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FPMT Bulletin
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5th May 2008. A great solution as a basis for Osel and FPMT to re-unite has been put forward by a friend:
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"Great update on Lama Osel. Here's one possible future: The FPMT starts a film production unit and produces Osel's films. It becomes a real win-win for everyone. FPMT fullfills its purpose of supporting Lama Osel; Oz would get backing for his film projects; young, hip people all over the world get turned onto to Dharma through Osel's films, music and dance; they join the FPMT in massive numbers; Oz takes over the FPMT, and transforms it into a major producer of hip contemporary films, videos and music. It's going to be great!"
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This is self-evidently such a wonderfully inspirational solution that we are forwarding it, first to Osel to think about via his friend Gomo Tulku and secondly to Lama Zopa Rinpoche to consider from FPMT's side. Let us hope that something good for everyone comes out of it!
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Lama Yeshe, Osel's previous incarnation (left), and Osel as a young monk in 1990 (Photo Clive Arrowsmith, Office of Tibet London)
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Jan 2008. As many members enjoy a long-term connection with Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa of FPMT, a world-wide Tibetan Buddhist group, and Osel, we relate their fascinating story.

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Lama Yeshe's western students having brought him to the west and founded various Buddhist centres, he called it FPMT and became its Spiritual Director, making his students responsible to organise it. He passed away in 1984, his main student Lama Zopa took over and FPMT now (2008) has 59 Dharma Centres, big and small, world-wide. In 1985 Lama Zopa 'recognised' Osel, the son of two Spanish students as Lama Yeshe's reincarnation (see:
FPMT-Osel
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In terms of finance Lama Zopa’s USA office is now the biggest ($4m annual income and $12.8m in net assets), see its publicly-available FPMT-Accounts. Meanwhile FPMT’s support base shifted back to Asia, judging by 90% of its donors in its most recent fund-raising campaign having Asian names: Donor-name_List. It is also comparatively small in the USA now, having only 12 affiliated centres out of 2,032 U.S. Buddhist groups listed by Buddhanet - well under 1%.
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As Lama Yeshe's successor, FPMT sent Osel, aged 5, to Sera, a traditional Tibetan Monastery in South India where he spent his entire boyhood studying Buddhism under tutors and personal attendants chosen by FPMT. Their "Mandala" Magazine had regular updates at the time about his studies. Osel left the monastery for Spain in 2001, aged 16, since when FPMT says it respects his wish to live a private life and do his own thing independently.
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A 2002 interview in a French periodical indicated Osel reportedly said his personal vision was to use the world-wide platform of FPMT centres to make essential Buddhism accessible to all, somehow divested of Tibetan or Indian cultural content.

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Osel repudiates his honorific titles 'Lama' and 'Rinpoche' and wants to be known just as "Osel", "Oz" for short. He was further educated in Canada (see
FPMT-past-updates-Osel) and now studies film-making in Spain. In February 2007 he wrote to the FPMT Board stating his position, but details weren't made public.

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In comments made about Osel to JSG members in 2007, FPMT members pointed out that ‘Osel doesn't want a lot of attention or a lot of devotion. As he develops, he will naturally manifest in his own inimitable way - and we'll all be amazed!’ They also indicated that Osel ‘felt a lot of pain from his time at Sera', that he is ‘averse to the spotlight of publicity’, and that ‘he rejects the burden of expectation put on him to teach or lead FPMT'. In 2002 it was officially stated by FPMT that though young, Osel was ‘still the Lama and the Owner of this organisation’ - and that ‘soon we’ll be able to receive teachings from him’.
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For the first officially-released new statements made by Osel since he left the monastery, please see FPMT's Annual_Review_for_2006.
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JSG´S MESSAGES FROM OSEL
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Despite his own general silence, Osel sent JSG a kind message on 1/11/07, "Lha Bab Du Chen", the very day that Buddha descended from heaven to teach on planet Earth. Osel was rumoured to be in nearby Barcelona so we invited him over. He replied "to thank us for our kind invitation", explaining "he does not have time to make a visit for the moment" and asking us "to excuse him for the time being". We hope he can come next time.
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Osel also wrote a longer and more personal letter to JSG’s co-ordinator in December 2007, sending it via FPMT Board Member Peter Kedge but specially asking us to keep its contents private. However, FPMT recently published an edited extract from this letter on Page 3 of their Annual_Review_2007, as if Osel had written it like that as a message for FPMT’s public use. We have queried this publication with FPMT Director and Osel go-between Peter Kedge but he has not yet responded.
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We sympathise with Osel's need for privacy to develop away from the unwanted weight of expectation and devotion thrust upon him. We send him all our love and support hoping it will speed him along and help karma take its course in the most beneficial way.
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Osel also inspired our "Next Generation Buddhist Survey". We wonder what he thinks of Buddhism, as practiced by the older generation ....
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Lama Yeshe said: "you can’t put me in a box" and "go beyond Buddhism, discard its Asian cultural stuff". He showed us how to change our world by changing our attitudes. So what can we expect from Osel? - Nothing! We just have to wait and see. He is reported to have once sent the FPMT Board what is effectively a rhyming couplet, saying:
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"Maybe, one day, I will teach,
Sat on a rock, on the beach". . .

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If any kind reader has an up-to-date photo of Osel or more up-to-date news or other info they can share about him, whilst totally respecting his wish for privacy please let us know.

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NEWSFLASH: copied from the front page:

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NEWS OF OSEL!

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On 17th April several members attended FPMT’s Institut Vajra Yogini at Lavaur, near Toulouse, and had the great good fortune to spend 5 hours in the company of the 23rd Gomo Tulku Rinpoche, the 19-year old reincarnation of the 22nd, who was one of the (or THE?) main teachers of both Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He had been sent by LZR, he said, to tour Lama Yeshe’s old centres in Europe and was in France in between trips to Spain and Italy.
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“El Gomo” as he jokingly prefers to style himself, was born in Canada as the son of the 22nd Gomo Tulku Rinpoche’s daughter – and is thus in the extraordinary position of being his own grandson! He was born at 8 o’clock on the 8th of the 8th in 1988. Very auspicious!!! Thus, he will be 20 years old on the opening day of the Beijing Olympics. He is truly a charismatic and highly impressive Lama – he blew our minds. But we didn’t fall over. He also discussed at great length about what he referred to as ‘his people’ in Penpo in Tibet (despite never having even been there for several generations), his monastery there and the current situation in Tibet but this does not concern us here.
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Gomo Tulku had actually just arrived from Madrid, where he had been spending time Osel, who is, he said, his close friend. Osel, confirmed Rinpoche, true to his character had rebelled against the system and did drop out of Sera Monastery completely half a dozen or so years ago, returning his monks robes and going back to Spain to do his own thing, dropping out also from FPMT's control. After a spell at a Canadian boarding school he then decided to return to his native Spain and study film-making. He is now completing the third year of a degree course in Cinematography at Madrid University and doing well.
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‘El Gomo’ told us how very close he is to Osel, and when asked if he could give an example of an enlightened being he immediately said “Osel”. They have been close friends for many years already in this life and from the way he spoke we could easily sense the deep and strong bond that exists between them. They are both primarily interested in how they can most benefit their own generation. They consider us and FPMT students as already highly privileged and spiritually very well cared for, with plenty of teachings, lamas and gurus behind them, and are focussing their attention on how they can create maximum benefit by helping their own generation in the west which, on the contrary, is largely bereft of Dharma and thus in far greater need. Cool! To do this, they are therefore in the process of completely immersing themselves in contemporary youth culture and learning the language through which they can communicate directly with young adults and adolescents of their own age. But whatever he does in future, Rinpoche assured us, he (Gomo Tulku, that is) will continue his Dharma studies, that is his paramount and overriding consideration.
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‘El Gomo’ expressed a particularly strong personal interest in music and dance and his dreams of being a hip-hop superstar, and seems to find Osel’s interest in film and video fully compatible. One assumes they might be planning to work together, like making music videos. Both love music, said 'El Gomo'; he prefers hip-hop himself while Osel likes trance and techno; and they’ve enjoyed listening to Eminem together. He also talked a lot about the movies they’ve liked watching.
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We should not reveal here any further details of the various visions he explained and the ideas to transcend Dharma and change the world that were speculated about, since this might create obstacles to their fruition. However, suffice it to say we all felt enormously reassured to know that Osel has such a strong friend behind him as Gomo Tulku Rinpoche, and very happy to learn that they seem intent on working together for the maximum benefit of their own generation. Osel may be lost to FPMT, but his entire generation will be the needy beneficiaries.
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Watch this space!



8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Re. Osel. I found Dr Berzin helpful in his book on Spiritual Teachers where he paraphrases His Holiness at the 1988 Tulku conference as saying: “In some cases, inordinate deference, lavish gifts, and high expectations may even spoil young Rinpoches or activate negative potentials for them to rebel when older. Differentiating the term reincarnate lama from lama – either in its meaning as a spiritual mentor or as a living Buddha – can help prevent disappointment.”

Anonymous said...

You blog is great with fantastic pics but why this big ??????

Jamyang Los Masos Study Group said...

Dear Anonymous, what do you mean "why this big", are you referring to the whole blog, the size of the pictures, the length of this particular article, or what? If you tell me, I will be able to answer you. From Samuel, JSG Blogmaster

Miss Kitty said...

"Clinging to one's school and condemning others
Is the certain way to waste one's learning.
Since all dharma teachings are good,
Those who cling to sectarianism
Degrade Buddhism and sever
Themselves from Liberation."
- Mila Repa

A said...

The FPMT is a very small organization, mainly in the Bay area ( San Francisco ), they have 3centres, one in N. Carolina, New York, ...then Boston, one retreat centre, that's it in the U.S. Even small Nyingma lamas have far more centres.

Claire said...

Dear Samuel,
Yes, I am receiving your messages, but see no need to respond at this time.
Thank you,
Claire

mike said...

FPMT say they own 154 centres, you have got the figure wrong - only 80? How come?

Jamyang Los Masos Study Group said...

Dear Mike, thanks for this comment! It's a good question ... if you count all the actual Dharma Centres in FPMT's own 'Mandala Resources list', there are only about 80-odd Dharma centres with directors (affiliated). But even then, not all these have got resident geshes or teachers, though.
All the other 70 'centres' are actually made up of not-yet-affiliated 'study groups' without any premises, 'projects' and various 'offices'. So, they can't really be included as 'Dharma Centres'.
Check it out for yourself! And thanks for asking ...

His Holiness The Dalai Lama

His Holiness The Dalai Lama
"Whenever possible, be kind ....it is always possible!"