DHARMA IN THE MODERN WORLD
Lama Yeshe frequently emphasized the importance of engaging in business as support for FPMT activity as well as providing a livelihood for students and friends. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has spoken many times of the need to develop FPMT’s financial footing and at recent FPMT board meetings this past year, Osel [Hita] emphasized that FPMT cannot rely on donations alone and must actively work to develop business as a means for funding the vast array of projects and activities necessary to fulfill the mission of preserving the Mahayana tradition.
Over the years, there have been many valiant efforts to set up businesses to help FPMT activity. Lama Yeshe led the way and personally initiated several businesses which, for one reason and another, did not flourish. Many students and friends have worked selflessly around the world to try and develop businesses for one or more FPMT initiatives. Some of these efforts proved successful, but many were not. Frequently, individuals lost their investments, their savings, and a huge amount of time and effort in their attempts to make business.
Dr. Angela Wang and Harvey Horrocks
Angela Wang is a Chinese medical doctor originally from Taiwan. Angela met Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 1991. During this first meeting, Rinpoche explained to Angela that he was trying to raise money for pujas as well as for a ticket to fly to Taiwan. Angela offered Rinpoche US$3,000 which covered all that was needed. Rinpoche explained to Angela that he was constantly in a cycle of borrowing new money to repay previous loans needed to fund FPMT’s growing activities.
In 1993, Harvey Horrocks was director of the FPMT International Office, then located at Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, California. Lama Zopa Rinpoche asked Harvey to request Angela to raise money for the International Office, and later, for other projects. Since that time, Angela has single-handedly raised more US$2 million for various FPMT initiatives. Angela also purchased two properties adjacent to Land of Medicine Buddha (LMB) bringing the property to a total of 108 acres.
Around this same time, Peter Kedge gave a presentation on Maitreya Project at Angela and Harvey’s home in San Jose to about 20 guests. A discussion followed on ways to support such a huge undertaking. The possibility of engaging students and friends in the one-to-one marketing platform of “Market America” was discussed with great interest. The company Market America provides individuals with an opportunity to run a home-based business with almost no capital outlay or risk. The company philosophy strongly supports USA non-profit organizations by channelling profits from the business to non-profits that elect to become a part of the Market America non-profit program.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche fully supported Angela and Harvey in launching the Market America business. Rinpoche wrote letters to several students encouraging them to work with Harvey and Angela and open their own home-based Market America businesses.
In 2000, Angela and Harvey started their own Market America business and, with the support of Dr. Angela’s students and patients, helped others to do the same. Angela and Harvey helped lead the expansion of Market America into Taiwan and Australia. Now after 10 years, there are very significant results.
Market America has a turnover approaching $500 million a year. The company philosophy is to benefit individuals who work hard, and non-profits that benefit society.
In 2010, Market America launched a simplified program for non-profits. Under this program any 501(c) organization registered in the USA can receive support from Market America simply by encouraging members, supporters, businesses, and even other non-profit organizations to shop online through a web portal designated exclusively to that non-profit.
To investigate this new program, four previous FPMT International Office directors attended a Market America Convention in August in Greensborough, North Carolina, USA.
Benefiting FPMT Centers, Projects and Services
The potential to provide income to FPMT centers, projects and services in the USA is significant. Those living in Canada can also participate through a Canadian portal. It will take time for the program to grow, but it has begun and significant results are there to see.
In the USA, Market America is partnering with approximately 3,700 stores and services available through the web portals. Each portal offers access to 40 million different products and services including groceries, building supplies, travel, hotels, car rentals and many others at extremely competitive prices. The affiliated companies are all those with which you are already familiar: from Starbucks to Travelocity to Barnes and Noble to Safeway, among many others. Stores offer “cash back” to anyone purchasing through these web portals and give a percentage, depending on the product or service, to the non-profit. Every time you refer a friend or family member and they register and shop through the web portal, you will receive 0.5% commission on everything that person or business purchases too. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
How to Get Involved
The way to help is to begin purchasing through one of the designated web portals – the portal of whichever project or center you wish to benefit. Search for products and services you would purchase anyway, and then purchase it online through that portal whenever possible. Essentially, this involves a change in your shopping habits, but once you become acquainted with this process of online shopping, I think you’ll find it most convenient!
All that the center, project or service has to do is encourage students, friends, family members and businesses to go online and slowly shift from going out to shop to shopping online. There is no outlay from the side of the FPMT entity involved. There is no set up and no operational or financial risk.
In addition to buying what they need anyway, participants are getting a percentage of their purchase as “cash back” and are helping the greater organization in a simple way.
One can immediately begin benefiting one or more of FPMT’s activities by shopping online. Other FPMT entities are currently reviewing this new opportunity, but to date, the following FPMT centers and projects can be benefited by shopping through their respective Market America portals:
Maitreya Project International: www.marketamerica.com/maitreyaprojectinternational
Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive: www.marketamerica.com/lywa
Land of Medicine Buddha: www.marketamerica.com/elmb
Thubten Kunga Center: www.marketamerica.com/tkc
Liberation Prison Project: www.marketamerica.com/liberationprisonproject
Guyusamaja Center: www.marketamerica.com/guhyasamajacenter
Tse Chen Ling Center: www.marketamerica.com/tsechenling
There are additional ways in which the program can be accelerated and leveraged to bring even greater benefit to USA non-profits. These enhancements allow students and friends to establish their own home businesses across a wide variety of fields. These will become clear once the program has gained momentum and there is volume flowing through the web portals.
What really stands out is that this business model clearly works effectively to benefit USA non-profits, churches, clubs and associations, including FPMT centers and projects.
Additionally, shoppers save time and money, earn “cash back,” and receive commission on referrals. Lama Yeshe used to say, “Why feed samsara?” Instead, we can use the purchases we make to support the vision and activities of FPMT at no extra cost.
For now this program works in North America only but the system is planned to be extended to other countries in which Market America already operates. Over time, the Market America program will help provide stable income for FPMT without the risks normally associated with starting and running a business.
The time has come to take Lama Yeshe, and recently, Osel Hita’s advice seriously and do something to create successful business for the benefit of FPMT. Perhaps this is the opportunity we need to do just that.
For more information on how your non-profit business can benefit from Market America’s plan for non-profits, please contact Harvey Horrocks for a detailed presentation: firstname.lastname@example.org.Tags: business, finance, lama yeshe, market america