This being the gift-giving season in the West, it seems appropriate to offer suggestions to those of you who feel an uncontrollable urge to wrap presents. If you like, you can consider this post a follow-on to our Buddhist Christmas Catalog post. However, this time we are taking notice of centers or other organizations that offer gift items as a fundraising mechanism. Proceeds from the sale of these items go directly to the support of Tibetan Buddhist projects all over the world -- and besides, this stuff is cool.
First up are Lama Tharchin's marvelous tormas. Seen here is his Wrathful Flower torma, at USD $108. These are truly the finest off the rack, pre-manufactured tormas in the world, and you will be delighted with what you receive. For the individual practitioner who wants a splendid home altar, these are the best solution.
Next up are the Tibetan Aid Project's world-class prayer flags. These measure 3 by 4 feet, and cost USD $125. They stand up to gale force winds, and are even suitable for nautical use. You laugh, but I have friends who occasionally run these up in the middle of the Pacific.
Now we come to Mahasiddha's wonderful amulets. Prices range from USD $15 to $25 and there is a wide selection to meet every need. This is one of the web's easiest transactions, and their service is fast and efficient.
A great opportunity is found in Lama Kunga's treasure vases. Both wealth and earth vases are available at USD $75 each. Not all that easy to order, but definitely worth the effort.
The Vimala Treasures pecha collections are a fast solution to building a useful library, and make tremendous gifts for visiting lamas. I also want to mention that these people give the best customer service you will ever find. Prices range from USD $7 to $4,400. There is also a sale going on right now, so check them out.
Finally, the Nyingma Trust Gift Certificate, available at USD $108, is for when all else fails, and you need an elegant albeit last-minute solution to the problem of what to give your friends. This entire transaction can be handled over the web, so your friends will find the gift certificate in their e-mail!
These are just a few suggestions. You can find many more when you browse the web sites of the various sanghas, such as Tibetan Treasures, for example, and see what everyone has to offer. It makes a whole lot more sense than throwing away money to some big box corporation.
[We may revise this post as further information becomes available. Please share and circulate widely in the meantime. We're trying to help these folks out.]