The Master's Program

The Master's Program

Date Posted:
November 2006

Rinpoche sent the following letter to the resident geshe, Geshe Jampa Gyatso, at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Italy. The geshe was leading the seven-year Master's Program in Buddhist philosophy there.

Dear Geshe Jampa Gyatso, who has crossed the oceans of extensive scriptures of the Buddha, who is incomparably learned, incomparable in purity, unstained by vices, like a lotus unstained by mud (even though it is living with mud), beautified by the ornaments of the three higher trainings, with a well tamed mind, and who has an incomparably good heart, compassion, and loving kindness, like soft, very pleasant cotton, most incomparable kind, virtuous teacher of the FPMT organization.

Dear very devoted, dedicated and good hearted assistants, having expansive knowledge of Dharma, of course not only expansive (but can also be expensive, too), like the ocean or sky.

Great Olympic champion international translators, probably you have even a little more than what Manjrushri could do.

And to all the students who grew up at Lama Tsongkhapa Institute like chicks, starting from the egg, and then being brought up by the mother, having deep knowledge of Dharma like the ocean, the most important knowledge among any knowledge in the world, which is the only one that can liberate oneself and others forever from the oceans of sufferings of countless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras, and all the intermediate stage beings, by eliminating the causes – delusion and karma.

Now the chicks have developed everything, their wings, so they are capable of flying away wherever they want to go and obtain a means of living without depending on their parents feeding them, from mouth to mouth. So, with this knowledge, the students of the Master’s Program are able to liberate themselves and countless sentient beings, are able to show the lamp of the path to enlightenment that is shown by our compassionate Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. They have this incredible, most unbelievable, opportunity to benefit all. Having Dharma knowledge and understanding Dharma is like a clear crystal, not only that it is also enriched with compassion and a special attitude, like bodhisattvas who take full responsibility alone to liberate countless sentient beings from the most unbearable oceans of suffering of samara, whose only thought is to obtain happiness for others.

From the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you very much to the teachers for teaching the program and to the students completing the program. This is an incredibly successful accomplishment of the FPMT organization. The success is the Dharma education – the most important knowledge.

This is also fulfilling the wishes of Lama Yeshe, whose name is difficult to mention, who founded this organization and who wanted to start this master’s program, along with the support of Geshe Jampa Gyatso. So, this is actualized through the kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and in particularly Lama Yeshe, as well as the kindness of the main teacher of the program, Geshe Jampa Gyatso, who is the main supporter, the rest of the helpers, teachers, Lama Tsongkhapa Institute, the people at the Institute, the translators, and of course the students, who had the wish to do this course and continue and complete it.

Regarding whether to have a final examination, which is what I suggested at the beginning, I would like to leave the decision up to Buddha. I thought an observation could be done in the traditional way (tagdril) in front of Buddha. Geshe-la can do the rolling in the presence of the Buddha statue, with all the teachers and students and everybody in the gompa.

Start with refuge and bodhicitta, blessing the ground and the offerings, offer the short seven limb prayer, make a mandala offering, and recite the Three Principles of the Path, the Foundation of all Good Qualities, or any lam-rim prayer. Then do the rolling. These are the three questions to write on the paper for the dough ball mo:

  1. Not to have the last examination
  2. Have a choice – who wants to do it can do it
  3. To do the final examination

If it comes out number two then the people who make the extra effort and do the examination should receive more recognition.

Roll three pieces of paper (exactly the same size) with these three questions on, and wrap them in very delicious tsampa dough. Every dough ball should be exactly the same weight. If not, and there is a lighter one, it will come out first. That is how Communist China prepared the examination of the Panchen Rinpoche incarnation.

Then request Buddha that whichever is more beneficial comes out. In this way Buddha decides, I don't.

Thank you very much to everyone, and I hope to meet you just before you get enlightened.

With much love and prayers...