Gaden Relief Projects
Helping to preserve Tibetan culture in India, Mongolia and Tibet

Board Meeting Teleconference
Oct. 20, 2010

Present: Zasep Tulku (Venerable Zasep Rinpoche), Matthew Richards, Matt King, Conrad Richter (Chair)


1. Mongolian Projects - brief update
2. Lama Tsongkhapa Institute Mongolia - Projects and Fundraising
3. Translation of Mongolian History Text by Matt King
4. Updates on Jamseng Health Care Center and Tashi Lapug Monastery
5. Update on Ladakh Relief Effort
6. Questions about Website and Project Reports

1. Mongolian Projects - brief update

Ven. Zasep Rinpoche says that while Lama Guru Deva Rinpoche has passed from this world, the inspiration and practice among Mongolians connected to his community is very high. The Gobi Delguurn Choira Monastery is growing. It currently has 9 full-time monks and the building of their new Temple complex is almost finished. Ven. Zava Damdin Rinpoche will be finished his closed "Great Retreat" soon and is planning for more practice and retreat for the future.

Amarbayasgalant Monastery is doing well too and is prospering financially. The community has just erected a new chorten on a nearby mountain. Many tourists come to visit the northern Temple. The Board feels that there is no real need to continue to support Amarbayasgalant Monastery, as it is doing so well on its own.

As for the "Gobi Bear Project", while in Mongolia, Rinpoche met the lady in charge of the charity and gave her funds [$1000 AUD and $100 CAD]. A local professor, Dr. Amargalant, as well as an American academic, help her in the conservation effort. Unfortunately for the "Gobi Bear Project", Gaden Relief cannot promote nor adopt environmental projects and therefore cannot take on this charity to support it. Gaden Relief’s home address is Gaden Choling, a Temple and our aims must reflect this fact. For this reason, we cannot issue tax receipts for donations to this Project. The Board felt that it might want to re-visit this issue in the future and consider changing our Constitution, that we be able to support such groups.

Geralt Mur is also doing well as a charity in Mongolia. Our agent, Gerlee was given $2000. and invested it in new "Wool" yurts for the needy. However, there have been design problems with these new homes and the Board feels that money be better spent in investing in traditional yurt housing designs. Rinpoche will talk to Gerlee about this as soon as possible.

2. Lama Tsongkhapa Institute Mongolia - Projects and Fundraising

Rinpoche's friend and student Bold has really committed to expanding the Lama Tsongkhapa Institute in Ulan Bator. Bold is looking at various business ideas and ventures to help fund it. Lama Tsongkhapa Institute can have a mandate to provide religious education and healing for the local community: such as teaching meditation, doing healing ceremonies, giving spiritual guidance etc. The Board feels that GRP could support this center and that Gerlee could be the agent for the project. The Board feels that Bold should register the center as an "Institute", a "school" and not a monastery. Rinpoche says that we will have to make sure that Gerlee can be the agent here as she may eventually move to the United States. The GRP website should be updated to carry all the relevant information for this Project.

Rinpoche feels that it should be a long-term goal to have Lama Tsongkhapa Institute have its own building. That would mean leasing land and building a large edifice. GRP now has lots of funds that will, now, not be spent on our projects in Tibet. As this money is ear-marked to be spent on projects, GRP must divert the funds somewhere within the next few years at least before the next audit. The only issue with this, is money raised by BODHI, where donors stipulate that the funds go to health, not religious, purposes. The Canadian Government may not favour GRP buying or investing in land or large infrastructure but we can always do fundraising for texts, supplies etc.

In this light, Rinpoche feels that we should divert about $8-10,000. to Lama Tsongkhapa Institute to support the center and its future plans.

The Board agreed that BODHI funds can be diverted separately to another charity such as Machik which is a Canadian charity and should pose any administrative problem. The Board will first investigate this option to see where and how Machik is giving its aid and spending its funds, in areas such as Ladakh.

3. Translation of Mongolian History Text by Matt King

Matt King is currently translating Lama Ven. Sarva Damdin Rinpoche's history of Mongolian Buddhism into English. He says that the text can be sold as a fundraiser. GRP will give money to fund the publication of this text. Matt King will look into the publishing deal and see how many copies to print and how much this will cost.

4. Updates on Jamseng Health Care Center and Tashi Lhapug Monastery

In Tibet, Jamseng Health Care Center has now been given to a local Nunnery. However, the Jamseng bank Account is still active. Gaden Relief had considered opening a local health care clinic in Zadoh but the rent is fairly high for such a center [$250.-$300./month] and there are already a number of clinics and pharmacies in town. The Abbot running the nunnery is now considering continuing to run the center as a health care clinic and use it as a fundraiser for the Temple. Whereas this idea seems like a good one, the GRP Board will have to consider it and look at all the details and feasibility.

The religious community of Tashi Lapug Monastery has unfortunately been split on the decision on whether to relocate the monastery to Zadoh city or not. Due to this dispute, most of the monks have already left the community. Rinpoche suggested transforming the Monastery into a closed retreat hermitage and raising money on its behalf.

With all of this, Gaden Relief's efforts in the Zadoh area have now shrunk.

Rinpoche feels that Gaden Relief should focus its efforts on its Projects in Mongolia.

5. Update on Ladakh Relief Effort

As far as our Ladakh Projects go, Lauren will soon visit 4 charities in Ladakh and could bring our funds there directly. These are the trustworthy organizations: Cynthia's Health inc., Ladakh Nuns Assoc., Ladakh Buddhist Assoc. and Ladakh Womens Assoc. GRP has $5,000 available for this donation and this may be very helpful for local aid in the aftermath of the earthquake. However, because there are too many questions about where and how the money will be spent the Board agreed to send only $5000. for now, until we hear otherwise from Lauren. She will have to go to Ley and contact these organizations and see what works best and to see which projects need the most urgent help. The Indian Government has, in the short-term, given a lot of aid and help to Ladakh, since the earthquake. Gaden Relief will have to look at how to help this region, in the long-run (e.g. building new homes, supporting farming practices etc.).

6. Questions about Website and Project Reports

Rinpoche and the rest of the Board felt it very important that Gaden Relief stay neutral in regards to geo-politics and how they influence our projects. There must not be blatant political positions and remarks [whatever they are] in what we do or say in any of our professional material or resources. There may a need for strict guidelines with regard to this, if need be.

End of Meeting

Minutes prepared by Matthew Richards

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