How FPMT and the Centers Benefit Others

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Chenrezig Institute, Queensland, Australia (Archive #1573)

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave this teaching after a long-life puja held at Chenrezig Institute, Queensland, Australia on June 21, 2006. Edited by Ven. Ailsa Cameron.

You can also listen to this talk online and read along with the unedited transcript.

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Good morning to everybody—after all that! Thank you very much. I enjoyed very much the very long life puja—the very, very long life puja.

I thought to mention at the beginning that this is also a puja for your long life. I don’t need to mention all the limbs of the seven-limb practice, which creates enlightenment. The seven limbs are like important parts of a car, enabling the car to function and carry passengers to wherever they wish to be. Each limb becomes an antidote to a specific delusion and each one has its own benefit, or goal, which you achieve by doing that practice.

Here the limb of requesting the guru to have stable life is an antidote to the very heavy negative karma collected in the relationship with the guru, particularly that of having disturbed the guru’s holy mind, in this life as well as in past lives. The limb of requesting the guru to have a long or stable life purifies that negative karma. The request is made to the gurus or buddhas in nirmanakaya aspect. The result you achieve from this is the immortal vajra holy body.

Engaging in such negative karmas, however, causes shortage of life. Even though one has the karma to have a long life, one collects other negative karmas in relation to sentient beings or holy objects, and suddenly one has life obstacles. When you have a life obstacle, you are normally not aware of it, then suddenly you have a car accident, a heart attack, a spirit harm, or something similar. Some condition arises, and death then happens. You could have lived longer if you had used the methods to purify the obstacle, the negative karma. There are various means to prolong life, such as reciting the mantras of long-life deities, reading long-life texts, making thangkas or tsa-tsas of long-life deities, liberating animals, helping people who are sick or who need food, shelter, or medicine, taking care of old people. These are all causes of long life.

One very powerful specific method to prolong life is to request the guru to have stable life. The heavy negative karmas get purified because the guru is the most powerful object. First the parents are a more powerful object than other ordinary beings. After that the Sangha, those who are living in ordination, are more powerful. Of course, among the Sangha there are also the arya Sangha, the arhats. One bodhisattva, even a new one, is much more powerful than numberless arhats. That’s why Lama Tsongkhapa explains near the end of the section on karma in Lam-rim Chen-mo—and it’s also explained in Bodhicaryavatara—that someone who is not a bodhisattva giving rise to anger toward a bodhisattva for even one second destroys the merit collected for one thousand eons by having made offerings to the buddhas, having made charity to sentient beings and so forth.

Bodhicaryavatara mentions:

Whatever wholesome deeds,
Such as venerating the buddhas and generosity,
That have been amassed over a thousand eons
Will all be destroyed in one moment of anger.

This means that the merit of having made offerings to buddhas, made charity to sentient beings, and so forth for one thousand eons gets destroyed by one second of anger.

In the outlines of guru devotion, there are eight shortcomings of having made a mistake in devoting to the virtuous friend, which is the opposite to devoting correctly to the virtuous friend with thought and action. It’s mentioned there that if you generate heresy or anger toward the guru, it destroys eons of merit equal in number to the moments of your heresy or anger, it delays your realizations for the same number of eons, and you have to experience suffering in the hell realm for that many eons.

Since Lam-rim Chen-mo and Bodhicaryavatara explain that a non-bodhisattva getting angry with a bodhisattva for one second destroys one thousand eons of merits, you would think that giving rise to heresy or anger toward the guru would destroy much more merit than that. Many hundreds of thousands of eons of merit should be destroyed, and realizations should be delayed and sufferings experienced in the hell realm for many hundreds of thousands of eons. That point is one to be analyzed.

However, it is very heavy negative karma for a non-bodhisattva to get angry with a bodhisattva for even one second.

Now when you compare numberless bodhisattvas and one buddha, one buddha is more powerful than numberless bodhisattvas. And when you compare numberless buddhas and one guru, one guru is more powerful.

For example, we have just finished reciting the section in Lama Chöpa that starts with yön tän jung nä tshül thrim gya tsho che...., which talks about the qualities of the guru, before the guru enters the heart. It talks there about the qualities of the guru according to the Lesser Vehicle path and Paramitayana path, as well as the tantric path. It then mentions the kindness of the guru, who guides you even though numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas have been unable to guide you. In this world numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas have appeared, but it is only the guru who guides you. The next verse mentions that the guru is kinder than even Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of the present Buddhadharma. The Buddha’s teachings, just like a setting sun, are about to end in this world, but at this time the guru guides you. It describes there the kindness of the guru.

After that it talks about making offering to even the guru’s pores, which means disciples of the same guru, the guru’s family, friends or neighbors, or even the guru’s horses, dogs, or other animals. If the guru is a lay person, it can also mean the guru’s husband, wife, or children. By thinking of the guru in your heart and making offering to the guru’s pores, even of a glass of water, a piece of fruit, or a candy, you collect more merit than having made offering to numberless buddhas, Dharma, and Sangha. That means numberless statues, stupas, and scriptures as well. You collect more merit than having made offering to all the numberless Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and statues, stupas, and scriptures of the ten directions. By making offering to a pore of the guru—offering a piece of meat or a biscuit to the guru’s dog or a small bunch of grass to the guru’s horse—you collect far greater merit than by having made offering to all the numberless Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and numberless statues, stupas, and scriptures that exist in all the universes.

That means that there is no doubt that any time you make an offering to the guru, you collect more merit than having made offering to numberless Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and numberless statues, stupas, and scriptures. That is implied there since even making offering to the pores of the guru is like that. Why is this? Because the object of the guru is more powerful than numberless buddhas. The guru is the most powerful object, and that power is a dependent arising; it’s not independent or truly existent. Why is it a dependent arising? Because the moment you make a Dharma connection by receiving even two or three verses of teaching or the oral transmission of a few syllables of mantra with the recognition that you are the disciple and that person is the guru, that person becomes the most powerful object in your own life, more powerful than all those other objects, starting from your parents of this life. This is the reason. It’s not that the guru is advertising, “I’m the most powerful one,” to disciples to receive offerings. It’s not that the guru is pursuing his own interests.

The power of the guru is a natural phenomenon, just as fire burns and water makes things wet. Fire, water, air, and earth—each has its own nature; it’s a dependent arising. It’s similar with the power of these objects, including the parents of this life. Your parents are kinder than other people because in this life they gave you your body, which allows you to practice Dharma and to achieve all the happiness up to enlightenment for yourself and to cause all the happiness up to enlightenment to other sentient beings. There are so many good things that you can do with this human body.

As I said before, the guru is the most powerful object, more powerful than numberless buddhas. It is the same with anyone with whom you have made a Dharma connection. The power comes from causes and conditions; it’s a dependent arising.

Therefore, it logically follows that any negative karma created in relation to the guru becomes the heaviest. Carrying out the guru’s advice, pleasing the guru’s holy mind, and offering any service become the most powerful good karma and create the most extensive merit. Every time we do the limb of requesting the guru to have a long or stable life in the seven-limb practice, it becomes an antidote to this very powerful negative karma, and it enables us to achieve the immortal vajra holy body of a buddha.

It also becomes a very powerful cause for the disciple’s own long life. So, it naturally becomes the cause of long life for anyone who has a Dharma connection with me, and it brings great purification of those negative karmas that cause untimely death. It brings long life by purifying the negative karmas that cause shortage of life. I was trying to tell you before that you can have life obstacles but sometimes not be aware of them. You might then do something good with compassion, with a sincere heart, either helping somebody or experiencing some hardships to serve others. This becomes powerful virtue and brings powerful purification. Your bearing hardships just from your good heart purifies your heavy negative karma, and you then have a long life. Or you could offer some service to the guru, accomplishing the guru’s advice, or to the Sangha, who are a very powerful object. Since you do some powerful good action that purifies the negative karma, you have a long life. But you may not have been aware of what was happening. There was an obstacle, but you overcome it and have a long life.

There are also spirits, called lha in Tibetan, who can take away your life potential. If you don’t take a long-life initiation, do a retreat on a long-life deity, do purification, or use one of the various other methods to prolong life, it becomes the cause of untimely death. Even though you have the karma for a long life, your death suddenly happens.

Take Lama Pasang, one of Lama Yeshe’s disciples, for example. Lama invited Lama Lhundrup and Lama Pasang from South India to Kopan. Lama Lhundrup has been the abbot at Kopan Monastery for a long time, mainly responsible for the education and discipline of the monks and now for about three hundred nuns. Lama Pasang, however, used to do external work, such shopping, building things, and looking after the workers. He did all the shopping at the beginning, then afterwards when there were many monks some of them were able to help.

One day while we are walking in the market, Lama Pasang said, “I think I may die this year.” I think he had a premonition.

Lumbum Rinpoche, a great bodhisattva lama from Gaden Jangtse, who was the abbot of Serkong Dorje Chang’s monastery at Swayambhunath, told Lama Pasang that he needed to do a long-life retreat, but Lama Pasang didn’t have time to do it—I think maybe because I didn’t give him time. The nuns needed a kitchen, so I gave him the job of building it. I then left for Lawudo in Solu Khumbu, and when I was waiting at Lukla, I heard that Lama Pasang had passed away.

Outside the nunnery there was a well that normally had a lot of gas inside. Lama Pasang was told this many times but somehow he didn’t pay much attention. I think it’s just that when it’s time to die somehow you don’t listen and you don’t believe. In Nepal many Nepalese die because they go inside such wells to work or to get water. Because of the gas there, people then drown. I heard that this has happened many times.

One of the Nepalese workers went down the well to fix something, then fell into the water because of the gas. Another Nepalese man then went into the well, and he also drowned in the water. Lama Pasang, of course, had a lot of compassion for his workers. If they had an infection, he would take care of them. So Lama Pasang went to go down the well. The nuns told him not to go, then when he rushed to the well they asked him to tie a rope around himself. He didn’t listen to them. He just ran to the well and went down. The two Nepalese drowned in the water, but Lama Pasang was very tall, so his head was above the water. But because of the gas, he couldn’t talk.

There were many obstacles. When the nuns then called some people to pull Lama Pasang out of the well with a machine, the machine got stuck in the road because it was muddy from rain. It took a long time to reach the nunnery, and by the time it did it was too late.

Someone, tied with a rope, tried to go down the well to help Lama Pasang. After he had gone down a few steps he screamed because he had started to suffocate from the gas. They immediately pulled him out. He had difficulty breathing at first, but when the nuns gave him blessed pills and burned other things, he got better.

When I came back down to Kathmandu, it was Lama Pasang’s funeral. We did the extensive Medicine Buddha puja down below Swayambhunath where there’s a place to burn bodies.

When we were doing Hayagriva retreat together some time before, the radiance of Lama Pasang’s body had degenerated. You could see there was degeneration in the color of his body; it looked dull or kind of dusty. I think that the bad color is a sign of the lha, a sign that the life potential has been taken away by spirits.

Of course, everything is due to karma, but by creating some situation that frightens a person, such as a cat suddenly jumping or some similar condition, a spirit finds a way to take away the life potential. There are long-life initiations and meditation practices you can then use to hook back the life that has been taken away, so that you then have a long life.

So, this long-life puja is a source of great merit and also your long-life puja. This is what I’m trying to say....

I might have told you this in the past, but when we make offerings, it’s good to visualize them numberless times. So it’s good to visualize each offering made during a long-life puja numberless times. Fill the whole sky with numberless offerings, then visualize numberless replicas of yourself making offering. This is an easy way to collect extensive merit. In business you try to make as much profit as possible. Even while you’re traveling, you make profit wherever you can, even if it’s not connected with your main business. Your mind is always focused on trying to make profit. You look for the chance to make even five dollars profit, so there’s no doubt about the chance to make thousands or a million dollars. It’s the same here in Dharma practice. When we’re collecting merit, like in business, we should aim to collect the most extensive merit. Whenever we do practices, we should look for ways to collect the most extensive merit and to perform the most powerful purification. In this way it will be quicker and easier for us to achieve realizations and quicker and easier to achieve enlightenment.

That TV channel is now finished.

Now here I would like to talk about the organization, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. At International Office in Portland when I was giving a teaching on the Eight Verses, I couldn’t remember the full title of the organization when I was doing the dedications. Since we usually say “FPMT,” I couldn’t remember the long title. I think Yangsi Rinpoche was shocked.

Any good thing the FPMT organization has been able to offer and the numberless sentient beings have been able to receive—every understanding of Dharma we have and every Dharma practice we have done so far, every purification we have done and every merit we have collected—comes first by the kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and second by the kindness of Lama Yeshe, whose holy name is difficult to express. First, we exist basically by the kindness of His Holiness, the only object of refuge for all sentient beings and the source of all the happiness of sentient beings. Second, Lama Yeshe, who is kinder than all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times, is the founder of this organization. Even though many of you didn’t meet Lama or hear teachings directly from him, he started the centers, including Chenrezig Institute. The purification of every single negative karma, the collecting of every single merit, the planting of the seeds of enlightenment, and every understanding of Dharma received from this organization—here at Chenrezig Institute, for example—also came from Lama, from Lama’s kindness. This also applies to anyone who has met Dharma in any other center in the FPMT.

The organization has come a very long way. Like a baby growing up with a lot of life experiences and difficulties, it has now reached this high. [Rinpoche indicates a height of a foot or so.] Now there’s so much more to go. With much hardship we have come a long way, a very long way, like on a road. It all started with the sincere hearts of the young students who came to Nepal and India looking for a spiritual life and a guru. During those times there was an explosion of Buddha sticks, LSD, and other things that break the fixed concepts of the materialistic mind and give you a chance to see something new and to have a new life. You then learn more about the mind. Rather than looking more at the external world, you look more at the inside world, the mind, which is very extensive. You can only understand external phenomena if you understand the mind. Without understanding the mind you have no way to understand external phenomena.

It was started with the good heart. The students found the lam-rim, the heart of the 84,000 teachings of Buddha, meaningful. I’d just say a few words about lam-rim—not that I know anything about lam-rim. In my case, I would just repeat the few words of lam-rim I knew over and over: impermanence, impermanence, impermanence, lower realms, lower realms, lower realms, attachment, attachment, attachment. I didn’t have any realization but I would just repeat the same things about attachment and karma and hell over and over to the people who came to Nepal. This is usually how it is in my case. Anyway, those few words repeated over and over did something for their minds. Somehow those few words benefited them, I think. Because it benefited them, showing them the real meaning of life and what you are supposed to accomplish and what you should abandon to be free from suffering, the students basically wanted to benefit the people in their own countries, so they started the centers. So, it was started with the good heart.

This is how the organization happened. These young people broke their fixed ideas about a materialistic life and about there being just one life. Due to their karma—or maybe it was Buddha’s holy action—through these plants they broke their stubborn concepts and then opened their minds to a new life. Seeing that the mind can exist without the body, they opened their hearts and accepted reincarnation and karma and then liberation and enlightenment.

With the good heart, they continued with the organization, even though most of these young people weren’t professionals and didn’t have any experience of business. Some of them had not completed university. Others might have finished university but didn’t have any work experience. However, with the good heart and with patience through many difficulties and hardships, they continued to benefit others. This is how the organization has grown up to now. Only a very few centers have dissolved in emptiness, like a deity and its mandala dissolving in the clear light. It’s not sure when they will rise back up.

I think it’s very good, because things were done with a pure heart, and that’s the most important thing. Whether or not things succeed, everything should be done with as pure a heart as possible. With compassion, you try to help as much as possible. Even though you might have very little experience, I think the most important thing is to do everything with a good heart. Because of limited facilities for people to come to listen to teachings or to do retreats and other practices, it has not been possible to spread the Dharma in a very broad professional way, in the sense of what could be accomplished by a wealthy business. Even though that is not happening and what we’re doing is kind of simple, everything is being done with a good heart. We have developed and come a very long way and learned a lot during these many, many years. So, I think it’s very good.

Sometimes an organization might look very wealthy, but then you ask, Where did the money come from? If you check, you find much harm was given to other sentient beings and many negative karmas were committed to get the money. It appears as if everything is going well, with lots of money, but if you check how the money is earned, you find there’s a lot of negative karma involved. That’s not good, because if you get wealthy by creating a lot of negative karma, there’s no Dharma, and you will have to experience all the resultant sufferings.

We don’t need the kind of success that comes by creating negative karma. It is better to try to do everything purely and then gradually have success. This is the safe way of developing. Many organizations look very good financially, but if you really analyzed what they are doing, you would be shocked. I never mentioned that before, but I just thought to mention it now.

I remember I also mentioned here last time at a long-life puja that I see there has been development in terms of the Dharma. There has also been external development. We have come a long way. Many centers are now functioning more easily and people have much more experience of how to do things. Anyway, the most important developments are having more devotion to the Triple Gem and more compassion for sentient beings. Those two are very, very important and what make this life very meaningful. They are important for your own development, for you to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings, as well as for numberless sentient beings not to receive harm from you and to receive peace and happiness, including both temporary happiness and the ultimate happiness of enlightenment, from you. Generally speaking, I see these two things developing more and more, and I think it’s the best thing.

Of course, being able to serve sentient beings in many different ways through the organization and the centers, is also an excellent thing. It really gives meaning to your own life and to the lives of the many other people in the center and of the many other people who come to the center. It’s a really wonderful thing. So, I think that we’re able to do many, many things because there has been the development of more capacity, more compassion, more knowledge, wider thinking, and the taking of more responsibility. I just eat, go to the toilet, and sleep, but I think the people in the organization, Lama’s students, have developed more compassion, more devotion, more knowledge, and more experience to benefit others. That’s why we’re able to benefit others in all these many ways, even people in prison. In the prisons there are so many people who are taking the Eight Mahayana Precepts and have done many hundreds of thousands of Vajrasattva mantras and other preliminary practices. Many people have done unbelievable practice in prison. It’s a great thing to be able to benefit them. Another big project is Essential Education, which is helping young people to develop loving kindness and peace. We are now also trying to make more materials available for them. We can really rejoice in being able to bring such great benefit to sentient beings in this world through this organization.

As I normally mention, by coming to a center, people come to know about karma, cause and effect; they come to know about negative karma, the cause of suffering, and merit, the cause of happiness. They come to learn the real cause of happiness. For example, reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas even one time has the power to purify many eons of various negative karmas that we always engage in. Not just many lifetimes but many eons of negative karma get purified. Reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas even once purifies not just all the negative karmas of this life, of past lives, or of many hundreds of lifetimes but many thousands of eons of various negative karmas. Sentient beings get unbelievable benefit just from this one practice: liberation from the lower realms and from samsara, and enlightenment. Even meditating on the meaning of the refuge and bodhichitta prayer, sang gyä chhö dang tshog kyi chhog nam la..., plants the seed of enlightenment, bringing you closer to enlightenment, closer to liberation from samsara. This comes from just meditating on the meaning of this prayer, before you begin any actual practice. What the center can offer sentient beings is unbelievable.

Since this prayer brings incredible benefit to sentient beings, there’s no doubt about the benefit from the whole of the lam-rim teachings, Vajrasattva meditation, and the various other practices. We are offering deep benefit to sentient beings from the centers and from the organization.

In Africa and many other places in the world, when there’s drought and no food, other countries try to help by sending food, but the people who are suffering actually get very little because it’s taken by the leaders of the country and so forth. One time drinking water was brought from another country by airplane. The minute the plane landed there the water became filthy, totally spoilt. That means that those people didn’t have the karma to receive clean water. It means something was missing from their side. They need to create the merit to get clean water. They need to create the karma, the inner cause, to receive food or clean water. The inner cause is missing.

Giving people food, medicine, and shelter is very good and something we must do, but if we don’t help them to change their mind, if we don’t educate them about removing their negative karma and delusions, they will engage in the same negative karmas again and again. They will then again be born in the same place and experience all the same poverty and fighting again and again. Even if they are born as a human being in their next life due to another good karma, they will experience the same problems again and again. Helping such people materially is a good thing to do, but it doesn’t really remove the cause of their suffering.

Now, a Dharma organization like ours, especially a center like this, which offers not only extensive lam-rim teachings but extensive teachings on philosophy, brings unbelievable benefit. There is unbelievable benefit in just the lam-rim itself. It causes sentient beings to actualize the three principles of the path, true cessation, and so forth. Just the graduated paths of the lower and middle capable being, just talking about the four noble truths, help them to remove the cause of suffering, their karma and delusions, especially the root delusion, ignorance, and to achieve liberation. They’re able to learn and to leave imprints, and then able to achieve that in the future.

We are able to offer sentient beings unbelievable benefit, limitless skies of benefit. Therefore, we must rejoice all the time. All the staff of the general FPMT organization and of each center should remember this deep and extensive benefit that we are offering to sentient beings. We should remember this every day. You will then enjoy your life and see that your life is most meaningful there. As I usually say, there is a big difference between working in a factory and working at a center. Of course, you can get plenty of money working in a factory, but it doesn’t spread Dharma. It doesn’t teach Dharma to others; it doesn’t educate others about how to get out of samsara and achieve enlightenment. Without talking about the extensive philosophical teachings, even the lam-rim offers this. There is a huge difference, like the difference between the earth and the sky, between working in a factory and offering service at a center. There’s a huge difference when you think about the benefits that sentient beings receive, and it makes so much difference to your own life.

We have to do this together. As I often say, one person cannot do everything. One person cannot teach Dharma, translate, be the director, be the secretary, and so forth. To do everything you need the help of all the staff: the resident teacher, the translator, and all the rest of the staff. Together you can benefit other sentient beings in an extensive way.

Therefore, we must rejoice. Don’t think only about the problems of the center. If you think only of the problems and don’t think of all the benefits, you will then see only problems. If you think only of the problems, you will see only problems. If you don’t think of all the good qualities you have but only think of your faults, you then see yourself as totally black and become very depressed. It is the same with a center if you think only of the problems and don’t think of the skies of benefits that come from it.

The next point is that some other centers even of the Tibetan tradition don’t have much teaching because it’s difficult for their monasteries to produce qualified teachers. Even though there might be many centers, they have programs with more rituals, pujas, or simple meditation. There’s not really much education happening. It’s very difficult for them to have even lam-rim teachings, the essence of the path to enlightenment. Due to the kindness of His Holiness and Lama Yeshe, here and in other FPMT centers, there’s some merit to be able to receive many qualified teachers. It is also due to Lama Tsongkhapa’s kindness. Lama Tsongkhapa and his disciples established monasteries with an incredible system for studying all of the extensive Buddhadharma. Lama Tsongkhapa set up the system in such a way that these monasteries are able to produce many qualified teachers. And in the FPMT we have some merit to receive many qualified teachers. Whether or not there’s a resident teacher, there are generally a lot of teachings in the centers in our organization. Some people might say, “Oh, maybe there’s too much teaching and we need more meditation.” However, I think one great development here and in the organization is the learning of philosophy. Understanding the philosophical teachings makes the understanding of lam-rim very deep and very vast.

Here at Chenrezig Institute the very first teacher was Geshe Loden, who was here for three years, I think. I remember I heard during that time that Geshe Loden taught the Madhyamaka subject, Abhisamayalamkara, and other teachings, and I’m sure that he must have taught lam-rim. Geshe Lekden was then here for a few years and also gave many teachings. Geshe Lama Konchog also taught when he was here. Geshe-la was supposed to be here one year. I tried to make him happy by telling him that His Holiness was coming to Australia, blah, blah, blah, but Geshe-la is very smart. He didn’t say anything, but he stayed only six months. However, he completed teaching Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand from his own experience. Geshe Thinley also lived here for a long time and taught many, many teachings here.

Our resident teacher, Geshe Tashi Tsering, has been here now for sixteen years. I requested Geshe-la to come here to teach. Of course, I knew Geshe-la from the old days in Buxa, but even though I had known Geshe-la for a long time, it was Thondrup Trulku who suggested that I invite Geshe-la. Thondrup Trulku reminded me about it a couple of times. Geshe-la kindly accepted my invitation and has now been here sixteen years. I remember that Geshe Lama Konchog told me during Geshe Thinley’s time that the next teacher who came to Chenrezig Institute would be very beneficial. That’s what Geshe Lama Konchog said.

In those sixteen years, Geshe-la has been able to establish the Basic Program. Even though so many teachings were given by different teachers for so many years, it’s not sure whether or not the students, from their side, studied and learnt. Now there are examinations with a certificate given at the end, like getting a degree in a university or school. The students’ qualifications are recognized within the FPMT organization, and if they’re recognized within the organization, it will also be recognized outside the FPMT that the students are qualified to teach the subjects that they have learned. All this has been able to happen because of Geshe-la’s qualities. Not only is Geshe-la a great scholar but he is also patient, good-hearted and pure. Despite the difficulties here, with limitation in terms of external facilities, Geshe-la has continually been patient and good-hearted.

In a few months, the complete Basic Program will have been taught two times. That is a great accomplishment.

To be able to do this is a great accomplishment in the organization and here at Chenrezig Institute. Many teachings were given before, but no one really ensured that the students learned. Geshe-la has made sure that the students learn and don’t waste their time. You really have the understanding for your own practice and realization and to be able to teach the world, to enlighten the world. Not only that, but Geshe-la has also given general teachings here at Chenrezig Institute, at Langri Tangpa Centre, and all around Australia.

On behalf of His Holiness and Lama Yeshe and the whole organization, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation and to thank Geshe-la from the bottom of my heart for his many years of giving Dharma education and especially for taking care of the Sangha. Whether the teaching of Buddha exists in a country is defined by the existence of the vinaya, the lineage of the vows, so Sangha are extremely important. Having Sangha, those who are preserving the lineage of the vows, in this country means that people born in Australia receive a perfect human body. We have getsuls and getsulmas, the male and female novices, and gelongs, the fully ordained monks—though there are not yet gelongmas. Anyway, there are gelongpas, getsuls and getsulmas, so that much of the lineage of the vinaya is existing. Having the lineage in this country helps the people born in Australia and here in the area to receive a perfect human body.

Because there is now so much teaching to do, we now also have Geshe Jamyang, and I would like to thank him. I’m very happy that Geshe-la is here to do the general program. I think it’s very, very good. I want to thank Geshe Tashi Tsering for having invited Geshe-la here to do the general program. I’m very happy to meet Geshe-la and to know that there is another teacher here to do the general program. I think Geshe Jamyang is somebody who has studied well and who is living in the practice. We need the example of a strong and stable spiritual teacher. Western countries are not like Solu Khumbu, Bhutan, Tibet, and other primitive places with caves and monasteries. The West is a shopping center of delusions. Therefore, since we need very strong, stable teachers, we’re very lucky to have Geshe Tashi Tsering and Geshe Jamyang.

I would like to thank you both very much. We should actually offer billions of dollars in order to thank you, but unfortunately this isn’t billions of dollars. You’ll have to visualize that.

I would also like to thank the director here at Chenrezig Institute. Chenrezig Institute was the very first center in Australia, and it’s now a very old center. It’s like the mother hen, and then there were the chickens and then the chickens of chickens. This was the very first center, started after the Diamond Valley course, and then Tara House started a little bit later.

Actually, the very first people who started Chenrezig Institute were Tom and Kathy Vichta and Dr. Nick Ribush, who started Wisdom Publications and is now the director of Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, and Yeshe Khadro. This place belonged to them. It was their investment. After they bought this land, they then decided to circumambulate the whole world, to find happiness. Anyway, Chenrezig Institute happened due to their generosity. The four of them, the four friends, offered the land for the center.

Lama Yeshe asked Anila Ann to start the center here. She stayed for a few years at the back of Tom and Kathy’s house in Diamond Valley. During the Diamond Valley course, Lama and I stayed in a small house on a hill. They had built the house of logs, with bark on the outside and lined inside with Styrofoam, which made everything very neat and clean. There was Lama’s room, my room, and a tiny verandah outside where the cooking was also done. Anila Ann lived in a similar house at the back of Tom and Kathy’s house.

She had a very old car that somebody had offered, called Elephant. She would use it to bring two or three boards all the way up from there to here. After some time she would again bring up a few planks. It took time, because there was no money. Different students, from their good heart, would make a small offering, and one, two, or three boards would be brought here. This gompa at Chenrezig Institute was built with donations in this way. The first time Lama and I stayed here we stayed in a caravan. Then this gompa was actualized. After that the geshe’s house and various rooms happened.

Anila Ann lived here for many years, teaching courses and building. Of course, she had the help of Tom and Kathy and many other students. There were then many different directors. I would like to thank all the directors, up to now, who have offered many years of service. If I try to mention everybody, I might leave out somebody’s name as my memory for names is not very good. Therefore, to all the directors, past and present, I would like to say thank you very, very much for your many years of service, for your dedication and sacrifice. It is because of that that Chenrezig Institute has been able to continue up to now and has been more and more beneficial. And now we can expand more and more our benefit to sentient beings.

There was always the intention to help the centers. There have been huge debts because the complete funding for the Maitreya Project hasn’t come yet. It has taken many years. The idea is that when the money comes to fund the entire project, the first thing will be to help the centers. We won’t be taking money from the Maitreya Project, though it might sound like that. When that funding comes, there will also be a fund to help the centers with financial difficulties; some centers have bought the center but still have debts. To help the centers is first on the list when the funding comes. So, I wanted to express that. A lot of help is definitely needed here to develop and expand the facilities, and especially for the Sangha.

For the time being, there’s $US5,000 from International Office to support the Basic Program here. This is just for the time being.

I would then like to thank all the people from all the other centers here—Langri Tangpa Centre, Karuna Hospice, and Cittamani Hospice—all the directors and other staff, all the students who have been studying, and all those who have been doing voluntary work. From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank you very much. I would also like to thank the directors of the other FPMT centers in Australia for their service. Thank you all very much.

I think that’s about it. I don’t have the qualities mentioned in the requesting letter. My qualities are like the rabbit’s horn. Since you’ve been studying the Basic Program, you now know about the rabbit’s horn. In Tibet there was a human being who had a horn, Lang Dharma, so maybe sometimes it’s possible for a rabbit to have horns. There’s not much benefit that I can offer, but I will offer whatever small benefit I can. As I mentioned before, I can repeat over and over the few words of Dharma that I know.

Venerable Jamyang read this request for me to come to Chenrezig Institute, then she bribed me with a money offering. I will think about a one-month retreat or something like that in the future. If it’s beneficial, we will do it. If it’s not beneficial, we’ll leave it. There’s no use doing it if it’s not beneficial.

So, I think that’s all. Thank you very much. Thank you so much.