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

Statue of Lama Tsongkhapa at Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, Washington State, US, June 2015. Photo by Chris Majors.

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

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the Buddhist cultural school in Salugara on March 27, 2013. Photo credit Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images

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.”

Photo by Merry Colony 1989. Restoration by David Zinn.

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

Photo by Roger Kunsang 2010.

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