LYWA Current Projects
Big Love, the official biography of Lama Thubten Yeshe, will make a significant contribution to the history of Tibetan Buddhism in the west. It will contain hundreds of photos dating back to the 1960s, and personal stories of the lamas and the students who learned, lived and traveled with them.
All over the world, people will read about this amazing innovative teacher, the organization he founded (the FPMT) and the thousands of students whose lives he changed. We are now looking at a late 2013 publication date for Big Love.
This book has been over 20 years in the making, from the early beginnings of author Adele Hulse’s personal notes, to the fully designed, researched and edited chronicle that will be the finished product.
Ms. Hulse started writing this book in 1991, having been personally requested to do so long before by Lama Yeshe himself. She travelled the world interviewing hundreds of friends, acquaintances, colleagues and students of Lama Yeshe that she could find, and visiting many of the places Lama went to, including his home village in Tibet. The final product will be two volumes of around 600 pages each, with many glorious photos from the over 30,000 that have been collected from Lama’s students all over the world.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe’s primary student and the Spiritual Director of the FPMT, and Tenzin Ösel Hita, the 28-year-old Spanish man recognized as the reincarnation of Lama Yeshe, have both written letters in support of the Big Love project. Click to read Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s letter and Ösel Hita’s letter.
We have been working on the book since 2008. As chapters are edited, excerpts are being posted to our Big Love Blog. They give an excellent sense of what the biography will be like.
We also make Lama’s teachings freely available on our website. You can read all of Lama’s books, like the classic Becoming Your Own Therapist, on our website, along with many other of his teachings.
All of the images submitted by students of Lama for this project have been digitized and cataloged, and as these are organized we are posting a selection of them to our Online Image Gallery.
And, you can see videos of Lama on LYWA’s YouTube channel, like the one where Lama is telling the story of how he first started teaching Buddhism to western students.
We are now raising funds to complete the last stage of publication of Big Love. There are three levels of sponsorship:
• First level – $5,000: these donors will receive a statue of Lama Yeshe containing some of Lama’s consecrated ashes, plus the set of books;
• Second level – $1,500: donors will receive a stupa containing some of Lama’s consecrated ashes, plus the set of books;
• Third level – $250: donors will receive the books.
Please don’t feel you have to give a large amount (although of course you are welcome to do so!) Donate what you feel comfortable with–-it is just important that you are involved. Better thousands of people giving a small amount and making this auspicious connection than one person paying for the entire project.
Your contributions to this great project are much appreciated. Visit our Donations page to show your support. Thank you!
Dear FPMT friends and colleagues,
In 2007 I received a strong written admonition from our precious guru, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, that we quickly publish more teachings from the FPMT lineage, basically Lama Yeshe’s and his own (although Rinpoche was typically a bit low key on his own teachings). Some of the points Rinpoche made were:
- It is definitely a big loss that more material is not being published; this is a big loss in regards to the activities of the whole organization. Every day this doesn’t happen it is a big loss for the organization.
- The main activity of the FPMT organization is to be able to benefit sentient beings and it is through the teachings and advice that this is done. This is the main way to benefit others.
- We need to change the old view of how to publish the teachings. We need to think differently about how to do it so things don’t get held up, stuck. I can ask people to help; we need to think differently so material is made available quickly: all the talks, all the teachings from so many years.
- All that is available needs to be published now; we need to start thinking differently quickly. Otherwise it is a great loss, and we need to publish in different languages. If it gets stuck in English, then it gets stuck in all the languages.
- Please remember this is the major benefit of the organization. This is how the organization can benefit sentient beings, through the teachings and advices.
Naturally, this shook me up a bit and I started to think of new ways of doing things. What it really came down to was that we could no longer rely on volunteers to record, transcribe and edit but would have to pay, or at least support, people to do these various tasks.
So I came up with a five-year plan for doing this. It would cost $1 million. That seemed a little unrealistic, but it was the best I could do, and I presented this plan at a meeting at FPMT International Office, where we were discussing how to better include Lama Yeshe’s and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings in FPMT education programs.
Then, a month or so later, out of the blue, I was contacted by a benefactor wanting to help the Archive achieve its objectives. I showed her our plan and, amazingly, she offered a matching grant of $500,000. In other words, she would match each dollar we raised with a dollar of her own, up to a million. She suggested we go out to the FPMT to find matching funds.
And so we launched our five-year Publishing the FPMT Lineage plan. The FPMT Lineage series is comprised of books of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings on the graduated path to enlightenment (lam-rim), drawn from his four decades of discourses on the topic and based on his own textbook, The Wish-fulfilling Golden Sun, and several traditional lam-rim texts. They are in general arranged according to the outline of Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. This series is the most extensive contemporary commentary on the path to enlightenment teachings available and comprises the essence of the FPMT’s education program. Further details of the plan may be found here.
These are lam-rim books for everyone, but especially for those who are teaching it and meditating to achieve realizations, according to Rinpoche’s recent wishes. Rinpoche's main wishes are to organize a special group of lam-rim retreatants and to encourage others to follow a year-long lam-rim meditation schedule:
Now what is needed are people who will sacrifice their lives, as they did in India, Tibet and Nepal, not just to study the Dharma like at a college or university, but to actualize the teachings in a monastery or isolated place. In Tibet, the mountains were full of caves like ants’ nests, where people would go to practice without distraction. This is how Buddhism really comes alive – when it is not just words, not just scholars, but really living Buddhism. When study and realization come together, Buddhism will really last. Wow, then like an ocean in the heart and the mind, it will spread and be preserved. Otherwise, if it is just like learning in a college, it won’t last long. That’s like throwing tsampa on water: it stays on top and doesn’t sink – it is shallow. For Buddhism to really be preserved in the West as it was in Tibet and India, we need people who will sacrifice their lives to completely actualize in the heart what was explained by the Buddha. We need to realize all of this in our hearts in the West.
Progress so far
- We have engaged Ven. Kunsang to travel with Rinpoche to record all Rinpoche’s teachings and send them to us immediately.
- We have a managing editor to supervise and participate in the editing of all of Rinpoche’s lam-rim teachings.
- We have a team of 4 full and part-time transcribers working to make Rinpoche's audio recordings accessible for editing and publication.
- We have a team of 5 full and part-time editors working on books and teachings for our website.
- We have published two books in the series, Heart of the Path and How to Practice Dharma, and will publish two more in 2013, The Perfect Human Rebirth, and Good Life, Better Death: Teachings on Impermanence. Rinpoche's teachings on emptiness are also nearly ready for publication.
- Manuscripts ready for final editing include teachings on: the three lower realms, refuge, karma, reincarnation and the twelve links and the general sufferings of samsara. Each will be a book in PFL lam-rim series. Three books of Rinpoche’s teachings on bodhicitta are also in preparation.
What we now need
We have raised $425,000 and need to raise another $75,000 to match the rest of the grant so that we can see our project plan through to completion at the end of 2013. Each dollar you give will become two; $100 becomes $200; $1,000 become $2,000, and so on. Donate to this project on our Donations page.
Thank you so much. By working together we can accomplish Rinpoche’s advice, when he says, “The main activity of the FPMT organization is to be able to benefit sentient beings and it is through the teachings and advice that this is done. This is the main way to benefit others.” Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.
Heart Advice is a series of core teachings—the "heart advice"—taken from the experiential teachings of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The main resource is Rinpoche’s major retreats, commentaries and transmissions since 2008, although other Archive materials supplement these. The goal is to preserve and make available Rinpoche’s unique style and lineage of teachings and practices.
The first book in the series, Bodhisattva Attitude: How to Dedicate Your Life to Others was published in 2012. The series editor, Ven. Sarah Thresher, began to work on this book as a private project, inspired by the beauty of the Bodhisattva Attitude verses.
Work on the second book in the series, Refuge, is well under way, and topics for future titles include:
- The seven-limb prayer
- Guru devotion
- The Guru Puja as the heart practice
- Collected practice and retreat advice
- Liberating and benefiting animals
- Loving kindness, compassion and bodhicitta
- The Three Principal Aspects of the Path
- Creating merit with holy objects
The Heart Advice Series is dedicated to the long life and perfect health of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, to his continuous teaching activity and to the fulfillment of all his holy wishes.
If you would like to contribute to this project, please visit our donations page. Thank you so much.