A publication of Khyentse Foundation   August 2009

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Khyentse Foundation's special grants and scholarships are making a difference around the world, from Thailand to Tibet, from South Africa to North America, from the inner city to nomadic territories. From the generous support of our donors worldwide, individuals and institutions engaged in the practice and study of Buddhism are receiving financial support to further their pursuits. Hear Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche share some of the vision of the Foundation in his latest podcast. In this issue, you will learn about three special grants to The Jonang Foundation, Mind Body Awareness Project, and Tsechen Kunchab Ling.  You'll also find first-person accounts from KF grant and scholarship recipients, an update on Rinpoche’s book, What Makes You Not a Buddhist, and more.


Jonang Foundation

Michael Sheehy's Campaign to Preserve a Lineage

Mind Body Awareness Project
At-Risk Youth Find Meditation While Spending Time in the Juvenile Justice System

Tsechen Kunchab Ling
A Translation of Sakya Pandita's Life Story



Grant and Scholarship Recipients Speak About Their Experiences
Alexander Berzin writes about clarifying the confusion in translating the dharma from Tibetan. Heidi Nevin describes her translation of the spiritual autobiography of Kathok Khenpo Ngawang Palzang (Khenpo Ngagchung). And Nisheeta Jagtiani tells about her Buddhist studies at the College of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, Dharamsala.      



What Makes You Not A Buddhist
The latest on the success of Rinpoche's first book, which has now been translated into 14 languages.




Rinpoche on the Mission of KF


Scholarship Applications




New Deer Park Video




For more, visit the KF downloads page.







Visit the

Siddhartha’s Intent website

often for messages from Rinpoche and updates about his  teachings.





Khyentse Foundation’s mission is to act as a system of patronage for institutions and individuals engaged in the practice and study of Buddha's wisdom and compassion. In the few years of the Foundation’s existence, its support has touched thousands of lives, from Tibet, India, and Thailand to the United States, Canada, and Australia. We emphasize the study and practice of Buddhism, and our funding supports Tibetans, non-Tibetans, monks, nuns, lay students and practitioners, scholars, translators, and researchers from all the different Buddhist traditions.


In addition to the scholarships and special grants mentioned here, we have offered one-time or ongoing support to the following institutions:

Himachal Pradesh, India

Derge, Eastern Tibet
(now Sichuan Province, China)

Nonthaburi, Thailand

Nova Scotia, Canada


Ladakh, Northern India

Nitartha Institute
Nova Scotia, Canada

North Sikkim Academy
Mangan, North Sikkim

Rangjung Yeshe Institute
Kathmandu, Nepal

The Rimé Foundation Translation Project

Sihu Buddhist Institute
Kangding, Sichuan Province, China

Thosamling Institute Library
New York, USA

Vajradhara Gonpa
Three Year Retreat Centre, Kyogle, Australia

Warnam Retreat Centre for Nuns

and others...







By supporting institutions and individuals

engaged in the practice and study of Buddhism,

Khyentse Foundation is following in the footsteps

of the great patrons of the past.

Read about some of these patrons in our ongoing

Patron King Series. We welcome suggestions for future articles in the series. Nominate a historic patron by sending us an email.



Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. Practice good-heartedness toward all beings. Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you. What they will do will not matter so much when you see it as a dream. The trick is to have positive intention during the dream. This is the essential point. This is true spirituality.

— Chagdud Rinpoche








Readers Continue to Discover Rinpoche's Words of Wisdom

More Than 150,000 Copies of

What Makes You Not a Buddhist

Sold Worldwide.


The U.S. edition of What Makes You Not a Buddhist has sold more than 25,000 copies. This number does not include international sales figures of the 14 translations. In Taiwan, nearly 19,000 copies were sold and the simplified Chinese edition was reportedly a bestseller in mainland China with more than 112,000 copies sold. 


There are more editions on the way.  A Greek translation was just completed and a new English edition will be published in India later in 2009.

Our International partners are:

ASA Edicoes S.A. - Portugal
Business Weekly Publications - Taiwan

Editora Pensamento-Cultrix - Brazil
Editorial Kairos - Spain
Feltrinelli - Italy
Irecson - Romania
Kok Ten Have - Holland
Navigator Culture Co. - Taiwan

Otkrity Mir - Russia
Pages Editors - Spain (Catalan)
Valgus Publishers - Estonia
Windpferd - Germany
Wisdomhouse - Korea
DharmaGaia - Czech Republic
ThaiHabooks Ltd. - Vietnam


Rinpoche has donated all of his profits from this publication to Khyentse Foundation. You can always support the Foundation through our Amazon and iTunes accounts which are linked to our web site.







Coming in the next issue:


Patron King Article:

The Third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck


Update on the

Buddhist Literary Heritage Project 

New appointments and developments in translating the words of the Buddha.





Khyentse Foundation is now on Facebook. 

We will be posting volunteer opportunities, news, and other updates. Join us!



The most effective way to support

Khyentse Foundation is to join the matching funds program. Every dollar you donate will be matched by a group of committed donors.
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Thank You for Reading

An Infrastructure of People
In A New Podcast, Rinpoche Explains Why Khyentse Foundation Invests in People, Not Buildings.


Listen to the Podcast





In the early days of Khyentse Foundation, as the founders were deciding upon a mission, imagining the possibilities, and envisioning the future of Buddhist patronage, one of the first guidelines agreed upon was that grants would be awarded to people and their activities rather than to the construction of buildings and capital improvements. In his new audio address, Rinpoche says that "Khyentse Foundation must aspire to build the infrastructure of human make people, not just buildings, not just symbolic things like statues or stupas, because at the end of the day this kind of infrastructure is the best we can offer."


Two committees, appointed by Rinpoche and the board of directors, review applications for the Foundation. Ngedup Dorje, who sits on the Special Grants Committee, says of his task,"I'm truly heartened to learn of all these wonderful projects that people have undertaken around the world in pursuit of the dharma. It makes the decision quite difficult at times because there are so many worthy candidates and we have only so much in the coffers."  Last year, between the two committees, over US$100,000 was awarded. 




Partnering to Preserve a Lineage






Supporting the Jonang Foundation

Jonang Foundation Founder Michael Sheehey has a Ph.D. in Tibetan and Buddhist studies from the
California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco, and has lived closely with Jonang masters in the Dzamthang, Ngawa, and Golok regions of Amdo since 2004.

The Jonang is a unique tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Isolated for centuries in the remote valleys of far eastern Tibet, the Jonangpa are the primary lineage holders of the Kalachakra 6-fold vajrayoga and zhentong meditative view.

Jonang Foundation was conceived in the summer of 2004 in Golok by Michael and co-founder Cynthia Williams to uphold and promote understanding of the intellectual, creative, and spiritual heritage of the Jonang. Their vision is for greater preservation, education, translation, documentation, and revivification for the Jonangpa, and our work is to provide these services.

Khyentse Foundation is supporting the Jonang Foundation in collecting and digitizing the writings of Jonang author Kung Drolchok (1507-1566), many of whose works have not been previously published. This master is considered to have been an earlier embodiment of Taranatha and of Jamgon Kongtrul, and he was one of the major figures in both the Jonang and Shangpa transmission lineages. His work "The One Hundred and Eight Essential Guidance Instructions" was one of the earliest compilations of the various oral instructions in Tibet, and is said to have been an inspiration to Jamgon Kongtrul in his formulation of rimé eclecticism. 





Mind Body Awareness Project







Bringing Meditation Instruction into

the Juvenile Justice System



This year, Khyentse Foundation awarded a special grant to the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA), which provides yoga, meditation and other awareness-based practice training to incarcerated and at-risk youth. The program, founded in 2000, is based partly on  founder Noah Levine's own experience in the Santa Cruz Juvenile Hall and is actively positioned to become a new national model for the rehabilitation of incarcerated youth.

MBA’s unique training program consists of mindfulness meditation and emotional intelligence exercises designed to strengthen minds, relieve toxic stress, and enhance the ability to make better decisions. MBA classes are offered on a voluntary basis.  A typical one-hour class includes open discussion, mindfulness meditation instruction, and a form of movement meditation such as hatha yoga or tai chi. Teachers use simple awareness exercises as alternatives to self-destructive patterns of addiction, crime, and violence. These practices can begin to unlock the courage, confidence, and self-discipline needed to make healthier choices. Participants learn how opportunities for real change arise every moment throughout their lives. In an environment of trust and respect, participants are directly empowered to stop and reflect before acting them out.

Even those of us still blessed with our liberty can gain so much by employing MBA techniques—learning to slow down, step out of habitual patterns, and respond to challenges with clarity and focus.








Sakyapandita and Tsechen Kunchab Ling










KF Supports an Ambitious Translation Project

The fourth of the five founders of the Sakya Order, Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen Palzangpo (1182-1251) was a prolific writer and a great thinker who was primarily responsible for the transplantation of the ten major and minor sciences from India to Tibet. Toward the end of his life, he was invited to China and became the teacher of the Mongolian Khan, converting the warlike emperor to Buddhism. His influence there planted the seeds that caused Tibetan Buddhism to later flourish in Mongolia. He lived during a fascinating and important period in the development of Buddhism in Tibet and Mongolia.

Currently, no book-length treatment of Sakya Pandita’s life is available to English speakers. Khyentse Foundation is supporting Tsechen Kunchab Ling Publications in
the translation of three authoritative biographies of Sakya Pandita, which will be combined with reproductions of Tibetan thangkas and contemporary illustrations to produce a book that will introduce Sakya Pandita to the English-speaking world. The three texts to be translated are:

•    The Biography Based on Sakya Pandita’s Own Words (gsung sgrosma) by Chogyal Phagpa.
•    The biography of Sakya Pandita written by Gorampa Sodnam Senggye contained in the beginning of Illumination of the Buddha’s Teaching (gsung rabs dgong gsal)
•    Amazing Treasure: The Holy Family’s Biographies (gdung rabs ngo mtsar bang mzod) by Ngawang Kunga Sodnam

The texts will be translated by Venerable Lama Kalsang Gyaltsen and Reverend Dr. Ani Kunga Chodron, an experienced bilingual translation team, who over the past 15 years have completed many translations of philosophical texts, biographies, and ritual practices for the Sakya Order at the request of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin and other Sakya lineage holders.

Image of Sakyapandita from "Contributions on Tibet" by Sarat Chandra Das (1849-1917) in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal Vol. LI (1882).



Clarifying the Confusion
by Alexander Berzin

Khyentse Foundation grant recipient Dr. Alexander Berzin is the driving force behind the Berzin Archives. In 2008, nearly half a million people visited the site, accessing more than 1.5 million written and audio items. The website, which is free of charge, is  a major multilingual educational tool that presents extensive glossaries of Buddhist terms, as well as information about the four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and much more. In March of 2009, Dr. Berzin attended the Khyentse Foundation Translation Conference, “Translating the Words of the Buddha,” in Bir, India.

From my 28 years of experience of translating for Lamas and teaching Buddhism in more than 300 universities and Buddhist centers in over 70 countries, I have seen that the major source of confusion and misunderstanding about Buddhism has been imprecise and misleading translation terms. The confusion has become compounded when misleading English terms have been translated into other Western and colloquial Asian languages.

Another serious problem is that many translators translate the same Tibetan terms differently. It is virtually impossible to get all translators and teachers to agree on one set of translation terms. It is also an extremely difficult task to compile all the variant translations of each technical term used by all authors in all Western and colloquial Asian languages. The only feasible solution is to provide in translations and books the original Tibetan and, in some cases Sanskrit, for the main technical terms, as I have done on my website.


To meet this need, I have developed a comprehensive system of translation terms that correspond to their Tibetan definitions. The [Khyentse Foundation] grant will help in adding more references. It will also help to finance the writing of computer programs to extend the data management system that generates the website to enable it to handle larger amounts of data for larger glossary files.

Read more…


A Spiritual Autobiography

Brought to Light
by Heidi Nevin

Heidi with her daughter, Clara Choetso.



Heidi Nevin received a Khyentse Foundation grant to translate the spiritual autobiography of Kathok Khenpo Ngawang Palzang (Khenpo Ngagchung), with the blessings of her lama , Chatral Rinpoche. Heidi studied Tibetan language in Darjeeling, India from 1996-8 and remained in India and Nepal following Chatral Rinpoche until 2003. Later, she taught Tibetan in the San Francisco Bay Area for two years and worked as a translator for the Jnanasukha Foundation. She and her husband Tsultrim and their daughter Clara Choemtso, who is 2 years old, live in Corvallis, Oregon.


When Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche gave me his blessing to translate his root guru’s autobiography into English, he warned that the text “consists entirely of essential spiritual instructions (gdams ngag) and therefore must be translated without a single error or else everyone's sacred commitments will be impaired.” He also cautioned against mistaking the many personal and place names mentioned throughout this magnificent work. With these grave risks in the forefront of my mind, I am proceeding with utmost care to ensure an accurate, high-quality translation.

The aim of this project is to present to the English-speaking world a translation of the astonishing spiritual autobiography of one of the greatest Nyingma masters in recent history, Kathok Khenpo Ngawang Palzang (1879-1941). Also known as Khenpo Ngagchung, his life story reveals the full glory of the Nyingma school in general and the Longchen Nyingtik tradition in particular. Its translation will represent a significant contribution to the authentic transmission of Tibetan Buddhism to the West. 

Khenpo Ngagchung’s pithy advice to disciples and his own exemplary life will be a tremendous source of blessing and inspiration for anyone who aspires to follow an authentic teacher and apply him or herself correctly to the path of Dharma practice. Khenpo Ngagchung portrays every facet of a disciple’s experience, from seeking and following a genuine master to the subtle meditation experiences of a highly realized practitioner. 

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Khyentse Foundation for helping to fund this project. This generous support brings me closer to realizing my goal of offering the complete translation to the English-speaking world. I sincerely pray that all who form a connection to this precious text may draw inspiration from the sublime life of Khenpo Ngagchung and follow in his footsteps on the path to perfect enlightenment. 

May it be auspicious!


The Making of a Scholar
By Nisheeta Jagtiani


Nisheeta with HH the Dalai Lama. 

Nisheeta Jagtiani received a Khyentse Foundation scholarship in 2008, and it was renewed in 2009.  Nisheeeta is studying Tibetan language and pursuing Buddhist studies at the College of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, Dharamsala. Her goal is to teach Buddhist studies at the university level in India. Here is her report on her progress until December 2008.

Two things inspire me the most; first, being able to understand the Dalai Lama when he teaches in Tibetan. Second, noticing the amount of progress achieved due to working hard.


I feel extremely fortunate to have received this scholarship by Khyentse Foundation in order to study Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan is very sacred. It was created for the purpose of establishing a complete and thorough system of Buddhist education in Tibet, just as Sanskrit was the language of Dharma in India.


Being an Indian, I feel even more enthusiastic and thrilled to study this language because the Tibetans have been able to preserve a very rich tradition that we Indians have unfortunately lost. I rejoice at the efforts made by the exiled Tibetan community in India. They have worked and continue to work very hard to preserve the Buddha Dharma.


Each semester at Sarah College has been quite significant for me. In 2008, I focused mainly on reading Tibetan. I picked up books by the Dalai Lama, pechas [Tibetan books], and with the help of a dictionary, tried to read them all the time. After five months of working on this, I was able to read Tibetan Buddhist texts quite well.  I was fortunate to attend His Holiness's teachings Dharamsala from August to October of 2008 and at Sarnath in January of 2009 where I was able to understand his teachings without a translator for the first time.


Read more…











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THE COMMUNIQUÉ is a publication of Khyentse Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2001 to establish a system of patronage that supports institutions and
individuals engaged in the study and practice of the Buddha’s vision of wisdom and compassion.