Members of the Khyentse Foundation board of directors gather in the south of France for a marathon of extraordinary meetings in an extraordinary setting.

August, 2010 (Toulouse, France)—In a 300-year-old chateau in the south of France, a core team of Khyentse Foundation board members gathered to imagine the future. The grand and expansive environment of our host’s home inspired grand and expansive thinking. On day one of the strategic planning meeting, the board asked Rinpoche to envision the next five years—what would he like to see the Foundation accomplish, setting aside any constraints and just dreaming? What would he like to see happen by the year 2016? The result provided the basis for a truly visionary five-year plan.

[intlink id=”3403″ type=”post”]View a slideshow of the meetings[/intlink]

Many new ways of empowering the next generation of Buddhist practitioners through grants and projects were discussed, including cultivating new teachers, developing young Buddhist leaders, translating and disseminating texts, and providing opportunities for people to study and practice the dharma.

One theme of Rinpoche’s opening statement was how we have to strike a balance between preserving the old and fostering the new. Sometimes two important works are parallel but seemingly opposing, he said, using the meritorious yet conflicting efforts of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi in India as an example. He advised that our work in preserving Tibetan culture and supporting age-old monasteries should not “hijack our attention” from helping the new generation of Buddhists in the rest of the world.

Watch Rinpoche’s address to the board:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/15222645[/vimeo]

By the year 2016, we hope to see at least some of the following projects come to fruition:

  • Buddhist education curricula for kindergarten through high school, disseminated by Webinar
  • Buddhist leadership management courses and conferences for young Buddhists
  • University-level Buddhist education programs in Hungary, Poland, and/or other Eastern European countries
  • A program to train western Buddhist teachers
  • An intensive course for old and young lamas to learn how to teach westerners
  • A three-year retreat center established in Eastern Europe
  • The incubation period for the soon-to-be-renamed Buddhist Literary Heritage Project will have ended, and it will stand independent as one of the most important campaigns in Buddhist history
  • At least 10 non-Tibetan and 4 Tibetan translators trained

The second day was reserved for the board of directors to figure out how to make Rinpoche’s dreams come true. The board also approved the Foundation’s 2010-11 programs and budgets, which provide over US$1.1 million to fund a wide range of activities that  promote Buddhist study and practice in all traditions. (For a copy of the PowerPoint presentation of the budget, please email your request.)

Rinpoche suggested that, since the projections from the past two five-year plans have all been met with great success, maybe it’s time for us to set goals that we might not be able to meet. Think bigger. Aim for the moon—and we might reach the stars.

These meetings are rare and important for the KF team. We are grateful to our host Patrick Jacqueline and to all those who made it possible.