Dearest Friend of Milarepa Center,
Fall greetings from Milarepa Center, we hope this letter finds you happy, healthy, and enjoying your precious human rebirth! As I begin my 7th year here as Director at Milarepa Center (wow, 7 already!), I find myself reflecting on all that this amazing place has offered to so many of us over the years - refuge, retreat, and renunciation to name a few. Milarepa Center is not a “fancy” center (hence the renunciation!); our facilities are simple, we have a small operating budget, and operating in the rural Northeast Kingdom of Vermont means our local community is small, but the heart of this center continues to beat incredibly strong! This reminds me of a quote from Jetsun Milarepa found in The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa – “However beautiful a song may be, it is just a tune to those who do not understand its meaning.” I believe it is that very meaning behind all that we do here that makes this place so special and so meaningful to all of us who continue to support, visit, and care for the center. As many of you know, sadly, this past year brought the passing of our most precious and kind teacher, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. I, for one, cannot think of a better way to honor Rinpoche’s passing than by continuing to fulfill Rinpoche’s advice given to me 7 years ago – “keep Milarepa Center going to benefit sentient beings and for students to be able to conduct retreat! “
It has truly been an honor to be a part of and watch this center continue to grow in various ways over the years regardless of difficulties both here at the center and in the wider world. Private retreat continues to be at the forefront of our operations while also hosting small in-person groups/programs when we are able. We are also very happy to share that next month we will welcome Geshe Thubten Sherab back to Milarepa Center for an in-person multi-day retreat!
Over the past year we have been fortunate to serve students in a variety of ways: continued support of students in private retreat, we offered group practice sessions and loving space for students to grieve the passing of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, we hosted our annual professional development series for teachers, and we finished our 500 kW community solar array project which will help struggling local farms and dairies receive clean energy to offset their costs. Solar energy AND bodhichitta energy will be radiating out from us to the wider community, rejoice!
While overall 2023 has been a better financial year than last, our routine expenses continue to exist: general maintenance and repairs of the buildings and cabins, upkeep and management of the land, property taxes, utilities, equipment repairs, etc. In addition to these expenses, as is customary, we make multiple annual offerings on behalf of Milarepa Center students and members to long life pujas for Rinpoche and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to the Lama Yeshe Sangha Fund, and to teachers, as well as funding spiritual projects both here at the center and within the wider FPMT organization. This year we also made additional offerings on behalf of our students and members in dedication of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s passing.
While we have been able to offset a portion of our expenses through memberships, general donations, and retreat cabin rentals, we still need our Annual Appeal to make up the difference and sustain a sound financial basis for 2024 and beyond. We will continue with our commitment to improving our environmental impacts and to the sustainable operation of Milarepa Center so that the center may continue to exist and be of benefit to all beings. Our goal this year is to raise $15,000 by the end of 2023. Can you help us achieve this goal? Every little bit helps, and we are truly grateful for any contribution you can make. Donations can be made online at http://milarepacenter.org/donation or by mailing a check made payable to Milarepa Center.
Our sincere and deep heartfelt thanks and we hope to see you in the coming year. May you and yours be happy and healthy!
Dawn Holtz, Center Director
Board of Directors
Jim Hagan, Board Chair, FPMT Appointee
Debb Colony, Board Treasurer
Nina Tomkiewicz, Board Member
Nina Hill, Board Secretary