The Buddhism of Tibet flourished in its homeland for more than a thousand years, but was virtually unknown outside its Himalayan borders. Due to the enforced exile of His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama and so many of his people since the Chinese take-over, this living spiritual tradition is now open and accessible to the rest of the world.
For thirty years, Tibetans have been rebuilding the infrastructure of their religion in India and Nepal, and it is here that thousands of people have met and studied with Tibetan masters and made the Buddhist way their own.
Lama Thubten Yeshe and disciple Lama Zopa Rinpoche met their first western disciple in India in 1965 and by 1971 had settled at Kopan, in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal. Due to demand they began teaching Buddhist meditation and philosophy to increasing numbers of travelers, who then started groups and centres in their own countries.
In 1975, Lama Yeshe named this fledgling network the 'Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition". Now more than 150 centres of varying activities are affiliated with the FPMT.
'This organisation' said Lama Yeshe 'is for all mother sentient beings. It aims to help the Dharma knowledge-wisdom develop in the human consciousness. This is its only reason to exist.' This Dharma knowledge-wisdom that Lama Yeshe refers to is a state of clarity and contentment, and according to Mahayana Buddhism, this continuous and irreversible experience of inner liberation combined with boundless altruistic love and compassion, is the potential of every living being.
Attempting to help human beings fulfil this potential are the individuals, meditation groups, monasteries, retreat centres, communities, schools, health care centres and publishing houses that make up the FPMT. One such centre is Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India. Root Institute is a socially engaged Dharma centre in accordance with the specific wish of Lama Yeshe.
The spiritual director of the organisation is now Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche who took over after Lama Yeshe's passing in 1984. Two years later, Tenzin Osel Hita was recognised as Lama Yeshe's reincarnation and, after completing several years of monastic training, is now preparing to continue the work he began in his previous life.