Center for Wisdom & Compassion
Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling
Kompagnistræde 22 B, 3. tv, 1208 København K
The Center for Wisdom & Compassion is a Mahayana Buddhist Center following the Gelug tradition based on the teaching of Lama Tsong Khapa. The Center is a part of the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition), that was founded by Lama Tubten Yeshe / Lama Ösel Rinpoche and Kyabje Tubten Zopa Rinpoche.
Our Brief History
The center was founded by Lise Lotte Brooks and Maria Damsholtin 1996 after meeting with LamaZopa Rinpoche at Jamyang Centre in London that year. Rinpoche liked the idea of a center in Copenhagen, Denmark and gave the burgeoning group a name: Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling, the Center for Wisdom and Compassion. From the very beginning, the center started a volunteer hospice service, Pure Land of Medicine Buddha, which has been very active and helped numerous people to a peaceful passing. The center also includes a small publishing house, Dharma Wisdom, with six books translated and published in Danish.
Activities in the Center
Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling has many activities every day, presenting and practicing the Dharma in many ways. Our main regular activities consist of mindfulness meditation on Tuesdays, which attracts more and more people, even sometimes too many for the limited size of the gompa! Thursdays we have the Discovering Buddhism program, also being attended by many people. These are the regular programs taught by our resident teacher, Stephan Pende, but we also have some experienced students who lead the traditional practices such as pujas and introductory FPMT courses. We also host many weekend courses with visiting teachers, including Ven. Robina Courtin, Ven. Rita Riniker, Ven. Paula Chichester, Alan Wallace and Rob Preece. By having this variety of activities, Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling tries to hold several different gateways open for introducing people to the Dharma while still offering more advanced courses for experienced students.
The Value of Volunteers
One of the main reasons for many people being able to come to the center and benefit from the teachings and meditation is the collective effort of the many volunteers running the center. All of the people working for the center are volunteers. That Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling is able to run the center exclusively on a volunteer basis shows how dedicated and how important many people find the center to be. Monthly volunteer meetings are held where the volunteer groups organize themselves and initiate many projects. Although things are discussed between the volunteers and with the board before projects are initiated, we have found it to be a great strength to give the volunteer groups freedom to work fairly independently as this really empowers people and makes them feel trusted.
Harmony as Our Strategy
Before we had a teacher we wondered why people kept on coming to the center. They did not come to receive great teachings; inexperienced as we were, we could not offer that. However, we soon realized that the harmonious and welcoming atmosphere we created around our weekly Dharma evenings attracted many people. Harmony has for years been top of the list of our annual strategy plan. We truly believe harmony to be the most powerful means for success and growth.
How is Harmony Maintained?
As most staff in Dharma centers will know, we tend to get attached to things being in a certain way. That is natural. The Dharma is precious to us. However, the result is that our ego starts to play a role in the way we think, speak and act in the center. More than one ego tends to create friction, in Dharma centers. To counteract this Tong-nyi Nying-je Ling starts any meeting with the clear motivation of only thinking, speaking and acting according to what will help the center and its users. We strive to park our egos outside the center door.
Our center has always been gifted with many young people. They bring much fresh and positive energy. For years it has been part of our strategy to keep on attracting youth. How do we do that? We have purposely included young people on our board for years. That brings the young energy into the core of the center. It also results in decisions and activities that attract more young people. When new young people come to the center for the first time, we make an effort to speak with them and try to include them in our activities. One of the main reasons why young people come is that our teacher, Stephan Pende, appeals strongly to them. His teaching style is very direct and practical, giving simple and profound advice on finding meaning and happiness in life.
We are truly gifted with him as our teacher.
We are starting to out-grow our current premises. With up to 50 guests on the Tuesday mindfulness evenings our space is getting too small. Also, it is becoming difficult to fit all the activities we like to offer into the schedule. Our vision for the near future is to move to a larger location with more teaching rooms and possibly a café, library and other things. Also, we are aiming at being able to host a resident geshe within some years. We believe Lama Yeshe’s call for “thinking big” is the fastest way to achieve our goals. The growth of the center during the past five years confirms this and we are confident we will make it if we believe in it.
The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition is an international, non-profit organization, founded in 1975 by Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-84), a Tibetan Buddhist monk. The Foundation is devoted to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service. The Center for Wisdom & Compassion is a part of this organisation.
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. The organization is committed to creating harmonious environments and helping all beings develop their full potential of infinite wisdom and compassion. Our organization is based on the Buddhist tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa of Tibet as taught to us by our founder Lama Thubten Yeshe and spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Every living being has the potential to be free from suffering and to develop limitless love and compassion for others. Working to help human beings fulfill this potential are the FPMT meditation, retreat and study centers, monasteries, publishing houses, businesses and students. The FPMT strives to follow the example and inspiration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his compassionate service to humanity.
FPMT students try to serve others throughout the world with kindness and wisdom. We are a rapidly growing non-profit organization participating in many aspects of the world community. Some of the projects which are affiliated with FPMT are:
- Monasteries and nunneries in 6 countries
- Meditation Centersin 40 countries
- Health and Nutrition Clinics
- Hospice Services
- Liberation Prison Project programs
- Building the world’s largest statue: a 500ft/152m statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha, by the Maitreya Project in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India
- Publishing houses
- Essential Education schools and programs
FPMT a Documentary
This Documentary is a Work in Progress that explores the history and future of FPMT and the Mahayana Tradition.