FPMT Puja Fund
|How is it possible for a day to go by without doing pujas? It is so extremely important.|
Why do obstacles arise? Lama Zopa Rinpoche often explains how important it is to create merit and purify past negative karma: this is the only way conditions can be changed. Supporting the continual practice of pujas in the way Rinpoche explains below is an incredible and easy way to create merit, and, to purify and change your karma.
For the last thirteen years Lama Zopa Rinpoche has sponsored many different pujas and virtuous actions on auspicious days. On these days, virtuous karma is increased many times (as much as 100 million times)! With this in mind, Rinpoche has put in place permanent arrangements to have pujas and other activities performed by various Gelug monasteries in Nepal and India.
In Sera, Ganden and Drepung alone (three of the main Gelug monasteries) there are more than 15,000 monks. In addition to pujas, other virtuous activities are carried out at the famous Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal, where the stupa is whitewashed, offered saffron color, cleaned, and decorated with new umbrellas and lights each month.
Lunch is offered to each of Rinpoche’s gurus, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and offerings are made to the various Sangha communities within FPMT.
Whenever these pujas are performed, the Sangha read a two-page dedication prepared by Rinpoche, so that the merit is dedicated to the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as well as to the removal of obstacles to all the FPMT Dharma activities, its 150 centers, and all its projects. Merit is also dedicated to all FPMT students; to those working, serving, and participating in the centers and projects; to all the benefactors of the centers and projects and all their families; and to all those who make requests to Rinpoche for prayers for health, as well as to all who have passed away.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche said:
“The merit that is created from all these pujas that I have organized is also your merit. So you can dedicate all these merits to having realizations and to achieve enlightenment.
“All the offerings that I make to all the Sangha in the monasteries are in monasteries of my gurus; this is because it creates so much more merit. If by thinking of the guru you offer a cup of tea, a glass of water or even a candy to one of the pores of your guru, you collect more merit than if you had made offerings to all the numberless past, present and future buddhas, and to all the statues, stupas and scriptures in the ten directions. This applies to making offerings to your guru’s family (wife, husband or children), friend, neighbors or even animals (cat, dog or horse). The merit of making offerings to all the numberless past, present and future buddhas is small when compared to the merit of offering even a glass of water to one of the guru’s pores with thought of the guru. The monks in these monasteries all have the same gurus, even Kopan has 300 monks and 300 nuns, and there are many thousands of monks in the other monasteries, all of whom have His Holiness the Dalai Lama as their guru.
“I’m just telling you this so you know how to collect extensive merit. Let’s say there is a monastery with a thousand monks and all of those monks are disciples of one of your gurus – His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for example. Even if you have only one rupee or one dollar, if you offer that rupee to all those monks, by thinking of your guru, as I mentioned before, in dependence upon each monk, you collect more merit than having made offerings to all the Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha and all the statues, stupas and scriptures in the ten directions. Even if what you have to offer is just one tea bag, but you offer that that tea bag with thought of your guru to a monastery of a thousand monks, who are disciples of your guru, you collect unbelievable merit. (Of course, there is also more merit because you are offering to ordained people). You don’t have to make a huge offering. Even if you offer only one rupee, you can still collect unbelievable merit.
“So far, these offerings and pujas have not been publicized much, but I would like to make it available and known so that other people can participate in making these extensive offerings. Offerings to all these monasteries happen all the time, every year, every month, they are continually happening. My idea is for these offerings and pujas to continue forever, or as long as the monasteries exist.
“So please, if you make offerings, please think in this way and dedicate, and you can also remember on the actual day that the pujas are happening, to rejoice and dedicate. This is the best business, the best way to create the most extensive merit.”
The sponsorship of these pujas also financially benefits the monasteries and nunneries involved, as well as the Sangha that perform them. Also at each puja the Sangha are offered tea, bread and a small offering; in some cases lunch is also offered. Any money in this fund is used solely for the continuation of the pujas and offerings. The annual expense for the pujas is over $64,000. To date Lama Zopa Rinpoche has happily covered nearly all these costs.
Rinpoche recently commented: “How is it possible for a day to go by without doing pujas? It is so extremely important.”
Here are the details of the Pujas performed throughout the year:
On the Four Special Buddhas days throughout the year (Losar, Saka Dawa, Buddha’s first teaching, Buddha’s Descent from Tushita), the Sangha at each of the monasteries are offered tea and a money offering:
- Sera Lachi: Drukchumai, Namgyal Tongchuii, King of Prayersiii (puja is offered by approximately 5,200 monks).
- Ganden Lachi: Drukchuma, Medicine Buddha Pujaiv and King of Prayers; (puja is offered by approximately 1,750 monks).
- Ganden Lachi: Special puja done one week before Lha Bab Duchen (Buddha’s Descent from Tushita): a requesting puja for Buddha to descend from Tushita (puja is offered by approximately 1,750 monks).
- Drepung Lachi: Drukchuma offering, Namgyal Tsechogv Long Life Puja and King of Prayers; (puja is offered by approximately 2,500 monks).
- Kopan Monastery: Namgyal Tongchu or Lama Chöpa Tsogvi, Drukchuma, King of Prayers, One-Thousand Light Offerings, (puja is offered by approximately 600 monks and nuns).
A khata (long, white silk scarf) and lunch is offered to all of Rinpoche’s gurus on the special days: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Denmo Lochö Rinpoche, Choden Rinpoche, Dhakpa Rinpoche, His Holiness Sakya Trizin, Trulshik Rinpoche, Geshe Sopa Rinpoche and Khongla Rato Rinpoche.
A $10 offering is made to each Sangha person at Nalanda Monastery, Chenrezig Nunnery, Lama Tsong Khapa, Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery as well as the Sangha in Rinpoche’s house each special day.
Monthly pujas and offerings:
- Sera Me: Medicine Buddha Puja on the eighth of the Tibetan month in order to bring success to all the centers and projects, as well as for all who are sick or have passed away.
- Sera Lachi: Hayagriva Puja, an all-day extensive puja with extensive offerings by forty monks. This is done monthly on behalf of the whole FPMT.
- Boudhanath Stupa: White-washing, offering new umbrellas to the stupa’s top and above its painted eyes, replacing burned-out light bulbs used for light offerings. Also, flowers are offered in each direction.
- A new set of robes with meditation practice is offered each month to the Buddha inside the Bodhgaya Mahabodhi temple
- A new set of robes is offered monthly to the Jowo Buddha in Lhasa’s Jokhang. Gold is also offered to its face.
- Each year, 100,000 Praises to Tara are done with strong dedication for all His Holiness’s wishes to be fulfilled, and for the success of all the projects in FPMT, its students and its benefactors.
- Each year, the recitation of the entire Kangyur is done, including the recitation of the Prajnaparamita.
Other pujas and special activities:
- Sera Je: A complete set of robes is offered at the end of each year to any monk able to memorize certain rare texts and the commentary on Je Tsongkhapa’s Lekshe Nyingpo; this is used at Sera to teach Madhyamaka. In 2007, one hundred forty-one monks at Sera successfully memorize these texts.
- Ganden Monastery: Tsog is offered on the anniversary of Trijang Rinpoche’s passing. Ten thousand rupees is offered for light offerings on Lama Tsongkhapa Day.
- On solar and lunar eclipses, Sera Lachi, Gaden Lachi and Kopan Monastery preform pujas and also 1,000 Light Offerings for two days (so as to definitely cover the actual time of eclipse).
- Kopan Monlam: For the first fifteen days of Losar an offering is made each day, as well as tea and lunch offered to all the monks and nuns participating in the annual Monlam festival (more than 2,000 monks and nuns).
- Potawa Nunnery: Offering is made to the nuns to perform sixteen nung nä retreats over Saka Dawa.
- Chenrezig Institute: every Saka Dawa, volunteers are sponsored lunch, and the material is sponsored for the making of stupas for one day.
- A full set of robes is offered to all FPMT Geshe and resident teachers. In 2007, there were fifty-eight sets of robes offered.
- Each year FPMT checks with one of Rinpoche’s gurus to see if there are obstacles for FPMT and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s health, and then the pujas are accordingly preformed. For instance, in 2008, it was advised that 10,000 x Tara recitations plus White Tara puja is to be done as well as 1,000 Trukchumas.
Throughout the year Rinpoche checks for specific projects, students, benefactors and other matters, and other pujas are accordingly arranged.
For more information on how to support the FPMT Puja Fund, go to www.fpmt.org/projects/puja/default.asp
Grateful thanks to Ven. Holly Ansett for compiling this information.
ii This puja is performed to remove all obstacles for a long life. Namgyalma is one of the three Long life Deities (White Tara and Amitayus are the other two). This puja is making 1,000 sets of the seven offerings (light, water, etc.) to Namgyalma. This is especially performed to accumulate merit and to overcome obstacles. Making requests to this deity helps to remove obstacles to one’s life span. This puja is specifically dedicated to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for all beings that are benefiting others and practicing virtue.
v This ritual is performed to the Buddha Namgyalma to remove all obstacles for one’s life and to have a long life. This puja is specifically dedicated to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for all beings that are benefiting others and practicing virtue.
puja, puja fund