Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing a small kitten before leaving Sera Je Monastery, Bylakuppe, India, November 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche traveled to Sera Je Monastic University in South India in November 2017. Ven. Gyalten Lekden, an International Mahayana Institute (IMI) monk who is in the geshe studies program at Sera Je, shared this report of Rinpoche’s visit:

After a few years’ hiatus, we were blessed to welcome Lama Zopa Rinpoche back to Sera Je in November 2017. Rinpoche had begun a series of oral transmissions some years ago, transmissions of a five-volume collection of texts and practices related to the lineage of Most Secret Hayagriva that serves as the protector of Sera Je Monastery. As is Rinpoche’s inimitable style, he tailored his teachings to meet the needs of the attendees. There was a strong emphasis on mind-training as well as the importance of distinguishing Dharma from non-Dharma through recognizing and working to abandon the eight worldly dharmas. Since the audience was composed primarily of monks, Rinpoche also wove in the benefits of properly holding the monastic vows, and how serving the monastery is just as important as traditional study.

Everyone present was overjoyed and grateful to be able to have Rinpoche pierce through the dark clouds of our habitual misconceptions, and lay bare what is most important for our lives. Then, serving as a constant paradigm for those of us who desperately need the cooling camphor of Rinpoche’s blessed instruction to quell the blazing flames of our self-grasping, self-cherishing minds, Rinpoche announced that he was donating all of the offerings he had received during the teaching to Sera Monastery’s construction of a new sewage draining system and sidewalk on the main road leading into the monastery.


Long life puja offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Drati Khangtsen, Sera Je Monastery, Bylakuppe, India, December 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

As always, while at Sera Je, Rinpoche did not ever take a break. He was in constant meetings with various monastery officials, lamas, revered guests, and devotees, demonstrating for us an impeccable model of ceaseless vigilance in working to support and benefit others. Sera Je IMI House requested Rinpoche visit, and they invited me and the other foreign monks, as well as all of the out-of-town guests, to join. During his already busy schedule, he took time to not only grant us the blessing of his holy presence at IMI House, but he also stayed for quite a while and offered excellent and practical advice to those who had gathered.

As this year’s teachings concluded, while hosting the other members of the organizing committee and me for lunch, Rinpoche began to discuss teachings for future years. He is committed to completing the transmission, but he also sees the benefit of offering practical instruction to the monks. He also shared plans on how he wishes to continue combining those two aspects of instruction.

It is important to express a quick word of gratitude to Drati Khangtsen, and its tireless community of monks, without whom these teachings would not ever be possible. They did all the work of cleaning and preparing the temple, serving the tea, and helping prepare and serve meals to all of the guests, and so forth. Although this year’s schedule was quite short, everyone was ecstatic to be able to be satiated by Rinpoche’s nectar-like speech and advice. We anxiously await his return in 2018.

View a gallery of images taken during Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s visit to Sera Je Monastery in November 2017.

More information, photos, and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s webpage on If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT via email, sign up to FPMT News.