IMI Monks and Nuns


Sangha by Location

S. Asia 38
E. Asia 24
Australia & NZ 71
UK 4
Israel 2
Europe 107
North America 64
South America 3
Unknown 3
Total 316

June 2010

In this Issue

Wisdom From Our Teachers

The Good Heart - a teaching by Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche more


Thank you for the robes, 108 Sutra Recitations, Sutra recitation for International Sangha Day, Prayers for the animals, LOP Sponsorship still available for those sangha who need financial assistance, Clarification about FPMT's Gift of the Dharma - from April IMI more

Travel Sutra and advice from Dagri Rinpoche

"Wherever you need to go, whether for work or general travel, you’ll be able to go without fear and accomplish your goals" more

There's a Pillar Missing from Our House by HH Karmapa

Ven Lhundup Damcho reports on the Seventeeth Karmapa’s vow to reinstate full ordination for women in the Tibetan Buddhist more

Sixteen Arhats

Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Advice to Sangha from Most Secret Hyagriva more

Wisdom from Our Teachers

The Good Heart     
A teaching by Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche
The benefits of the good heart, loving kindness and compassion, from the 20th Kopan Course in December 1987.

How much happiness and peace and how many difficulties and problems one has in life is completely dependent on the doer, the one who experiences, one’s own mind.

Generally speaking, a person whose mind is less selfish has more thoughts cherishing others, more concern for others. Naturally by that attitude there are so many less problems, especially with other sentient beings in day-to-day life. That person has less bothering, that person takes it easy because of the good heart—as the person has that much good heart, he’s happy to take on trouble for others, to experience the difficulties for others.

The one who has the more selfish mind, more concern for oneself than others, more thoughts cherishing oneself than others, that person has greater problems, that person has more enemies. Wherever he goes, wherever he lives, with whomever he accompanies—there is more bothering, more distraction to that person. This is the common experience.

Also, you can tell by your own experience. For example, for somebody who is practicing, some years have been good practice, some years have been bad practice, some years one did strong practice of bodhicitta, with more effort in the thought of cherishing others, and then other times it  degenerated or didn’t get done—the person didn’t get to continue the practice. Somebody who has been trying to practice can tell from their own experiences, just by looking back, the years that you have practiced well, with bodhicitta, taking others’ sufferings, dedicating one’s own happiness,body, possessions, and merits to other sentient beings, exchanging oneself for others—those years you had easy times. In those days it was very easy to get along with people. It was very easy even if other people stole your things, even if other people criticized—it was very easy to handle, nothing bothered you, nothing was important or you found what they did to be extremely beneficial. You found the harms beneficial for your own practice, the development of your own mind. There was much happiness and peace, continuously day and night, because the condition of your happiness is not outside. The condition of your happiness is within your mind. The condition of your happiness, cause, conditions is within you.

Colophon: Edited from Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archives.  For complete text click here.


Thank you for the generous gift of robes

The robes sponsored by Ven. Pemba and Cham Tse Ling in Hong Kong are now making their way to each of you.  We've received some very nice thank yous and decided to share a few of them with you:

  • I received the robes from Kopan yesterday; I express my gratitude to Ven. Pemba and Cham-Tse-Ling Centre for the truly beautiful act of generosity to the IMI sangha; many, like me, have been wearing questionable coloured robes , made by local tailors, and they look shabby and fade to a raspberry colour! Thank you to the IMI staff  for the herculean task of organising the ordering of the robes...anyway, at last I'm wearing the appropriate coloured robes, and wish all the benefactors at the Hong Kong centre all happiness and sucess in their Dharma Path.
  • Dear dharmaworkers, Thank you so much for organizing the donation from Hong Kong to make new robes for the IMI Sangha members. They arrived ten days ago ... A heartful thank you for the sponsors of the center in Hong Kong for this special gift, we do dedications for their spiritual development.
  • Just to let you know, the new set of robes from Cham-tse-ling arrived yesterday. They're wonderful, of course! Thank you for your help with this. It's such a special gift.  I've sent a note to Ven. Pemba again to thank him and the people at the Hong Kong center.
  • My very deep  gratitude for kindness in organizing this  new set of robes which have been delivered to me recently.The generosity of Ven Pemba and Cham-Tse-Ling will be remembered long and inspire me always. And...such a perfect and comfortable fit  :)

Thank you Charles for the 108 Sutra recitations!

How happy we were here at IMI to hear that Charles Ureling at Salinas Valley State Prison in California recently completed an incredible 108 recitations of the Holy Sutra of Golden Light as an offering to bring benefit to all the IMI sangha. We would like to ask all the sangha to remember Charles in your prayers, so that all his dharma wishes may be quickly fulfilled. May oceans of blessings, goodness and realizations soon come your way Charles, and also of course to us here at IMI by virtue of this incredible merit! 

Sutra recitation for International Sangha Day - July 15

As you may know, FPMT and IMI designate one day each year when FPMT centers, study groups and projects are asked to make a special effort in acknowledging the presence of ordained sangha among them, and to take steps to nurture the relationship between the sangha and lay community. Traditionally, the day chosen for International Sangha Day is the day we commemorate the Buddha’s first teaching or Wheel Turning Day. This year Wheel Turning Day falls on July 15th.

International Sangha Day is also an ideal time for the IMI sangha to make an offering to the individuals and communities who generously support us throughout the year. IMI has been able to offer sponsorship for sangha to engage in study, practice and retreats due solely to the kindness of others. We are able to provide monastic training programs, educational materials, communications, and most recently new sets of robes due to the generosity of others. In order to thank all those offering support to us, we are asking IMI members to participate in reciting the Sutra of Golden Light as our gift to the community. 

“This sutra is inconceivable

For its ocean of virtue is without end;

It frees every being

From countless oceans of suffering”

From The Sutra of Golden Light

The Sutra should be recited as many times as possible between now and July 15th, at which time the accumulation of merit from the recitations will be dedicated to all those who are supporting the IMI community, as well as to peace in the world and the happiness of all its inhabitants. In order to ensure that the sutra recitations take place, we are asking members to pledge or commit to a certain number of recitations that can be completed by July 15th. Please contact us at with your pledge.  

The Sutra of Golden Light is available in many languages and can be found at: zopa/advice/goldenlight.asp

Thank you for supporting this effort. May all beings be happy! 

Prayers for the Animals at Animal Liberation Sanctuary, Nepal 

Unfortunately a goat that Rinpoche recently rescued at the Animal Liberation Sanctuary, Nepal, has become sick with a deadly virus and it appears that most of the goats and sheep may now be infected too.

Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lama Lhundrup, abbot of Kopan Monastery in Nepal, has advised that people do as many mantras of Medicine Buddha as possible.

All the infected goats are getting blessed water and Hayagriva pill powder every day. Geshe Thogme from Kopan Monastery is doing Medicine Buddha and mantras every day for them and he is also helping giving the water and the pills.

Perhaps you could organise 1/2 hour at your Dharma centre to do a group recitation dedicated to the animals or even a Medicine Buddha puja. Any mantras recited at home, during your lunch-break at work or anywhere are most welcome!

Please, please join us to help our animal friends at this critical time!

Updates will be posted on the Enlightenment for the Dear Animals website at www.enlightenmentforanimals. org

LOP Sponsorship still available for those sangha who need financial assistance

Location: Black Mountain, North Carolina (USA), September 12-26, 2010

Light of the Path Retreat 2010 is the second of a 5 year series of teaching retreats led by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA, and hosted by Kadampa Center (the FPMT affiliate in Raleigh, NC). The root text for the course is Lama Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment.

Please note: partial sponsorship is available for sangha to attend the retreat but should be used ONLY by those sangha members who truly need it. IMI and Kadampa Center will offer funding to reduce the cost from $710 to $310 for each sangha member who needs the financial assistance.  Please register now

Kadampa Center is hosting the retreat at a rental facility and does not charge money for Dharma, so the registration cost for attending the retreat covers only the cost of the facility rental. They are relying solely on donations to fund all other aspects of this event. There will be an opportunity at the retreat to help support the teachings and materials.

Education Services at FPMT International Office considers this retreat to be an extremely important event for sangha and teachers to attend as it will be an FPMT lineage transmission from Rinpoche on the pith of practice: how to meditate on the lam-rim. Sangha and teachers are strongly encouraged to attend this important event.

The video of the 2009 retreat is available at the FPMT Online Learning Center.

For information on registration and to register, please visit Kadampa Center website.

Clarification about FPMT's Gift of the Dharma - from April IMI eNews

We would like to clarify something we inadvertently put into the last IMI eNews regarding the offering of the Dharma from FPMT International Office and Education Department.  When we listed what was being offered to the Sangha of IMI, we listed the following benefits:

  1. Notices about new OLC modules as they are released

  2. A one year subscription to Mandala Publications beginning with the next published print  magazine or eZine issue, whichever comes first.

  3. Complete access to the FPMT Online Learning Center http://onlinelearning.fpmt. org/ 

  4. Enrollment keys for the currently available for the Discovering Buddhism (DB) modules

We were wrong about the 2nd benefit!  FPMT International Office and Education Department are not offering a year's subscription to Mandala's print magazine to the sangha of the IMI.  The gift subscription applies only to the eZine.  All the other benefits still stand. We sincerely apologize for the confusion and want to thank FPMT once again for the kind generosity of this wonderful gift.

The Travel Sutra: Dispelling Darkness in the Ten Directions (Chog Chu Mun Sel)

Dagri Rinpoche often recommends the recitation of The Sutra Dispelling Darkness in the Ten Directions before one travels in order to prevent obstacles from arising and bring to fruition what one sets out to do. Venerable Lhundub Chodron requested Rinpoche to introduce this Sutra to the IMI Sangha, and to speak of its benefits. From this interview we also learn of Rinpoche’s enthusiasm and heart-felt encouragement to develop faith and conviction in the power of this sutra. 

Translation by Getsulma Lhundub Jampa, in Dharamsala, India March, 2010. 

There is not much need for me to provide actual commentary on the sutra since the words are quite clear. The person posing questions to the Buddha is named Zhonnu Zhin Rabsal, quite a noble individual from a well to do family.

One day when the Buddha was going for alms along with a great number of Gelongs, Zhonnu Zhin Rabsal noticed the Buddha and immediately stopped the chariot and stepped down to greet the Buddha respectfully. He made prostrations and then began to question the Buddha about the way to eliminate the harm that he and his family were experiencing, interferences from both human and non-human sources, including animals. And out of love and concern for all beings who were experiencing such obstacles, he requested the Buddha to grant instructions.

The Buddha’s response stemmed from his omniscient mind. Perfectly knowing the various dispositions and inclinations of sentient beings, he saw the significance and great purpose of Zhonnu Zhin Rabsal’s questions. So, the Buddha began to speak in some detail about the various Buddha realms in the 10 directions, the specific names of the Buddhas, their retinue, place, and the unique characteristics of these different Buddhas. Of course, in general all the Buddhas possess the same qualities of perfect knowledge, love, and ability, but additionally, each has distinct characteristics based on their prayers and aspirations, the way in which they developed the Awakening Mind, and based on the karma of sentient beings.

The Buddha is fully aware at all times, so when you recollect the Buddha, the Buddha is there, fully present, despite the [Buddha lands] being so far away. By remembering the Buddha and making sincere supplications, you will never experience fear. All fear will be eliminated. The Buddha stated that wherever you go and whatever activity you engage in, no obstacles will be encountered along the way and your main objectives will be fulfilled. Of the different types of fear described, the eight, etc., none of them will arise.   

So  (if we recite this sutra and respectfully recollect the Buddhas of the 10 directions) wherever you need to go, whether for work or general travel, you’ll be able to go in comfort, without fear and concern. You won’t experience difficulties with thieves or bandits, and won’t lose your possessions. Nor you will have fear or face difficulties in relation to non- humans. All of your objectives will come to fruition. You will be able to go and return with your goals complete. So therefore, whenever you need to travel long distances or go out for a particular job or project, it’s essential to recite this Sutra! Actually there are two versions, one being more abbreviated that leaves out the specific descriptions of each of the ten main Buddha realms. Just a single supplication is made to all the Buddhas combined, so it’s much easier to recite. You definitely should recite one of these versions! This sutra is really excellent. This way wherever you go, you’ll have no difficulty.   

This sutra is of tremendous benefit! It would be different if you didn’t have belief; but, since you are Buddhist and have faith and respect in the Buddha, whenever you go somewhere-to prevent obstacles on the way and to bring to fruition what you set out to do- you should recite this. Of course, others could recite it for you, but really, when you’re the one traveling, you should recite it yourself. It doesn’t take much, there’s even an abbreviated version, so you can do this easily. If you recite this with faith and conviction, wherever you go your activity will be completed as planned, and your goals achieved.  

This sutra is very helpful for those of you whose work for centers requires traveling here and there. And really, there’s no difference in terms of which language you recite it in. The Tibetan was translated from Sanskrit, so it, too, is not the original language. That said however, the Tibetan translation is extremely precise. All the meaning is accurately conveyed; the Tibetan and Sanskrit are almost identical. I am not sure what the English is like?!  Anyway, it should be okay to recite in your own native language.” 

Tibetan and English translation of the Sutra available at:

There's a Pillar Missing from Our House

Lhundup Damcho, an FPMT touring teacher and IMI member, reports on the Seventeeth Karmapa’s vow to reinstate full ordination for women in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.This article was published in the Summer, 2010 edition of Buddhadharma magazine.  Ven Damcho lives in north India in the Dharmadatta Nuns’ Community (, which was founded by and for Western women.

The Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa stunned an international audience in Bodhgaya last winter by making an unprecedented declaration of commitment to ordaining women as bhikshunis in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. when there would be bhikshuni ordination in the Tibetan tradition, he leaned forward and said, in English, “I will do it.”

As applause broke out, he cautioned against expecting quick results. “Be patient,” he said. “Be patient.”

This proclamation by Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the Seventeenth Karmapa, was groundbreaking, for it was the first time that a Tibetan Buddhist leader of this stature had publicly committed to personally making bhikshuni ordination available. His declaration came after intensive research into the feasibility of establishing full ordination for women according to the monastic code that regulates Tibetan Buddhism. More broadly, it reflected the Karmapa’s dedication to addressing women’s issues, especially regarding nuns.

At present, women in Tibetan Buddhism may take ordination as novice nuns (Tibetan: getsulmas), but they do not have the opportunity to take the highest level of ordination that the Buddha created for women: bhikshuni, or gelongma, ordination. While full ordination for women is available in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese traditions, and has recently been reestablished for nuns in the Sri Lanka Theravada tradition, Tibetan Buddhism lags behind in the movement toward providing equal spiritual opportunities to women.

For several decades, the Dalai Lama has consistently spoken out in favor of bhikshuni ordination, but progress toward that goal has been incremental, consisting mainly of conferences and discussions. The Karmapa’s acceptance of a personal role in extending the opportunity of full ordination to women is a decisive step forward on a path that the Dalai Lama first asked Tibetan Buddhists to traverse.

The Karmapa traces his involvement with the bhikshuni issue to the time when he instituted new discipline rules for monastics attending the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo. “We were deciding how to organize the gelongsand getsuls, and there were some gelongmasfrom the Chinese tradition. Then we needed to think: Where do they sit? How do we make arrangements for them?” Since that time, bhikshunis have been given a prominent place at the annual Kagyu Monlam events in Bodhgaya, with special invitations issued to bhikshunis.

As well, the Karmapa has taken on the task of translating a volume of biographies of Chinese nuns from Chinese into Tibetan. While that project is ongoing, he also has plans to translate a collection of narratives of the lives of Buddha’s direct female disciples from the classical literary language of the Tibetan canon into colloquial Tibetan so the examples of these early nuns’ lives are more accessible to modern Tibetan readers.

Not Just a Women’s Issue

The Karmapa explained during an interview in Sarnath, India, that the ordination issue was not only a concern to women. “It affects the whole teachings,” he said. “There are two types of people who practice the teachings, women and men. There are two types of holders of the teachings, male and female. So what affects women automatically affects the teachings, and impacts the flourishing of the dharma.”

Just before his public statement in Bodhgaya, the Karmapa presided over a five-day Vinaya conference he had convened during the Kagyu Winter Debates. He spoke at length to the gathering of Kagyu khenpos, monks, and nuns about the importance of establishing bhikshuni ordination in Tibetan Buddhism. He pointed out that the Buddha himself offered bhikshuni ordination to women as a means to bring about their liberation from samsara. The need to offer women all the conditions to achieve liberation, he said, is particularly clear from the Mahayana perspective of compassion and sense of responsibility for the well-being of others. Nowadays, he noted, the majority of those seeking teachings in dharma centers outside India and Tibet are women.

The Karmapa went on to explain that bhikshuni ordination was needed to enable the teachings to spread and become fully accessible to everyone. He said the four circles of disciples that the Buddha created— bhikshus, bhikshunis, female holders of lay precepts, and male holders of lay precepts—were like four pillars in a house. And since the bhikshuni order was one of those four pillars, the Tibetan house of Buddha’s teachings was missing an important condition needed to remain stable.

He suggested that although there were procedural issues to be resolved, any obstacles needed to be weighed against the great need to offer bhikshuni ordination to qualified female candidates. As such, he stressed, research into the surrounding issues ought to take place with an appreciation of the need to offer women the opportunity to follow the complete path to liberation that the Buddha created for them.

Grappling With Procedural Issues

Earlier in 2009, the Karmapa summoned khenpos from the major Karma Kagyu monasteries for several months of study and research under Vinaya experts at his residence in Dharamsala, and was directly engaged in exploring the various options for conferring valid full ordination of women. According to the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya followed by Tibetan Buddhism, standard ordination practices stipulate that a sangha of bhikshus as well as a sangha of bhikshunis be present at the ritual ceremony to fully ordain women. Yet a bhikshuni order does not appear to have been brought to Tibet from India. This absence of bhikshunis in Tibetan Buddhism has been a stumbling block for those seeking to establish full ordination for women.

Although it did not result in the formation of a bhikshuni order in Tibet, a number of great Tibetan masters of the past did fully ordain some of their female disciples. Such masters include no less authoritative a figure than the Eighth Karmapa, Je Mikyö Dorje, one of Tibet’s greatest Vinaya scholars. “We rediscovered an old text on rituals in the collected works of Mikyö Dorje,” the Seventeenth Karmapa said. “In that text, Mikyö Dorje said that in Tibet there was no bhikshuni lineage, but that we can give bhikshuni vows using the bhikshu rituals. I thought, ‘Oh! This is news!’ I thought, okay, maybe… This was a sort of small beginning.”

These days, two major options have been considered in Tibetan monastic circles. One is ordination by a bhikshu sangha alone, which would consist of monks from the Tibetan Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition. Another is what is known as “dual sangha ordination,” in which the sangha of Tibetan bhikshus conferring the ordination would be joined by a bhikshuni sangha from a separate Vinaya tradition, the Dharmagupta lineage that has been preserved in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Buddhism.

“I do not think there are major obstacles or challenges,” the Karmapa said. “But we do need to develop our views on the matter. There are some old views and old ways of thinking, and people who hold them are not prepared to accept bhikshuni ordination. But I do not think this is a big obstacle. The main need is for some leader to take a step, to move beyond conferences and discussions. What is needed is to take full steps.”

Many Tibetan Buddhists have looked to the Dalai Lama to take the initiative in organizing bhikshuni ordinations. When the Karmapa was asked why he was now willing to accept the responsibility for doing so, he said: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama always takes responsibility. But he has lots of activities and is very busy, so he cannot devote a great deal of his attention to this issue and try to find sources and join every conference himself. He cannot simply focus on this issue. Maybe I have more time, and so more opportunities to find some sources and hold conferences. And I also have some sort of personal interest in it myself.”

The Karmapa articulated his personal connection and commitment at the conclusion of a series of teachings at Tilokpur Nunnery in India in 2007 by stating: “My body is male, but my mind has lots of feminine qualities, so I find myself a little bit both male and female. Although I have high aspirations to be of benefit to all sentient beings, I especially have a commitment to work for the welfare of women and especially of nuns. As long as I have this life, I would like to work one-pointedly and diligently for their cause. I have this responsibility as the head of this school of Buddhism, and from that point of view also, I promise that I will do my very best to see that the nuns’ sangha will progress.”


Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Advice to Sangha - Sixteen Arhats

At the Hyagriva retreat in Tushita, Dharamsala earlier this year Rinpoche talked about the value to sangha of keeping pictures and doing pujas and prayers to the Sixteen Arhats.

I want to express this for sangha to be able to live their life safely in vinaya, in the vow, to be able to complete their life in safety, when you go by boat you have this thing to wear in case you fall in the water so you don’t get drowned and when you travel in the airplane you have safety jacket with light and whistle to blow.

As I brought up the name sixteen arhats I would like to bring up this idea, for safety keeping pictures, of course tangka but even pictures of the sixteen arhats, at the centers to have statues and tangkas, especially monasteries and nunneries must have. In the past the Kadampa geshes and Geshe Lama Konchog used to say if you don’t have sixteen arhats it is not a monastery, and the Kadampa geshes thought it was extremely important to have these holy objects and to recite the sixteen arhat prayers.

It started from Lama Atisha. Doesn’t mean it didn’t exist before but I am talking about the Kadampa geshes who emphasized a lot and practiced the sixteen arhats. Kadampa geshe Potowa practiced the sixteen arhats, made offerings and prayers and had great experiences, great success. Then emphasized to his disciples. So among the Kadampa geshes practicing the sixteen arhats spread from the teachers to the disciples and everyone had great success in their development of Dharma practice. So they very much emphasized this.

Excerpt lightly edited by Venerable Lhundup Chodron; If you would like an electronic copy of the 16 Arhat Puja (Neten Yongzin Cho) composed by Kachen Yongzin Yeshe Gyaltsen, please