Annual Report 2016
Celebrating the Many Faces of “Wisdom Culture”
Since the beginning, the essential work of supporting individuals in the cultivation of their innate wisdom potential has been at the heart of what we do. In fact the full name given to us by our founder Lama Yeshe is: Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture.
Wisdom culture has so many facets. We’d like to celebrate with you some of the varied ways in which it has shone through our activities here in 2016.
Focusing on our internally organized retreats has been our main priority and it feels like we’re nicely on track! Almost 60 per cent of our visitors in 2016 were here to attend retreats organized in-house (often in close partnership with external organizations). We’ve also broadened the scope of what we offer: our schedule of FPMT retreats for 2017 (developed in 2016) consists of 20 retreats, encompassing a vast range of topics.
Traditionally our Kopan West retreat acts as a gateway for newcomers and also serves as a much-needed ‘refresher’ for established practitioners. We’re so excited to give people more opportunities to attend this potentially life-changing event and will continue this biannual rhythm in 2017.
Delivered by Jungian psychotherapist and Buddhist practitioner, Rob Preece, Tasting the Essence of Tantra provided a powerful transformative vessel.
“Rob’s background in somatic and Jungian psychotherapy and decades of Tantric practice moved me on every level: psychological, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual. The precious container of Vajrapani Institute is truly giving birth to wisdom culture.”
– Janet L
In 2016 we launched a ‘Safe Zone’ training initiative to help staff learn more about diversity and inclusivity. Meanwhile our Pay-It-Forward (PIF) generosity-based retreats are opening our doors to those who might not otherwise be able to come here. It’s working! The PIF retreats are free of charge and are made possible thanks to the generosity of donors.
Meet our Board of Directors. They’re a great team, bringing together a ton of skills, heart, experience, and solid ethics. I’m thrilled they’re on our team, providing the keen oversight and wise leadership in combination with the unique skills required to manifest Lama Yeshe’s 300 year vision.
Revered Tibetan Buddhist Master, Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa led a nine-day Six Yogas of Naropa retreat here in December, guiding 75 fortunate participants through the pinnacle of the tantric teachings. Rinpoche belongs to the generation of Lamas who received a traditional education in Tibet prior to the Chinese invasion. His presence here was a deep blessing and his teachings an extraordinary opportunity. Rinpoche will return here in Fall 2017 to lead a Mahamudra retreat.
It’s made a huge difference having a resident teacher here again. Ven. Tenzin has been busy offering service, blending her love of the traditional teachings with her contemporary insights. In 2016 she led a teaching series on the Heart Sutra to staff and the local community; she hosted Buddhism in Action , a series of monthly online sessions exploring the interface of Buddhism, current affairs and social psychology; she also led several retreats, ranging from Cultivating Emotional Balance across to our 10-day Tibetan Buddhist LamRim retreat, Kopan West.
Designs are in place, ready for work to start on this magnificent Holy Object. At the end of 2016 we launched the first phase of fundraising. We will soon be making Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s vision into a reality, generating vast blessings for the land, the surrounding area and the world.
In 2016, one such donor, a relative newcomer to the Buddhist teachings, surprised us with a gift of $50,000. In her own words, this is what motivated her:
“Vajrapani Institute is a quietly radiant gem in the community that keeps on giving through its commitment to the Mahayana tradition. I so appreciate the quality of the teachers, the accessibility of Dharma for all levels of practitioners through the generous Pay-It-Forward model, the sanctity of the consecrated land, and the compassionate, safe container that staff cultivates for retreatants.”
The Executive Director is responsible for managing and supervising the finances of Vajrapani Institute, as directed by its Board of Directors.
Vajrapani Institute receives support and revenue primarily through donor contributions and retreat revenue. Retreat revenue consists of FPMT retreats, individual private retreats, and group facility rentals. For the year ended December 31, 2016, total support and revenue was $935,897, consisting of retreat revenue of $456,769, donor contributions of $416,187, and other support of $62,941.
The 2016 donor contributions include $44,929 in donor-restricted contributions to be used primarily for the prayer wheel.
For the year ended December 31, 2016, total expenses were $683,648 (excluding depreciation expense), resulting in change in net assets before depreciation of $252,249. With these available funds, Vajrapani Institute invested $156,104 in property and equipment improvements during 2016, including initial planning work on the Prayer Wheel Project ($45,332) and initial work on upgrading the center’s electrical system ($43,689).
Through the kindness and generosity of donors, we can recover from the devestating storms that caused severe damage to our roads and infastructure in 2017.