The Sera Je Food Fund. Supporting Monastic Health and Education. Our Mission
Supporting Monastic Health and Education
The Sera Je Food Fund provides three nutritious meals daily for all 2,600 monks living at Sera Je Monastery. This service provides one of the most fundamental needs for life – food – and allows the monks to focus on their studies without the burden of sourcing and preparing their own meals.
Out of his incredible compassion, Lama Zopa Rinpoche did not simply offer lunch on the day of Lama Osel Rinpoche’s entrance to the monastery but, without precedent, took on the responsibility of providing meals to every monk at Sera Je for the rest of their lives.
The Sera Je Food Fund began in 1991 when Lama Osel Rinpoche, the reincarnation of Lama Yeshe, entered Sera Je Monastery in southern India at age six. It is customary for a monk’s sponsor to make offerings to all Sangha on the day of officially entering the monastery and Lama Zopa Rinpoche wanted the offering to be of the greatest practical benefit to the monastery itself.
In 2008, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the Sera Je Food Fund took on the responsibility to offer three meals a day to all 2,600 monks of Sera Je. Osel Labrang, the monastic house of Osel Hita, took over management on the ground, ensuring the quality of the food and managing all aspects of buying and preparing the food.
Currently there are 2,600 monks benefiting from the fund and the annual cost is US$280,000.
1991: The Food Fund begins for 1,300 monks at Sera Je with daily lunch offered. Annual cost at that time: $25,000
1998: Rinpoche took on the responsibility of offering lunch and dinner to each monk studying at Sera Je.
2003: Three months per year, breakfast was added to the program for all 2,300 monks then studying at Sera Je. The annual cost at this stage: $240,000.
2008: Rinpoche took responsibility to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner daily to all 2,600 monks at Sera Je. Annual cost to offer this grew to $270,000.
As many of the Sera Je monks are refugees from Tibet or from refugee families living in India, they have very little money for quality food and, consequently, were often malnourished and ill. Before the Sera Je Food Fund, most monks at the monastery never had a full stomach. Now, for the first time, they are well-nourished, and this makes a dramatic difference in the energy they are able to devote to their studies.
When the fund was originally set up, an initial endowment of over a million dollars was raised. However, the population of the monastery has since doubled and the endowment is now rapidly decreasing. Our aim is to grow the endowment, ultimately making the fund self-sufficient. To do that we need to raise approximately US$5 Million.
The cooks of Sera Je Monastery
“Offering food to the monks of Sera Je is a way of collecting unbelievable merit because all the monks are the pores of the Guru. They are all disciples of the same Guru – His Holiness the Dalai Lama. By offering to pores of the Guru one collects more merit than offering to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, as well as numberless statues, stupas and scriptures.
If you offer with the recognition that they are the Guru's pores then that is an unbelievable way to collect merit. This is the easiest way to collect skies of merit by offering and this is the best business.”
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
This is the 21st year that FPMT has been offering food to the monks at Sera Je Monastery. We have offered over 33,872,000 meals. We currently offer 2,847,000 meals per year, 7,800 meals every day!
Most FPMT geshes are educated at Sera Je Monastery. Contributing to the Food Fund is a contribution to FPMT’s future.
FPMT geshes with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Saranath
Large round piece of bread, tea
Tofu, dahl, rice or bread, vegetables,
fruit (usually banana)
Rice and curried vegetables, or
noodles and vegetables, or thukpa
(Tibetan noodle soup)
Please help us continue this incredible offering to all the monks of Sera Je
For more information:
For more information please contact: Holly Ansett, Charitable Projects Coordinator.
Personal thank you card from Rinpoche