Land of Medicine Buddha is an environmentally conscious meditation and retreat center.
Our campus is located on 108 acres of coastal foothills and stands adjacent to 10,000 acres of redwood forest preserved by the State of California. We are tucked away from the bustle of local beach towns, yet easy to reach.
We are an active Buddhist community. Through teaching, meditation, prayer, retreat and community service, we engage in preserving and transmitting the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values. Our tradition – the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism – was developed and taught by Lama Tsongkhapa a Buddhist master who lived in Tibet six hundred years ago. These teachings were carried to the Santa Cruz area by our founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe and our Spiritual Director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche over forty years ago. His Holiness the Dalai Lama – spiritual leader of the Tibetan people – is the inspiration and guide of our organization, FPMT.
Land of Medicine Buddha (LMB) is a unique and sacred facility. We provide Tibetan Buddhist teachings, retreats, healing, and space for others to bring their workshops. You are welcome to share in all that our center has to offer. Everyone is welcome; you don’t need to be Buddhist to come for a visit to LMB.
Land of Medicine Buddha is a registered non-profit, religious organization, 501(c)(3). Our Federal Tax ID Number is 77-0281122. You can use this when you name Land of Medicine Buddha as a beneficiary (in your will or for particular accounts), or for claiming deductions for charitable donations.
Our Buddhist Lineage and Teachers
Lama Tsongkhapa, Losang Drakpa
Lama Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 C.E.) was a great scholar-monk-yogi who studied with great master of his time from all the existing schools of Buddhism of Tibet. He re-examined the texts checking things against classical Indian sources to see what was authentic and what needed to be thrown out because of errors. Through his direct communication with Manjushri, Tsongkhapa was able to clarify the intended meaning of the scriptures and commentaries on the profound topic of emptiness.
A prolific writer, he composed both poems and thick reference books which are still in active use today. If you look at how much he wrote you would think that’s all he did in his life; if you look at how much Dharma practice and retreat he did you would think that’s all he did; and if you look at his great works to benefit others, such as establishing monasteries, festivals, and holy objects, you would think that’s all he did. But in fact, he managed to fit all of these into one lifetime. The tradition he created came to be known as the Ganden Tradition, or the Gelug lineage. Our center is part of that.
F.P.M.T. – Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition
Land of Medicine Buddha is also part of this modern-day organization, the FPMT, which was established in the 1970’s in order to hold together the many Dharma centers and projects that have sprung out of the teachings of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, beginning with Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. Some of these centers and projects were directly founded by the lamas, but most of them come about because Dharma students – followers of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche – wanted to have a center where they live or wanted to start a social service project. The international office is located in Portland, Oregon, USA. Click here for a directory of all the centers.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama – Our Spiritual Guide
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the greatest source of inspiration for the Foundation and therefore service to His Holiness must be one of our primary activities. Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche said:
“‘His Holiness’ Office is very happy with the organization. He has compassion you see, gives advice on things we request. Doesn’t have time but out of compassion He does the Dharma activities, creates the centers, gives teachings, like that, actually there is not time, but kindly He accepts.
“Always giving. Giving advice, looking after, much concerned. So I think we must also offer much service from time to time to His Holiness. I think this makes a connection life to life for all the students, members, directors. Those who make connection with His Holiness in this life, make connection in other, future lives, to meet His Holiness again, to be able to offer service, to be closer and closer. Through actions such as these one reaches enlightenment. It can then be achieved. It comes.”
“It’s a great thing to be able to offer service to His Holiness. To fulfill His wishes. As the organization gets developed more and more I think we will be able to offer more and more service. In this way all the centers are being beneficial for sentient beings. This is a way of creating the cause. By pleasing the guru.”
Lama Thubten Yeshe
Lama Yeshe (1935-1984) was a dynamic teacher who influenced a generation of seekers with his broken but groovy way of speaking English, having learned the language from the hippies who were flocking to India and Nepal during the 1960’s and ’70’s. Although he was Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teacher, the two lamas were really a team, teaching and traveling together until Lama Yeshe’s all-to-early passing in 1984. Lama Yeshe had a close connection with Santa Cruz, California, teaching several courses at Vajrapani Institute, Boulder Creek, and even one semester at UCSC.
Lama Yeshe personally selected the old resort which eventually became Land of Medicine Buddha – Greenwood Lodge – as the location for a new FPMT center which would be able to reach more people and would offer accessible and perhaps eclectic programs. When Lama Yeshe knew he was dying, he came back to California and was cared from by local-area Dharma students at a house they rented for him in Aptos. When he eventually passed away, his cremation – attended by many high lamas – was held at Vajrapani Institute. Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive is a good place to find Lama Yeshe’s teachings.
Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual head of our organization and is still very much involved with guiding our center. The title Kyabje, refuge lord, was given to him by another high lama around the year 2001. He is commonly known as Rinpoche – precious one – by the Dharma students in our organization; his personal name, Zopa, means patience. He began patiently teaching Western students in the late 1960’s and hasn’t stopped yet.
Rinpoche is responsible for the spiritual well-being of thousand of people around the world, people of all nationalities, so he tends to travel quite a bit. In the late 1990’s, some Dharma students nearby decided to coax Rinpoche into spending more time here, so they bought an old house in Aptos, California and fixed it up for him to stay in. Now, Rinpoche comes home to our neighborhood between trips and we get to see him on informal occasions and for surprise teachings, as well as the occasional scheduled event. Keep your eyes open and you might catch a sighting of him at the local plant nursery or at the beach.
What We Offer
Dharma Retreats and Classes
– Teachings by great lamas such as: Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Khenshur Jhado Rinpoche, Dagri Rinpoche, Yangsi Rinpoche, and other great lineage masters and qualified teachers.
– A complete Discovering Buddhism program, the FPMT Education Department’s introductory program for new students.
– The Basic Program, for intermediate level students, guided meditations and practice days.
– Weekend retreats and workshops on special topics.
“‘This earth (the land at LMB) will be very beneficial in the future. Hard for the time being, but it’ll be very beneficial in the future.’ His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said this on two different occasions.” Lama Zopa Rinpoche, 1997
The Main Meditation Hall
The Main Meditation Hall, or Gompa, is the place where most of the teachings at Land of Medicine Buddha are held. The Gompa houses eight life-sized Medicine Buddha statues, blessed by His Holiness Dalai Lama (in 2001) and many other holy objects.
The Wishfulfilling Temple
The Wish Fulfilling Temple, with its exquisite traditional Tibetan artwork and murals of Buddha’s life story, provides a place where the remains of the deceased can be placed in special reliquaries.
Land of Medicine Buddha is home to three beautiful large prayer wheels, and many smaller ones as well. The Mani Wheel outside the main meditation hall is packed with 64 billion Om Mani Padme Hum mantras, microfilmed from an original script written by His Holiness Dalai Lama. This is one of the most powerful prayer wheels on earth. The large prayer wheel in the Ksitigarbha garden has 11.8 billion mantras, and the Ksitigharba statue is surrounded by thirty two smaller prayer wheels each holding over one million mantras . At the entrance to the center (near the bookstore), work is our big prayer wheel with the mantra of compassion, as well as other mantras for long life, to clear obstacles, purify negativities and develop wisdom.
“Turning a prayer wheel containing 100 millionOm Mani Padme Hum mantras accumulates the same merit as having recited 100 million of this mantra. In that few seconds, you perform so much powerful purification and accumulate so much merit.” – Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Facilities & Guest Accommodation
Land of Medicine Buddha offers an excellent place for groups to hold their workshops, and a relaxing and affordable place to stay as a private guest where you can enjoy our beautiful environment and delicious vegetarian meals. We are open to the public year round and welcome everyone who wishes to come and enjoy.
For more information about guest accommodations – click here.
For more information about facility rentals for private groups – click here.
Universal Wisdom Education
Buddhist wisdom, philosophy and psychology presented in secular format. Programs include series on understanding the mind and emotions, and finding ways to improve our daily lives. Tara Redwood School is located on the grounds of our center and provides a curriculum and environment that nurtures the innate positive qualities within each child; focuses on development not only of the intellect, but also the child’s understanding of the inter-connectedness of all living beings and the environment. Tara Redwood School’s website is tararedwoodschool.org. See also: Creating Compassionate Cultures.
A residential facility to help the terminally ill die with a peaceful mind. Tara Home offers a residence and compassionate care for those who have no primary caregiver or for other reasons cannot remain in their own homes. http://tarahome.org/
The meditation halls and grounds of Land of Medicine Buddha contain many statues, paintings, prayer wheels, and other holy objects which create positive imprints, purify negative karma, and plant the seeds for liberation and enlightenment in our mental continuum.
“Holy objects benefit without words. The benefits are limitless, like sky” – Lama Zopa Rinpoche
The Land Itself
Situated on 108 acres adjoining 10,000 acres of state forest, our physical location provides a perfect space for guests to visit for the day to take a hike in the woods, meditate, relax, and connect to their spiritual inner being; recover from the stress of their busy lives, or just relax.
The Eight Verses Pilgrimage Trail
These verses from one of the most beloved Tibetan thought transformation texts are mounted on plaques and spaced throughout a loop trail that begins beside the little fish pond and small Kadampa Stupa in the north-eastern corner of the meadow and meanders through the redwood forest until it comes out at the Ksitigarbha statue. Each verse is accompanied by a teak bench to sit on while relaxing and contemplating the verses. More information HERE