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Please join us in the 2008 International Sangha Prayers for World Peace.

If you would like to support the work of the IMI Community, you can practice generosity here

The IMI community is deeply grateful for your support!

July 2008

In this Issue

Wisdom From Our Teachers

In honor of FPMT International Sangha Day (Wheel Turning Day, August 5, 2008) we include Lama Zopa Rinpoche words on the "Sangha Heroes" read more


2008 International Sangha Prayers for World Peace; Position Available - Education Director; IMI Lunch at HHDL Teachings in Nantes; Missing in Action; Free email for IMI members read more

IMI Moments in Time

1979 - Lama Yeshe encourages Ven. Tsenla to undertake study and the beginning of Kopan nunnery. read more

Night on Monastery Mountain

The sun had just set,the soft light of dusk bathing all in a warm glow, as Lama Zopa arrived to the familiar sound of Tibetan horns and the aromatic scent of burning incense combined with herbs and plants gathered from the mountain... read more

Western Buddhist Monastic Conference

Shasta Abbey in northern California hosted the 14th Western Buddhist Monastic Conference. read more

His Holiness Dalai Lama in Australia

The five days of teachings on Kamalashila's "Stages of Meditation" were deeply inspiring as HH Dalai Lama continually shared his wisdom. read more

Guidelines for Ordination with His Holiness Dalai Lama

IMI has information available for students interested in taking ordination with His Holiness Dalai Lama at Losar in 2009. read more

Sacred Objects for IMI

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is noted for his distinctive style with his emphasis on sacred objects.  read more

IMI Says Thank You

IMI wishes to extend its gratitude to the many centers and volunteers (monastic and lay) who offer service to our community. read more


International Sangha Prayers for World Peace

Celebrating International Sangha Day - August 5, 2008

IMI has had an overwhelming response to its request for members to recite "The Sutra of Golden Light" in support of World Peace. To date we have already received pledges for almost 900 recitations. International Sangha Prayers for World Peace is part of International Sangha Day, August 5th. From Sakadawa on June 18th to International Sangha Day on August 5th, we will recite "The Sutra of Golden Light" for peace, both inner and outer.

Each day, we are overwhelmed with news of earthquakes and floods, war, environmental disaster, abuse and neglect. We see the pictures and hear the stories and feel helpless to bring about real change, but there is a way to help. Reciting "The Sutra of Golden Light" effects real change to benefit real beings. Lama Zopa Rinpoche says:

Acts of terrorism will be averted. Acts of violence will stop. China will return to Buddhism and will relax its hold on Tibet. Natural catastrophes will be avoided. Crops will be successful. The environment will be clean. People will be safe. If there is war, it will end and there will be peace.

Please join us.  Further information is available at

Position Available - IMI Education Director

IMI is looking for an Education Director to serve the community in developing a monastic education program and developing monastic education resources.

IMI is introducing a structured program of training for all candidates taking ordination at FPMT Centers around the world. The Education Director will be responsible for the development and coordination of the monastic education program. They would be in communication with Senior Sangha about existing programs and materials. In addition, they would research and review educational materials related to Sangha. 

Candidates should be well organized, have good communication skills and enthusiasm for serving the monastic community.  A background in education coordination and program development is preferred. The job can be done remotely by someone with good internet connectivity or by someone willing to relocate to San Francisco Bay Area.  The position requires a commitment of 25 hours per week.  Compensation will be provided including room, accommodation, health insurance and stipend.

For further information, or to apply, please email office.  Applications are still being accepted.

IMI Lunch at HH Dalai Lama Teachings in Nantes

August 18, 2008

IMI is organizing a lunch for its members at the upcoming teachings with HH Dalai Lama in Nantes, France from August 16-20, 2008.   Last year at the teachings in Hamburg we found this to be good way for the IMI monks and nuns to connect and develop a social support network. 

The lunch will be on Monday, August 18 at 12:00 noon at "La Cafeteria" restaurant in "Atlantis" centre adjacent to teaching venue (connected via footbridge). Please RSVP to Ven. Detchen by August 5 to help us get a count.

For those who may be concerned at the expense of offering lunch for the IMI Sangha during the teachings, please note that these are organized at a minimal expense with sponsorship sought (and offered).  If you would like further information, please do not hesitate to request.

Missing in Action

IMI wishes to ensure we have up to date contact information for members of our community.  This information helps facilitate communication. If you can help us contact these members of our community it would be greatly appreciated.

Ven. Yeshe Choying, Ven. Tenzin Ngawang (Joseph Hursthouse), Ven. Tenzin Dolma (Monica Silberschmidt), Ven. Antonia Garcia (Lobsang Dawa), Ven. Tenzin Choezum (Elizabeth McDougal), Ven. Tenzin Chodron (Maria Mohrmann). Ven. Konchog Khadro (Barbara Shannon). Ven. Helen Jeffrey, Ven. Saldon (Connie Schake).

Free email Accounts

Members of IMI are welcome to their own personal email account at no charge.  IMI is able and willing to offer POP and IMAP (or webmail) accounts to it's members.  The internet, although not to be relied upon exclusively, is a great tool with which we can communicate around the world.

To request an email account, please send us contact information for you (or another IMI member) and we will set up the account and contact you.  All addresses will be

IMI Moments In Time

 1979 In what is a revolutionary proposal, Lama Yeshe for the first time invites a Tibetan nun, Ven. Tsenla to join Kopan monastery and study with the monks.  Lama Yeshe instructs, Ven. Tsenla to build a monastery for Tibetan nuns, the beginning of Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery. Today, the nunnery located in the valley below Kopan Monastery is home to some 390 nuns.

Night on Monastery Mountain

Lhungtok Choekhorling, Pomaia Italie, June 2008

The long, cool Pomaia Spring broke overnight, it seemed, into a kind of tropical heat wave, just as masters program students were preparing for the final exam of the year. And just as the great preparations were beginning for Lama Zopa Rinpoche's visit to Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, his first since 2004. Hours of intrepid labor by staff, volunteers, and students transformed the spare, open field at the site of Geshe Jampa Gyatso's cremation into a beautiful and welcoming temple with thankas, carpets, thrones, tables, chairs, and cushions carried down from the main gompa. One hundred sunflowers were artfully arranged throughout and adorned the many long rows of water bowls flanking the main throne. Because of the heat, the walls of the large canvas tent were left wide open to the green Tuscan hills during the day and the cool evening and pre-dawn breezes. (Yes, Lama Zopa did teach into the early morning hours.)

Monks and nuns from near and far were extremely fortunate to be able to meet as a group with Lama Zopa Rinpoche during his five-day visit, and Night on Monastery Mountain will, in particular, not soon be forgotten by anyone present on this quite magical and inherently auspicious evening. Practiced in the art of the movable gompa, a team of monastics labored in the heat of the day transporting carpets, cushions, thrones, umbrellas, water bowls (and water), flowers, tables of food and drink offerings, and a lighting and sound system to the large,flat lower tier of the mountain, the proposed site of the new main gompa. Later in the afternoon, remaining monastics came by foot and by car to the mountain and helped complete the final preparations for Lama Zopa's arrival. This was followed soon thereafter by a number of lay disciples, many who have been generous donors to the Monastery Project. A palpable stillness replaced the somewhat frantic rush of preparations, and we all now stood in quiet anticipation.

The sun had just set,the soft light of dusk bathing all in a warm glow, as Lama Zopa arrived to the familiar sound of Tibetan horns and the aromatic scent of burning incense combined with herbs and plants gathered from the mountain, which we had been instructed to do. We had also been instructed to bring two "pillars" for the monastics to perform a ritual of auspiciousness. Three 9-foot long stalks of bamboo had been cut and formed into a symbolic doorway. Minutes after Lama Zopa arrived, before he even sat down, he instructed all monastics to gather into a tight group, shoulder to shoulder, on the "outside" of this makeshift doorway. With two lay members holding the vertical supports, Lama Zopa, standing there almost like a film-director, directed us to sprint as one unit through the arch, as if into the monastery itself, which he said was symbolic of the monastery always being filled with many monks and nuns. Tumbling across this threshold was a moment of levity and joy.

And then the teachings began, beneath a wide and darkening sky. Lama Zopa spoke eloquently of the value and importance of the monastery, of monks and nuns living and studying together in an environment less distracted by worldly affairs and more supportive of the protection of our vows. He emphasized the great merit and auspiciousness of having taken these vows, saying to us that living with vows for a single day generates more merit than living without vows for a hundred years. He talked about the positive influence that monasteries have on the larger community and addressed the lay community’s important role in supporting the monastery, that this, too, generates enormous merit and is foundational to the success of the monastery. Lay or monastic, you could not fail to be inspired by Lama Zopa’s words, nor could you remain unaware of the responsibility (and privilege) that each of us holds in our respective commitments to the larger world.

Night on Monastery Mountain was an offering of great generosity and kindness to us all by our teachers, both present and past, an experience that easily conjured images of sitting at the feet of the Buddha on Vultures Peak as he expounded the wisdom of the sutras. To this gift was added the announcement of the auspicious naming of the monastery by His Holiness Dalai Lama, Lhungtok Choekhorling (Translates as – lhung:transmission; tok:realization; Choekhor:Dharma Wheel; ling:place.)

May the path to the realization of Lhungtok Choekhorling and the endless turning of the Wheel of Dharma remain free of obstacles, and may we act collaboratively and harmoniously in this noble endeavor, for the benefit of all.

Western Buddhist Monastic Conference

Shasta Abbey, California, June 2008

Shasta Abbey in northern California was the site of the 14th gathering of western Buddhist monastics from the U.S. and Canada.  Monks and nuns representing the various traditions meet annually in a spirit of engaging dialogue and friendship.  This year's gathering had over 35 participants with panel discussions on engaging topics including monastic education, cultivating seniority, creating a western monastery, and the future of monasticism. Several senior monks and nuns participated (as a group there was over 500 years of living in ordination). The annual gatherings foster new ideas and share the wisdom of experience building a strong and firm foundation for Buddhism in the west.

Next year's conference is scheduled for October 2009 with a focus on monasticism and its relationship to planet earth.

His Holiness Dalai Lama Teachings in Australia

Sydney, NSW, June 2008

Almost 300 ordained monastic's were guests at the recent teachings with His Holiness Dalai Lama in Sydney Australia. The five days of teachings on Kamalashila's "Stages of Meditation" were deeply inspiring as His Holiness continually shared his wisdom. Often he would approach the text from a variety of perspectives, theistic and nontheistic, allowing the audience to gain insight these profound teachings from within the context of their own belief system.  Truly embracing the need for compassion and tolerance in today’s world, His Holiness offered commentary on a variety of subjects during his visit.

Many of the IMI sangha were actively involved in the organizing, preparations and activities for the event. With IMI offering lunch for the sangha during one day of the teachings, it was a special opportunity to practice generosity and share as community.

Ven. Monlam had the opportunity to attend the teachings and meet with the monks and nuns from Australia and New Zealand. In addition, he met with FPMT Center directors and resident teachers in an effort to help IMI develop a supportive relationship for the communities.

Guidelines for Ordination with His Holiness Dalai Lama

For those considering taking ordination with HH Dalai Lama, we are happy to inform you of the guidelines and application process as provided by the Office of HH Dalai Lama.  It is important that one is serious about their commitment to ordination and has been advised by one's teacher to do take ordination.

The guidelines as communicated by the Office of HH Dalai Lama for those requesting ordination include:
  • One should have Buddhist refuge for at least five (5) years;
  • One should have lived with lay vows for at least three (3) years;
  • One should NOT have taken ordination before (given one's vows back and requesting ordination again);
  • One should NOT be a Shugden practitioner;
  • Once having taken ordination, one should prepare to go to live in a monastery or nunnery to study or train;
  • Those requesting Gelong ordination should have held the Getsul ordination for at least three (3) years.
Probably the most important aspect in the application process concerns the student's plans once taking ordination.  It is critical that students will be in a stable situation under the guidance of a teacher in order to protect the vows.  Once having taken ordination, a student should not return to their ordinary work situation; working in a dharma center is permissible.  The view of HH Dalai Lama is that if one must go back to one's ordinary work situation, then one should live within the lay vows for the time being.

Those requesting ordination must attend the Preordination Training Course scheduled to be hosted at Tushita Center in Dharamsala on behalf of the Office of HH Dalai Lama.  The course will be held from February 11 to approximately March 9, 2009 (prior to the ordination ceremony).

To Request Ordination from HH Dalai Lama

Download and complete the application for ordination with HH Dalai Lama (available online).

  • Request an application for the Pre-Ordination Training Course to be held at Tushita Centre from February 11, 2009 to approximately March 9, 2009  (please visit
  • Obtain two letters of reference (required). One letter of recommendation should be from one's teacher (root guru); the second letter of recommendation should be from one's teacher or senior sangha (at a local center) who know the candidate well.
  • Send the completed application form, the two letters of reference and two passport size photographs to the Office of HH Dalai Lama AND Sister Jotika (Instructions provided with application).

The process for applying can take some time, so please apply early. The deadline for applications is November 30, 2008.  Late applications will NOT be accepted.

After receiving approval for ordination, complete the application form for Pre-Ordination Training Course to be held at Tushita Meditation Centre. Send the completed application form for the course to Tushita Meditation Centre.

Please note that IMI is offering support to cover the cost of food and accommodation for all those attending the Pre-Ordination Course at Tushita Mediation Centre.

For further information on the guidelines for ordination, the process for ordination or the Pre-Ordination Training Course, please contact Tushita Meditation Centre (

Sacred Objects for IMI

Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche

As many of his students will attest, Lama Zopa Rinpoche is noted for his distinctive style, particularly with his emphasis on the benefit of sacred objects. Often I reflect that it was probably quite similar when Guru Rinpoche went to Tibet and needed to tame the wilds before the dharma could really flourish. Within my limited capacity, I have learned that although I may not understand Rinpoche’s vision, I am nonetheless grateful to serve that vision.

When taking over as director, I requested if there was any particular practice advice that was necessary for the well being of the monastic community of IMI. Although there were no particular practices at that time, it was good to offer prayers (or pujas) so IMI does help sponsor the ongoing pujas requested by Rinpoche.

Several months later, I received the advice to undertake the filling and blessing of wealth vases; 7 in number. IMI being a worldwide community and a virtual one at that, I quickly determined it would be in the best interest of the community to organize sets of wealth vases at locations around the world, representing the various regions of our monastic community. The wealth vases have been completed in Asia and in America and are underway in Australia and Europe.

More recently, Rinpoche thought it would also be beneficial for IMI to have various statues made, the largest a life size Mahakala statue. We have already received initial quotes to have the statues made and plan to have them shipped as offerings to various IMI communities around the world.

Sacred objects, a strong monastic community in study, practice and retreat; what better way to preserve the dharma for future generations? (If you want to learn more, you can email or if you want, you can donate towards the costs of the new statues.) Thank you.

IMI Says Thank You

IMI is deeply grateful to those who continue to offer service.

Over the past year, in addition to the generosity of our many sponsors and benefactors, IMI has been fortunate to receive the services of monastic and lay students.  This has helped the IMI community grow stronger in many ways.  We could not do it without you. And deep regret if we missed anyone.

All of our precious teachers....

Ven. Roger, Lama Lhundrup, Ven. Dondrup, Ven. Thubten Chokyi, Ven. Geshe Sherab, Ven. Pemba, Ven. Robina Courtin, Ven. YK, Ven. Chantal, Ven. Rigsal, Ven. Holly, Ven. Sangmo, Ven. Lhundrup, Ven. Tshering, Ven. Labdron, Ven. Munsel, Ven. Char Fanning, all of the delegates for the IMI conference, Ven. Drimay, Ven. Fran, Ven. Mindrol, Ven. Tenzin Chogkyi, Ven. Elisabeth, Ven. Pema (translator), Ven. Tiziana (translator), Ven. Tonden (translator), Ven. Paloma, Ven. Olivier, Ven. Tsomo, Ven. Steve, Ven. Tashi, Ven. Namdak, Ven. Massimo, Ven. Chokyi, Ven. Legtsok, Ven. Tony, Ven. Alisa, Sister Jotika, Ven. Jangchub,Ven. Detchen, Ven. Gyalten, all of the IMI world representatives, Ven. Thubten Chodron, Ven. Tenzin Pemo, Ven. Sophia, Ven. Sabine, Ven. Sean, Ven. Sangye Khadro, Ven. Sarah Thresher, Ven. Geshe Dorje Damdul, Ven. Chodron

Office of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Tse Chen Ling Center and Liberation Prison Project have offered support as home to IMI virtual office.  Mandala Magazine and Wisdom Publications for their support. FPMT IOF for helping to coordinate communications and share wisdom. FPMT Mexico and Root Institute for helping the sangha participate in the retreats with Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Tushita Meditation Centre, Nalanda Monastery, and Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa for the commitment to monastic training. Dalai Lama in Australia Committee for taking such good care of the family of monastics. Land of Medicine Buddha, Shasta Abbey, Chenrezig Institute, Chenrezig Nuns Community, Vajrayana Center

Tsengel Yidaam, Chad Armstrong, Keisha Roberts, Peifung Ku, Alison Murdoch, Claire Lussier, Sue Ann Powers, Sara Vurek, Eric Hall, Michelle Stewart, Arthur Kaufman, Marian Mayeda, Mom, Emily Hsu, Janet Hintermann, Scott Hartford Davis, Sandra Peterson, Ruth Ann Barrett, Helen Patrin, Sarah Brooks, Karuna Cayton, Tim McNeil, Judith Hunt, Paula deWys, Judy Weitzner, Brian Li, Stephen Butler, Marcel Bertel, Nick Ribush, The Ha, Ana Montano, Cecily Drucker, Scott Snibbe, Cheryl Gipson, Ken Porter, Yonten Lama.

IMI eNews is published periodically to communicate with the IMI monastic community. If you would like to submit announcements or write an article for the IMI eNews, please email

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