Below are excerpts from readers' unsolicited letters to LYWA. These readers are LYWA benefactors, FPMT center directors, old students of Lama Yeshe, current FPMT students, academics, prisoners, and Dharma teachers and students not affiliated with the FPMT. While indicating the global spread of this response, we have kept the senders' names and locations relatively anonymous.
Click on the links below to see groups of letters:
- This Just In!
- FPMT Center Directors
- FPMT Students
- Readers of Mandala Magazine
- Other Center Directors
- Other Dharma Students
To read more of our supporters' and friends' comments, take a look at the responses from a survey we conducted in February 2008.
This Just In!
A letter submitted to Mandala Magazine for their "Your Words" section of the magazine. It is titled "Thank You For Your Kindness".
Buddhism didn’t so much creep up on me as just plain hit me over the head. Hard. When I think back on the mere two years that I have been actively trying to follow its principles I cannot believe how it evaded me for so long. But of course my mind was not yet ready until then.
I have the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive to thank for opening my wisdom eye. My husband had gone out of town for the weekend and I had the glorious luxury of sitting in bed, laptop balanced on my legs, surfing away at 2:30 in the morning. I don’t remember how I got to the Lama Yeshe site (why on earth was I looking up Buddha?) but somehow I did and there I discovered free books. Free books! To an avid reader like myself the words ‘free books’ was like throwing candy to a group of children--gimmie some. After reading the titles of how I could make my life meaningful, still my mind, become compassionate, and understand emptiness I ordered every one offered. My curiosity was beyond peaked and I spent another few hours reading some of the teachings about bodhicitta, samsara, impermanence and death, meditation and the path to enlightenment. It was hard to understand, harder still to imagine anyone living with concern for anything beyond this life. A biting, annoying mosquito has the same right to happiness as me? I couldn’t quite agree with that but waited for the answer to arrive in those books. And arrive they did, much faster than I had expected. As though I was supposed to start studying immediately, not a second to lose as Lama would tell me.
Lama Yeshe’s teachings made me laugh out loud. I would have been in my twenties back when he gave these talks and every “freak out” and “your trip” brought him alive to me. I didn’t expect the books to be so simply written, so easy to understand. Oh, the principles were hard for me to grasp at first, especially emptiness. I thought that was going to be about the empty, lonely, what am I doing here feelings I have always lived with. But I read and reread every one of the books and most of it made perfect sense. The parts that didn’t, well, they would eventually. In a matter of weeks I was on my way to a life of trying very hard to follow the Buddha and become the person I want to be in the next go-round. As I said, hit over the head.
Thinking back over my life I could see where I was brought in this direction time and time again, but just didn’t see it. Afraid of death? Try being an eight year old crying in the dark, knowing it was eventually coming and vowing to never have children so they wouldn’t have to go through the same thing. At eight years old. And then on through my teens, young adulthood, middle age…. Now I think I was unconsciously remembering how hard previous lives had been and maybe, maybe I was just afraid of a bad repeat. I wish I had known someone who could have explained it to me during all those years of misery.
I have always been called “too nice” because of my compassion for others, my ability to feel what they must be going through and my empathy for their situations. I took things to heart too much, I was told, and I shouldn’t think so much about the state of the world, the problems I had no way to help with at all. This was truly frustrating because, really, what could one person do about the hate, the loneliness and the sheer desperation of beings on this earth? Those horrible things that had been happening since beginningless time and would no doubt continue to happen to humans, to animals, to every living thing.
Now I know — I can join the thousands of people who ask to take the heartaches of the world onto their own bodies in exchange for our own happiness and good fortune. I can do this with great joy, finally able to feel like I am taking some kind of action. And I know also that on days when I am having it rough, when things are going wrong and I am pushed to my limit, somewhere there is a kind person giving me their goodness and taking my pain in trade. Thank you Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.
Thank you so much for the letter and book [Advice for Monks and Nuns]. It is a wonderfully inspiring book, as was the last one. I have given out Becoming Your Own Therapist to so many people with extraordinary responses. Even my son was inspired then to explore Buddhism more deeply and to learn meditation. I am amazed!
[From a second letter:] Thank you so much for the extra copies of Becoming Your Own Therapist. The response to these little books has been quite amazing. As I do not mix in Buddhist circles I have distributed these to non-believers in anything...In 3 cases now, people have come to me for further reading and information on Buddhism and have asked to be taught meditation...The simplicity, clarity and openness of Lama Yeshe reaches deep into the recesses of one's mind and heart and makes sense of our wacky world, resolves questions which have been vaguely answered by other philosophies, and gives one hope and a reason to live this life with equanimity, responsibility and peace. I am grateful for your tireless dedication to the Archive project and eagerly look forward to more books being released. Australia
I was absolutely delighted by Lama Yeshe's Becoming Your Own Therapist—a wonderful first publishing effort...I would like to request 5 copies of this booklet to give to some of my uptight elderly lady friends. USA
Thank you so much for the wonderful booklet Becoming Your Own Therapist. I truly believe that not only Buddhists but also many other people will benefit by reading this booklet. Here, we rejoice in your accomplishment...please send five more booklets...so we can share this wonderful booklet with our friends. Taiwan and USA
Thank you so much for generously sending out this wonderful little book, Lama Yeshe, Becoming Your Own Therapist. I was very moved by the fact that you mailed this out as a gift. At a time when most "therapists" charge so much money that the people who need help cannot afford it, and when workshops and conferences on "healing" cost a fortune, this gift is a fine gesture. It seems that the Buddhist organizations in America are among the few who still care more about reaching people than about just making money. Please accept my enclosed contribution and send books to the following people... USA
Just today I finally got to read the latest publication, Advice for Monks and Nuns. I have read part of it and there are a number of very helpful ideas. Reading this publication has been a very calming experience. Congratulations and keep up this fine work. My sense is that it will make a big difference. USA
Hope this [donation] is useful—what you're doing certainly is! USA
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FPMT Center Directors
[Becoming Your Own Therapist] is a wonderful gift and a wonderful book and we will study the book in the Dharma Centre this autumn. Denmark
...just felt to express extra thanks to you and all at LYWA after finding Becoming Your Own Therapist such a beneficial booklet within our small group...we had fun using it over 3 weeks for our weekly meetings and some who had not been in touch with Lama Yeshe's wonderful words and humor before were very moved and happy and took many copies for other friends of friends. Australia
Thank you very much for the 20 booklets you sent us a few months ago. People loved these really simple and inspiring teachings, and some others who don't read much English...got incredibly inspired by Lama's photo on the cover...she really feels Lama is alive and laughing at her to make her feel better when she is in a bad or angry mood....Thank you very much for all the work you are doing with Lama's teachings. It is very precious for all of us. Only the thought of discovering new teachings of Lama in the next Mandala fills me with joy every time and their editing is always perfect. France
What a great idea and an amazing publication [Becoming Your Own Therapist]. After fifteen years of being a student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche it never ceases to amaze me just how profound and thoroughly interesting the Dharma is, especially when interpreted by such a great teacher as Lama Yeshe was. Please send me another 40. Secretary, FPMT center, New Zealand
The free booklet is gone and we promised one to every new member in the next two months. It has served the center so well. People have loved the photograph and the simplicity and clarity of the message. We need more urgently. Australia
Just wanted to tell you that the Becoming Your Own Therapist booklet is great....We've given lots of them away and people really appreciate them. USA
I would like to say that many of the new students have found this book [Becoming Your Own Therapist] of great comfort and so helpful, the benefit to older students...is so beneficial, so once again thank you. I am definitely looking forward to more books. Australia
I am so happy to be able to offer these precious books [Becoming Your Own Therapist] to all who come to [our center] and so I will try to obtain more....From my point of view I would sincerely like to thank you so much...I was not able to receive these great teachings while Lama was here in the 70s, however I can certainly read now and receive teachings this special way. Australia
Just got the new Lama Yeshe booklet. It's wonderful! It's going to be so valuable for newies, especially. And to see it was for free distribution brought tears to my eyes. Anyway, thanks soooooooooo much!...Who do I write to for 50 copies? New Zealand
Would it be possible to get hold of a few copies of Becoming Your Own Therapist and forthcoming booklets for our center? I read with glee your wonderful columns of Lama Yeshe's wisdom in Mandala and am becoming seriously addicted to them....How exhilarating it must be for you to be doing it! With gratitude for your perseverance. Japan
We appreciate so much your sending us Becoming Your Own Therapist. And so do our retreatants, students, casual visitors etc. People seem to relate to it immediately: the booklets are so popular and well-liked that they are all gone. Do you think you could send us some more? That would be wonderful. New Zealand
I'm enjoying [Becoming Your Own Therapist] so much. Thank you, dear brother, for your splendid work. I rejoice in your merits and wish you all the best. FPMT board member
Thanks for the new book [Becoming Your Own Therapist]. It looks very nice and of course, just to get a touch of Lama Yeshe is always a treat...I would really like some extra copies to give away to my folks, etc...someone who briefly saw the book commented on how Buddhism has seemed to have lost its essence and how Lama Yeshe just presents Buddhism for everyday application. She is in her twenties, so never heard or met Lama Yeshe. USA
I have only seen one video of Lama teaching, and of course I have read about his methods and expression, to say nothing of his enduring influence. Reading the transcripts you have prepared has given me a real flavor of Lama's teachings. Thank you and congratulations. As [an editor] who has endeavored to create transcripts which have a flavor, as well as being readable and publishable, I appreciate just what you have done. Congratulations and thank you again. Australia
Thanks a million for Lama Yeshe's wisdom encapsulated in a beautiful book. Singapore
Thanks so much for Becoming Your Own Therapist—it was a great surprise and is a lovely book. I read it immediately and felt instantly happier. You guys are doing a great job. Australia
Thanks for the two little books [Becoming Your Own Therapist and Advice for Monks and Nuns]. They arrived a few days ago. I read the one on the monks and nuns and was very much transported into the presence of Thubten Yeshe. It has been so many years since I have been there but it was a fine place indeed. What he had to say was very fine indeed, though I think he was too far ahead of us in the sense that he thought we could live in a harmony which our individualism and lack of Buddhist knowledge precludes. But what a wonderful sense of vision and faith in Buddhism comes through from the talks. I thought the editing was appropriate too. Kept a feeling for the man without making a mockery of written English. Monk, scholar, Canada
Thank you for sending me the beautiful, moving book, a treasure. England
I was wondering if you could send me 30 copies of Lama Yeshe's Becoming Your Own Therapist. I recently started teaching meditation and Buddhism at an adult educational school; the response is very good and I thought Lama's universal words will help greatly in assisting people to start working with their inner life. USA
This morning I read Lama Yeshe's Becoming Your Own Therapist. As an old student of Lama Yeshe's it means so much to me to have access to his teachings. Thank you. USA
I am so very grateful that you are so dedicated to the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. USA
My thanks go to all of you who made it possible for me to have the book of Lama's [Becoming Your Own Therapist]. While studying this book I could feel Lama's presence. These teachings are exactly what I had need of. It is my choice, over all my books, to read. It has changed my life...I've known Lama ever since he first came to Nashville, Indiana...He was my guru. USA
Thank you so much dear...for sending the booklet of Lama Yeshe's teachings. You are so kind, really....I've spent this morning reading it and though I'm not done, I can thank you ahead of time for creating a masterful, meaningful work here. Your job with his English is great, just enough "check ups" and "long way to go baby" to keep me remembering, but the teaching is clear, so clear. Thank you, Nick, thank you. May there be many more. USA
I am so happy with your project of freely distributing Lama's teachings. I'd like—oh, yes—to receive a few samples of each of them, but most of all I'd like to do the same with them as French transcripts...so beautiful, so beneficial. France
Readers of Mandala Magazine
Thank you, I learned a lot today. I've been working on my inner spirit and this essay [Lama Yeshe's "Beauty is in the I of the Beholder"] helps me to better understand true beauty. USA
Could I please have two copies of the booklet entitled Becoming Your Own Therapist? I found the excerpt in Mandala very inspiring. I always enjoy reading the [Lama Yeshe] Wisdom Archive selections. They are always focused and like an arrow to the target. Great work, thanks. USA
I just finished reading "Everything comes from the mind"...in Mandala. I took refuge with Lama Yeshe in Nashville, Indiana, in 1975 and his words are as meaningful and as helpful to me today as ever. Thank you for this wonderful endeavor. Please place me on your mailing list to receive free publications....Thanks again for your precious gift to sentient beings. USA
Other Center Directors
Thanks for the lovely booklet...I often go to speak at schools, churches and other places...it would be great to have some copies of this booklet to hand out...100 is what I'd like. USA
The first of the publications [Becoming Your Own Therapist] arrived today. It's beautiful...I'm virtually swallowing the sweet pamphlet...can we get about 15 copies of it to give to the students here...
[From a later letter:] We're reading the booklet in our Sunday study group. It...has had a galvanizing effect on the group. I guess we're all realizing that we're crazy and need to get clear. Personally, I feel I have gotten so much from both Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, although I never met him...that there is really no way I can repay the kindness. USA
Many thanks for sending us a copy of Becoming Your Own Therapist. Lama Yeshe certainly has a lovely clear teaching style. Buddhist center librarian, England
Other Dharma Students
I thought I would write and say what a great job you did putting [Becoming Your Own Therapist] together. I thought it really captured, for me, what the essence of Buddhism is. I have been looking for a while for the sort of book I could give to my parents to give them an idea of what Buddhism means to me and as far as I'm concerned, this book is it. Dharma student, Canada
I received today your first booklet from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, Becoming Your Own Therapist. I have read the first transcript and the questions, and the simple yet profound teaching has been a great help to me. Australia
Since I have been receiving Mandala magazine, I always read with great joy the extract from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. Lama Yeshe died before I was even aware of his existence, and I always feel a sense of loss at not having had the opportunity of having heard his teachings in person. His teachings are so direct and applicable to our experience they invariably touch you deeply...Thank you for keeping his teachings alive. Australia
Thank you for the precious booklet of Lama Yeshe, Becoming Your Own Therapist. I hardly dare ask, but if you can spare some more booklets I would very happily give them to people who are following Buddhist teachings but have never heard of Lama Yeshe. Holland
Thank you so much for sending me a copy of your first edited booklet entitled Becoming Your Own Therapist. I enjoyed reading it thoroughly as the English was very well written and succinct. Singapore
Today held a pleasant surprise for me when I opened my letter box. There was an envelope from Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive with a beautiful booklet inside. Thank you for the present. I became interested in Lama Yeshe's work way back in the early 80s. While browsing in a bookstore...Lama Yeshe's lucid and clear explanation (in everyday English) of the Buddhist understanding of life was something different and easier to grasp than most books on Buddhism. Since then I have followed with interest Lama's work. Singapore
A therapist gave me a copy of Lama Yeshe's Becoming Your Own Therapist. I found it most helpful and request two extra copies... USA
I am an anthropology graduate student from UCLA....I would appreciate if you could send me a free copy of Lama Yeshe's Becoming Your Own Therapist...it's a wonderful work and very worthy of praise. Lama Yeshe's column in each Mandala issue has become my nightly meditation practice, and his words have always inspired me to keep practicing, even when I did not know why I was practicing. I have always found in his words new reasons to practice. USA
I've received the booklet Becoming Your Own Therapist with Lama Yeshe's extraordinary words (thank you very much), which I've found to be very good and realistic...something really useful and important in one's life! Well, I was very glad when a friend of mine asked me whether I could lend her some books on Buddhism...I've given her the booklet as a gift. And very interestingly, three other friends came to me asking for that kind of information. Brazil
Thank you so much for sending the booklet Advice for Monks and Nuns. I found it very interesting and appropriate...I found Lama Yeshe's and Lama Zopa's teachings/advice extremely helpful and inspiring. I am interested in reading Becoming Your Own Therapist...am very delighted and impressed with the work you are doing in spreading the Dharma. Buddhist nun, USA
Thank you so much for Lama's Archive. It's always the exact advice I need to read-so precious. USA
Please could you send me a booklet of Lama Yeshe's teachings? I have enjoyed the Mandala throughout the last year and find Lama Yeshe's teaching extremely inspiring. Ireland
This [Becoming Your Own Therapist] is just wonderful and arrived at a very auspicious time, when I needed a fix of "Yeshe" (in all senses)...this is fabulous and thanks. USA
The publication of Lama Yeshe's talks [Becoming Your Own Therapist] is powerful and very good. I thank you. USA
I think I can reach several people here with your marvelous, down-to-earth, super, natural, un-common sense...The article in Snow Lion on "Finding Ourselves Through Buddhism" is wonderful. USA
Can you send me a copy of Becoming Your Own Therapist? The article in Snow Lion is so beautiful. USA
Thank you for the Becoming Your Own Therapist booklet...have read it twice and will be doing so again...really enjoy the way Lama Yeshe speaks in the lectures...as if you were actually there...very user friendly, as they say...Thought the easy to read format, size etc. are all just right...and the question and answer sections are quite interesting and very informative...I am truly looking forward to the booklets on mind and meditation by Lama Yeshe. As a current cancer patient I cannot help with donations, but I could distribute at least five booklets... USA
Please accept this small gift with my gratitude. The booklet [Becoming Your Own Therapist] I received...is wonderful. What an incredible teacher he was. USA
Thanks for the recent booklet that was mailed to me (Becoming Your Own Therapist). Since I received it I cannot put it down. The teachings were straight forward. I have found it really like a therapist. USA
Thank you for sending me a copy of Lama Yeshe's Becoming Your Own Therapist...I read it with great interest and a strong desire to learn. I know I will be reading it again. USA
I am very interested in reading the wisdom teachings of Lama Yeshe. They have helped me discover a lot of things that I have not known before. Australia
I have really enjoyed reading the teachings of Lama Yeshe on the Web site. I would be very grateful if you could send me the booklet of his teachings. England
Thank you very much for having sent the book Advice for Monks and Nuns. I enjoyed it very much. It's a wonderful, breathing and useful book. Please, I'd love to receive a copy of Becoming Your Own Therapist. Buddhist nun, Spain
I am writing to ask if it is possible to have a copy of the free booklet Becoming Your Own Therapist, by Lama Yeshe...I came across it at Tushita Meditation Centre...and found it quite amazing. England
Thank you for your altruism and philanthropy. I am a literature teacher...and teach a class titled Great Books of World Religions every fall. For Buddhism, we read the Heart Sutra (with commentary by Thich Nhat Hahn), the Dhammapada, and selections from Thogmey Zangpo's 37 Bodhisattva Practices. Still, I feel that students have not gotten the flavor of Buddhism's personal experience/psychological transformation. Students are more interested in comparing Buddha to God and fitting Buddhism into their template for a religion than in appreciating its unique qualities. I think your recent publication of Lama's teachings could help this. It touches on most of the main points I cover in class and delivers a sampling of the guru-disciple relationship that you and I appreciate so much...I would like to request either additional copies (75 would be perfect) and/or the right to photocopy the book for use in this class. Again, thank you for making this book available, and if FPMT can not help out in this capacity, Lama's book has already made a huge difference in my life. College professor, USA
I am a subscriber to Mandala magazine. I find that the best thing in it is the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, which you edit so well. Congratulations on your excellent work there. The teachings are very clear and I have no doubt that your editing contributes a lot. I am sure a lot of people benefit from it. University professor, Australia
It was great to hear from you and to receive the wonderful collection of essays by Lama Yeshe. I'd be grateful if you'd send me another 5 copies I could distribute to friends...please keep up the great work. University professor, USA
Yesterday received the current Snow Lion newsletter and catalog. It contained and article entitled "Finding Ourselves Through Buddhism," which I found to be very interesting and enlightening as well...It has brought much peace and awareness into my life. USA
I, all of us, want to thank you for the copies of Lama Yeshe's Becoming Your Own Therapist. Many individuals have told me how after reading, at first some got confused, their outlook on life, themselves, has changed...This book has proven to be very helpful in answering some questions about Buddhism and oneself, controlling the mind. Both inmates in prison for the first time and repeat offenders have enjoyed. [From a later letter:] Becoming Your Own Therapist is a big hit. It's great. Many, many of us prisoners have enjoyed this book. Young prisoners as well as older ones have enjoyed and learned from this book. Some hard core youngsters picked up the book and could not put it down. Please send more...Hopefully you can put together another book like this one from his writings. USA
...in my search and open-mindedness I found this pamphlet from Lama Yeshe entitled Becoming Your Own Therapist. It has helped me in my day to day thoughts and meditation...I am thirsty for knowledge to obtain the wisdom of true peace and self-control. USA
In the latest issue of Snow Lion newsletter I read "Finding Ourselves Through Buddhism," by Lama Yeshe. Up until now, all I knew of him was his name. I was particularly moved by the simplicity with which he presented Buddhism in general. I also did not know anything about his quest to teach Westerners. I feel blessed to have come upon both him and his words, as well as the Archive. USA
I found the article [in Mandala] to be very practical, sound and extremely fascinating. What Lama Yeshe said was so simple and elementary, yet so full of wisdom. USA
I definitely have benefited from every teaching of Lama Yeshe that I have been fortunate enough to read. I believe this is true for others here as well. I have personally seen others who have no interest in Buddhism, no interest in "religion," take an interest in Lama Yeshe's teachings. I think this has to do with the utter openness of his words. Kindness and honesty are obviously able to survive in ink and paper. Many thanks for anything you can do for us here, and many thanks for continuing the "Archives" piece in Mandala. USA
I wanted to thank you and your organization for sending Becoming Your Own Therapist. I loved it. I passed it around our little sangha here and everyone who read it loved it. We all felt that the booklet said so much in so few pages. USA
...during my last weekend course...the center president presented me a wonderful booklet by Ven. Lama Yeshe, Becoming Your Own Therapist, which is the first publication by Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive after long time hard work and many joyous effort. This booklet had been very helpful for us during our course on...the nature of the mind. In fact, this is the first publication ever I have seen for free distribution by a Tibetan Buddhist institution. So, for me it was quite surprising and really I admired your great work as a good example within Tibetan Buddhist societies. When I read this book I feel more nature of Dharma and more close to Lama Yeshe's wishes, rather than a commercial activity. I thank you for your hard work, and your supporters, and of course my thanks go to Lama Zopa Rinpoche and his great kindness of nature. Actually, I would like to ask you some more copies of this book for free distribution to my Dharma friends here in Rome. Tibetan geshe, Italy
Thank you for sending me a copy of Lama Yeshe's Becoming Your Own Therapist, which I have just finished. It was really wonderful to encounter such clear and direct teachings on how to work with one's mind, and I felt very fortunate to receive them as if they'd fallen from the sky. Lama Yeshe taught Buddhadharma in a way that made it very accessible for Westerners, and of course, the teachings are still as fresh as if he had given them yesterday. I certainly would like some more copies to give to friends and acquaintances if that is possible. Journalist, England