Dear Lama Zopa,
I am writing to express my deepest gratitude to you, the lineage lamas and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Teachings [FPMT]. In your teachings and the teachings of this lineage, I have found the most precious jewel that is purifying my obscurations and cultivating bodhicitta in this transient and illusory life.
I first took refuge in 1991 and I have been practicing ever since. My practice has been totally pathetic at times and deeply transformative at other times. I have mainly practiced in the Nyingma tradition, and have had the good fortune to meet the most profound teachings in the tradition of Longchenpa and Dudjom. I am very close to completing the accumulations of ngön-dro.
Early on in my learning of Buddhism, I came across the writings of Langri Tangpa and Shantideva, and I hold these teachings the closest to my heart; I put my faith and trust in the teachings of these two masters more than any other. The teachings of Langri Tangpa and Shantideva are my supreme guide.
Now I have come across the FPMT mandala and Sangha here in the San Francisco Bay Area and your teachings. I feel like I have found my true home! I am so deeply inspired by the focus on bodhicitta, compassion for all sentient beings—my precious mothers in the six realms of cyclic existence. I came across The Everflowing Nectar of Bodhicitta in an FPMT practice book and have been practicing this daily. This is now my core practice. The combination of Chenrezig, the yi-dam [meditational deity] I feel closest connection with, along with Langri Tangpa’s Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, the ground of all wisdom and inspiration for me, is profoundly meaningful. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this sublime practice.
Indeed, deepening and widening compassion for all sentient beings in the six realms is my path. I know that the only way I can truly relieve the suffering of mother sentient beings is by actualizing buddhahood. This is the most important thing to me in life. I am finding that your teachings are providing the guidance and inspiration needed for me to realize this aspiration. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
About seven years ago, due to the increasing awareness of suffering of animals, I became vegetarian, and two years ago, vegan. I volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center to help injured and orphaned animals. For my work, I am fortunate to be employed as a hospice chaplain, providing spiritual and emotional support to people who are dying. I feel so fortunate to have so many ways to show compassion to others. Now I have found your teachings and the FPMT Sangha, and that supports and gives even greater meaning to these endeavors. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I am inspired to write to you to express my deepest, heartfelt gratitude to you and the FPMT for transforming and supporting my practice and guiding me on this life’s journey of ever-deepening bodhicitta, onwards to buddhahood. I will never be able to repay your kindness. I pray that any karmic hindrances to the fulfillment of your highest aspirations ripen in me, and I give all the merit I have accumulated in this and every life.
Deepest blessings and auspiciousness to you,