A Message from the Executive Director, Wangmo Dixey

Dear Friends in Dharma,

It is a great pleasure to send out our newsletter for July. We are focusing on importance of merit in this issue, as it has played such an important part of the work of Light of Buddhadharma Foundation International.  We have truly learned that if you create meritorious circumstances, then auspicious events will follow. Once merit has been established, programs grow, seeming co-incidences give rise to unexpected opportunities, and an expansive vision for the future can manifest. The causes and conditions for the Buddhadharma to flourish across India are ripening now due to all the efforts of so many great Venerable monks and lay devotees. By joining together to honor the teachings and imparting the lineage of the Blessed One, the benefits of loving compassion and wisdom can emerge as a universal platform for the benefit of all sentient beings.

As Buddhists we can proudly trace our lineage back to our enlightened teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha, who gained enlightenment under the Sacred Bodhi Tree in the land of Aryadesha. Imagine the impact of well-developed, mature Dharma communities, devoted to the Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, practicing the ethical action of shila, stabilized by the profound peace of meditative samādhi and guided by the wisdom of prajna! The inspiration of their example would radiate around the world, encouraging untold numbers of people to take a radical step toward the path of awakening.

The focus on reciting the Tipitaka is the inspiration for our work, as it is the heart of the Dharma for Theravada communities. To preserve this unbroken lineage through the recitation of the oral tradition of the Mahasangaha is truly an act of merit. We ask you to join us as we dedicate our energy to preserving this sacred living lineage for the benefit of all.

Now we are beginning to engage with our Mahayana brothers and sisters by enacting the first recitation of the Mahayana sutras at Vulture’s Peak and introducing Dharma talks at Nalanda to awaken these sacred sites with the living heritage of the Buddhadharma. Furthermore, in the USA the International Buddhist Association of America has been born out of the impetus to bring us together with a collective voice. The IBAA will work to organize ceremonies to recite the Dharma not only in the sacred sites of the Blessed One, but also in temples in the West so that we can bridge together the East with the West.

As we celebrate 4th of July in the United States, at the heart of it may we celebrate freedom from suffering and the noble path that leads us directly to awakening, uncovered some 2600 years ago by Shakyamuni Buddha and faithfully followed until now by his disciples.

Merit and Spiritual Growth

In his essay “Merit and Spiritual Growth” from Nourishing The Roots: Essays on Buddhist Ethics, Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi writes, “The performance of deeds of merit forms one of the most essential elements of Buddhist practice. Merit is an essential ingredient in the harmony and completeness of the spiritual life, a means of self-cultivation, and an indispensable stepping-stone to spiritual progress.

The accumulation of a “stock of merit” is a primary requisite for acquiring all the fruits of the Buddhist religious life, from a pleasant abiding here and now to a favorable rebirth in the life to come, from the initial stages of meditative progress to the realization of the states of sanctity that come as the fruits of entering upon the noble path.

If knowledge be the flower that gives birth to the fruit of liberation, and faith (saddha) the seed out of which the flower unfolds, then merit is the soil, water and fertilizer all in one — the indispensable nutriment for every stage of growth.

Click here to read more from Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi’s essay “Merit and Spiritual Growth.”

Excerpt from the Dhammapada 

Here he rejoices
he rejoices hereafter.
In both worlds
the merit-maker rejoices.
He rejoices, is jubilant,
seeing the purity
of his deeds.
Here he delights
he delights hereafter.
In both worlds
the merit-maker delights.
He delights at the thought,
‘I’ve made merit.’
Having gone to a good destination,

he delights
all the more.

— Dhp 16, 18

The Dhammapada Chanting Program begins again this year in  New Delhi, the capital city of India. We welcome you all to participate as we listen to the sound of these sacred teachings coming alive at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

More Recitations of the Precious Tipitaka: From the Bodhi Tree to Borobudur 
July 6 – 8, 2017: The 2nd International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony

Message to the Indonesian Theravada Sangha from Wangmo Dixey:

“It is truly wonderful that the Indonesia Theravada Sangha will be holding the third gathering of the International Tipitaka Chanting and Asalha Mahapuja on July 6th-8th, 2017. To be able to chant the Buddha Word at the sublime Temple of Borobudur is of enormous merit, both for Indonesia and for the entire world. We shall be with you during this precious time as we come together to honor the incomparable teachings of the Blessed One. It is surely a great way for all of us to return to the sacred sites such as Borobudur so that the sound of the Dharma can return to the sacred land of Indonesia for the benefit of all. The great wheel of the Dharma is once again turning as it touches people’s hearts and minds around the entire world and the blessings of the Triple Gem are radiating for the benefit of all beings. Clearly, the power and blessings of the Buddhadharma are bringing us back together for the purpose of recollecting the teachings of our most beloved Master. We feel that this an important step in reuniting our faith and commitment to the Sasana. We wish all participants and great monks a beautiful and most meritorious program. Thank you so much, precious Bhantes, for taking this inspiration forward in your most holy land!” 

Click here to watch a beautiful video of the upcoming program.

Body, Language, and Mind: Doorways to Freedom Retreat

For close to five decades, LBDFI Founder Venerable Tarthang Tulku has been finding ways to share the liberating power of Buddhist teachings with the West. Now he is preparing entirely new teachings—a breakthrough to a penetrating and expansive form of understanding. This fresh approach will be presented in three soon to be released books, called The Lotus Trilogy: Lotus Body, Lotus Language, and Lotus Mind.

This July, the Nyingma Mandala of Organizations in collaboration with LBDFI is pleased to offer two week-long retreats that prepare the way for the Lotus Trilogy teachings. In each retreat, senior teachers, including LBDFI co-directors Wangmo and Richard Dixey, will lead you on a journey into the energies of the body, the creative power of language, and the openness of mind.

For more information or to register, please click here.

Coming Soon! The 4th International Tipitaka Chanting Program in Berkeley

The 4th International Tipitaka Chanting Program will be held on September 22nd – 24th, 2017. All are welcome to join us as we continue to recite the precious Tipitaka together in downtown Berkeley at Mangalam Center.

Our first Dharma talk during the Berkeley Tipitaka will be in the evening on September 22nd, 2017. Ajahn Pasanno, the most senior Western disciple of Ven. Ajahn Chah in the United States, and most senior in the world after Ajahn Sumedho and Ajahn Khemadhammo, will talk about the following topic:  Living a Noble Life, Heart Advice from the Ajahn Chah Lineage. Be sure to save the date for this auspicious dharma talk on your calendar.

We are looking for volunteers to help with organization, set up, decoration, cooking, registration and driving during the September 22nd – 24th Chanting Ceremony in Berkeley, CA. It is the dedication of our volunteers that makes the ceremony a success! If you would like to join our team of volunteers in this meritorious event, please contact lbdfioffice@gmail.com

A Sacred Journey in the Footsteps of the Buddha – Begins This Year

This year LBDFI will be offering extraordinary pilgrimages to all of the Sacred Places of the Buddha. Unique Tipitaka chanting programs will be held at each site and the program will culminate with the 13th International Tipitaka Chanting ceremony in Bodh Gaya, the 1st Mahayana chanting ceremony in Rajgir and the optional 1st chanting which will take place at the historical state of Orissa at the ancient sites of Udagiri and Ratnagiri.

By joining together on this sacred pilgrimage, we have a chance to walk directly in the footsteps of the Blessed One where great sutras were recited according to each vehicle, strengthening our resolve as Buddhist family to reconnect to our lineage. We hope that these ceremonies and Dharma talks will inspire others to come forward and see the merit in offering our collective service to strengthening the Buddhadharma in our Motherland as well as in our heartland of the United States of America where so many Buddhist temples are located.

We have two pilgrimage programs available:

  • Option A includes participation at all sacred sites for Tipitaka Chanting Programs. A meditation course in Bodh Gaya will also be offered.
  • Option B includes the International Tipitaka Chanting Program in Bodh Gaya, the 1st Mahayana Chanting and the Orissa program.

If you are interested in joining this sacred journey, please reach out to us by August 31, 2017! This is a rare and precious opportunity to be seated at the sites where the Blessed One walked and taught and to hear the sounds of the Dharma resounding in the lands of the Aryadesh.

Check out a short film which highlights our 2016 Pilgrimage.

To learn more about this year’s pilgrimage program, click here.

For more information or to register
please email us at 
lbdfioffice@gmail.com 

Sacred Journey in the Footsteps of the Buddha Pilgrimage Brochure Translated Into to Portuguese!

For our Portuguese speaking dharma friends, the pilgrimage program brochure has now been translated into Portuguese. Click here to view it.

Anyone from Brazil or South America who is interested in joining should contact Director Nelson Chamma at chammanelson@gmail.com.

International Tipitaka Chanting Programs in all Sacred Sites of the Blessed One

All are welcome to join us in this Dharma movement in the Motherland of India, bringing back the sacred teachings to each sacred site of where the Blessed One walked and taught. Registration for all ceremonies can be found here.

In addition, the Tipitaka Chanting Books are available as eBooks and can be download for free on your iPad or cell phone. You can browse and download the Tipitaka Chanting eBooks here.

Recap: Tipitaka Chanting in Washington, DC

The 2nd International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony held in Washington, DC on June 8th – 10th, 2017 was a great success. Participants from 11 different countries came together to recite the words of the Blessed One. The ceremony, held in honor of Luang Ta Chi’s 92nd anniversary, was sponsored by the International Buddhist Association of America and Wat Thai Washington DC. 

Update: International Buddhist Association of America visits the Library of Congress

The International Buddhist Association of America recently met again in Washington, DC to discuss upcoming activities. In order to expand our outreach, we will be sending out letters to all 2000 temples in the United States to welcoming anyone interested in  joining in our collective mission of  promoting, preserving, and protecting in collaboration with all branches (yanas), the Buddhadharma within the United States of America and abroad for the benefit of all.

While in Washington, DC, A group of IBAA delegates also had the opportunity to tour the Library of Congress and visit the amazing collections of Buddhist texts which have been gifted to the library by Yeshe De Project and take a photograph with Prayer Wheel which was offered by Venerable Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche for the benefit of World Peace.

Here are some excerpts of an address made to the IBCC members from our President, Wangmo Dixey:

It is an honor to be able to address you today as President of the International Buddhist Association of America on the occasion of our first anniversary. Certainly, today is a moment for all of us to rejoice and celebrate knowing that we have successfully completed all the legal requirements for us to operate as a 501c (3) non-profit organization along with appointing a distinguished board and advisory committee.

Our forefathers could not have known or predicted a few hundred years ago the shapes and forms we have created, and which continue to unfold today. But it is testimony to their wisdom that when we put their ideals into action, they continue to grant wealth, knowledge, energy, and opportunity—qualities for which America is admired the world over. America asks each one of us not merely to understand this remarkable, precious concept of freedom, but also to manifest its value. That is the beauty of America, the living spirit of freedom in action, a veritable celebration of the human potential.

The first Buddhist temple opened in America over one hundred and sixty years ago, and in 2012 there were over two thousand three hundred Buddhist organizations across the country. Doubtless there are many more now. Yet, despite this great richness and diversity, there has never been an association formed to allow Buddhist people to speak to their fellow Americans with a single voice. It is with that central inspiration that the International Buddhist Association of America has taken shape and form.

Tapovan Garden Plaque Project – Will Be Completed This July

Through the generous support of Venerable Tarthang Tulku, we are able to make a historical offering to the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee of over 458 black marble plaques lettered in gold with the text of Lalitisvara Sutra in the languages of English, Devangari and Tibetan for the beautification of the temple and for all pilgrims to enjoy reading in this meditation garden.

Here are some recent pictures of the final installation of the boundary walls! If you would like to be involved or support in the second stage of this work which involves the creation of landscaped gardens to surround these plaques, please let us know by sending us an email.

Chai Recipe

Chai Recipe

A comforting tea to warm your heart and to remind you of India

1 cup water
1 cup milk
2 tsp orange pekoe black tea
2 tsp raw sugar (or sweetener of choice)
½ tsp fresh, grated ginger
a pinch of cinnamon or cardamom (optional)

Directions: Combine tea, ginger, sugar, and water in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil for one minute.  Then, add milk. Once the liquid begins to boil again, turn down the heat, allowing it to simmer gently for 2-3 minutes. Be careful to watch the pot or it may boil over. Remove from heat. Add a pinch cinnamon or cardamom. Let sit one minute. Strain and enjoy hot!

Ways You Can Help: For Every Dollar, We Will Match Your Donation

Our Impact and Your Matching Grant Will Make a Difference
As we move forward in this historical mission, we are calling on like-minded individuals to share in the merit. Matching grants are available for all of our projects, and we hope to expand our activities through your support. We firmly believe that by nurturing the roots of the great wisdom culture of the Buddhadharma, its branches, like those of the Bodhi Tree itself, will spread offering refuge and benefit to all sentient beings. We have also worked on the historical UNESCO site of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara and will continue to make effort towards the beautification and clean up of this area. Our strong network and excellent relationships with local government allows us to get projects done.

International Tipitaka Chanting Program; The Dharma Training Wheel
As mentioned above, we will be holding ceremonies in eight imoprtant Buddhist pilgrimage sites this year. Local bhantes from these ceremonies will be sponsored to come to the International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony in Bodhgaya where a conference on Vinaya and the chanting of the Pratimoksa will take place.  Please join us in creating the virtuous conditions for the Dharma to arise in the Motherland of India!

Arya Sangha Training Program-First Four Received
LBDFI has now initiated a nine-year training program for Indian monks. Candidate monks will be sponsored to spend three years in training centers in Thailand (Vinaya training), Sri Lanka (Sutta Training) and Myanmar (Abhidamma and Meditation training). Each year five monks will be enrolled into this program and will be sponsored to fly to the respective countries, spending nine months in training and three months returning to India to their home viharas. It is hoped that over the course of twenty-five years 108 monks can be trained in the Arya Sangha training program, and after will return to India and open training centers and viharas of their own.

Reviving the Sacred Jethian Valley
LBDFI has recently purchased land in the valley, beside the entrance to the Asura cave, used by the Blessed One in the years directly following the enlightenment. We hope to use this land to create a home for the Arya Sangha Training Program, and thus be able to offer a place for meditation and training for our Indian bhikkhus. Now that we have the land, we are looking for special friends in Dharma to lay the foundation of a future home.

Completing the Tapovan Gardens at the Mahabodhi Mahavihara
LBDFI is working to complete the landscaping of a major portion of the World Heritage Temple grounds, and is working with award winning landscape designers to create a meditation garden that overlooks the main Temple itself. This is an ongoing program for all those who love beauty.

Creating a Documentary Film, Evam Me Suttam
We are working to fund a film that will document the ancient sites associated with the Blessed One along with the significance of the Mahasangha, with attention to the oral tradition of the Theravada. Production to begin Spring 2017-2018.

Support Our Work and Connect to the Dedication

Making offerings allows us to open our hearts and foster empathy and kindness. It builds warm connections based on the true value of our shared experience. We strongly invite you to participate in this practice. Your donation (dana) is a precious contribution that helps to sustain the ethos of service that is the heart of the Light of Buddhadharma Foundation International. All donations will be acknowledged in front of the Sangha. Send us details of the prayers you would like us to mention at each site by clicking on the below link. It also allows you to make a direct link to sharing in the merit of these programs. 

In our next issue, we will sharing some new exciting gifts to share with friends to help raise funds for our programs so stay tuned!

We are a completely volunteer based organization.

If you would like to help in any way,
please feel free to contact us at lbdfiorg@gmail.com

2018 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704 USA
510 809 1025 (office)

WWW.LBDFI.ORG

Contact Us!

We always appreciate hearing from you, whether it’s with a question about our programs or feedback on our website. If you want to volunteer or make an offering, we’d love to hear from you as well. Please feel free to contact us using the above information or you are welcome to use our contact form.