Personal Note from Mimi
I have served Pacific Region Yeshe Nyingpo as Corporate Treasurer for almost four years now and, after having this experience and seeing some very healthy changes take place, I thought it a good time to share some of what I have learned and observed. As most of you know, I have also served as Rinpoche's attendant for some years, traveling with him and serving him in retreat. Last year I was asked to join the Board of Directors. Much has been learned of "living the Dharma" by the continual blessing of being in Rinpoche's presence. This is an experience we all have in some degree, but also I have had to learn some useful worldly skills that I never might have taken on if it weren't for this opportunity. I hope that I have done well enough to deserve the respect and support that all the students have given me over these past years.
Traveling with Rinpoche and witnessing first-hand the beautiful free flow of generosity of the Asian Sangha, mostly from Hong Kong and Taiwan, I became very interested to learn more about what was behind their cultural process of giving. In fact, it is funds from those countries - along with the physical strength and dedication of local students - that have built the facilities we have today. In Asia there is never a fee to attend a Dharma event, as everything is sponsored by those with strong faith and means, some of whom are able take on that role very purely. The system seems to work for everyone. There is an age-old connection that transcends doubt between the perfection of spiritual wisdom merit and the practice of giving that exists in the Far East. I wonder how it is that we can achieve that type of balance in such a dignified way, and I ask all of you to consider this well.
There is much pressure and energy spent worrying about ways to cultivate financial support. Hopefully, we are approaching a natural in corporation of giving as part of our practice in our culture as well. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing your participation in the development of this aspect of Dharma life.
Last year, as many of you probably are aware, Rinpoche's health was very weak and unstable. It was often difficult for me as his caretaker to know the appropriate means to assist him. He's a very complicated patient. One morning last winter during his prolonged period of illness at Half Moon Bay, I noticed a change in his usual weary state and then he told me that he felt something had "lifted." Later that day I received a phone call from the temple at Tashi Chöling with the news that the roof had been raised over the Vajrasattva statue. When I relayed the message to Rinpoche, he immediately said he had wondered what it was that had caused the shift in his physical condition and he was sure that the completion of the roof had removed some of the obstacles which had been plaguing him. I was struck by this obvious event and sought to get the message out that we must never forget how important these projects are.
They are his life work, and he must fulfill his commitment to prepare the ground for the Dharma in this land. We all have the chance to participate in this merit and fulfillment with him as one mandala. Please do not forget that this chance is slipping away with each day.
Since all of the prayers and ceremonies were done for Rinpoche's long life and the Ten Shuk (Stabilizing the Presence) that was offered last May which was especially well-attended, Rinpoche has steadily improved. I am happy to report that he seems stronger than I've seen him in years. Students are clearly taking on more active roles in leadership, and the financial responsibilities are coming into a mature focus. Due to this, the results are manifesting quickly.
Without getting too excited, I just want to offer my thanks and encouragement in the same way as so many have to me. Whenever we are getting low on funds as we are now, Rinpoche starts talking of traveling again and trying to raise funds as he always has. I try to tell him, "Please go if you are going to teach Dharma, but we will raise the money; it is our responsibility now," I hope I am correct when I speak for all of us in this way and not too bold in saying so. Rinpoche always smiles appreciatively and says, "Thank you."
To all of you, financial supporters on every level, thank you for making this our most successful fundraising year ever! Most of the support was generated during the celebration banquet last May at Tashi Chöling and in response to Rinpoche's request in last year's newsletter. Other fundraising efforts have assisted. We encourage your participation on whatever level is appropriate to your circumstances. Much work has been done' end much more needs to be done!
The roof is on the East Wing; the rest is up to you. The goal of getting the roof on was miraculously attained! By the time the metal roof is completed this spring, the East Wing Building Fund will be completely emptied in the process. Every donated dollar is under protection but we can't rest yet. At this stage the building is only an empty shell with no windows. The builders are ready and committed to start up again when the weather clears. Will there be funds to purchase materials? Please consider joining our pledge program and reserve a place for your future retreat and study!
Special thanks to The Tides Foundation of San Francisco for their $10,000 grant - that's enough to sponsor the Yeshe Melong Archives Library to be housed on the second floor - and to the sponsor who donated $45,000 in emergency funds to complete the roof!
How your donations work. The following are support funds that have monthly pledges or yearly commitments on any level. All three of the following funds are operating at a deficit although expenses have been minimized again and again.