Maitreya Pure Land

New retreat center for monastic and lay practitioners

66% funded
We've raised €793,842 of the €1,200,000 needed to buy the property for this project.

Nalanda's director, Ven. Gyaltsen, and board member, Ven. Tendar

Planned itinerary:

  • October 2019: California and Colorado 🇺🇸
  • Beginning of November 2019: Oregon 🇺🇸
  • November (December) 2019: Florida, Washington DC, and Vermont 🇺🇸

🆕 Nalanda’s Merit Tour, USA

During his most recent visit to Nalanda, Lama Zopa Rinpoche advised us to look for funds in the USA. Nalanda’s director, Ven. Gyaltsen, and board member, Ven. Tendar, will visit North America for a Merit Tour, from October 10th until December 2019.
Vens. Gyaltsen and Tendar will be sharing presentations about Nalanda, monasticism and daily lives of the monks. Dharma talks and guided meditations can also be incorporated upon request. They hope to meet many Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Their goal is to inspire and benefit as many people as possible on their way through North-America.

Invite Nalanda’s monks to your center or town

If you, your center, or organization would also like to create a lot of merit by helping the Western Sangha to have a place to meditate and realize the Dharma, please send your requests to nalanda.tendar@gmail.com.

Follow the Tour

To keep abreast of changes as they occur, please follow our dedicated Facebook page: https://fb.me/nalandastour

New video presentation from the Nalanda’s Tour:

Dharma flourishes in the West

Nalanda - First Western Monastery of FPMT

Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, 1980

Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Kopan Monastery, 1980. Photo by Robin Bath.

In order to create a supportive environment, Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche founded Nalanda Monastery as the first Western monastery of FPMT in 1981. They didn’t want to create a Tibetan monastery in Europe, but rather a monastery adapted to Western needs.

Elizabeth Drukier, at that time director of Institut Vajra Yogini near Lavaur, bought the property that was to become Nalanda in response to Lama Yeshe’s appeal for a place to house the IMI Sangha. Vajra Yogini Institute and their resident teacher Ven. Geshe Tengye have always been very supportive of Nalanda and indeed Nalanda owes its existence to them.

After the first ‘Enlightened Experience Celebration’ many of the Western Sangha came to France and Nalanda was established as the place for Western monks. Some of those monks are spreading the Dharma all over the world now.

Geshe Jampa Tegchog at Nalanda

Geshe Jampa Tegchog at Nalanda

Geshe Jampa Tegchog of Sera-Je was the Abbot of Nalanda until 1994 when the duties of becoming the Abbot of Sera-Je took him to South India.

Over the years he gave amazingly wide, profound, and detailed Dharma teachings to Western monks, nuns, and lay people who were always welcome for the teachings at Nalanda.

Also Geshe Tashi Tsering was a resident teacher at Nalanda for two years until taking up the position of Resident Teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London in 1994.

In 1994 Geshe Jampa Gyatso was appointed abbot of the monastery by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Although living in Italy, Geshe Jampa Gyatso came regularly to teach the monks, but mainly due to health reasons this became more and more difficult.

His Holiness the Sakya Trichen Trizin at Nalanda

His Holiness the Sakya Trichen Trizin at Nalanda

In 1995, Khensur Dorje Tashi came for two years, while Mogchok Rinpoche came for one year in 1996-1997. During the times when there was no resident teacher, the monks enjoyed going to nearby Vajra Yogini Institute to follow the teachings given by Geshe Tengye or Geshe Palden or other visiting lamas.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama blessing stupa at Nalanda

His Holiness the Dalai Lama blessing stupa at Nalanda

After a few years without a resident teacher Geshe Lobsang Jamphel arrived at Nalanda in January 2000 and became the resident teacher. Since January 2003, Geshe Jamphel has been the main teacher at both the Nagarjuna Centre in Barcelona and at Nalanda.

Following the passing away of Abbot Geshe Jampa Gyatso in 2007, Lama Zopa appointed Geshe Jamphel as the new abbot in 2008. Geshe Jamphel also teaches at other FPMT centres in France and Spain. 2008 saw a lot of changes for the monastery, mainly the start of the FPMT Basic Program running for 5 years, with Geshe Jamphel as the main teacher. Nalanda also re-established the rains retreat during 2008 which has been followed every year as part of the commitment for fully ordained monks.

Nalanda’s monastic community

Within our community of 28 monks, many have been committed to Nalanda for more than ten years with some approaching twenty years. More recently over the last eighteen months or so, at least five men in their early thirties have joined our monastic community with four taking ordination here. Additionally, the number of Nalanda monks on the FPMT registered teachers list is also increasing.

Originally, since 1981, Nalanda consisted of one old French manor house. Since 2008 Nalanda uses the public building built by Jean-Francois Bergevin. After we developed a Masters Plan, with great help from architect Martijn Prins, a third building was constructed. This is now our second monk’s residence.

Monks attending Masters program class

Since 2013 we have been joined by Geshe Gyaltsen and also offer two full-time FPMT study programs: Master program and Basic program.

Both programs are attended by monks, nuns and lay students. Most years we enjoy visits from high lamas for example, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Khandro-la or Ganden Tri Rinpoche.

In order to preserve the Vinaya tradition the bi-monthly So Jong ritual and the yearly Yarne and Gayay are maintained. During the annual Rains retreat, Geshe Gyaltsen is also teaching a Vinaya text to all Gelongs.

Nalanda Monastery has an increasing potential to be instrumental in preserving the tradition in the West. Rinpoche recently said during the Vajrayogini retreat that “he would like Nalanda monks to go Kopan and participate in the Monlam prayer festival, and that he would like to see the prayers for the festival being translated into English”. For both a sponsor was found immediately and it seems Rinpoche would like Nalanda to organize a prayer festival in the west in the future.

Monks helping in the kitchen

All Nalanda’s monks participate in daily prayers and in the large pujas for example Tara Puja, Sixteen Arhats Puja and Medicine Buddha Puja which are held weekly.

Enhancing the local monastic community further, in 2018 a nunnery, Dorje Pamo, was opened, which is located only 5 miles (8 km) from Nalanda.

Lama Yeshe

Lama Yeshe’s vision of Nalanda

“We’re establishing Nalanda Monastery to produce many saints and scholars. That’s why I called it Nalanda. We can be just like the ancient Indian monastery Nalanda, which produced such great Indian pandits as Atisha, Naropa, and Shantideva. I really feel that our own monastery can produce such saints and pandits. I don’t worry that the intellectual clarity of Buddhadharma can’t reach the Western world. Westerners can comprehend anything that Tibetans can.”

Lama Yeshe, founder of Nalanda Monastery, 1982

Ready to make the next step

A new property for Nalanda: a new step for the Dharma in the West

A great opportunity to acquire a beautiful land

Nalanda has been offered the opportunity to purchase its neighboring property, called Gachepel. Travelling from Lavaur to Nalanda, Gachepel is located on the right-hand side just before you arrive at the monastery.

Gachepel has been a family home for approximately two hundred years. During October 2018 the owner informed us of his intention to sell the property and as a friend of Nalanda he would like to offer us the opportunity to purchase, negating the property being sold on the open market.

Only 4 mins walking distance!

Property photos

Gachepel has a foot print of 5.5 hectares (13.6 acres) of tranquil land with two buildings. To compare, currently Nalanda is located in 3.5 hectares or 8.64 acres of land. The first building (490m² or 5274 sq ft) is in a very good state and has 9 spacious rooms.

The second building is 400m² or 4305 sq ft and has 4 rooms. This smaller building however is old and requires modernization. In accord with our longterm plan, it will be renovated providing conducive conditions for practitioners to engage in Dharma practice.

Kyabje_Lama_Thubten_Zopa_Rinpoche_December_2008_Kopan_monastery_Nepal

Rinpoche says “it is BEST” to purchase it

In early November we had a constructive meeting with the owner and requested Lama Zopa Rinpoche to check the karmic potential of this property.

Two weeks later we received an email informing us that Rinpoche had checked by doing a ‘mo‘ and that karmically “it is BEST for Nalanda to acquire the property“.

In a measured fashion we negotiated again with the owner and agreed to having an independent agency calculate the value of the property.

Main building’s rooms

Property price and deadline

The original asking price was 1.5 million euros, however due to good will on both sides the owner will accept 1.2 million euros (1,340,000 US$) from Nalanda. The owner is not in a big rush, but we have to show secured funding for the 1.2 million euros (1,340,000 US$) by January 2020.

Two main buildings

Costs break-down

We need funds to buy the property as well as funds to renovate and adapt it to suit our monastic community. We estimate that the additional funds needed will be about 100,000 US$ or €90,113.

 The renovation work includes:

  1. insulating some parts of the building;
  2. improving the heating system to make it more efficient and environmentally friendly;
  3. upgrading the sewage system and the waste water evacuation system to cater for a growing community;
  4. adapting the rooms from the 200-year-old family home to suit our community’s needs.

Visited, blessed and named

In June 2019, Rinpoche came to visit Nalanda and see for himself Gachepel. During Rinpoche’s visit to Gachepel, Rinpoche met and spoke with the owners.

Whilst at the property Rinpoche took the time to pray, blessing the grounds and named the land ‘Maitreya Pure Land’.

Rinpoche then auspiciously made an offering, the first donation in support of our project, the sum being 100,000 US$.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche blesses the land
Vision of the project

Nalanda Monks visiting the land.

Rinpoche’s vision

Rinpoche took the time to explain his vision that he would like it to be a retreat center, suggesting that:

It would be excellent for those who have studied at Nalanda, both monastics and lay, to do semi-isolated retreats there in order to realize the teachings.

Therefore, by acquiring Gachepel, Nalanda can provide a retreat centre allowing monastic and lay practitioners to integrate and realize the Buddha’s teachings.

The results from achieving this goal are many. Notably more western practitioners will become qualified and experienced teachers, being able to benefit the Dharma and sentient beings. Also Gachepel will help to ensure the preservation of the complete Tibetan Buddhist tradition in the West.

Envisioned Use of Maitreya Pure Land

Maitreya Pure Land (MPL) is part of three FPMT properties that, together, form a triangle just east of the picturesque commune of Lavaur in southern France. The three are conveniently situated quite close to each other, within a distance of only 4-8 miles (5-10 km). Everyone is most welcome to visit any or all of the sites, with those wishing to stay overnight expected to observe the monastic guidelines set forth by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Below are the names, locations, and restrictions (if any) of each site.

1. The first point – Nalanda Monastery, is situated in the village of Labastide-Saint-Georges. Both men and women are welcome during the day. However, only men are permitted to stay overnight as Nalanda is a monks’ residence. Exceptions are made during organized group retreats when women have the option of staying in a female-only residence near the retreat site. Although yet to be confirmed, the same exception might also apply at Maitreya Pure Land.

2. The second point – Institute Vajra Yogini, is a Dharma Center located in the village of Marzens. It is a mixed facility, meaning its doors are open day and night to both men and women.

3. Finally, the third point – Dorje Pamo Monastery, is located in the village of Fiac. Being a nunnery, only women are allowed to stay overnight, whereas both men and women are welcome during the day. The resident nuns have been working hard to improve this facility with the Nalanda monks lending a helping hand when needed.

dharma-triangle

We rely on your help

Please support Nalanda in purchasing this very special property

Support Nalanda’s vast vision

We need your support to help us fulfil Rinpoche’s wishes to realise this project. Donations regardless of size are greatly appreciated. Small drops make big rivers.

You can donate via PayPal, direct bank transfer or cheque.

Nalanda’s promise to sponsors

  • To make special dedications every day during our lunch prayers and our weekend pujas, Chittamani Tara and Medicine Buddha pujas.
  • To include names of those who gives above €108 (120$) on the ‘sponsor wall’ in the grounds of the property and dedicate our merit for their temporal and ultimate success.

Common questions

How to donate via bank transfer?

If you would like to make a donation directly into Nalanda’s bank account, please refer to our bank details below. Please contact us via email after the transfer is done, so we can identify the transaction and include it towards the total goal.

MAITREYA PURE LAND BANK DETAILS

International Bank Account
Number (IBAN) FR76 1120 6200 0623 5985 7311 087

Credit Agricole Nord Midi-Pyrenees
219 avenue François Verdier
81022 Albi Cedex 9
France

SWIFT/BIC: AGRIFRPP812
Account name: Monastere Nalanda
Bank code: 11206
Branch code: 20006
Account number: 2359 8573 110

How to donate via check?

In order to make a check donation we ask that you please follow these instructions:

  1. Make a check payable to “Monastere Nalanda
  2. On the memo line of the check, please indicate that the donation is for “Maitreya Pure Land
  3. Please mail your check to:

Nalanda Monastery
Rouzegas, Labastide St. Georges
81500 France

If you have questions, please send them to info@nalanda-monastery.eu

What happens if the goal is not reached?

We are confident that this project will come to fruition and we always take care to use the donations in accordance with the wish of the sponsors.

In case we would not be able to gather to complete amount, we offer several options to choose from:

  1. In case you want your donation to be reimbursed, we could establish it as a loan other 12 months. In the case we gather all the money, we could transform it to a donation, otherwise, we would repay the loan.
  2. Use it for our Master building plan on the present Nalanda land where we could build retreat Areas, accommodations and the new Gompa.

If you have questions regarding these options, please email to Gyaltsen, director of Nalanda Monastery.

If you have extra questions about this project, please write to the director of Nalanda – Venerable Gyaltsen by email.

€793,842 of €1.2 million raised
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Donation Total: €108

A little gift for you

We are offering this special photo of Ven. Gendun meditating under the biggest tree at the property. May beauty and tranquility of Maitreya Pure Land help you to find inner peace and happiness.

Ven. Gendun under the tree at Gachepel property. Photo by Harald Weichhart.

Shakyamuni Buddha on Generosity:

'When you make donations to a temple and to the Sangha, your merit will increase day and night, as long as the temple exists.'

Maitreya Pure Land Nalanda Monastery is affiliated with the FPMT. © Maitreya Pure Land 2019