Dharma Friendship Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)3 volunteer-run organization. DFF is funded primarily through the generosity of our contributors and monthly supporters, and by dana (donations) given for teachings. DFF is operated almost entirely by volunteers. Our director, program director, special events coordinators, and about thirty other dedicated volunteers donate their time to run DFF and its programs.  We thank everyone who in their way helps bring the Dharma to the hearts of sentient beings.

 About Dharma Friendship Foundation

Board of Directors

Jordan Van Voast; co-President

Mary Grace Lentz, co-President

Cheryl Harrison; Vice President

At Large:
Scott Parris, Loan Nguyen, Pam Cowan, Steven Vannoy, Mark Zimmerman

Mission Statement

  • To sponsor qualified Buddhist teachers to teach Buddhist philosophy, psychology, and meditation.
  • To provide a mutually supportive spiritual community for Buddhist practitioners.
  • To offer the public a variety of Buddhist educational programs ranging from lectures and class series to intensive retreats.
  • To foster the spirit of peace, nonviolence, and compassion in our world, following the inspiring example of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, by putting into practice the principles in the “Eight Verses of Mind Training.”

Our History

Under the guidance of Alan Wallace, DFF was founded in Seattle in 1985 in order to make it possible for Gen Lamrimpa to come and teach in the USA for an extended period of time. Born in Tibet in 1934, Gen Lamrimpa became a refugee in India after the 1959 abortive uprising against Communist Chinese rule in Tibet. Gen Lamrimpa was known as an accomplished meditator and a true yogi, although, like all genuine masters, he remained humble and unostentatious. For many years before coming to Seattle he meditated in a stone and mud hut in the mountains above Dharamsala, India. Once in Seattle, he led a one-year samatha retreat at Cloud Mountain Retreat Center, providing earnest Western practitioners the possibility to practice under his guidance. His book Calming the Mind (Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca New York), first published as Samatha Meditation, is the record of some of the teachings he gave during this time. After teaching in the U.S. for two years, Gen Lamrimpa returned to Dharamsala to continue his practice. He came back to Seattle to teach in late 1992 for several months before returning to India. “Gen la” passed away in meditation in 2004.

In 1992, Venerable Thubten Chodron accepted the DFF Board’s request to be our resident teacher and spiritual advisor. In 2002, Ven. Chodron moved from Seattle in order to begin Sravasti Abbey, an abbey for nuns, monks, and laypeople. She continued to function as the Spiritual Adviser of DFF until September 2005, when with her blessing and encouragement, the Board of DFF formally requested Yangsi Rinpoche to be our new spiritual adviser.

From 2005 to the present, Yangsi Rinpoche has guided DFF, generously offering public teachings and empowerments as well as an annual two-week Mahamudra retreat. Much as Atisha brought the pure Dharma teachings from India to Tibet in the eleventh century, Rinpoche has worked closely with the DFF Board and the broader community, to continue the task of planting the Dharma in American soil, and in the hearts of its people.