In 2019, we made some very important changes to our systems that focused on becoming more eco-conscious. We began to turn our minds towards the effect we have on the collective and how we could start to look at ways that we could leave a smaller, more intentional imprint on the environment. We realized that investing in these changes was worth the increase in cost and slight decrease in convenience for the huge impact it has on our environment as a whole.
Here are some highlights:
In increasing our spending for these very vital changes, we began to look at ways to streamline our other systems to reduce spending. What we found was with just a little bit of intention and exploring, we could significantly reduce our costs.
2019 was a very powerful and illuminating year for Vajrapani as an organization. We prioritized streamlining our processes, taking care of our planet, and creating a culture of collaboration. We rejoice in all of these highlights and so much more!
It’s quite a sight to see the Compassion Wheel come to life as this magnificent vision starts to become a reality. As a reminder the vision for the prayer wheel at Vajrapani Institute is to fill a 7’x10’ prayer wheel with 5 Trillion Mani Mantras which will be spun at the heart of the land here, blessing all who come and the surrounding area.
The basic structure has been framed out by our amazing carpenters. Mechanical engineers have designed, built and installed a new structurally reinforced frame and bearings system to hold the weight of the mantras and spin it with the force of one hand. We are now focused on putting together the wheel and getting it filled. As fortune would have it, a past staff member and Nalanda Monk who had been studying the Basic Program and helping Nalanda to fill its statues and prayer wheels recently returned to help us here! We are so grateful to Venerable Gyatso for helping to take on the project of filling this amazing compassion wheel.
Gelek Sherpa from Land of Medicine Buddha, painted the sky and earth mandalas which go inside the wheel. He will also be painting the ceiling of the prayer wheel house and traditional Tibetan artwork surrounding the wheel. Venerable Tsering from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s home in Aptos, CA painted the mantras in gold on the center pole. Vajrapani has ordered one trillion micro films with the Om Mani Padme Hum compassion mantra. These films are being printed and gradually shipped to Vajrapani now. Venerable Gyatso began filling the wheel on Saka Dawa.
While the current plan is to start by filling the wheel with one trillion mantras and cover it with its custom bronze cladding so that the wheel can start to be spun, our goal is to eventually raise the funds to order four trillion more mantras to be added to the wheel. In the meantime, work on the traditional Tibetan style roofing and ornamentation will continue in 2020. As well as progress on the traditional artwork that adorns the site. Eventually, as work continues, we can then expand our focus to the landscaping surrounding this beautiful prayer wheel.
We are so grateful to all who have helped and donated so far to help make this magnificent work of art and auspicious holy object come to life! There will be more opportunities to help in filling the wheel as well as helping to continue to donate to the completion of this beautiful project.
You can find more information about this project as well as make donations here: https://www.vajrapani.org/compassion-wheel/
As I sit down to write this letter to you all, I have warmth in my heart and a smile on my face. 2019 was another year to rejoice in. It was a year filled with so much growth, community support, and abundance. I celebrate the opportunity to share with you all of the ways we grew as a center.
It is pretty amazing to reflect on the massive generosity of our donors and community. Because of all of you, Vajrapani became debt-free for the first time in decades! We were also able to streamline our operating systems and reduce some expenditures while investing in more sustainable practices.
2019 was also a year filled to the brim with amazing retreat offerings with wonderful teachers. We were able to host two retreats with Rob Preece, two retreats with Glen Svensson, as well as group retreats led by powerful teachers like Geshe Gelek, Geshe Sherab, Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa, Venerable Amy Miller, and our Resident Teacher Elaine Jackson. Alongside these wonderful offerings, we also hosted several secular retreats such as Cultivating Emotional Balance, Compassion Cultivation Training, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. In addition to our calendar, we also hosted an array of groups from different spiritual traditions through our Facility Rental program. I rejoice in the knowing that we helped create the causes for these beings to benefit from the blessings of this precious land.
In addition to a wonderful program year, we made significant progress on our Prayer Wheel project. Truly, a remarkable sight to see this magnificent project continue to unfold.
Of course, none of this is possible without the support of the special people that come to offer service to Vajrapani. 2019 saw various wonderful staff members come and go. This allowed for the opportunity for even more amazing beings to come and help steward this special place. I extend my deepest thanks to all who have come and gone from Vajrapani and offered their service. Regardless of the length of time here, you all have made a lasting imprint that will reverberate out to all who walk these lands for generations to come.
Lastly, as you may have imagined, I am writing this letter to you now in 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. During these challenging times, I am rejoicing that due to the abundance of last year, the generosity of donors like you, and in particular, one very generous donor – we were able to not only become debt-free, but also, these funds have become paramount in sustaining Vajrapani through these difficult times. What a huge blessing! In 2019, we planned for a very fruitful 2020 program calendar. Although that inevitably has changed, we are able to utilize funds raised in 2019 towards essential upgrades to our aging buildings and infrastructures. These upgrades ensure the health of Vajrapani’s land and facilities for many years to come.
As I end this letter, my heart is full. Thank you for all of your continued support of Vajrapani. Thank you for sharing your practice with us. Thank you for your generous donations of financial resources, time, energy, and love – we feel all of it and are truly grateful. Vajrapani would simply not exist without the support of those who come, those who wish to develop their minds in the Dharma, and for those that believe in its mission to help all beings transform their minds.
Heidi Oehler Executive Director