Become a Member
At Vajrayana Institute we do not charge for classes, however the success of our work reflects the support we receive from our members. An integral part of the difference we make and the work we do, membership offers you extra benefits in return for your ongoing support.
What does your membership fee help us do?
Membership fees are important in allowing us to finance the facilities to be able to offer Dharma teachings. Your support allows us to continue to follow the advice of our Spiritual Director and precious Guru Lama Zopa Rinpoche, look after our residential Sangha, invite visiting Lamas and teachers and provide an exciting program for everyone.
Our running costs, which are not subsidised by any other organisations, are a large amount of money. The day to day costs cover all the basic needs like water, electricity, phone bills, insurance and all you need to keep a centre running.
This, combined with our need to maintain the buildings, grounds and gardens means we ask those who attend VI to be as generous as they can and therefore invite those who attend to make a financial offering to the centre when they attend classes.
How do you become a member?
Download and complete this form and return to reception in person or email and call to make payment. If you have any questions about the renewal process, please don’t hesitate to contact our office by phone on 9798 9644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting us at 9 Victoria Square, Ashfield, NSW, 2131.
What are the membership fees?
What do I get as a member?
- Members welcome pack with free books
- 10% discount on bookshop items
- Free E-subscription to FPMT’s Mandala magazine (published twice a year)
- Email updates from FPMT International and Lama Zopa Rinpoche
- Dedications in centre pujas
- Library borrowing rights
- AGM voting rights (following approval from committee)
- Stand for office after first year (following approval from committee)
- Eligibility for volunteer opportunities
We encourage our volunteers to also become members so that they are as informed as possible.
By applying for Vajrayana Institute membership you acknowledge your membership will entail both rights and responsibilities, and that you have read, understood, and will abide by the FPMT policies.
All visitors and members must abide by the Five Precepts whilst on centre property. The five precepts are to not kill, steal, indulge in sexual misconduct, lie or take intoxicants (includes alcohol, narcotics and cigarettes).
Members are asked to follow the advice of our Spiritual Director Lama Zopa Rinpoche in regard to centre matters.
We also require that no VI members practice Shugden. Information clarifying the history regarding the Shugden practice can be found on the FPMT website.
Volunteering At Vajrayana
As a non-profit organisation, VI relies on the ongoing support of volunteers for the centre to flourish.
In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, volunteering is an important part of actualising Boddhicitta. The essence of Boddhicitta is loving kindness towards others – not just an intention but positive acts to help relieve the suffering of other sentient beings apart from oneself. Ultimately, actualising Boddhicitta is considered necessary in Mahayana Buddhism to achieve full enlightenment – going beyond the development of wisdom to relieve our own suffering in isolation.
As our former Spiritual Director Lama Thubten Yeshe said, ‘the best Dharma practice, the most perfect, most substantial, is without doubt the practice of Bodhicitta’.
And how easy it is to see this in our own lives on an everyday basis! Even if we stop to give someone directions on our way to work, or give a spare $5 to someone who is doing it tough on the streets and just wants to get enough together to have a warm meal on a cold night, it also helps us to feel better in our own lives – to feel that, in some way, we have helped to make a difference and that our day was that extra bit more meaningful.
And if we take that up a level or two – how nice to be able to contribute to an ongoing community project or activity on a regular basis. While this might take us outside our comfort zones at first, if we can just take that initial leap of faith, to dare to try something different in our lives, regular volunteering can help give us a reason to get up in the morning, knowing we have a place to be, something to contribute to and people depending on us. We start to feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves – that we have a deeper purpose and meaning in our lives – as we connect with others in our community and help others to improve their own lives too. We feel like we have a sense of belonging and we view life from a perspective of abundance, not scarcity, as we realise, through the connections we make, the stories we share and the seeds we sow, just how similar we all truly are – we all have things that matter to us and all of us matter by the very fact we exist, and we are all doing the best we can every day.
If we ever feel isolated or disconnected or lonely in our own lives, volunteering can be one of the best ways to help us find our way back to life – to regenerate a reason for being and to find peace and happiness in our own hearts as we help others do the same in their lives. To, incorporating the idea of ‘karma yoga’, feel a sense of ‘oneness’ with others in a shared humanity and universal consciousness.
Your good deeds in volunteering – and the good karma you build – will have consequences for other people you might never even know. But you don’t need to either – you can be happy knowing for sure you have made a genuine difference; that your acts will be appreciated and enjoyed and that you have helped make someone else’s life just that little bit better today.
What better feeling could there be?
We have shared a few stories from some of our current regular volunteers below to give you an idea of why they volunteer at VI and what it means to them.
So what kinds of things could you do specifically as a volunteer at VI?
- Facilitate at the various events we have on our calendar during the year – setting up our gompa and other rooms, ensuring the sound and recording system is up and running, meeting and greeting guests and making them feel comfortable, serving snacks, and tidying up when an event finishes.
- Act as an aide to one of our visiting teachers.
- Clean and tidy up both inside and outside the centre, including gardening, maintaining our stupa and fountains, applying a fresh lick of paint from time to time and helping with occasional repair work (such as our roofs and fences).
- Cook meals for the resident Sangha at VI.
- Promote our centre to the community, including with social media posts, letterbox drops and other marketing work.
- Make orders, and maintain stock, for books and merchandise for our gift shop.
- Be a friendly face at reception.
- Run specific external conferences, such as the annual Happiness and Its Causes conference at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. We will post more information about these conferences as specific dates are locked in.
If you are interested in one of these roles, the best thing to do is send an initial email to our reception at email@example.com. We will set up a meeting time for you to come in for a chat and a cuppa and we can work out the details from there!
Volunteer at Conferences and Events
Volunteers play such a vital role in the success of all of our events. Without the help of our wonderfully dedicated volunteers, it would be almost impossible for these events to be so successful.
Volunteers fill a range of roles at the Happiness & Its Causes Conference including front-of-house, directional help, ushering, pack up and pack down, taking care of conference speakers and running errands.
To be an excellent volunteer, you will:
- have great communication skills for answering questions and giving conference attendees directions
- have a ‘team focused’ attitude
- have excellent problem-solving skills, reliability, and lots of energy
- be comfortable talking with all sorts of people
- have lots of enthusiasm and a willingness to help
- be friendly, happy and an excellent representative for the Happiness & Its Causes Conference
Volunteering at our conferences and other events is a great way to meet people, gain new skills, as well as have fun and be part of a terrific team.
Unfortunately we are not looking for volunteers at this time.
Living At Vajrayana
Are you interested in deepening your dharma practice by living at Vajrayana Institute?
From time to time rooms come up for rent at the centre. If you wish to register your interest and be placed on our waiting list, please complete the Vajrayana Institute Resident Expression of Interest
Here are some criteria that you as a potential resident need to meet:
- As Vajrayana Institute is a Buddhist teaching centre, you will be expected to live as a lay practitioner in a semi-monastic environment.
- You will be expected to regularly attend teachings at the centre and be committed to the practice of Dharma. Note that all in-house teachings on the regular VI program are free of charge to residents. You should be a paid-up member of Vajrayana Institute and you must remain so throughout your stay.
- You will be expected to commit to a minimum of two hours per week service to the centre.
- To help you determine whether a semi-monastic life suits your personality, there is a trial period of three months for all new residents. At the completion of the trial period and before permanent residency is approved, you will be interviewed to assess your impressions of living here and your involvement in resident activities.
- Rooms are rented on a single occupancy basis only.