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Lama Zopa Rinpoche has recently been commenting on the need for FPMT students to actualize the lam-rim teachings and achieve realizations. You can read Rinpoche’s recent advice in the just-published Mandala October-December 2013:
Special group of retreatants
First of all, I want to say that the FPMT has been developing now for many years and over that time people have been studying and practicing the Dharma according to their ability. Generally, when I look at the FPMT organization, what I see is that the students have developed more compassion and good-heartedness. This is extremely worthwhile because compassion for all sentient beings is the very heart of Buddhism; it is the most important Dharma practice for the happiness of the individual students, for their families, for society, for the country, for the world and for the six realms’ sentient beings.
There has been a lot of study and the study is going well; there is Discovering Buddhism, the Basic Program and the Masters Program. Particularly in the Gelugpa tradition there is a lot of teaching and learning philosophy, and in the FPMT organization we have been doing that. Buddhist philosophy is now being studied in almost every center, especially where there is a resident geshe. We even have Western students who have completed the Masters Program and can teach philosophy where there is no geshe, or even where there is a geshe. There are more centers teaching the Masters Program and some centers have already taught the Basic Program several times. People have been learning about Buddhism, and especially the lam-rim, for quite some time now in the FPMT and there are some who are also trying to meditate and practice the lam-rim.
Now what is needed are people who will sacrifice their lives, as they did in India, Tibet and Nepal, not just to study the Dharma like at a college or university, but to actualize the teachings in a monastery or isolated place. In Tibet, the mountains were full of caves like ants’ nests, where people would go to practice without distraction. When I came from Solu Khumbu [in Nepal] to Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tsang [Tibet] and then on to Pagri [in Tibet] there were many caves along the road where meditators would practice with hardship and the realizations of guru devotion, renunciation, bodhichitta, right view and the two stages of tantra would all come. Wow, wow, wow. It’s unbelievable! That’s why the country of Tibet is so blessed and so precious because there are many, many caves where meditators, like Milarepa, for example, achieved different realizations, such as the rainbow body.
This is how Buddhism really comes alive – when it is not just words, not just scholars, but really living Buddhism. When study and realization come together, Buddhism will really last. Wow, then like an ocean in the heart and the mind, it will spread and be preserved. …
From Mandala October-December 2013
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About Mandala Publications
Mandala Publications is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded by two Tibetan Buddhist masters, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is a vibrant international community, with a network of 160 affiliate centers, projects and services, and members in more than 30 countries.
Mandala print magazine is published in January, April, July and October. Mandala is available via the Friends of FPMT program.