huge cause for achieving happiness and success in this life, future lives, and for hundreds and thousands of lifetimes, because that is the nature of the karma. From one cause you experience results for hundreds and thousands of years. Of course, your motivation is very pure, only for their benefit, for them to be free from suffering, particularly not being able to see, and to have the great happiness of seeing. That becomes the cause for full enlightenment, great liberation, peerless happiness, the cessation of all the mistakes of the mind—the gross and subtle defilements—and the accomplishment of all the realizations and qualities.
Second, of course there is inconceivable benefit for other sentient beings, for each person; you cannot imagine how much benefit they receive. Opening their eyes gives them unbelievable freedom, especially for them to be able to see holy objects, which purifies their mind and collects skies of merit and good luck.
I don’t want to write more, to waste your precious human life, which can do skies of good things for you and especially for numberless living beings.
With much love and prayers for you. Thank you very much again...
|Ways to Give Away Money|
Rinpoche gave the following advice on how to be generous with money and belongings. This advice is taken from teachings given by Rinpoche in France and elsewhere.
Some of these suggestions are from various teachings by Rinpoche on how to prepare for death and how to help those who are dying and have already died, especially from teachings given during the Kadampa Deities retreat at Institut Vajra Yogini, France, 2003. Other suggestions are primarily based on various FPMT charitable projects. For more details on many of these projects, funds and schemes, go to FPMT Charitable Projects.
There are various ideas for how to give away your belongings. For example, you can give to social services, like schools and hospitals for the poor, hospice services and soup kitchens, eye operations, or leprosy work.
You can sponsor retreats, such as nyung-näs, or people doing individual or group retreats. You can sponsor people to make tsa-tsas (images) of Buddha, such as Medicine Buddha, Mitukpa, or stupas. You can make light offerings at home, in the center, or at the holy places of Boudhanath, Bodhgaya, and so on. You can sponsor pujas, either special pujas at your local center or at monasteries, or you can contribute money to the FPMT Puja Fund, which funds special pujas on special days of the year in perpetuity. You can contribute money to your local Dharma center to help with whatever beneficial projects it is currently doing, or to other projects, which are helping to maintain and spread the Dharma throughout the world. You can give money to liberate animals, or you can contribute to animal welfare projects, such as the Animal Liberation Sanctuary. You can give money to sponsor the construction of larger holy objects, such as prayer wheels, stupas, and statues in different parts of the world. And you can sponsor the translation of key Buddhist texts in different languages or the editing and free publication of Buddhist teachings.
|Investing for Real Profit
|An extremely generous benefactor started a fund with the idea of investing a large sum of money into a business to generate money to continually help run Rinpoche’s spiritual organization, the FPMT.|
Normally, worldly business people think that the best way to invest is by doing business. But that is only certain when you make a profit. Until then, it’s uncertain. My own feeling is the most reliable investment is to offer money to monasteries and offer charity to sentient beings. This way, even though the result of the investment, the income, doesn’t appear right now, it is 100% certain that it will be received in the near future.
The result of karma is that not only do you receive the income back, but the result manifests in various forms, various instances of happiness. The karmic result is so much more than the profit you would get from business. The result of karma is expandable, not just in one lifetime, but hundreds of thousands of lifetimes, and can also expand up to enlightenment.
This way, there is no loss at all. In the case of business, there is uncertainty until you actually make a profit. I feel this way, investing by making charity or offerings, is more satisfying. Then, not only do you get the result of whatever you achieve, but others get the benefit also. This is something to think about.
If you use money for business purposes, it becomes much harder for that action to be virtuous. The action of offering charity becomes a virtuous action much more easily. I am not saying that you can’t use money for business purposes, what I am saying is in regards to safety and unimaginable profit.
|Helping a Business
|A very devoted student asked Rinpoche how she could help with a business that would benefit Rinpoche’s projects.|
My very dear Wendy,
Thank you very much for your kind e-mail and for all the practices you have done and dedicated to the Maitreya statue project and the Medicine Buddha temple. I know that your heart is always trying to help me and these projects, for so many years since I met you, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, first, for being such a kind, gentle, and sweet person, and also for being very devoted.
In the case of the Maitreya Project, it is a huge project, and of course it has incredible benefits. Probably the whole cost of the project is not much when you look at its benefits and how it will help sentient beings. If the statue lasts 1,000 years or more, it will have an incredible impact on sentient beings. Of course, there will be so many obstacles to making the statue. We need so much merit, hard work, and patience. It is like achieving enlightenment, so much merit and patience is needed to achieve the result and no matter how hard it is we can't give up.
In answer to your question about improving the business, it would be beneficial for you to do the following practices.
Recite the Sanghata Sutra four times to begin with and then begin your business project.
Then, in the first three weeks, recite it three times a week for three weeks. Then, recite the sutra twice a week for six weeks; then there will be success.
Your business partner should recite the Sanghata Sutra six times initially, then he can begin helping the business, and then he should continue to recite the sutra twice a week for three months.
Please give your partner my thousands of greetings and love.
And to you, billions of love and thanks...