Author Topic: The Benefits of Dharma Centers  (Read 7744 times)

dsiluvu

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The Benefits of Dharma Centers
« on: June 26, 2012, 12:14:06 PM »
Here is what Lama Yeshe says about the Benefits of Building a Dharma Center...(this was his advice for FPMT at that time)

I've extracted the parts which I thought was good summary. Definitely if we get an opportunity to build any holy space i.e. a Dharma center, we should grab it!

The Function of a Dharma Center
   
[posted July 2009]
Rinpoche made the following comments on the function of a Dharma center.

The benefit of the center is to learn Dharma practice, which means purifying defilements and collecting merits/good luck/ good karma, attaining the path to liberation and full enlightenment, and liberating numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bringing them to full enlightenment. That means, along the way, bringing peace to the world, because the essence of Buddhadharma is compassion.

When you practice Dharma the essence is compassion for all sentient beings. Besides that, there is service to others, service to people, service to animals, praying and doing pujas for the sick, dying, and the deceased. It is very important to help the families of the center members, to help them pray.

Building holy objects and circumambulating them, making offerings, etc, creates merit. This merit comes from virtue/good karma. This is all due to the power of the holy object. Even if one doesn’t have a virtuous mind, due to the power of the holy object, one creates merit.

What you are doing is helping us accomplish limitless skies of benefit for sentient beings and the teachings of Buddha, benefiting sentient beings not just by giving shelter, food, and medicine, etc. Of course, those things are very good, but they are not enough because they don’t purify the past negative karma of this life, nor all past lives’ negative karmas, which have not been purified, and the results of which are still to come, as well as negative karma from numberless past lifetimes from beginningless time, which brings all difficulties, unbelievable sufferings, physical sufferings, and mental sufferings, as well as war, famine, disease, torture, poverty, everything. If one doesn’t purify these things, and one doesn’t purify the mind, then material things alone won’t help, because they don’t transform the mind from anger into loving kindness and compassion, from desire into renunciation, the satisfied, content, free mind, seeking the happiness of future lives, or, more pure than that, seeking liberation from samsara, detachment from samsaric pleasures, and from the self-cherishing thought. It is from this that all obstacles, undesirable things, and sufferings come. It must be transformed into bodhicitta and cherishing others, which is where all happiness comes from, temporal and ultimate happiness, up to enlightenment.

Due to this project, many thousands of poor people in India will get jobs so they can get food for their families and put their children through school. Also, it is a different type of work to building a factory or a building that is used for business offices. This project is so different because of the power of the holy object. Even if the people working on it do not practice Dharma, because of the power of the holy object, then all this work becomes Dharma and virtue, which is the cause of happiness.

The Dharma center is an emergency rescue operation, like when police go in with sirens blaring, red and blue lights flashing, helicopters whirling, to rescue people in distress. Like that, the meditation center plays a very important role in the emergency rescue of human beings, using the seat belt and life jacket of the lam-rim. Meditation on refuge and karma immediately saves you from falling into the lower realms again. 

Why is there a need for a larger place to listen, reflect, and do meditation practice on the kind, compassionate Buddha's path? One can understand by analyzing how the need for Buddha Dharma is much more important, many billions of times more crucial, than going to the emergency room in the hospital when the heart stops. Why? Because suffering and happiness do not come from outside. They come from the mind.

Compassion never allows harm to be given to others, and besides that is only to benefit others. A Dharma center such as this becomes a very important tool to bring peace in the world, and peace in numberless sentient beings’ minds. So, whatever you are able to contribute benefits not only peace in this world but for all sentient beings. You can see how the Dharma center, which offers these practices and education, is an extremely important need. Therefore, I would say it would be an extremely practical thing to help this Dharma center so all these facilities exist and flourish.

http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=257&chid=1225

Manjushri

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Re: The Benefits of Dharma Centers
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012, 12:50:39 PM »
For the many who are so fortunate to belong to a Dharma Centre, you should contemplate what your Dharma Centre means to you? Why do you need a Dharma Centre when so many say that you can read and practice by yourself?

If you don't practise what you learn, is there even a need to have a Dharma Centre?

I have heard many a times that the functionings of the Dharma Centre, and to belong to a Dharma Centre isn't really practising Dharma. Many would say that you are hiding from reality, because the Dharma Centre is prententious.. the outside world isn't and they need the Dharma. When you exit the Dharma centre into the "outside" world, that is where you can practice the Dharma.

Gaining enlightenment is an individual thing. As Lama Yeshe said:

"...Because suffering and happiness do not come form outside. They come from the mind."

Therefore, do we really need a Dharma Centre to gain enlightenment, to alleviate suffering and happiness? If the mind and the physical Dharma Centre is independant of one another, as long as we cannot seek that Buddha potential within us, having a Dharma Centre to bring peace to others isn't necessary. Buddha Shakyamuni taught, without a Dharma Centre.

Tianni

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Re: The Benefits of Dharma Centers
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 01:56:09 PM »
Dharma center would become important when the members’ has the right motivation. We all knew that  most of the people came to Dharma centre are when they need to improve their luck or their personal problem. Some may be they want to do business. It would end up that they would leave the centre either upon they get what they  want or they do not get it.

At this point, the Dharma teaching is very important, we need to have a structured teaching which can help them to look for the ultimate happiness and benefit more people.

Positive Change

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Re: The Benefits of Dharma Centers
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 01:59:05 PM »
Well for me personally, a Dharma center is the manifestation of a Guru's spread of the Dharma. Any secular center exist because of the congregation of like minded people towards a common goal fostered together by one central belief or cause. In the case of a Dharma center it also goes along those parameters but with the higher motivation to help others.

How do we help others? We start by helping ourselves with the proper tools which would inevitably condition us to focus out and hence help others. Any Dharma center void of this motivation is a mere center without a heart and it will soon dissipate into an "empty" space cordoned by four walls.

The heart of any Dharma center are its people... the students! They ARE the center. Walls only serve to feed our samsaric delusions. A real Dharma center can and should exist independently void of the physical manifestation. In fact, the more the Dharma center grows, the outer manifestation of physical representation is the side effect of the growth. What is the point of building a large Dharma center to fit thousands when the people within the center cannot even attract 100 people through their actions.

Is it not better to grow the physical center according to the growth of the people. Makes more sense no?

Hence to conclude, the "benefits" of a Dharma Center really depends on how much the students listen, absorb, contemplate and in turn act upon the teachings of one's Guru. The measurable results would be the increase in members and people who are attracted to the people in the center! That I find is the true measure, the people and not the building!

ratanasutra

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Re: The Benefits of Dharma Centers
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 03:38:32 PM »
Now we know the benefit of Dharma centre, thank for sharing.

i found this interesting comment about about how to improve conditions at Dharma centre by Lama Zopa Rinpoche which i would like to share with everyone here. It is from
http://www.tarainstitute.org.au/news/newsletter-articles/97-creating-merit-for-a-dharma-center

Sometimes centers don’t have much money, but if the director knows Dharma, he or she can very skillfully create merit without needing much money. When you meet people and support people, you also collect merit, which means that you can achieve enlightenment, and support one’s own and others’ happiness. If organizers at centers are not skillful and wise, knowing how to take care of people, then even having a geshe teaching Dharma may not be enough. Developing the center doesn’t only depend on the teacher, but on how you look after people. People can be made to feel welcome so they are attracted to come to the center, or not. So, we must pay attention to this.

The essential thing is to make people happy, and serve them well. This helps to build up the center, and to get material support very easily, without pushing. The purpose, of course, is to have more facilities, because then the center has more ability to spread the Dharma, and can offer more comfort, so more people can enjoy receiving the Dharma, and you can benefit them more, liberating them from oceans of samsaric suffering and bringing them to enlightenment.

You need to be aware of so many things. However, the key thing is to know how to take care of people. You must cherish every person who comes to the center, feel that they are so precious, and take care of them. Respect naturally comes from that, then caring, and the person is so delighted.

There are so many opportunities to collect merit for the center if you know the Dharma. Even just offering a bowl of water or cup of tea to a person who is a student or disciple of the same guru collects so much merit. This is one way to build up the center. Think big. This is a bodhisattva’s skillful means to benefit sentient beings.

bambi

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Re: The Benefits of Dharma Centers
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2012, 04:28:23 PM »
I believe that the benefits of Dharma centers are huge.

http://tw.tzuchi.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=14&Itemid=176&lang=en

Look at what Tzu Chi Foundation is doing. They are huge and still growing all around the world. Even if someone goes there for charity, they still collect the merits because of their virtuous actions. How wonderful! They have different missions to fit different types of people. They have hospitals, television station, helping the distress around the world, helping the poor and many many more. With what they are doing, donations come pouring in and most of them are volunteers without pay or anything. The best part is that the volunteers bring their family to join in the joyous actions. They go around the world to help people they don't know. They practice compassion because they are helping the needy. You should really read their mission statement. Truly inspiring!

http://tw.tzuchi.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=293&Itemid=283&lang=en

Tzu Chi originated in the remote Hualien area and expanded to all five major continents of the world with chapters and offices in 47 countries. Tzu Chi provides aid to over 69 nations. Its volunteers selflessly contribute through a mindset of gratitude, expressing their sincerest care and support to each and every individual in need.

The shared goal of Tzu Chi volunteers is to cultivate sincerity, integrity, faith, and honesty within while exercising kindness, compassion, joy, and selflessness to humanity through concrete actions. Transcending the bounds of race, nationality, language, and religion, they serve the world under the notion that “when others are hurting, we feel their pain; when others suffer, we feel their sorrow”. Not only do the volunteers endeavor to promote the universal value of “Great Love,” they also fully employ the humanitarian spirit of Chinese culture to its utmost. Tzu Chi Foundation’s “Four Major Missions” consist of Charity, Medicine, Education, and Humanity. Furthermore, considering ongoing efforts in Bone Marrow Donation, Environmental Protection, Community Volunteerism, and International Relief, these eight concurrent campaigns are collectively known as “Tzu Chi’s Eight footprints”



Another beautiful center growing big!

http://www.lgpt.net/lama_found.htm

Actively committed to the development of a culture of peace and better living for world peace by cooperating in the humanitarian fields of health, education, the environment, spirituality and preservation of indigenous cultures, engaged in voluntary service in support of the United Nations programmes devoted to helping developing countries towards self-sustainability.

http://www.helpinaction.net/help-in-action_en.htm

The Association is part of the Lama Gangchen World Peace Foundation, a United Nations affiliated Non Governmental Organisation.

I sincerely hope that more Dharma centers like Tzu Chi Foundation and Lama Gangchen World Peace Times come up around the world and benefit many more through many activities.

biggyboy

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Re: The Benefits of Dharma Centers
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2012, 05:05:18 PM »
Dharma centres are very powerful places for us to practice, develop, grow and contribute with other like minded persons. Alone may not achieve it to greater height but with joint forces in a dharma centre would bring much more benefits and successful in many ways.  It is a place of solace and refuge for the like minded practitioners who wish to find the inner peace and true happiness. 

Meantime a dharma centre is a place for learning, understanding of the teachings and put into practise with the support of the members/sangha.  All these are for the improvement of one's well being and mind.  With the acquired knowledge and experience, one would be able to help and guide others who may in dire need of guidance.  Just like anyone else who wander, ponder and joined dharma centre.  Dharma centres are the perfect condition and place to support in every way for each individual practitioner to contribute and collection of merits through virtuous actions and motivation.

I once attended a teaching few years back mentioned that any Teacher and with close students would join forces to set a centre and meet hundreds or thousands of people for years..for a simple reason to benefit others.  Otherwise why would they want to tolerate, face disappointments, teach, guide and absorb so much.  They don't need to and they don't even know them or owe anything to?  Well, I would say dharma centres are like oasis of all like minded sincere practitioners gather together to do more with their lives for the sake of others.

Big Uncle

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Re: The Benefits of Dharma Centers
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2012, 01:18:33 AM »
A Dharma center is an excellent place to come together and express our devotion and realisation of the Dharma. It is a holy place in which we as lay practitioners devote ourselves to our lay or monastic teacher. The Dharma center is the fundamental focal point from which we put into practice the teachings on the Lamrim, Lojong and so forth.

Therefore, it is fundamental that we do not bring our worldly concerns into the sacred doors of the center especially when we are there to do Dharma work. Some centers are big and some centers are small. It doesn't matter as long as we do it with a lot of devotion and care towards our practice. Dharma centers should be a place for practice but more often than not, a lot of politics goes on inside and instead of contributing towards it, we should defuse it with the Dharma.

People come to a Dharma center with a lot of expectations of how things should be. It would be good to focus on just the Dharma and so, the disappointments with people and politics would be lessened. The Dharma center is like a mental clinic or hospital so we shouldn't be surprised to see patients with all manner of ailments.

Last of all is the growth of a Dharma center very much dependent upon the growth of our spiritual practice. The more compassion we have for other, the more we will do to make the center grow. That is a yardstick to see why or why doesn't the center grow.

Tenzin K

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Re: The Benefits of Dharma Centers
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 03:22:16 AM »
Dharma center is a place where people will gain so much spiritual benefits. A lot of people gain happiness and realization from this holy place. The benefit not just for temporary but for long term and it’s also creating opportunity for us to create a platform for our future generation.  The young one is the future leader and they should learn from young and practice. This is the best gift for them to be a good person and create a spiritual society and harmonious country.

That’s why we should support and contribute for the build or refurbish of Dharma Center. The merits are tremendous and we are able to dedicate for our loved ones by benefiting more.