History of the Fund

The Sera Je Food Fund began in 1991 when Lama Osel Rinpoche, the reincarnation of Lama Yeshe, entered Sera Je Monastery in southern India at age six. It is customary to make offerings to all the sangha on the day of officially entering the monastery and Lama Zopa Rinpoche wanted the offering to be of the greatest practical benefit to the monastery itself. After discussion with the abbot and resident high lamas, it was determined that the most beneficial offering would be a food fund, whereby all 1300 monks at Sera Je Monastery could be offered quality meals for free. Out of his incredible compassion, Lama Zopa Rinpoche was not simply offering lunch on the day of Lama Osel Rinpoche’s entrance to the monastery but, without precedent, taking on the responsibility of providing meals to every monk at Sera Je for the rest of their lives.
 


Why a Food Fund?

In the Tibetan tradition, it is customary for monastics to support themselves. In addition to providing for their own housing, individual monks were responsible for purchasing and preparing all of their meals. As many of the monks were refugees from Tibet or from refugee families, they had very little money for quality food and, consequently, were often malnourished and ill. Before the food fund, most monks at Sera Je never had a full stomach. Now, for the first time, they are well-nourished, content and full and this makes a dramatic difference in the energy they are able to devote to their studies. Additionally, group preparation of meals and use of a communal kitchen allows more time for the monks to apply themselves to their studies.

 

In 1997, six years after starting the food fund, Lama Zopa Rinpoche visited Sera Monastery. At that time, many of the older geshes, some with tears in their eyes, thanked Rinpoche and spoke of how the fund was benefiting the monastery. Monks could now attend all the morning debate sessions instead of taking time out to prepare meals and the fund also removed from teachers the great burden of providing for students who had no resources.

 

Taking responsibility for supporting these practitioners is extremely worthwhile because they are preserving and spreading the entire teaching of the Buddha.
–Lama Zopa Rinpoche
 

 

At present, the food fund provides three meals daily for all 2,600 monks living at Sera Je Monastery. As more monks arrive, the need for nutritious meals increases daily. The total cost to provide meals to all the monks is about US$270,000 per year. Originally when the fund was set up, an endowment fund of over a million dollars was raised. However, the population of the monastery has doubled since that time and the endowment fund is now decreasing at a very rapid rate. Our aim is to supplement the endowment fund so that it becomes self-sufficient.

Offering food to the monks of Sera Jhe is a way of collecting unbelievable merit because all the monks are the pores of the Guru.  They are all disciples of the same Guru – His Holiness the Dalai Lama. By offering to pores of the Guru one collects more merit than  offering to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, as well as numberless statues, stupas.

If you offer with the recognition that they are the Guru's pores then that is an unbelievable way to collect merit. When you offer to many Sanghas who have the same Guru then you are making offerings to that many pores of the Guru. So this is the easiest way to collect skies of merit by offering. By offering even just one candy, flowers or even one grain of rice to a statue of Buddha or even a visualized Buddha you collect skies of merit but here it is much more powerful than offering to the 3 jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) as well as all the statues, stupas and scriptures existing in all directions, so no question if offering to really the same Guru’s disciple. These benefits should be understood so that when you make offerings to the Guru's pores you think correctly. This is the best business.

–Lama Zopa Rinpoche

 

 

The extensive dedications made by the monks of Sera Je Monastery for those that contribute to the fund, mean that as long as the monastery exists you will receive the merit of making offerings to the monks.
 

Our Appreciation

We would like to offer our sincere gratitude to all of the very kind benefactors who have been contributing to this project over the years and supporting Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s vision. Your contributions are as invaluable as the infinite skies of merit you are accumulating.

Letter of thanks and appreciation from the Sera Je Abbott to FPMT and all benefactors of the Sera Je Food Fund.
 

Latest News

In June 2009, FPMT sent US$134,182.60 to Sera Je Monastery. This contribution covers six months’ worth of meals (we are now able to offer three meals per day) for all 2,600 monks currently studying at Sera Je.

The Sera Je Food Fund is one of FPMT’s most important projects. Sera Je is the monastery where most of our teachers and their teachers come from. The nourishing meals help the monks stay well enough to study and practice over long years and full days, ensuring that the Dharma will be maintained for future generations all over the world.
This is the eig

hteenth year that we have been offering food to the monks at Sera Je Monastery. To date the Sera Je Food Fund has provided over 10,000,000 meals. That’s 2,500,000 meals per year, 7,800 meals every day.
Please rejoice in this incredible effort!

Many thanks to all of the kind benefactors who enable us to make these offerings. We would like to especially thank Cham Tse Ling, Amitabha Buddhist Center and Yeshe Norbu in Italy, for the continual, generous support.

For more information please contact:
Ven. Holly Ansett

How Can I Make a Donation?

To make a tax-deductible donation, simply send your check in US dollars to FPMT Inc. and write Sera Je Food Fund on the check or provide your credit card details and mail to:

FPMT Inc.
1632 SE 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97214-4702 USA

Click here to donate on-line

The Sera Je Food Fund is a project of FPMT Inc. All donations made to the fund are tax-deductible within the United States in accordance with IRS Code article 501(C)(3) to the extent allowed by law.