On March 31, 2006, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche inaugurated Deer Park Institute in Bir, India with a 5-day teaching on The Sutra of Recollection of the Noble Three Jewels. In 2004, when Dzongsar Institute moved to nearby Chauntra and was renamed Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute, the old facilities in Bir were left empty but not abandoned. Since then, Rinpoche has realized his vision of turning the old institute in Bir into a space where nonmonastics, especially Indian and western students, can come to study and explore classical Buddhist traditions. Rinpoche named the new school Deer Park Institute, referring to the place in Sarnath where the Buddha first taught.
In keeping with the ecumenical tradition (rimé in Tibetan) upon which the original Dzongsar Institute in Tibet was founded, the courses at Deer Park will be taught by masters from all traditions of Buddhism, including the Zen and Shravakayana traditions of Japan, Thailand, Burma, and elsewhere. Rinpoche wishes for Deer Park to become a modern Nalanda University, where scholars, bhikshus, and lay people applied themselves to the study of Buddhadharma. Although the scale of Deer Park is much smaller than that of the original Nalanda, the mission is just as grand – to keep these wisdom traditions alive and accessible to all who are interested. With the proper resources and the already apparent interest, Deer Park has the potential to do just that, in true Nalanda tradition.
Courses will be offered on philosophical texts, commentaries, and other essential teachings, as well as classical languages, culture, aesthetics, literature, history, and poetry, and will vary in length to accommodate the schedules of people from all walks of life. The primary language of instruction will be English.
Siddhatha’s Intent India
Deer Park Institute operates under the newly formed Siddhartha’s Intent India (SII). Rinpoche serves as president and chair of the board of directors of SII. Joining him on the board are Vice President Deepak Kumar Thakur and General Secretary Naresh Sahai Mathur, who are both lawyers. Also on the board are Secretary Prashant Varma, a social worker; Treasurer Raji Ramanan, a writer; and executive members Vidya Rao, an Indian classical singer, and Kajoli Khanna, a social worker. Members of the Deer Park advisory board are Professor Prabodh Parikh, a poet and philosopher at Bombay University; filmmaker Suresh Jindal; Professor Wangchuk Negi, a Buddhist scholar at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath; and Professor V.S. Negi, a Buddhist scholar at Himachal Pradesh University.