E-letter Special Mailing June 2004

By Nicholas Ribush

Dear Friends,

I hope you are well. We have just received some important advice from our precious spiritual director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Rinpoche has requested us to ask you—the members and supporters of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive—to perform a total of 150 recitations of the Sanghata Sutra in order to clear obstacles to the development of the Archive and the successful implementation of our various projects.

There is some urgency to this and any recitations that you undertake should be completed by July 14.

The sutra is quite long; it takes around 3 hours to recite once. However, there is great merit in doing this and we humbly request you to do at least one recitation, but actually, as many as you can. Not only will you benefit the Archive but you will also benefit yourself.

Before you start your recitation, please motivate:

"I am going to recite the Sanghata Sutra for the enlightenment of all sentient beings. In particular, for the successful development of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive so that it may spread the teachings of the Buddha far and wide for the benefit of all."

Then you do the recitation. You will find it in various languages here.

When you have completed each recitation, please dedicate the vast merit you have created as follows:

"Through the merit of having recited this sutra, may the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive receive the funding it needs to develop for the benefit of all sentient beings; may all the FPMT Dharma centers and projects and their members and families find success in their lives and Dharma practice; and may His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Osel Rinpoche and all my teachers have long and healthy lives for the benefit of all."

You can also add any personal dedications you would like.

Please send me an email let me know what you are able to undertake and when you have completed your recitation(s).

I would really, really appreciate any help you could give us with this.

Thank you so much.

Much love,

Nick Ribush


Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for being on our e-letter list and for reading this. However, please excuse us for the multiple postings this month—when you signed up to receive our monthly e-letter we told you it would come just once a month. Nevertheless, our spiritual guide Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s request that we organize recitation of the Arya Sanghata Sutra in a hurry was so important to us that we took the liberty of asking for your help in this way. It’s not likely to happen again soon. We certainly don’t want to spam you!

Anyway, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart all those of you who answered our call for volunteers to recite the Arya Sanghata Sutra. My original request of June 29 is repeated at the bottom of this message.

Questions have arisen and I have replied to some people directly, but in case others have similar questions I’m sending out some clarifications.

We have been asked for a progress report on how many Sutras have been recited by the end of today, Monday July 5. Thank you so much to all who have already responded to my call. If you have not yet replied, please let me know how many you have recited.

Also, one of us has had a profound experience and has permitted me to let you know about it. Lama Zopa Rinpoche was extremely pleased with this and sent a response, which we also reproduce below. I hope this will inspire you to recite the Sutra at least once.

Anyway, whether you are doing these recitations or not—and from my own experience of doing them I can highly recommend the practice—I want to thank you so much for your kind support of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive and your interest in our work for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Much love

Nick Ribush


1. I have reformatted and slightly corrected the English-language original from the FPMT Web site, so if you have not printed it out yet or would like this version, please go here.

2. The Sutra can be recited in sessions. You don’t have to do it all at once or even all on the one day.

3. Several FPMT centers have been asked to do these recitations; therefore, some people have been approached by more than one center to do them. We have been told by Rinpoche that you can dedicate to as many centers as you like but that one recitation can be counted by only one center. For example, if you dedicate your recitation to the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive and Kurukulla Center, it can be included in the tally of only LYWA or KKC, not in both tallies.

4. We need to recite a cumulative total of 150 Sutra. It’s not 150 recitations per person!

5. Anybody can do the recitation; you don’t need initiation or special teachings on it.

6. Any language is OK. There are several options on the FPMT Web site, including now one in Tibetan.

7. It is best to read it out loud (especially if pets or other animals, insects can hear). Reading it silently to yourself is not the way to do it. You should be using your vocal chords, even if it’s just a quiet whisper.

8. The deadline is July 14. There’s nothing special about that date; it’s just that we were given a couple of weeks to reach 150 recitations. More than 100 have been pledged; we need another 50. Thank you.

9. If can’t open a PDF file from the Web sites we can send you a Word document.

Progress report

If you have done some recitations by the end of today, Monday July 5, and have not let me know, please could you do so? We need to inform Lama Zopa Rinpoche of our progress. Thank you so much.

One person’s experience

My companion and I traveled to the Center as usual yesterday. During our trek we usually discuss, read out loud, recite mantra, or otherwise focus on the Dharma as we head down for Geshe-la’s teachings.

Because of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s request we read the Sanghata Sutra during our trip.

While we were reading the Sutra, a butterfly did smash into the windshield and that made us sad. There are places in the Sanghata Sutra that were so vivid that we both felt we were in front of the Blessed One. It did not seem like a 4-hour drive and we did complete the teaching just as we arrived in town.

On arrival, we stopped at the Outback Steakhouse for a meal. We were discussing the Sanghata Sutra. We were talking about the examples in the Sutra and how we should apply this teaching. Our trip had started from our place of work and we had discussed how to pacify the staff. We have been having some stressful changes and would like to sit everyone down for a 3 hour period to listen to the Sutra!

In the course of the discussion we ordered the steak salad for our meal. The meal arrived and we each took a helping. I cut and ate a piece of the meat. When the meat touched my tongue I shuddered and stared. My friend reached over to me because she could see I was visibly shaken and overwhelmed. This most sudden and abrupt change in me caused her to fear that I was having a heart attack.

In that moment, without other thought, I was this very cow, white faced, horn on the right turned, surrounded by other cattle, jammed together, standing in a shadowed area of a pen, multiple pens extending to my left, into a bright sun. Harsh bellows, the clop of hoofs up ramps.

Wild-eyed, this poor beast that I now had become, prodded into a place where my forehead was slammed with a force that released such pain, collapsed upon the floor, hoofs gathered by heavy chains, the suffering so deep that I was and am still—even in this simple recollection that cannot capture the depth or profound nature of the experience—deeply moved to tears.

In that instant, I vowed to eat no being ever again. Choices for all nourishment are now very closely guarded. The torment and suffering recollected in that moment continues to bury more deeply into me.

Once when reading The Words of My Perfect Teacher I was similarly “transported” to the hell realms and had such streams of tears that my wife was concerned for me and sat by my side to be sure I was okay.

Nick, the sufferings truly are all too unimaginable and extremely unbearable. As I told you last night, this is a most powerful sutra. Please thank Lama Zopa Rinpoche for his kindness in having us recite this most profound teaching.

[Lightly edited for clarity and anonymity.]

Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Response

My very dear xxx,

Thank you very much your great news of your discovery of life, for yourself and others. Certainly it is a blessing of the Arya Sanghata Sutra, which means it is a blessing of Buddha himself, a direct blessing from Buddha to you.

I highly praise your continual perseverance to practice Dharma, using your long hours of driving to practice Dharma and to not waste your life, to chant mantras and discuss Dharma. This is a very inspiring example as a way to practice Dharma, to practice Dharma not only at your house, on the meditation cushion, but at other times, in the break time, even during your job, or activities such as driving.

This helps so much to others, to not waste your life, your most precious human life, which is so precious because suddenly you have the opportunity to stop your suffering and to have many pleasures, comfort. Also this human body enables you to achieve happiness of all the coming future lives; not only that, but liberation from samsara, total cessation from this continual cycle of reincarnation and the experience of oceans of sufferings of the six realms and achieve great liberation, peerless happiness and full enlightenment for the benefit of numberless sentient beings.

With much love and prayers,

Lama Zopa