An Incredible Accomplishment: An Endowment Supporting the Monks of Sera Je Monastery Long into the Future
For the last ten years FPMT International Office has been building an endowment large enough to support the long-term health of the Sera Je Food Fund, whereby the interest from the endowment would cover the annual costs associated with offering three nutritious meals daily for all the monks of Sera Je Monastery, for as long as the endowment remains.
Amazingly, due to the kindness of so many generous donors, we have now reached our targeted amount for the endowment fund. This is a monumental achievement and we could not have done it without all of the kind, generous, and ongoing support that has been offered to the Sera Je Food Fund for the last twenty-six years. Thank you!
This is an incredible accomplishment for the entire FPMT organization. Lama Zopa Rinpoche started the Sera Je Food Fund in 1991 on the occasion of Tenzin Ösel Rinpoche entering Sera Je Monastery. Rinpoche wanted to make an offering to the whole monastery, not just one time, but continuously. At the time it seemed like such an ambitious plan to offer meals to every monk studying at Sera Je Monastery every day of every year. In 2017 this amounts to an incredible 700,000 meals per year, 2,900 meals per day.
Thanks to the support of so many people, this fund operated without interruption for twenty-six years. In the beginning we were only able to offer a small amount of money to each monk for their midday meal. Then we started to provide a cooked meal that was served to every monk. Later we added dinner, and then breakfast. We built a kitchen and catered to the thousands of monks every day with special attention given to maintaining a hygienic environment for meal preparation, and a balanced offering of nutritious food.
When Rinpoche first mentioned his wish to start this project, we had no idea how we were going to make it happen. Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Ven. Roger Kunsang were the main fundraisers for so many years. Then slowly FPMT International Office took on the entire responsibility so Rinpoche didn’t have to personally raise the funds. In addition, a few centers were key in helping with fundraising and tens of thousands of supporters over the years have also been inspired to donate. Each year we covered the annual costs and eventually were able to create an endowment fund so the project could continue to run on the interest accrued each year.
At the beginning of this year, the abbot and monks of Sera Je Monastery offered a long life puja to Lama Zopa Rinpoche to thank Rinpoche and the FPMT organization for this incredible offering made over a quarter of a century. At that time we discussed with the monastery that the endowment and the ongoing management of the food fund now be managed entirely by Sera Je Monastery.
FPMT has always had a close connection with Sera Je Monastery. Most of our resident geshes come from this highly respected monastery and we are very happy to make such a substantial offering. It’s also wonderful that the monastery is now able to manage this next chapter.
We are working to ensure that this transition is smooth and that the endowment and ongoing interest raised will be exclusively used for the food fund. The official handover of the project began in May 2017 and the endowment will be transferred over a period of a few years. Therefore the Sera Je Food Fund is no longer an FPMT charitable project.
Please rejoice in this incredible offering, the benefits of which will continue long into the future. Every person who has contributed to the Sera Je Food Fund — whether with donations, time, or prayers — all of this incredible merit of offering to the Sangha will continue to grow and benefit.
The Next Chapter in Supporting Sangha
Supporting monks and nuns has always been one of the highest priorities for Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the FPMT organization because the preservation of the Buddhadharma is dependent on the existence of Sangha.
We invite you to please join us in developing the Supporting Ordained Sangha Fund which is offering support to monasteries, nunneries, and individual monks and nuns for food, accommodation, health care, education and practice.
This fund is not limited to any one institution and able to benefit many nunneries, monasteries and Sangha in need.
From our hearts we sincerely thank you for helping to actualize this incredible offering. May the food fund and endowment continue to grow and benefit the Sangha at Sera Je Monastery for as long as space endures and as long as sentient beings remain.
“Offering even one cent to the Sangha community brings uncountable benefit and merit. As long as the Sangha community exists your merit exist. It will not be exhausted.” — Lama Zopa Rinpoche
You can learn more about the Supporting Ordained Sangha Fund and the ways it supports monasteries and nunneries.