"We think happiness is what we get when attachment gets what it wants. Buddha says happiness is what we get when we give up attachment."

Ven. Robina

Lama Yeshe

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Facebook Twitter


Lama Tsong Khapa tsa-tsas painted and jeweled by benefactor Ven. Katy Cole. Photo Ven. Katy Cole.

Ven. Robina’s guru, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, has instructed her to make 700,000 tsa-tsas: 350,000 of Buddha Mitrugpa, and 350,000 Lama Tsong Khapa. Rinpoche says making tsa-tsas is a “practical method which is easy to do and incredibly beneficial in purifying obscurations, and in accumulating merit for the practitioner and other sentient beings.”
Tsa-tsas are clay or plaster images of buddhas or stupas, usually small and made in bas, or low relief. Practitioners often make hundreds of thousands of tsa-tsas as one of their preliminary practices. It is an excellent practice for others to sponsor the making of tsa-tsas.

Lama Tsong Khapa, (1357-1419), founder of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Since 2004 over 230,000 Lama Tsong Khapa and Mitrugpa tsa-tsas have been offered towards Ven. Robina’s commitment, mainly through the kindness of Ven. Katy Cole, who worked with Ven. Robina at Liberation Prison Project from 2004-2009, and continues to serve on the prison project’s board.

Between 2004 and 2007 Ven. Katy funded the making of over 223,000 tsa-tsas by the nuns of Kopan Nunnery in Kathmandu and Thame nunnery in Thame, the village in the Solokhumbu region of Nepal where Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born. Ven. Katy also offered over 3,500 tsa-tsas she cast and painted during her 2009 retreat at FPMT center De-Tong Ling on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

Ven. Katy making tsa-tsas during her 2008 retreat at the FPMT retreat center in South Australia. Photo Ven. Katy Cole.

Other students have also made tsa-tsas to help with Ven. Robina’s commitment. In 2009 Ven. Aileen Barry, who ran the LPP Australia office in the Blue Mountains from 2004 until 2009, and is now based in Dharamsala, offered nearly 2,000 tsa-tsas. Victoria Rainone (pictured left), an artist in Texas who makes tsa-tsas as one of her main practices, offered over 300 tsa-tsas between 2007 and 2011. In 2012 Sarah Brooks, who also worked for the prison project for years and now runs the spiritual program at FPMT’s Kadampa Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, offered over 2,000 Mitrugpa tsa-tsas.

Irish nun Ven. Aileen Barry, who ran Liberation Prison Project's Australian office for five years and is now based at Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo's nunnery in Dharamsala, offered nearly 2,000 Lama Tsong Khapa tsa-tsas towards Ven. Robina's commitment. Photo Ven. Aileen Barry.

Sarah Brooks helping fill the stupa at FPMT's Kadampa center with the 2,000 Mitrugpa tsa-tsas she offered Ven. Robina in 2012 (above); and a look inside the stupa at the tsa-tsas, wrapped in yellow paper (below). "I offer these to Ven. Robina with all my heart," Sarah said. Photos Sarah Brooks.

Tsa-tsas can be placed in big stupas and statues; sealed in tsa-tsa houses; offered as gifts to centers, and even placed in the ocean so that nagas can accumulate merit and animals in the ocean can purify.
If you would like to offers tsa-tsas or sponsor the making of tsa-tsas, please email Kate Macdonald at info@robinacourtin.com.

Mitrugpa, or Akshobya, one of the five Dhyani Buddhas. Thangka by Jampa Tsondue.