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Progress Made on Prayer Wheel Restoration Project, Namche Bazaar, Nepal
Last month we reported that a grant was issued from the Prayer Wheel Fund to the Mani Chungyur, Stupa and Water Park, a project being built in Namche Bazaar, Nepal to be used for five prayer wheels which are turned by flowing water, thus blessing all of the water used throughout the entire park.

We are pleased to report that, due to this grant, all of the prayer wheels houses, mechanical turbines, and paintings have been completed. Once all of the parts are assembled, the prayer wheels can be fixed in the housing units and repainted to original form. This next step may take few more months but we are pleased to report so much progress has already been made due to the grant issued by the Prayer Wheel Fund. 

“The benefit of turning the Dharma wheel is that negative karma and disturbing thought obscurations accumulated over beginningless rebirths are purified without effort. Even other mantras are without doubt completed.” — Lama Zopa Rinpoche quoting Lord Buddha in “The Benefits of Prayer Wheels” 

If you would like to contribute to the building of holy objects around the world, you are welcome to offer any amount to the Holy Objects Fund which contributes to the creation of stupas, prayer wheels and statues.

Caption: Each of the five prayer wheels will live in these beautiful painted houses. The prayer wheels will turn from downward flowing water, blessing all the water with mantras as it passes.
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O.Sel.Ling Centro de Retiros Installs Prayer Wheel House Ceiling Panels [Video]
In September 2015, student and artist Cai Martínez at O.Sel.Ling Centro de Retiros in Spain’s Alpujarras, began work painting the ceiling panels for the prayer wheel house at the center. In July 2016, the center captured the creation and installation of the panels on video, which they happily agreed to share with the wider FPMT community.

Watch “Pinturas Rueda de oraciones en Oseling” on YouTube:

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 160 FPMT centers, projects and services around the globe. If you like what you read on Mandala, consider becoming a Friend of FPMT, which supports our work.

Caption: Installation of prayer wheel house panels, O.Sel.Ling Centro de Retiros, Spain, July 2016
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Advice about Caring for Dogs
Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave this advice while in New York City in July 2016.

I have heard that you have to take indoor dogs out three times a day, so I thought that this gives you an unbelievable, incredible opportunity to help them.

By not harming and practicing morality toward even one sentient being, including these dogs, you can attain the state of the happy transmigratory beings. By not harming and practicing concentration and wisdom, even with dogs, you can achieve the happiness that is free from samsaric suffering. And by generating compassion, bodhichitta, you can attain buddhahood, ultimate happiness—the completion of all realizations and total freedom from all obscurations—through depending on these sentient beings, these dogs.

Another way to understand this is that by cherishing these dogs you can receive hundreds of thousands of happy rebirths and so forth in future lives. By cherishing these sentient beings, these dogs, you can achieve ultimate happiness forever. By cherishing these sentient being dogs you can achieve the peerless happiness of buddhahood. Not only that, but you also achieve the numberless past happinesses that you already have received since beginningless rebirths as well as your present happiness and all future happiness, including full enlightenment.

You may find this difficult to believe but it is logical. Your three time happinesses come from your good karma and your virtuous mind is the action of the Buddha. There are two actions of Buddha: one is within us sentient beings; the other is possessed only by the Buddha’s holy mind. Buddha comes from the bodhisattva, the bodhisattva comes from bodhichitta and bodhichitta comes from great compassion, which embraces numberless sentient beings, not leaving out even one: the numberless hell beings, pretas, animals, humans, asuras and suras.

So this is how you receive all your past, present and future happiness from each and every sentient being, which includes the dogs that you take out for a walk three times a day. So these dogs are most precious—think like this—most precious, most kind, most dear and wish-fulfilling for you.

The next thing to understand is that these sentient beings are objects to not be harmed. They are to be cherished by you, to be taken care of with your body, speech and mind; you are to serve them.

One more thing to understand is that you have been experiencing the sufferings of the six realms numberless times from beginningless rebirths and you will have to experience them again without end, over and over again, if you don’t practice Dharma.

At this time you have received the impossible, a precious human life. And not only have you received a perfect human rebirth but you have also met the Mahayana sutra and tantra teachings, so not only can you achieve liberation from samsara; through having met the Mahayana sutra teachings you can achieve full enlightenment for sentient beings. Furthermore, through having met the Mahayana tantric teachings you can achieve enlightenment in just one lifetime—you don’t need the three countless great eons to collect merit and purify obscurations that you do when practicing sutra. Finally, you have met maha-anuttara yoga tantra, through which you can achieve the unified state of enlightenment in one brief lifetime of this degenerate age. So this time you are most fortunate.

Now, sentient beings who have received a perfect human rebirth like yours are extremely rare. Most other sentient beings haven’t even met the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, which means they will have to experience samsaric suffering endlessly. If you really think about it you won’t be able to stand it, not even for a second, without wanting to free them from samsara. And not only that—they have been experiencing such suffering from beginningless, numberless lives.

Now the dogs are exactly the same. You have to think about this. These dogs have been experiencing suffering since beginningless lifetimes and will continue to do so without end. You can’t stand leaving them in that state of suffering for even one second.

So when you take your dogs out you should recite mostly OM MANI PADME HUM and the Maitreya Buddha mantras so that the dogs can hear them. That purifies their negative karma collected since beginningless time and allows them to collect merit. It purifies their mental continuum and brings them to enlightenment in the future: by meeting the Dharma they receive a higher rebirth, develop understanding through practicing Dharma and eventually achieve enlightenment. It is as if you are giving a wish-granting jewel to the dogs. Just by chanting you help them so much.

You can also recite the Medicine Buddha mantra, which helps them to not be reborn in the lower realms ever again, and the short Namgyälma mantra, which makes it impossible for them to be reborn in lower realms; this will be their last rebirth as an animal. Another mantra you can recite is OM PÄDMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT. When you take the dogs out, chant so that they can hear it.

At the beginning, generate bodhichitta by thinking, “The purpose of my life is not simply to achieve the happiness of this life; nor is it to achieve either temporary or ultimate happiness for myself alone. The purpose of my life is to achieve enlightenment in order to free all sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to enlightenment. Therefore I must achieve the state of omniscience. Therefore I am going to recite these mantras for the dogs and even others who are passing by.”

You can recite the mantras by chanting them like a song. Others might then just see you as happy person walking along with your dogs. If people ask what you’re singing you can say that you’re chanting mantras. It depends on who asks.

Scribed by Ven. Roger Kunsang, July 2016, New York, United States. Edited by Nicholas Ribush.

Find the mantras Lama Zopa Rinpoche recommends above on FPMT Education Services’ mantra resource page on

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.

Caption: Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing two dogs on the way to teaching, Maitreya Instituut, Loenen, Netherlands, July 2015. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.
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Resources for Retreat
“By entering into retreat, we enter into a situation where it is possible to fulfill our basic human potential and develop all the positive qualities within us. Retreat gives one the time and the space to allow for the growth of this basic human quality,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains in Heart Advice for Retreat. “There will always be problems and dissatisfaction as long as we think that the causes of happiness and the causes of suffering lie outside ourselves. But the experiences of our life – and what the omniscient mind says – tell us that the source of happiness is within one’s own mind. You can find satisfaction, peace and happiness only within your own mind. Therefore, retreat and meditation practice become the ultimate solution for any and all of our problems.”

For those who are interested in engaging in long and short retreat, FPMT Education Services would like to remind students about the many resources available to them. 

Heart Advice for Retreat eBookThe great Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo said, “Knowing Dharma is not enough; you must practice.” This collection, Heart Advice for Retreat, is a must-have for all practitioners, especially those engaging in longer retreats. Lama Zopa Rinpoche offers advice and commentary on the essential aspects of retreat and how to bring about the result of enlightenment. 

FPMT Retreat Prayer Book PDFFPMT Retreat Prayer Book is an essential book for FPMT teaching events, pilgrimages, and personal daily practices and retreats. The collection is made up of prayers and practices drawn from various FPMT materials.

Retreat Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche PDFRetreat Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a compilation of essential instructions and commentary for those interested in retreat. 

Retreat Advice from Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo PDFRetreat Advice from Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo contains three separate lam-rim texts with heart instructions for how to make the most out of retreat. Includes detailed explanation of how to meditate on the stages of the path to gain realizations. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has advised that this is an essential retreat companion as well as important instructions for practicing in daily life.

Schedule for Three Day Lam-rim Retreat PDFSchedule for Three Day Lam-rim Retreat provides a comprehensive schedule for completing a three-day, six-day, nine-day or longer lam-rim retreat according to the instructions of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Rituals and Procedures for Commencing Retreat PDFRituals and Procedures for Commencing Retreat includes practice instructions for both commencing and finishing any retreat from Lama Yeshe, Pabongka Rinpoche and Jampa Trinley Tenzin Gyatso.

All of the above retreat resources are available through the FPMT Foundation Store:

Heart Advice for Retreat: Retreat Prayer Book: Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche: Advice from Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo: for Three Day Lam-rim Retreat: and Procedures for Commencing Retreat:–ereader-PDF_p_1534.html 
Through comprehensive study programs, practice materials, training seminars, and scholarships, FPMT Education nourishes the development of compassion, wisdom, kindness, and true happiness in individuals of all ages.

Caption: Participants of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s 2016 Light of the Path Retreat in North Carolina. Photo by Ven. Losang Sherab.
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The Importance of Holy Objects
“Every time you look at holy objects—pictures of the Buddha, statues, scriptures, stupas—they plant the seed of liberation and enlightenment in your mental continuum. So every time you look at them they purify your mind. They plant the seed of enlightenment, which includes all the causes to achieve enlightenment,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaches in the advice “Why Holy Objects are Precious and Wish-fulfilling.” 

“How? When you look at them they plant a seed or positive imprint on your mental continuum so that later when you meet Buddhadharma, either in this life or in future lives, you are able to understand the words and the meaning of the teachings. From that, you are able to practice the meaning of the Dharma you have understood, which causes you to cease the gross and subtle defilements by actualizing the path and then your mental continuum becomes omniscient mind. This is what is meant when we say that by seeing holy objects it plants the seed of enlightenment on the mind—it contains the whole path from guru devotion and the three principals up to the two stages of tantra and enlightenment. Seeing holy objects makes us actualize all of this as a result. This is the effect we get from seeing them and this is how they cause us to achieve enlightenment.

“Every time we see holy objects it purifies so much negative karma, so many defilements. This is because of the power of the holy object. Holy objects have so much power. It’s like an atomic bomb—even though it is small it can bring so much harm and cause so much destruction. That example is negative but what I am saying is that the material has power, like electricity. The material of an atomic bomb has the power to harm and destroy the world. The material of holy objects—statues, scriptures and stupas—has the power to affect our mind, to leave a positive imprint. …”

Read the entire advice from Rinpoche, “Why Holy Objects are Precious and Wish-fulfilling,” on

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s webpage on If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT via email, sign up to FPMT News.

Caption: Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Ven. Roger Kunsang and Buddha Amitabha statue at Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, Washington, US, 2016. Photo by Ven. Losang Sherab.
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4.3 Million Guru Rinpoche Mantras Offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche
“In mid-August, Amitabha Buddhist Centre (ABC) students were exceedingly happy to offer a total of 4.3 million Guru Rinpoche mantras to our most precious guru, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, for the success of the Maitreya Projects in India,” wrote Ven. Tenzin Tsultrim, a student and media editor at ABC, located in Singapore. “The accumulation of 4,313,961 mantras was accomplished over a period of three months, commencing on May 2 and ending on the auspicious and merit-multiplying Wheel Turning Day, August 6.

“The mantra accumulation was initiated by ABC student Cecilia Tsong after attending Rinpoche’s teachings in Malaysia earlier in 2016. During the teachings in Penang, Rinpoche had mentioned that it would be very beneficial to recite Guru Rinpoche mantras for the success of the Maitreya Projects. Inspired by this advice, a Guru Rinpoche mantra-counting project was launched at ABC on April 29. Everyone was invited to participate in the goal of accumulating and offering one million mantras ‘to Lama Zopa Rinpoche as an offering of practice for the fulfillment of his heart wish.’

“The final count of 4.3 million certainly exceeded expectations! Ninety-three people contributed to the count, including participants from three FPMT centers in Mexico. We greatly appreciate the enthusiastic support and contributions from Bengungyal Center, Chekawa Study Group and Centro Khamlungpa. 

“On August 16, ABC wrote to convey our offering to Rinpoche: ‘We are most delighted to offer Rinpoche the final mantra count submitted by your devoted students at Amitabha Buddhist Centre. The mantra count is 4,313,961.’  

“Our letter also conveyed our wishes for the success of the Maitreya Project and for Rinpoche’s long and healthy life, to ‘please remain with us till samsara ends.’

“We soon received this reply from Ven. Roger: ‘Rinpoche said to please pass on to everyone concerned billions and zillions of thanks! Rinpoche then said that we may have the land very soon, and if people can do the Guru Rinpoche prayer for quick success, that would be excellent. The outcome we will know on August 19.’

“A message was immediately dispatched to inform everyone of the latest advice. We are overjoyed many, many times over to learn in recent updates that the land for the Maitreya Project in Kushinagar has indeed been handed over at last!”

Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from nearly 160 FPMT centers, projects and services around the globe. If you like what you read on Mandala, consider becoming a Friend of FPMT, which supports our work.

Caption: A life-sized Guru Rinpoche statue in one of ABC’s prayer halls. Photo by Ven. Tenzin Tsultrim.
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The Eight Auspicious Signs
Translated with commentary by Lama Zopa Rinpoche; paintings of the eight auspicious signs by Gelek Sherpa.

Probably many of us do not know how important these eight auspicious signs are and how they affect our lives. They can be used externally to help with one’s own success as well as with the FPMT organization to be successful in benefiting others and working for the teachings of the Buddha. Putting these eight auspicious signs around everywhere, outside and also inside the rooms, makes things very auspicious. It is not necessary to put all eight together, and they don’t all need to be in the same place. They can be placed separately at different locations, but you should have all of them.

The eight auspicious signs are the

umbrellayellow fishvaselotuswhite conch shellglorious peu1 banner Dharma chakraHere is the meaning of these eight auspicious signs according to my root guru, His Holiness Trijang Dorje Chang’s explanation.2

1. The precious umbrella saves us from all this life’s obstacles – such as sicknesses, contagious diseases, spirit possessions, interferers and so forth – and also from the next life’s obstacles – the sufferings of the three evil-gone-ones,3 of the devas, human beings and so forth. It saves us completely from being tormented by the heat of both temporary and long-term sufferings. It has the dependent arising of giving the extended joy of a cooling shadow of peace and happiness.

2. The yellow fish. Fish swim as they like without fear in the ocean. Like that [the yellow fish] is a dependent arising for oneself and others to run and enjoy freely with no resistance from happiness to happiness without fear of drowning in the oceans of suffering.

3. The vase of great treasure is a dependent arising that brings unceasingly all desired things, the fortune of a glorious life, enjoyments and so forth in the three realms of existence (the desire, form and formless realms) and peace (liberation from samsara).

4. The lotus is a dependent arising that frees us from all the stains of mistakes – the non-virtues of body, speech and mind. The abundant blossoming of a hundred petals of white virtue brings an abundance of the good essence of honey – everlasting happiness, definite goodness (liberation and the state of omniscient mind).

5. The white conch shell swirling clockwise is a dependent arising announcing the sweet melody of the profound and extensive Dharma that fits the elements, level of mind and wishes of sentient beings who are the objects to be subdued. It awakens transmigratory beings from the ignorant sleep of unknowing and persuades them to accomplish works for the benefit and happiness of themselves and others.

6. The glorious peu is a dependent arising for Dharma and politics to utilize and support each other in one continuous connection. Like that, at the time of the path, method and wisdom connect by being unified with each other; emptiness and dependent arising are connected in one without contradiction. At the time of the resultant state of buddha, omniscience and compassion are unified.

7. The banner is a dependent arising for the activities of one’s own three doors and those of others not be stepped upon by obstacles or disharmonious conditions but to be victorious and for the precious teachings of the Buddha to be victorious in the war over the black side, the types of maras.

8. The golden Dharmachakra is a dependent arising for the precious wheel of the holy Dharma, the scriptures and realizations of the Victorious One, to turn unceasingly in the whole universe. In dependence upon that, all those who are reborn and degenerating (samsaric beings who are continually being reborn and dying under the control of karma and delusion) apply themselves to the most glorious virtue, total liberation.

Wherever these eight auspicious signs exist, there will be the dependent arising of increasing the virtue of auspiciousness.

Colophon: Dictated by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche to Ven. Sarah Thresher at Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India, February 4, 2014. Edited with the help of Losang Hursthouse.

1. Skt. Srivatsa. Rinpoche has not translated this because it is not clear exactly how it should be translated. It is usually referred to as the “unending knot” but this is not the literal meaning of the words.

2. Translated from Gomde Lharampa Geshe Thubten Samdrup’s Dictionary published by Sherig Parkhang, 2005.

3. This is a literal translation of ngän-song sum, which means the three lower realms.

Caption: The white conch shell, painted by Gelek Sherpa
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New! Cultivating Mindfulness of Bodhichitta in Daily Activities

FPMT Education Services is pleased to announce the release of Cultivating Mindfulness of Bodhichitta in Daily Activities, a collection of essential daily bodhichitta mindfulness practices.

In Cultivating Mindfulness of Bodhichitta in Daily Activities, Lama Zopa Rinpoche shows us how to take the essence of our precious human life by transforming our normal daily activities — such as sitting down, standing up, washing, and dressing — into a cause for enlightenment by accompanying them with a bodhichitta motivation to benefit all sentient beings.

As Rinpoche explains in the text:

Anyone who is seeking the state of omniscience needs to attend to the many methods for collecting merits and purifying delusions. The Omniscient One, who was very skillful and had great compassion for us sentient beings, explained that even the activities that we normally do — such as eating, sleeping, sitting, walking, and doing our jobs — can become ways to collect unfathomable virtue and skies of merit. With mindfulness of bodhichitta, they can become not only beneficial to oneself, but beneficial to all sentient beings. The Buddha explained this to us who do not have a bodhichitta realization. This is how everything we do can be dedicated to become a cause of happiness for all sentient beings. This is something that we can practice immediately. Then all the activities we do in the breaks between our lam-rim meditations will be done with bodhichitta and the thought to make them beneficial for all sentient beings. Our daily activities will become a cause for us to attain omniscience so that we can liberate sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them to enlightenment. 

Rinpoche has been teaching these mindfulness practices at various retreats and teaching events for the past several years and has been gradually adding more practices and advice to this collection. Rinpoche strongly emphasizes that these are beneficial practices to be done in daily life as well as in a retreat setting.

This free downloadable PDF is available through the FPMT Foundation Store.

Students who would like to delve deeper into this topic are invited to engage in the Living in the Path course “Taking the Essence,” which includes the module “Bodhichitta Mindfulness.” This Online Learning Center module includes video teachings from Lama Zopa Rinpoche as well as an introduction to the practices by Ven. Sarah Thresher, additional readings, access to a discussion forum, and other helpful resources for those wishing to study and practice this material in an organized way.  

Through comprehensive study programs, practice materials, training seminars, and scholarships, FPMT Education nourishes the development of compassion, wisdom, kindness, and true happiness in individuals of all ages.
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Tashi Chime Gatsal Rebuilds Nunnery
Tashi Chime Gatsal Nunnery (also known as Bigu Nunnery), located in a remote area of Nepal, is still rebuilding following devastation from the April 2015 earthquake. All of the buildings at the nunnery were destroyed and there was no safe housing for the seventy-five nuns. Additionally, there was no accessible health care facility or place for the nuns to study as all roads were blocked due earthquake destruction. The Nepal Earthquake Support Fund offered immediate aid to the nunnery following this destruction, to help with food and health care needs while the nuns occupied their temporary shelter in Khatmandu. 

These nuns have been offering two 100 million mani retreats every year. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has been supporting this through the Practice and Retreat Fund for over seven years and a very kind benefactor has sponsored one of their retreats this year as well. 

The sponsorship of 100 million mani retreats is one of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Vast Visions for the FPMT organization. The nuns completed the first 100 million mani recitations while in temporary housing in Khatmandu, but they have now returned to the nunnery and will complete the second part of the retreat there. Sixty-five nuns are engaged in the mani retreat approximately six hours per day. They dedicate their practice to the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, for all of Rinpoche’s Dharma wishes to be successful, and for the entire FPMT organization and projects to bring the most benefit to all sentient being. 

By sponsoring the retreat, FPMT directly supports the nuns through funding the cost of their daily meals. The nunnery is further supported by this grant because any funds not used directly for the cost of the retreat can be used for the overall development of the nunnery. Additionally, the Nepal Earthquake Support Fund has offered another grant for the rebuilding of a new kitchen for the nuns. This is an immediate need as the nuns need a proper kitchen facility to support the nuns who are in retreat as well as those who are not. 

The nunnery has a long way to go before it is rebuilt in proper condition. In addition to the kitchen, they are now building the nuns rooms and a puja hall for group practice. This work will be essential for reestablishing a safe and conducive environment in which the nuns can live, study, and practice Dharma. 

The Practice and Retreat Fund provides grants and sponsorships for students engaged in retreats such as 108 nyung nä retreats, 100 million mani retreats, recitations of sutras and long term retreat.

Caption: The nuns rooms at Tashi Chime Gatsal Nunnery had to be completely rebuilt following earthquake destruction.
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Read Top Advice and Updates in September's FPMT International Office e-News

The September FPMT International Office e-News is out now!

This month you’ll find:

Inspiring new advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche: “How to Make Your Life Most Beneficial for Sentient Beings, Even with Your Speech.”“

A Song of Experience” is now available from FPMT Education Services

FPMT Charitable Projects supports care for dogs in Malaysia and Bhutan

Mandala Publications has a new ebook and new associate editor

… and more!

Read all about it at:

From your FPMT International Office

Caption: Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Ven. Roger Kunsang, Washington State, US, September 2016. Photo by Ven. Losang Sherab.
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Lama Zopa Rinpoche Visits the Himalayan Elders Project [VIDEO, Tibetan]
On August 10, Lama Zopa Rinpoche had lunch with and gave a public talk and oral transmission of the Medicine Buddha mantra to the members of the Himalayan Elders Project during his 2016 visit to New York City. After the teachings, Rinpoche personally blessed each participant.

The Himalayan Elders Project “is a community initiative which provides time and space for our seniors to gather, practice Dharma, socialize, share life experiences, enjoy community connectedness and enjoy a renewed sense of independence.”

Watch “Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s visit to the Himalayan Elders Project” on YouTube (Tibetan):

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s webpage on If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT via email, sign up to FPMT News.

Caption: Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving advice to the elder Sherpa community in New York City, US, July 2016. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.
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How to Make Your Life Most Beneficial for Sentient Beings, Even with Your Speech
During the recent Light of the Path retreat, Lama Zopa Rinpoche dictated this advice and had it distributed to all participants. Rinpoche also wanted it shared with people offering service at FPMT centers, projects and service as well as with all beings everywhere.

Freeing them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bringing them to the peerless happiness of buddhahood—the total cessation of all obscurations and the completion of all realizations

It all depends on your motivation. If you are motivated by the self-cherishing thought, concern for only your own happiness, your own power, and have no concern for others’ happiness, your motivation is coming from your delusions, such as attachment, anger, ignorance and so forth. Then your actions of body, speech and mind will manifest as ugly, unpeaceful and hurtful to others and, as a result, others will react in an ugly, unpeaceful and hurtful way with their body, speech and mind; for example, by getting angry at you. It is like a circle. How you treat others and how they treat you in return is similar, with such negative thoughts and actions. You have to be fully aware of that in your everyday life.

Generally you have to know that you are responsible to not cause others suffering but to bring them happiness. Even if you don’t think of practicing Dharma, to at least be a good human being you need to know this. You are totally responsible as to whether you bring happiness or suffering to others. It is totally dependent on your motivation and how you treat others; it’s up to you whether your motivation is pure or not. Even just to be a good person, a generous human being, you have to know that. If you have a bad motivation and your actions of body, speech and mind are harmful for others, you make others create negative karma when they retaliate by harming you in return. By harming others you therefore cause them to be reborn in the lower realms; to lose their human rebirth and take a lower rebirth and suffer for eons. Can you imagine yourself being in the lower realms? That’s where you’re causing other sentient beings to go and have unhappiness instead of enjoyment.

In the Bodhicaryavatara, Shantideva said,

Smiling at others (showing them a pleasant face)
Causes you to have a beautiful body in future lives.

So you don’t need to have plastic surgery or other expensive procedures. Your positive mind can give you a pleasant, happy, smiling face and a peaceful, not a political, smile. Others will feel this and also become like that, having a good heart and being smiling and happy. Thus you always have to be aware of how others act toward you, positive or negative. It is totally dependent upon your own mind.

The morning motivation, the Method to Transform a Suffering Life into Happiness, contains the details for keeping your mind positive. If you do this motivation every morning you will always act positively toward others for the rest of the day.

However, first think that all your past, present and future happiness, including enlightenment, is received from every sentient being. You receive everything through the kindness of every sentient being, which includes even those people you don’t like—those who make you angry merely upon sight or when you hear their voice. It is so important to understand this evolution. Therefore you should hold all sentient beings in your heart and feel that they are most precious, most kind, most dear and wish fulfilling for you. Then there will be no way for your mind to get angry or to generate ignorance, attachment, selfishness or self-cherishing and, therefore, no way for you to harm others. You absolutely dare not harm others, even in the slightest way.

Even Buddha, Dharma and Sangha—in whom you always take refuge to be free from the lower realms and get higher rebirths; to be free from samsara and achieve liberation, lower nirvana; and to be free from the self-cherishing thought and achieve the peerless happiness of total cessation of all mistakes and completion of all realizations—even this Buddha, Dharma, Sangha in whom you take refuge and who give you all this happiness come from sentient beings, including the ones that are angry at or who harm you, who speak to you hurtfully and so forth, sentient beings that you don’t like. Therefore they are all so precious, unbelievably precious to you. On top of that, they have been your kind mother from beginningless rebirths and even now; it’s unbelievable. So you have to think about this and the dependent arising I mentioned before as well. Think about these two things—it makes not harming and only benefiting others very deep. In that way your life will be only of benefit.

The conclusion is that to be free from the suffering of samsara as quickly as possible and to achieve peerless happiness, the total cessation of all mistakes and the completion of all realizations, then with this thought, smile at others, respect them with your body, speech and mind and speak to them in a nice, respectful way.

Treat people the way you’d like them to treat you: with respect, nice speech and smiles that come from a good heart. If you do that, then, as a result of karma, many others will treat you in the same way. Otherwise others will be angry with you, speak to you rudely and hurtfully, and harm you with the actions of their body, speech and mind.

So here I am mentioning how sentient beings are most kind, most precious, most dear and wish fulfilling. Then you can really enjoy life with them, bring them much inner happiness, and in your own mind you will also enjoy much inner happiness, and that will make them happy too.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama respects even ordinary people. He bends down in respect; Lama Yeshe also did this. Even when he heard about someone’s mistakes, some problems with monks and so forth, when he later met them he showed respect. Like that, this is an incredible practice, rather than feeling pride, showing arrogance and putting others down. Most people might do that, but in my experience, Lama Yeshe never did.

Behaving like this is a great, great, great responsibility of the center director, secretary, board members, office manager, treasurer, spiritual program coordinator, bookshop manager and so forth. Especially these people, but in general, this is for everybody. It’s a question of karma, to not create negative karma and to create good karma. This not only makes you happy but also makes other sentient beings happy. So even with your speech you can make so many sentient beings happy.

You have to be aware that there are very powerful mantras given to us by the Buddha to make our speech very powerful and beneficial for sentient beings. If in the morning you recite the Exalted Stainless Beam Totally Pure Light mantra after blessing your speech, then anybody who simply hears your voice that day, animals or people—whether they hear you singing or in any other way (not necessarily reciting mantras)—is purified of the five heavy negative karmas without break.

The Exalted Stainless Beam Totally Pure Light mantra:

SWAAHAA (recite this a few times) [*indicates a high tone]

Then if you also recite one thousand OM MANI PADME HUM mantras every morning, seven generations of your family will not be reborn in the lower realms. Moreover, when other sentient beings see you, even in places where there are many other people, just by seeing you their negative karma will be purified. Also, when you die and your body is cremated, if the smoke from the fire touches any sentient being, human, insect or whatever, it purifies their negative karma and helps them not be reborn in the lower realms.

From Kyabje Khunu Lama Rinpoche’s Verses in Praise of Bodhicitta,

That which benefits lower sentient beings is bodhichitta.
That which benefits middling sentient beings is bodhichitta.
That which benefits sublime sentient beings is bodhichitta.
Isn’t bodhichitta of benefit to all?

If you want to look, look with bodhichitta.
If you want to eat, eat with bodhichitta.
If you want to speak, speak with bodhichitta.
If you want to examine, examine with bodhichitta.

If you desire happiness for transmigratory beings equaling the sky,
Then cherish bodhichitta.
If you desire to benefit transmigratory beings equaling the sky,
Then cherish bodhichitta.

Bodhichitta eliminates pain.
Bodhichitta destroys harm.
Bodhichitta eliminates unhappiness.
Bodhichitta dispels fear.

Scribe: Holly Ansett, 17 August 2016, Black Mountain, North Carolina, US. Edited by Nicholas Ribush.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.

Caption: Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching at Light of the Path retreat, August 2016. Photo by Ven. Losang Sherab.
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The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition
The FPMT is an organization devoted to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service. We provide  integrated education through which people’s minds and hearts can be transformed into their highest potential for the benefit of others, inspired by an attitude of universal responsibility. We are committed to creating harmonious  environments and helping all beings develop their full potential of infinite  wisdom and compassion.

Our organization is based on the Buddhist tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa of Tibet as  taught to us by our founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe and our spiritual director,  Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.
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