A Message from the Executive Director, Wangmo Dixey

Dear Friends in Dhamma, 

Here under the sacred Bodhi Tree, where Bhagavan Buddha Shakyamuni brought the blessings of Enlightenment into our world, the Mahasangha from eleven countries has assembled once again to chant the precious Tipitaka. The teachings we commemorate here were spoken to the Sangha at various places in India. They were affirmed by five hundred Arhats who assembled at the Sattipattana Cave in Rajgir a year after the Blessed One passed into Parinirvana at Kushinagara. Led by Mahakassapa, Ananda and Upali, the noble Arhats empowered with full recall of all they had heard, the Assembly recited the teachings and confirmed them as the true words of the Tathagata.

Since the first great council, the Sangha has kept alive the memory of the Buddha’s presence and faithfully transmitted the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path in all directions. From their dedication, four major traditions took form and gave rise to eighteen schools. While they emphasized different aspects of the teachings, all relied on the Three Jewels as the only refuge from the ever-present miseries of Sarvam Dukkham. Now we have an extraordinary opportunity to return to all of the sacred sites to hear these teachings in Pali, and especially to hear the teachings that are associated with each site. This September edition marks a special focus on the importance of the oral tradition which has been faithfully preserved since the time of the Blessed One.  This year marks the first time that chanting ceremonies will be held in all of the great pilgrimage sites of Northern India.

Starting in October, you too can join us as we walk in the footsteps of the Blessed One and recite with the precious Mahasangha the specific texts which are associated with the Life of the Buddha. We will begin in Sarnath from October 31st-November 1st with the Turning of the Wheel and a ceremony dedicated to the recitation of the Dhammachakka Sutta by all the Venerable monks and lay devotees from Sarnath. We will journey to the urban city of New Delhi and began our program from (November 4th-5th) where we will be reciting the precious Dhammapada. From there we will continue to Sankasya (November 7th-9th) to recite the Abhidhamma, joined by the local villagers and monastics from the area. We shall also have Burmese scholars speaking about the essence of Abhidhamma From Sankasya, we will travel to Sarvasti (November 11th-12th) where the Blessed One spent the greatest number of rainy retreats and again will be joined by local villagers and monastics. We will then travel to Kushnigara (November 15th-17th) where we will be reciting the sections related to the Mahaparinirvana sutras found in the Dighanikaya. Next, we will travel to Vaishali (November 18th-20th) where we will be gathered with monks and nuns to recite sections of the Dighanikaya, with special attention on the Ratana Sutra.  

Finally, we will all come back to Bodhgaya, the Seat of Enlightenment, where we will join the great Mahasangha from 11 countries to recite the Khudda Nikaya for ten days from December 2nd -12th. The Thai Mahasangha will be taking a lead as the Chief Organisers in 2017-18 and we all so look forward to seeing the manifold beautiful manifestations unfolding under their care.  Great Tipitakadharas alongside monastics from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam form the Assembly, and their devotees from all over the world alongside the many volunteers from all over who also offer sanghadana. Following the completion of the 13th annual International Tipitaka chanting program, on December 14th, we will walk through the Jetthian Valley to the precious Bamboo Grove with 1000 pilgrims.

I am delighted to share more wonderful news which is the cause of great celebration and joy.  We have begun to reach out to the precious Mahasanghas from from China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea and India for our 1st Mahayana chanting program which will be held on the top of Vulture’s Peak on December 14th. We will also be chanting at the Ragjir Convention Hall and will hold Dharma talks in the ancient site of Nalanda on December 17th. How extraordinary it is to realize that these Sanghas can return back to the sacred sites where these teachings were once heard! 

Finally, we will conclude our programs in the sacred site of Ratnagiri (December 19th22nd) where the government of Orissa will be hosting 108 monastics in a very rare and precious opportunity for all three yanas to come together. There is also a very strong likelihood that a precious relic of the Buddha will be displayed for the first time!

Indeed, we have much to be grateful for—especially to the precious Mahasanghas who are all returning back to these sacred sites, to the faithful devotees who come from all directions and to my father for giving me this opportunity to serve.

May I share all the merit with each one of you with the greatest wish that we see in our lifetime the flowering and blossoming of the Buddhadharma and the reawakening of the land of the Aryadesha at each of these sacred sites. In the next few months, we will be traveling, and I will try to share with you short clips of our trip through Faceboook. I will also be delighted to share with you an important announcement starting this January 2018!

The Importance of the Oral Tradition

At the moment of supreme realization, the Buddha manifested complete and perfect understanding of the Dharma, the laws that govern all existence. From within this realization, he embodied omniscient knowledge and transmitted it by example, by words, and by gestures. The words of the Buddha became known as the Buddhavacana or Pali Canon.

Venerable Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin and close personal attendant, committed the Buddha’s suttas to memory and thus became a living repository of these teachings. Shortly after the Buddha’s death, five hundred of the most senior monks — including Ananda — convened to recite and verify all the sermons they had heard during the Buddha’s forty-five year teaching career. Most of these sermons therefore begin, “Evam me sutam” — “Thus have I heard.”

After the Buddha’s Parinirvana, the Dharma teachings remained as a precious legacy and guide to enlightenment. Recited and handed down from generation to generation, the teachings have served countless individuals as an antidote for views that distort the beauty and meaning of human existence.

The Three Baskets of the Tipitaka

The Tipitaka, the Three Collections of the Buddhavacana, is comprised of the Vinaya, Sutta, and Abhidhamma. Each collection preserves a distinct teaching, has a specific purpose and supports a specific aspect of human development.

The Vinaya Pitaka is the foundation of the Dharma. Its teachings are a guide to the conduct and attitudes that will support the aspiration to enlightenment. The Vinaya offers a way of life that instills the deep inner harmony of sila, or moral discipline, that calms the mind and body and promotes the arising of samadhi and prajna. At the same time, the Vinaya codes shape the activity of the Sangha and deal with the practical concerns of an ongoing community. Maintained through the centuries by an unbroken line of fully ordained bhiksus, the Vinaya has provided a firm foundation for transmission of the teachings. The communities that follow the Vinaya code demonstrate in their daily lives the beauty of appropriate conduct, attracting others to the practice of the Dharma.

The Sutta Pitaka is the direct expression of the Buddha’s realization, a collection of the discourses of all Three Turnings. The Suttas are the fiber of the Dharma – the substance of the teachings. Just as the Vinaya supports the practice of sila and the Abhidharma promotes prajna, so the sutras sustain the practice of samadhi. As direct expressions of the Buddha’s realization, they present a vision that dispels uncertainty and confusion. Study and practice based on the Sutras promotes the deep questioning that transforms ordinary reality into the radiance of the Buddha realm.

The Abhidhamma Pitaka contains the teachings that analyze the nature of reality, the underlying structure of the cosmos, the stages of the path to realization, and the multi-faceted phenomena of human experience. Just as the vinaya shows how to discipline and transform the activities of the body, Abhidhamma shows how to analyze, discipline, and transform the subtle factors of mental activity through the cultivation of prajna, a discriminating awareness that sees things as they are. Study of the Abhidhamma helps dispel wrong views that lie at the root of human suffering and offers an antidote to the patterns of error that disrupt and confuse human awareness.

– Excerpt from LBDFI Founder Tarthang Rinpoche’s book Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha: Roots of Transmission

Online Tipitaka Resources 

To learn more about the Tipitaka, you may like to check out the following resources:
Access to Insight: Large collection of English translations of suttas, and many essays from esteemed Buddhist writers

Sutta Central – A fantastic site including collections of translations of suttas

Metta net – Includes a work in progress translation of the Tipitaka, articles by Buddhist writers and information on Sri Lankan Buddhism.

Wikipitaka – A wiki based work in progress translation of the Tipitaka, currently over 700 suttas have been translated.

Tipitaka.org – Online Burmese Tipitaka in Pali, various scripts, includes a very thorough exposition on “the gist” of the Tipitaka.

eTipitaka quotation – Well organized online Pali tipitaka of the 6th Buddhist council.

Pali Text Society Translations downloads – Large parts of the Tipitaka available online.

Pali Canon.org – Another good translation project.

(reference list provided by the Dhamma Wheel Discussion Forum, photo credit: Juan Pinnel)

Download eBooks for the 2017 Chanting Ceremonies

The 2017 Tipitaka Chanting Books are available as eBooks and can be downloaded for free on your tablet or cell phone. You can browse the collection and download the Tipitaka Chanting eBooks here.

Join us this month for the 4th International Tipitaka Chanting Program in Berkeley, California

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. If you are interested in attending the ceremony, you may register here.

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 will also have a special Burmese Sayadaw (teacher) on Saturday evening on “Abhidhamma and Mind” alongside some meditation practices by a Thai meditation master. 

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 for this meritorious event, please contact lbdfioffice@gmail.com 

A Short Film About Our Work

We are happy to announce a short film about our work since inception. The international prayer ceremonies in Bodhgaya began with just 250 Venerable monks and nuns. Now, today after 11 years, this ceremony has spread worldwide to each of the eight Buddhist sacred sites within India, to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, United States and in 2018 we hope to start offering the ceremony in Myanmar. We are delighted to share footage of these ceremonies with you. May you enjoy this video for the benefit of the Buddhadharma blossoming in the Aryadesha.

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.

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

For more information or to register, please email us at lbdfioffice@gmail.com 
Anyone from Brazil or South America who is interested in joining should contact Director Nelson Chamma at chammanelson@gmail.com

1st International Tipitaka Chanting Orissa

We are happy to share about our exciting new Tipitaka chanting program in Ratnagiri which will include the invitation of 108 monks from Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana sanghas.

Recipe: Date and Almond Ladoos

A sweet and healthy treat for you to enjoy!

8 medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon ghee or 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 tablespoon raw honey
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
shredded coconut (optional)

Add almonds and cardamom to a food processor and process until finely ground. Be mindful not to over process, turning to flour or paste. Remove and set aside. Add dates, ghee or coconut oil, and honey to the food processor and pulse until dates break up. Then process steadily until all ingredients are well combined. Add the almond mixture back to the processor and pulse and process until nicely combined. Then, Roll walnut-sized pieces of the mixture into smooth balls. Optional: After forming the mixture into balls, you may like to roll them in coconut.

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-Seeking Applications
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!