From the Director

Feb 5, 2021

Hello Everyone!

As you know, we are extremely fortunate His Holiness the Dalai Lama has accepted Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s request to give a teaching to the FPMT worldwide community.

His Holiness will teach via Zoom from his private residence in Dharamsala for ninety minutes, from 8:30pm MST on Sunday, February 7.

His Holiness will explain Recognizing the Mother: An Experiential Song on the View, a sweet series of verses on emptiness by Changkya Rölpai Dorjé.  Verse 6 says:

This inexpressible mother of mine,
not existing in any form, appears in all forms.
In this mutual dependence [of emptiness and form] alone
is an important lesson indeed.

We have decided that instead of each of us at Thubten Norbu Ling watching the teachings alone, it would be marvelous for us to attend the teachings together.

Unfortunately, Geshe Sherab cannot attend, but Gen Don Handrick has agreed to host the session. We will meet thirty minutes earlier, at 8pm. Gen Don will greet us, give a brief overview of the text, and finally lead a motivation and meditation to ready us for His Holiness’s precious teachings.

Of course, we will all be watching on a computer, but we can imagine that we will actually be there in person, in Dharamsala, with Lama Zopa Rinpoche and hundreds of our Dharma brothers and sisters – all dressed up for this very special event!

An extra piece of news. If you’ve attended His Holiness’s teachings and empowerments online, you will have seen that in front of His Holiness are two big computer screens showing the faces of the lamas and students who requested the teachings.

Obviously, the hundreds of us around the world cannot be on those screens, so the FPMT held a lottery to select just fifty of us. Our beloved Sister Max and the director of Thubten Norbu Ling – that would be me! – were among those selected. I will imagine all of you are there with us.

Over the last year, despite the challenges, we have stayed steady with our goal of expanding the spiritual program and growing our membership – both of which I talked about in my last blog – and buying and renovating our new property.
Purchasing the Property 
As you know, we closed on our new property at 130 Rabbit Road last year, paying $625,000.$200,000 was raised from our capital campaign, we received $50,000 from an anonymous donor in Asia, and we were granted a $400,000 private loan at a very favorable rate of 2%.

Not only that, we were fortunate to receive an $85,000 gift from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, which, along with many other donations, we used to pay down the principal of the private loan.

We have paid down 31% of the principal leaving $276,000 left to repay.

Renovating the Property

Having secured the property, the next step, of course, is to turn it into a magnificent home for our center. After approaching various banks with our architect’s vision and a clear financial plan, I am delighted to announce that First Citizens Bank in Santa Fe has agreed to lend us $250,000 at an excellent 7-year fixed rate of 3.25%.

One of our directors, Matt Bunkowski, has not only kindly accepted to guarantee this loan but has also offered $20,000 a year toward the loan repayment.

We thank Matt for his incredible generosity and his faith in our vision.

We at Thubten Norbu Ling are so fortunate to have all the conditions come together – the donations, the loans, the hardworking members of our community, the architects, the contractors, the banks – to enable us to purchase a new property and transform it into a magnificent place to serve sentient beings. It is rare for our Buddhist centers to find these resources.

Renovation of our new center will begin soon. Design: John Winston Studio

Renovation Update
The renovation plans we’ve been working on with our Los Angeles-based architect, John Winston, and our local structural engineer, Jim Hands, are almost ready to submit to the county for building permits.

Having recently approved the bids from our electrical and plumbing sub-contractors, Erik Jaquez, our general contractor, can start renovations around mid-March. As long as there are no big surprises, Erik said it could take six months to complete the project.

I am also pleased to tell you that we have hired a landscape architect, Makanakai Shipman-Ahlo, to help develop our three acres into a beautiful park.

Executive Director Charmaine is grateful for the support of Ajna and Adam,
who recently completed their time as directors. 
Ajna Seret and Adam Baker completed their two-year terms as directors of Thubten Norbu Ling at the end of last year. They are happy with the center’s progress, they said, and therefore confident to leave us in the hands of the remaining directors, who serve with me: Charlene Wunderlich, Nancy Savoia, Jeremy Lewis, and Matt Bunkowski.

As the executive director for the last eighteen months, I have truly appreciated the support of Ajna and Adam and the other directors, who have worked together so harmoniously and productively.

Happy Members!
We have received rave reviews from new and existing members.Elisabeth from New York told Ven Robina that she is devoted to attending Express Meditation and Be Your Own Therapist and delights in our “glorious treasure trove” of teachings!

And another student, Ralph from Florida, is “blown away” by our robust schedule of classes and meditations, and the fifty dollar a month membership.

Long-time center member, Bob Albers, thanked our staff for “doing an amazing job,” not only to survive a pandemic, but to actually flourish as well.

Last month we welcomed 21 new members: Yvonne Alvarez, Beth Bernier, Cristina Caltagirone, Edgar Fernando Herrera Chaveste, Justin Conkling, Catherine deVerter. Judie Dominguez, Mark Earnest, Michael Estes, Julie Halse, Wendy Vanden Heuvel, Trish Hudnall, Patrick Lambert, Charles Lee, Tracy Meredith, Linda Mickle, Jackie Minari, Som Pourfarzaneh, Elizabeth de Prospero, Maria Naranjo, and Aida Wester.

I offer each and every one of you a thousand thanks!

With love,

Charmaine Hughes
Executive Director


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