The Role of the Center and Study Group

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Valencia, Spain 2003 (Archive #1416)

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave this talk about the purpose of centers and study groups at Nagarjuna C.E.T. Valencia , Spain on May 25, 2003.

Transcribed by Su Hung. Checked and edited by Ven. Thubten Labdron, and Claire Isitt.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Italy. Photo: Piero Sirianni.

Hello all my brothers and sisters, everyone. I’m very happy to meet you and sorry for keeping you waiting for two eons! I am very happy to meet all of you in the new center—this wonderful place.

It is mentioned here that the center is offered to me—however, the center is the center of all sentient beings. Of course I have the recognition of it as an FPMT center, but on the other hand I don’t think it’s my center. It is to benefit sentient beings, so the center belongs to all sentient beings.

A center plays a very important role in world peace. In a simple way of speaking, that is the most important role. There are many different types of meditation centers such as yoga centers and kung-fu centers. Nowadays there are many, many meditation centers but here the meditation center is not a center just for breathing, breathing in and out. That should be made clear. It’s not a center to spend the whole life just watching the breath going in and out or the stomach coming in, going out. Just watching, walking, breathing, sitting does help some negative emotional minds not to arise during that time; when you’re meditating on the breath it is possible to distract the mind from reflecting the object of anger or of a painful mind such as jealousy, but you can’t spend your life doing just that alone, you cannot develop the mind just with that.

First of all, without talking about the whole path to liberation and enlightenment, the center is in this world to educate people, people in Spain, in Valencia—giving education in compassion and loving kindness; giving education on how to practice kindness toward others in everyday life—to practice kindness towards the enemy who harms and abuses you, not only to practice kindness toward your friend, but to every sentient being, each individual person, to practice kindness toward human beings, animals, everyone. With compassion, a loving heart, your action is to practice kindness and respect to others, tolerance and forgiveness, tolerance and forgiveness toward others who harm you—you are able to forgive them.

The center offers an education in how to develop compassion, loving kindness. This education is not taught in the universities, not taught in the college, not taught in schools. Even if people have learned many other subjects from university, college, schools, starting from kindergarten, even though they have so much other education, receive so many higher degrees, but what makes their life full of problems to themselves? They become so destructive to the world; young people are so violent. For example, in the United States a few years ago, a couple of schoolboys killed many other people with guns—such things happen all the time. So many young people become violent, very unhappy with their lives, dissatisfied and opposed to their families. Life has become so uncontrolled, so violent, bringing so much dissatisfaction, unhappiness and harm to others; harm to the world.

If there is compassion in the hearts of the people, no matter how many guns there are in the world, how many atomic bombs there are in the world, they cannot harm. They cannot harm the world, they cannot harm the people. If people’s minds have generated compassion, a good heart, then weapons don’t become dangerous, harmful. But if there is no compassion, even if you don’t have a gun your mind becomes very harmful, not only to yourself, destroying your life, but harmful to others. Your ignorance, anger, jealous mind, attachment—all these become very dissatisfying to your mind, you can never get satisfaction. They also cause harm to many sentient beings in the world, including you yourself; your own body, speech and mind can give great harm to other sentient beings.

You see how one person can manipulate others and give a wrong view, a wrong philosophy, a wrong way of thinking to many millions of people and make them suffer. From one person who doesn’t have a good heart, but who has influence and power, whose words are powerful, millions of people get wrong superstitions, wrong philosophy.

As you well know, terrible things happen in the world because of the powerful speech of one influential person who lacks Dharma wisdom or compassion—understanding what is right to practice, what is wrong; what brings problems and suffering in one’s own and others’ lives now and in the future; and the right thing that brings only peace and happiness to oneself and others, from life to life. With this lack of wisdom and compassion toward others, the person brainwashes or teaches the wrong way of thinking to many millions of people and, instead of making life easy, that wrong philosophy brings so many problems into their lives and causes so much harm to others. So you see, even if you don’t have any weapons, with a lack of compassion and wisdom you harm the world with your mind. There are many examples of this. With that person’s ignorance, wrong way of thinking, self-centered mind and lack of good heart, the world is made very dark. There is no light of the good heart, no light of wisdom; life is filled with the darkness of misconceptions which bring only unhappiness, harm to oneself and others.

Therefore, regarding this center, even though there are many things to teach—the whole path to enlightenment—the essence is to educate the students in compassion and wisdom, and even of these two, the main thing is compassion.

It has happened from time to time in the world that through lack of compassion one person has caused many millions of people to be killed. One person’s lack of compassion has caused many millions of people, young and old, to be killed and tortured, not to mention the numberless animals that died in the war-time from bombs; numberless creatures that died in the ground. Many living beings in this world who wanted happiness, who did not want suffering, have suffered because of one person who had influential power and lacked compassion.

Therefore if you, one person in this life, don’t develop compassion while you have every opportunity—having received not only a precious human body but one qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses, and met teachers who give complete teachings on how to develop compassion and so forth and teachings that offer all the techniques that Buddha explained—if you don’t change your mind even now, in this life and with this body, then without compassion, the attitude you’ll have will be the self-cherishing thought, and because of that, discriminating thoughts of anger, attachment and such things will arise. Then you’ll harm directly or indirectly many sentient beings in this life. Then, as your consciousness continues—even though the continuation of your body stops, your consciousness does not—there will be the continuation of the self-cherishing thought. From life to life there is danger of that one person giving harm to all the sentient beings. If you think of life to life, it relates to so many sentient beings.

Just as happened historically in this world, one person killing and torturing millions and millions of people, it is also possible that you might also do that; there is that danger. If you think of life to life, there is a danger that you can harm all sentient beings. Therefore, it becomes very, very urgent, it is an emergency: without delaying even for a second there is a great need to develop, to generate compassion—cannot wait even for a second. Otherwise there is the danger not only that you harm yourself from your own negative thoughts, the self-centered mind, but numberless other sentient beings who want happiness, who do not want suffering, just like yourself, are harmed. Therefore the urgency or great need to generate and develop compassion is something you can’t delay even for a second.

In many countries—for example, Australia and the United States—the young people have become very uncontrolled and violent. The government and the parents just cannot control them; the government doesn’t know what to do and the parents don’t know what to do. It is because of a lack of education in the schools about a good heart, loving kindness and compassion. With this education naturally comes respect for others and an ethical life of abandoning things which harm you and others—killing, stealing, all that harmful negative karma. If the education of a good heart is given in school and put into practice, then one will live an ethical, disciplined life, protecting one’s life from those negative actions which are harmful to oneself and others. Living in moral discipline brings real peace and happiness in your life and you are able to bring much peace and happiness in others’ lives, you are not a bad influence on others so you are protecting others from killing and other such harm. It’s the most practical way to bring peace and happiness to yourself and others; this is how each person, whether old or young, can bring peace to the world. It becomes your most practical contribution to world peace.

So you see, a good heart is very essential. If you don't have this, that’s why these problems come, which the government and even the parents in the home don’t know what to do about.

When I was listening to the radio in Australia some years ago, I was doing retreat but listening at the same time…not at the same time, sorry, I was doing retreat but also listening to the radio in the break times, so I heard all the problems. There was a discussion about how there is something missing in school education, they talked about that for a few days. Then in the United States, when I was in New York, the ministers, senators, gave talks over several days about whether or not to have guns. The discussion was shown on TV for a few nights but during the times I was watching I didn’t hear one person mention the method to bring peace—the need to change the attitude of the young people. Rather than changing outside; changing the attitude into compassion, transforming the thought of harming others, anger and so forth, into a good heart, compassion—you never heard that word from all those senators who spoke, never heard the word “compassion.”

So that is why I am saying a meditation center such as this, which offers complete teachings on how to develop the mind, plays a most important role in world peace; not only peace in this world but peace for numberless sentient beings, even those in other universes.

By the way, I would like to mention that I have this idea to help young people, to start a very large organization, in various countries, called Loving Kindness Peace for Youth. I recently got this idea. The method to educate young people is universal education. We are arranging the subjects now, something which is universal, that anybody can learn without fear or religion. Also, the idea is for young people from different religions, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and various others, to have inter-religious, interfaith meetings. Interfaith meetings can also be done with the leaders of religions as an antidote to war, to stop religious wars and such things in the world. Religious wars have been happening for many hundreds, thousands of years.

Recently, in America, a group of scientists checked the difference in health between people who live their life with a good heart and thoughts of benefiting others and people who live their life with self-cherishing thoughts. In their research, these scientists found out that people who live their life with the attitude of benefiting others have less risk of heart attack. They discovered that people who live their life with the thought of benefiting others don’t have that; people who live their life only thinking about themselves, seeking happiness for themselves, with a self-centered mind, have a higher incidence of heart disease.

During the research, the people had to answer three questions. First was: could you give money to somebody who is in need, a beggar or somebody? They experimented, checking the person’s good heart. If the person said “yes,” they made it more difficult, to see how much they could give. So the second question was: could you offer that person a place to stay at your house? I don’t remember the third question; I don’t think it was whether you can give your body, not that one!

So they checked how much good heart, how generous or kind the person was by making it harder and harder. Then they discovered—it is proved through Western science—that people who live with a good heart, the thought of benefiting others, definitely have better health; definitely it affects the health, in particular this heart situation. It is definite proof.

Then, the question regarding religion, how to develop compassion, they have been checking with religious people—I think they checked Muslim or Hindu and Christian—and the various priests had different ideas; they didn’t agree with each other, so they were unable to get a complete answer on how to develop compassion. Then they discovered that Buddhism—I think particularly Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism—is the only one that has the complete answer on how to develop compassion.

Recently they wanted to do some research and I think maybe thirty students signed up as participants. I taught a two-day course on bodhicitta; mainly I taught training the mind in bodhicitta, the seven techniques of cause and effect. Ribur Rinpoche did the part on exchanging oneself for others. Then they did three months’ meditation on that. I don’t know how much meditation they did, but two of the people were our students from Switzerland who had been school teachers. I heard they were hooked up to instruments and checked while they meditated on compassion. They said it was very successful. A Tibetan doctor from Dharamsala, Lobsang Rabgye, and a group from UCLA did this experiment and found it successful.

There is a book written by a doctor and his psychologist wife in which they describe their analysis showing that the positive, or pure, mind is the one that heals cancer. The cause of a person’s cancer, where it comes from, is the impure mind, negative thoughts, and this Western psychologist’s book said that the cancer is also healed by their own pure mind, positive thoughts. Those doctors explained this through their analysis.

So, I was also asked for advice on what the center should do. As I was explaining, the essential purpose of the meditation center is to educate other sentient beings in compassion—that is one very essential thing. That is what I think. This center has been offering that education with the help of the invited teacher, the Tibetan lama, Geshe Lamsang. An interpreter is working, and the center has all the facilities. The center has been giving education on the very essence of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism. Even in general, Buddhism is different from other religions—Buddhism teaches compassion not only for human beings, not only compassion for poor people, but also for rich people, because they have so many problems. The more wealth people have, the more problems and dissatisfaction they experience—so we also need compassion for them. Then having compassion for animals as well; compassion not only for human beings but for all living beings, any being who has an obscured mind and suffering; compassion for all the different types of sentient beings: the hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, devas and human beings.

I think the very essential point of what the center offers is education, giving explanations—but also facilities, a place to meditate, to practice.

Another thing, the purpose of the meditation center is to explain how these aggregates are created by the cause, karma and delusion, and because of that are pervaded by suffering, in the nature of suffering. Because of the contaminated seed of disturbing thought, being pervaded by suffering, the base becomes just the container of all the problems of this life and this becomes the foundation of all the future lives’ problems. This is why our mind has worry, fear and dissatisfaction; all these problems, depression, longing and so forth—just the mind itself has so many problems. With all these delusions, such as anger, we have all these problems—disturbing emotional problems, mental problems. On top of that there are all the physical problems we experience, all the sicknesses and other physical problems: AIDS, cancer, and now there is SARS: the most famous sickness in the world. All these sicknesses are the body; besides the mind having all its problems, the body experiences all these problems, sicknesses. Sickness is not the only problem; from the time we are reborn, conceived in the mother’s womb, there is so much suffering: suffering of birth, suffering of old age, suffering of death, so many other problems.

The continuation of all this circles to the next life’s samsara; continues to that samsaric aggregate. Then the continuation of that circles to the next life, and that then goes on to the next life’s aggregates, caused by delusion and karma; the contaminated seed of suffering continues that circle. As it continues, circles like that, we suffer continuously until we stop it. Until we stop this continuity we will have to suffer endlessly – on and on, on and on, in one of these six realms, continuously.

So you introduce your students to how we circle in samsara, how these aggregates are in the nature of suffering and then explain the objects of refuge: the one who has ceased all the mistakes of mind, gross and subtle, who has completed all the qualities, the omniscient one who reveals the actual refuge, the path; the path to the cessation of suffering and how to achieve that true path; and the Sangha, those who have attained the path, who become inspiring examples for us to practice, or follow, the path. By introducing that, you educate them regarding the circling, what causes the body and mind to experience all this suffering. You explain the causes, then how one can be free from this nature of suffering. How Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, have the power to help, to liberate one. By giving education you awaken their mind about samsara, how it is in the nature of suffering, how we have to stop the circle; how Buddha, Dharma, Sangha have the power: Buddha, the Omniscient One; Dharma, the path; and Sangha, who inspire us to generate the path. Giving the education of awakening, we awaken sentient beings’ minds to understand refuge.

On the basis of that, you then explain karma, what is the cause of suffering, what is the cause of happiness, inspire them to abandon the causes of suffering, to practice the causes of happiness. You awaken the sentient beings’ minds that are ignorant of karma. Through their understanding of karma they engage in the practice of morality then, by giving this education and meditation practice, the center causes the sentient beings to have, right after the death of this life, a good rebirth – deva or human rebirth, a higher rebirth. This is the first way in which the center helps: offering immediate rescue from reincarnating into the most unimaginable suffering of the hell beings, animals and hungry ghosts. That’s the first level of benefit the centre offers sentient beings.

The second benefit sentient beings receive from the center is that it offers education in the higher training of morality, concentration (shamatha, or shi-nä), and great insight, and the five paths to achieve liberation. Practicing the path is what ceases the disturbing thoughts, or defilements, including the seeds of these delusions. Completing the five paths – the paths of merit, preparation, right seeing, meditation, and no more learning – brings the cessation of the entire round of suffering and its causes and leads to achieving the sorrowless state of everlasting happiness; it causes that. So that’s the ultimate benefit the center offers. The previous one was receiving happiness in future lives, all the coming lives. This life is very short, so, although Dharma offers happiness in this life—by practicing Dharma there is no confusion in your life, only peace and happiness—the most important thing, more important than the happiness and peace of mind of this life, the center offers happiness in all the coming future lives. That’s more important—that’s what the center is offering—educating sentient beings in the basic path to achieve liberation from samsara. Training and educating them in the five paths ceases all their defilements, delusions and karma, including the seed of the delusions, and that makes them achieve total cessation of suffering, everlasting happiness. So the center is offering ultimate happiness to sentient beings. That’s the second benefit.

The next benefit the meditation center offers to sentient beings is the greatest one: full enlightenment, the peerless happiness of the sentient beings. How? By educating them in bodhicitta. By giving the teachings on how to develop bodhicitta and those bodhisattvas’ deeds: the six perfections, the five Mahayana paths to achieve enlightenment. The sutra path – the five paths and the ten bhumis—enables them to be able to cease not only gross but even subtle defilements and then causes them to achieve full enlightenment, peerless happiness. So that is the greatest, most important benefit the center offers to sentient beings. Then if the tantric teachings are given with the fully categorized four initiations, which plant the definite seed of the four kayas, with the promise to practice the quick path of tantra, the center offers quick enlightenment for sentient beings. Which is the most important thing that sentient beings need—even if they don’t understand, this is what they need.

Here I would like to make one comment. The healer or person who can show miraculous powers, a miracle healer, is very astonishing, very surprising to the world; somebody who can heal your cancer or any other sicknesses in the snap of a finger, a healer who can give a miracle cure. But even if you recover from cancer it’s only a cancer of this life, it doesn’t mean that that you will never experience cancer or sickness in future lives. Even in this life, if you still have the karma to have cancer, you will get cancer again. It can happen that after the operation in the hospital the cancer cells are destroyed but the person still has karma to experience cancer, there is the karma for it to come back after one or two years.

The teacher—Buddha, or the one who teaches Dharma, the means to purify your negative karma, through which you will have happiness in all the future lifetimes; no cancer in all the future lifetimes; no suffering in all the future lifetimes—this teacher becomes much more precious than the miracle healers. So even though that is very astonishing for some people, in reality this teacher who teaches Dharma—healing your mind, purifying all the negative karma, the causes of not only cancer but of all the problems, giving you happiness in all the future lives—is much more precious. This is much more astonishing, so precious.

The teacher who has revealed the Four Noble Truths, who teaches you the true suffering, true cause of suffering, true cessation of suffering, true path; after explaining what is cessation of suffering, what suffering you should be freed from and then showing the path to achieve that; the teacher who teaches you the Four Noble Truths becomes unbelievably precious. The person who can show you miracle powers, or miracle healers that you hear about, cannot purify your negative karma; you might recover from some sickness, but your negative karma cannot be cured, doesn’t get healed. So in your next life you get sick again. He cannot heal your delusions and karma, bringing you to enlightenment. Not only that; if you think about being brought to enlightenment, the teacher who gives the Mahayana teaching, how to actualize the whole path, how to cease all the gross and subtle defilements, how to achieve enlightenment, becomes even more precious, the most precious. So even if the Dharma teacher doesn’t show miracles, this is a real miracle: showing the Four Noble Truths brings you to liberation, brings you to enlightenment. Now you can see how this teacher is so precious; you can see the value of the teacher, all the benefits you get from the teacher. This recognition of the teacher's kindness and then respecting the teacher are very important as leading to correct devotion to the Virtuous Friend.

The next thing: to study Dharma, to listen to and study Dharma as extensively as possible is very important; to learn Dharma as extensively as possible. That becomes very important because the more you learn, the more you understand; the deeper you understand, the more you can benefit others, you can give them a deeper understanding of Dharma, deeper and clearer explanations.

That is why, even though many of the old centers have been offering teachings on most of the subjects, in recent years we started the five-year program [the FPMT Basic Program]. The seven-year [Masters] program is established at Lama Tsongkhapa Institute and we are hoping to do more of that in the other centers. The shorter five-year program, which includes quite a number of sutra and some tantra subjects, is to instill a broader understanding of Dharma in the minds of students. They will have a deeper and wider understanding, which will be very beneficial later when they practice, to develop realization in their practice and also to help educate other sentient beings in Dharma; much more beneficial. After completing the study we issue a certificate that means the student is recognized in the organization as qualified to teach Dharma. That is the purpose of giving the certificate.

Then the center is to introduce sentient beings to various purification practices such as preliminary practices to purify their negative karma and defilements, and various practices of collecting extensive merit. It has the facility to offer them a place to meditate and practice, especially to do group practice, meditation and retreat or things like that, to purify the mind and collect merit, to learn those various methods.

It can also offer consultation to people having problems—mental problems, physical problems, relationship problems and so forth—to console and advise them, to help them. For example, to talk to people who are suicidal, to show how their life is not hopeless, how their human body is so precious, how it has the potential to achieve any happiness they want, temporal and ultimate, how then it can bring the four levels of happiness to all sentient beings: happiness of this life, happiness of all future lives, liberation from samsara and enlightenment. Inspire the person and make their life very positive. Then that person gives up suicidal thoughts, thinking of their life’s problems. This way you are liberating the life, saving a human being’s life by giving consultation; you cause those people who are suicidal to have long lives. Normally we liberate animals, so now here you liberate human beings. Things like that, to help them with whatever problems or difficulties they have through consultation and so forth.

Then, of course, if there’s time, there are also pujas to help them—the center can also help others by doing pujas, but mainly by giving advice.

That’s about the center.

For individuals, I suggest first you study one complete lam-rim book, such as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand—maybe read and study it completely at least one time. After you have the whole idea, every day even for just ten or fifteen minutes or longer, focus on guru devotion until you reach stable realization of that.

You can use teachings on emptiness, a stanza or something to meditate on emptiness. Or things like the four-point analysis. There are various techniques, ways to meditate on emptiness. You can choose anything that’s powerful. The other thing is if you can, if you are practicing tantra, having received great initiation, you can do the meditation on one of the highest tantra practices, the generation stage. You do this until you achieve realization. That is one way. The other way is to meditate on guru devotion every day until you achieve that realization. Then mind training in the generation stage: you do one year mind training in the gradual path of the lower capable being; then next year train the mind in the middle path; the next year you train your mind…here I am talking about the main focus of meditation. You divide the subjects: then one year on bodhicitta, then next year mainly focus on emptiness, then again you circle. You can do one year for each path, meditating every day. Or guru devotion every day, that’s the same, then for six months you train your mind in the lower path, six months in the middle path, six months on bodhicitta, the rest of the months on emptiness as the main focus of meditation. It doesn’t mean you can’t meditate on the path at other times but it means that is the main focus. I will mention the idea in just a few words.

The first one, guru devotion, every day you do the same thing until you achieve that realization; train your mind into the gradual path of the lower capable being until you achieve that realization. Then you focus on the middle one, renunciation of future samsara, then after that bodhicitta, because that’s the only way you can achieve bodhicitta. Then emptiness. Do a little bit each day.

Then you should do practices of purification as much as possible and collect merit. Because we don’t have much time, we have jobs, many engagements, taking care of families; what you do is try especially to make your job a means to collect extensive merit. It becomes virtue and a means to collect extensive merit by working for many hours in your job, many hours of sleeping, many hours working at home, taking care children or whatever. We try to transform that into virtue, a means to collect extensive merit. No matter what activity you are doing, eating, sleeping, doing jobs, taking care of the family, cooking, being a secretary, being the director or whatever, you try to transform that into virtue, so it become a means to collect extensive merit.

How to do that? If you do everything with the thought of benefiting all sentient beings, the bodhicitta motivation, it is transformed into virtue; everything becomes not only a virtuous cause of happiness but the cause to achieve enlightenment; the cause of great success, liberation from samsara, happiness in future lives—all these come by the way. Live the rest of the life with bodhicitta motivation, the thought of benefiting other sentient beings as much as possible by putting all your effort into that. That’s the happiest way to live the life, the best way to live the life. The most satisfying, fulfilled way to live the life. Then you have no regret. Later when you die, the day you die you have no regret. Your heart is only filled with peace and happiness. Joy.

I think that’s it. Thank you very much. Before I thought to talk on thought transformation, how to use the suffering problems of life, unhappiness—being poor, being rich, healthy, unhealthy, all the different situations – to make it meaningful, whichever way our life goes; dying or living—even if you are dying, how to make it useful for sentient beings, how to use it as a path to achieve enlightenment. But it’s late…actually, it was already late, even before I came!

Q. Do you mean that each day we should combine guru devotion with each of the levels?

Rinpoche. Every day you do something on guru devotion, even just for ten or twenty minutes, until you have stable realization on that. Whichever way you do it, such as meditating on lam-rim—I mentioned different ways of doing it—do the first one until you achieve realization; do each one like that. The other way is to train your mind in each path – one year, the lower path; one year, the middle path; one year, bodhicitta—as the main focus; or for six months. I am talking about individual retreat. This is the way you can see some progression in your heart; as months or years go by, you see some change. Otherwise, a little bit of this teaching here, a little bit of that teaching there, this and that, and you do some mantras and some prayers, but there is no actual meditation on lam-rim. You lose the main practice. Your goal, the essential meaning of life didn’t happen: meditation on the three principal paths, the foundation of tantra. Without that you cannot achieve realizations. This way you can see progression after some time; as the months or years go by you can see some change, some improvement in your mind; that is why I suggested this. Now I have no more words.


By actualizing the path, may all living beings achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible. May the center be able to benefit any sentient being, any living being, not only human beings, even other types of living beings, including insects, any spirit or any other living being that comes to the center.

Dedicate that all the other centers in Spain, all the centers in the world, in this organization, benefit sentient beings in the same way. May all the organizers and members of the centers; all those who give up their lives to this organization and who are doing service for sentient beings, for the teachings of Buddha; all the students here and elsewhere; all the supporters and benefactors of this FMPT organization and in Valencia; Rafael, who gave support by offering the house to sleep in—may everyone have a long life and be healthy. May all our wishes succeed immediately according to the holy Dharma and may we able to actualize Lama Tsongkhapa’s stainless teaching, which unifies sutra and tantra, in this very lifetime with all our hearts, not delaying for even a second.

May the projects of all the centers, including Valencia Center, benefit sentient beings, and may they all succeed immediately by receiving whatever is necessary. In particular may the 500-foot Maitreya Buddha statue start and be completed as quickly as possible, to be most beneficial to all sentient beings, to generate loving kindness and compassion in the minds of all sentient beings, so that nobody has to experience war, famine, disease, torture, poverty, sicknesses, danger from fire or any of the four elements, earthquakes and so forth. May everybody enjoy a life of peace and happiness. May anybody who hears, dreams or talks about the project, and those who donate to build the statue, who see the statue, circumambulate and make offerings or prostrations, from that time never ever be reborn in the lower realms and may they be able to find a perfect human rebirth immediately and actualize bodhicitta, meet and learn Maitreya Buddha’s teachings and achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible.

Also, may all those in the companies who are working for the statue and even those porters and coolies who are working on the statue, achieve guru devotion, the graduated path and the two stages of tantra in that very lifetime. May all the funds to actualize the complete project, be received as quickly as possible without even one second’s delay.

We are going to do a prayer for the spread of Dharma.

I really like your singing! I would like to thank Geshe Lamsang very much for all the teachings up to now, which are so beneficial. I also thank all the organizers, the director and everybody—old director, new director, future directors and all the staff, Rafael, and everyone here for your daily practices and your services. Thank you.