Saraswati Buddhist Group is a study group and part of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).
More information on what it means to be a study group, centre or project within FPMT is available via this link.
FPMT Mandala of Universal Wisdom and Compassion
The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) serves the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama through service to sentient beings.
FPMT is an international non-profit organisation following the Mahayana Buddhist tradition through teaching, meditation and community service. FPMT follows the Gelug tradition of Lama Tsong Khapa of Tibet (1357–1419).
It was founded in 1975 by Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-84), one of the first Tibetan Buddhist monks to bring Tibetan Buddhism to the West. FPMT is currently guided by its spiritual director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
The FPMT provides integrated education through which people’s minds and hearts can be transformed into their highest potential for the benefit of others, inspired by an attitude of universal responsibility and service.
FPMT is committed to creating harmonious environments and helping all beings develop their full potential of infinite wisdom and compassion.
The Buddha lived in India around two and a half thousand years ago. The traditions of Theravada, Mahayana (including Zen) and Vajrayana all emanated from Buddha Shakyamuni.
He taught appropriately to different audiences, so several traditions grew up in different parts of Asia. These have now spread all over the world.
During the first millennium of the Common Era, the Mahayana Buddhist tradition flourished in India, especially centred on Nalanda Monastery in northeast India.
This monastery has been called the world’s first university. Associated with Nalanda were Nagarjuna and Asanga who initiated important lineages that passed on to later scholars such as Aryadeva, Vasubandhu, Chandrakirti, Dignaga, Dharmakirti, Shantideva, Shantarakshita, Kamalashila and Atisha.
These and other great scholars are associated with the Nalanda tradition. The last three named were each invited to Tibet to teach towards the end of the first millennium.
Tibetan Buddhism provided continuity to the Nalanda tradition, as Buddhism declined and eventually died out in India.
In Tibet, the main lineages are known as Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug. The Gelug tradition, stemming from Lama Tsong Khapa (1357-1419) centres on three great seats of learning named Ganden, Drepung and Sera, located around Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.
Since the Chinese occupation and Tibetan diaspora most of their activity takes place at their re-established locations in south India. Thus the Tibetans have brought Buddhism back to its birthplace.
Lama Tsong Khapa.
In Saraswati Buddhist Group we discuss how Buddhism is relevant within our daily lives and how it can help with the very real pressures of modern day living.
As well as studying the traditional texts, we also examine our own and very personal impact upon the immediate environment which we all inhabit and share with other species.
We try to make this Buddhism for the ‘now’ and for the ‘everyday’, so that when we find ourselves either immersed in conflict or merely as an onlooker to a difficult situation we can act from our internal Buddha nature, which is not always easy.
However, if we have gained some training it can be of help during ‘life’ situations which impact upon us all in varying degrees. Furthermore, these everyday and more serious challenges can be the fuel for our practice and inner development.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Compassion, loving kindness, altruism, and a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood are the keys to human development, not only in the future but in the present as well.
Secular ethics is talking on a human level, with unbiased affection. We cannot forget the oneness of humanity… we are all human brothers and sisters.
Peace starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share peace with neighbouring communities, and so on.
When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.
I believe that at every level of society, the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities.
Whether you believe in God or not does not matter so much; whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much; as a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life.
A good motivation is what is needed: compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity.
That we humans can help each other is one of our unique human capacities… In my simple religion, love is the key motivation.
A genuine change must first come from within the individual, then he or she can attempt to make significant contributions to humanity. Altruism is not merely a religious ideal; it is an indispensable requirement for humanity at large.
From my own limited experience, I am convinced that through constant training one can change one’s mind: in other words, our positive attitudes, thoughts, and outlook can be enhanced, and their negative counterparts can be reduced.
One of the main reasons is that the occurrence of even a single mental event depends on many factors; when these various factors are affected, the mind also changes. This is a simple truth about the nature of mind.
Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.
Lama Thubten Yeshe – Founder of the FPMT
Be wise. Treat yourself, your mind, sympathetically, with loving kindness. If you are gentle with yourself, you will become gentle with others.
When your mind is narrow small things agitate you very easily. Make your mind like an ocean.
When you meditate well and have a really clean clear experience, especially if you develop deep focus on the clarity of our consciousness, you will feel much bliss and joy because your superstition, ego conflict and dissatisfaction have dropped out. When they’re absent, bliss automatically arises.
But to get there you have to start small and deep. Small and deep is much better than pushing for a sudden explosion of energy. That coupled with a lack of wisdom leads to further uncontrolled samsaric trips. So, start deep and small.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
When you recognize your problem comes from your concept or your concept is the problem, you don’t blame others.
Cherishing others opens the door to every happiness for self and others.
The minute you cherish others, you have happiness and peace in your life.
Happiness and suffering come from your own mind, not from outside. Your own mind is the cause of happiness; your own mind is the cause of suffering. To obtain happiness and pacify suffering, you have to work within your own mind.
We can transform any problem, even death, into happiness. The point is not to stop the experience of problems but to stop the conditions that we call ‘problems’ from disturbing our mind, and instead use them to support the spiritual path that we practice.
What we do
Discover our organisation’s in-person and online programme and activities including Buddhist meditation.