Lama Zopa Rinpoche in front of Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery, Chailsa, Nepal, March 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

In March 2017, Lama Zopa Rinpoche visited the village of Chailsa, in Solu Khumbu, Nepal. Among various activities there, he visited Sagarmatha Secondary School. More than two years ago, FPMT took on the commitment of sponsoring this school, which has about 120 students, with its Social Service Fund. Kopan Monastery oversees the management of the school.

Chailsa is in Solu Khumbu, north-eastern Nepal, the district where Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born and where many Himayalan Buddhists live. Chailsa is in the southern part of the district near Salleri, the district headquarters. The area is remote but still reachable by jeep—a day-long drive from Kathmandu over difficult roads.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains how to do water bowl offerings to the children of Sagarmatha school. Chailsa, Nepal, March 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Rinpoche blessed the school and was welcomed by the children with a traditional dance. He gave a talk to them, giving them an explanation of how to do water bowls. He also sponsored a picnic for the children and their teachers. The school provided prizes for the children’s exams, which Rinpoche handed out. Rinpoche and Kopan are working to identify the needs of the schoolchildren so they can ensure that the necessary donations are organized.

Schoolchildren offering Lama Zopa Rinpoche a traditional dance. Chailsa, Nepal, March 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

In the village, Rinpoche gave a lung and some commentary for the Vajrayogini three-year retreat privately to some students, one who is planning to soon do the retreat. He also gave a short commentary to the local gompa keeper of the torma gyatsa practice. Finally, he offered an Amitabha long life initiation with teachings.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering an Amitabha long life initiation, Chailsa, Nepal, March 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Rinpoche also visited Thubten Shedrup Ling. This monastery, located in Chailsa, is under the care of Kopan Monastery, which took it over in 2004. It has only a few dozen residents, and with the help of Kopan, it has been partially rebuilt. It offers an opportunity for young people to receive a monastic education, to live in their vows in a monastic environment, and study and practice the teachings of the Buddha.

Rinpoche is also trying to locate land in Chailsa on which to keep goats and other animals whose lives have been saved.

On the trip, Rinpoche also went to Thubten Chöling, a large monastery built by the late Trulshik Rinpoche in the 1960s in Junbesi, which is near Salleri and on the Jiri-Everest trekking trail.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with the monks and nuns of Thupten Chöling Monastery doing prayers in front of the Holy Body of Trulshik Rinpoche. Solu Khumbu, Nepal, March 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

One of the greatest living masters of the Nyingma and rime traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, Trulshik Rinpoche, who passed away in 2011, was one of Rinpoche’s gurus. While at Thubten Chöling, Rinpoche offered to sponsor a portion of the costs of a stupa being constructed there. He paid his respects to Trulshik Rinpoche’s holy body (which is in a mandala house above the altar), made prayers, and made offerings to each of the approximately 400 Sangha present. Rinpoche’s assistant, Ven.Roger, requested the Sangha to do an extensive Medicine Buddha puja for Rinpoche’s health and long life, following the advice of Khadro-la (Rangjung Neljorma Khadro Namsel Drönme).

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service.