E-letter No. 250: April 2024

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, By Nicholas Ribush
(Archive #2060)
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, Lake Arrowhead, 1975. Photo: Carol Royce-Wilder.

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 250th LYWA eletter. 250, wow! We started publishing these just over twenty-one years ago and have continued monthly ever since.

Our eletter archive details what we’ve been doing these past couple of decades, and it’s mainly due to your wonderful support that we’ve been able to accomplish all that we have. We have published all these books, mostly for free distribution, the mammoth Big Love and thousands of advices from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and have done so much more online as well.

That we have this record of accomplishment is also due to our amazing in-house staff—Jen Barlow, Venerable Tenzin Desal, Sandy Smith, Megan Evart and Stacey Martin—whose talent, dedication and hard work have brought all this about. I thank them all.
Thank you again for your kindness and generosity. Please continue to support us for the next twenty years! 

FROM THE VIDEO ARCHIVE: The Best Contribution for World Peace

This month from the video archive we bring you Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering advice on how to make all our worldly actions most effective and fulfilling by dealing with karma before it ripens and by bringing the mind of bodhicitta into all activities of our daily life. Rinpoche gave these teachings at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, in September 2004.

Visit and subscribe to the LYWA YouTube channel to view more videos freely available from our archive. See the FPMT YouTube channel for many more videos of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings.

ON THE LYWA PODCAST: The Loving Compassionate Precious Thought for Enlightenment

Lama Zopa Rinpoche doing puja, Manjushri Institute, England, 1979. Photo: Brian Beresford.Even giving just one single tiny grain of rice to one single sentient being will accumulate infinite merit when you are motivated to give by the wish to attain enlightenment to benefit numberless sentient beings.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche

This month on the LYWA podcast, Lama Zopa Rinpoche discusses the power and importance of the precious bodhicitta during teachings on Geshe Langri Tangpa’s Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, given at Manjushri Institute, Cumbria, England, August 16-24, 1979. Read along with the transcript on the LYWA website.

The LYWA podcast contains hundreds of hours of audio, each with links to the accompanying lightly edited transcripts. See the LYWA podcast page to search or browse the entire collection by topic or date, and for easy instructions on how to subscribe.


Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing a mother and child as Lama Yeshe looks on. The first trek to Lawudo Retreat Center in Nepal, spring of 1969. Photo: Georges Luneau.We’re happy to share with you another audiobook installment of Big Love: The Life and Teachings of Lama Yeshe, written by Adele Hulse. Organized by Janet Brooke, this heart project is comprised of narrations recorded by personal friends of the late Åge Delbanco (Babaji), one of Lama Yeshe's earliest students.

This month from the Big Love Heart Project, we bring you Chapter 7: 1969: Kopan’s Beginning, narrated by Lara Brooke. Chapter 7 describes the Lamas' first trek to Lawudo, how a precious statue inspired the idea of Kopan, and how the land and community of Kopan began to assemble.


The lamas with  Neil Huston (Thubten Dondrub) and Andrea Antonietti, Assisi, Italy, 1983. This month we have posted a talk by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on how to avoid burnout and maintain a happy mind while working at the Dharma center. This talk was given at a Foundation Service Seminar in Pomaia, Italy, where facilitators met with Rinpoche to offer a presentation and request advice, October 31, 2017. You can find an excerpt from this talk in our monthly teaching below.

We've also posted some new advices for Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book. Every year we add more than 100 entries on a variety of topics, there are now more than 2,200 of Rinpoche’s advices online.

  • Obsessive Negative Thoughts: A student with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) wrote that they had continual thoughts about going to hell and ongoing negative thoughts about the guru.
  • The Four Seals: After a teaching, Rinpoche dictated this advice about the four seals, the core tenets of Buddhism. Rinpoche asked for this advice to be given to all the students who had attended his talk.
  • Imminent Death: Rinpoche gave this advice to a student who had cancer and was close to dying.

You can always find a list of all the newly posted advices from Lama Zopa Rinpoche on our website.

A New Lamrim Year Initiative

We are happy to share with you that another Lamrim Year initiative will kick off soon. Led by Shagun Maheshwari, Read Lamrim With Me, starts on May 1, 2024, at 9:30 p.m. Indian Standard Time (IST) on Insight Timer. Each daily session will be fifteen minutes and includes reading one chapter from Lamrim Year followed by a brief meditation.

For more resources to support your lamrim studies, please check out the free Lamrim Year Companion website and download the free Lamrim Year Crosswalk PDF.

Anniversary of Rinpoche's Passing & A Pilgrimage to Lawudo

The one-year anniversary of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's passing away, Kopan Monastery, Nepal, April 2024. Photo: Stacey Martin.The one-year anniversary of Lama Zopa Rinpoche passing away held at Kopan Monastery on April 13, 2024 had over a thousand participants attending, including LYWA staff member Stacey Martin. It was followed by a week-long retreat that concluded with a long-life initiation for His Eminence the 104th Ganden Tripa. See how FPMT centers and organizations all over the world commemorated Rinpoche's passing.

Wendy Cook on pilgrimage to Lawudo Retreat Center, Nepal, April 2024. LYWA is also represented on the two-week pilgrimage to Lawudo in honor of Lama Zopa Rinpoche by our co-founder and board member Wendy Cook, who reports that almost a week in it is going really well for the almost thirty participants, led by Venerable Sarah Thresher. At the time of writing, the group is in Rinpoche’s birth village of Thangme. You can find more photos and details about the pilgrimage on the Lawudo Gompa Facebook page.

Big love,

Nick Ribush

THIS MONTH'S TEACHING: Bearing Hardship with a Happy Mind

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Italy.  Photo by Piero Sirianni.Buddhism in general, but especially the Mahayana teachings, is to not cause harm. When we go for refuge, we pledge we will not harm other sentient beings. Now particularly Mahayana Buddhism, which Buddha taught in India and which went to Tibet and is now spread across the world, is to benefit other sentient beings, to benefit every single sentient being who wants happiness and doesn’t want suffering.

When people come to study Dharma at the center, they listen, meditate, reflect and practice with bodhicitta. They learn about bodhicitta, about having the responsibility to free all beings from suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment, to bring them happiness. To do that perfectly we need to achieve the state of omniscience.

Those people who come to study Dharma at the center, to practice with bodhicitta, to do meditation and so forth, whatever activities they do, they learn to do that with bodhicitta, so they benefit all sentient beings, not only in their meditation but in their activities for all sentient beings. Therefore, the centers benefit every single sentient being.

The FPMT organization benefits every single sentient being, every single ant, mosquito, fly, every single being who wants happiness and does not want suffering. The FPMT organization and the centers benefit every single being. So that’s the most happy, most pleasant, the happiest thing to do in our life. The happiest thing to do in our life.

How to Prevent Burnout at the Center

Not everyone is the same; it depends very much on each individual, how much deep understanding you have of Dharma. How much you stress out depends on that. Generally, burnout affects those with less understanding. They accept the teachings, which is good, but they have less feeling, less deep understanding, then it seems they feel easily stressed and they burn out. But someone who has deeper understanding doesn’t burn out or burns out less.

You need a little bit of skill, according to your state of mind. If you are burning out or you are tired, then you do this much. So that you don’t get totally burnt out, you do what you can according to the level of your mind. Some people can go through hardship and bear so much because they understand [Dharma] and feel that more deeply. Or, you can [work for the center] at certain times, so you don’t get completely burnt out. Then you can’t do anything at all! So try to do it skilfully. If you burn out, then sometimes you can’t work for a long time, or you go away and then you die!

It is good to think about this and good to consult [with other students]. It’s always good to consult if there are some things you don’t know. Some other students may know, so it’s good to consult with them. The more you know, then you can deal with your mind, so you don’t let yourself completely burn out or give up. That doesn’t happen.

Also the mind is like doctor and patient, so we treat the mind like a patient, or like guru and disciple, or like parent and child. Treat the mind like that. It’s always good to consult. Some people have different ideas on how to do things and that can help, knowing the different ways to think. That makes the stress go away, by doing things differently, so ask others and discuss with them.

Correct Rejoicing

Rejoicing in our practice is very, very important, so important. If we are working for a company, not particularly benefiting sentient beings, it’s more to do with the power and wealth of the company’s owner. But here we are a religious Buddhist organization, a Mahayana organization, so FPMT is benefiting every single sentient being, every single tiny fly—when we walk in the grass or drive [in a car] we see so many. We are here to benefit every single sentient being, therefore rejoice, correct rejoicing.

There is wrong compassion, for example, if someone living in a cave has nothing, Western tourists think, “Oh dear, this person has nothing; they are suffering with nothing.” The tourists don’t understand that the meditator has total satisfaction, even realizations, renouncing attachment. The tourists don’t know that, so they think, “Oh, the poor person.” That’s wrong compassion.

There’s wrong compassion, wrong patience, wrong rejoicing. When we compare working for another company with FPMT, even if we are making a million, billion dollars every day in that other company, the FPMT, Mahayana Buddhism, is helping every single sentient being, so it’s much different. That’s correct rejoicing! It’s unbelievable. In other companies, even if we get one hundred million dollars each day, it is worthless.

Even having a million dollars is nothing. Everybody has been born numberless times as a universal king, Indra, Brahma. We have had all the wealth, so a million dollars is nothing. We have had wealth numberless times, but that didn’t free us from samsara. Now here, with Buddhadharma, the Buddha taught the four noble truths and the Mahayana teachings, so not only can we become free from suffering, but we can attain enlightenment. We are working for this. It’s unbelievable.

Excerpted from a talk by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at a Foundation Service Seminar in Pomaia, Italy, October 31, 2017. Transcribed and edited by Claire Isitt, November 2017. Second edit by Sandra Smith, April 2024. Read the entire teaching here.