KF COMMUNIQUÉ                   Work as Practice
                                                                                                               A publication of Khyentse Foundation   August, 2012
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In This Issue 
Work as Practice  

In this issue we are pleased to share a sadhana composed by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and made available here for the first time. The subject of the sadhana, titled "Work as Practice," is karma yoga. Rinpoche shows that  when we apply a Buddhist view to everyday activities, we can transform them into more than just mundane routines. 

Khyentse Foundation is made up of a hard-working volunteer corps, from investment bankers to designers, from translators to database managers, and of course the members of the Khyentse Foundation board and committees, who have spent the last decade working tirelessly to bring Rinpoche's vision into reality. Because of all their contributions, the Foundation is able to maintain phenomenally low overhead costs, while providing effective and highly targeted support to institutions and individuals engaged in the practice and study of Buddhism. We feature a volunteer in each issue; this month, meet Chou Su-ching from Taiwan. 

In the fifteenth installment of the Great Patron Series, we introduce Thangtong Gyalpo, a larger-than-life figure who is both historical and legendary.

For news about grant activity, visit the KF web site and our Facebook page.
You can leave comments on the web site. We welcome your stories of work as practice.

Banner Photos: Ashoka's Lion; Rinpoche, working tirelessly for the dharma, by Sandra Scales; a volunteer at Sea to Sky Retreat Center; a chain link from one of Thangtong Gyalpo's bridges by Atsuki Nakagami; a bridge in Bhutan built by Thangtong Gyalpo, Noa Jones; a fresco of the Mahasiddha by Atsuki Nakagami.

"Visualize in front of you a vajra made of meteoric iron. At its center is Thangtong Gyalpo, 900 years old, very beautiful, with red rosy cheeks, dark red, healthy, with a big belly and muscles. But to symbolize the nonduality of youth and age he should have white hair, mustache and beard, a long white beard. He is the one who built Tibet’s bridges and also created the Tibetan operas that we know."
— Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche


Coming soon —Rinpoche's third feature film
Postproduction on Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's third feature film Vara: A Blessing, was recently completed in Taiwan. A release date has not yet been announced. For all things Vara, including news, interviews, and amazing photos, visit the film’s website: www.varathemovie.com.

A truly international project, Vara was filmed in Sri Lanka featuring a mostly Indian cast, including rising Bollywood star Shahana Goswami as Lila, the film's central character. Vara brought together an impressive array of filmmakers from around the world, including award-winning American cinematographer Bradford Young, renowned Hong Kong-based film editor William Chang, and London-based composer Nitin Sawhney.

Set in an Indian village that has not yet caught up to the modern world, Vara seamlessly intertwines vivid dream worlds of Hindu gods, classical bharatanatyam dance, and music. It's a timeless story of love and devotion.
Vara Volunteers
Rinpoche is very focused on engaging with young Buddhists, guiding the next generation of Buddhist practitioners by relating to them in a uniquely informal manner. Five volunteers on Vara were second-generation students of Rinpoche’s, and a number of them were offered to Rinpoche as “free labor”...Read More...

Visit the new web site for the film.
Follow Vara on Facebook and Twitter 
Rinpoche is Tweeting his thoughts about film and filmmaking.
Photo of actress Shahana Goswami by Pawo Choyning Dorji

Buchen (Manipa) of the Pin Valley, Spiti, July 2012. Photo by Atsuki Nakagami.  


From Cangioli Che, KF Executive Director

Did you know: 
  • Khyentse Foundation in India recently held a medical camp in Chauntra that provided free consultations and medicines to more than 600 patients from nearby villages. 
  • KF recently initiated an effort to explore the cross-translation of the Tibetan Kangyur and the Chinese Tripitaka.
  • Since 2006, KF has been sponsoring English language classes for monks at Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute in Chauntra, Himachal Pradesh, India. 
  • KF supports six Buddhist schools in rural Cambodia.
  • The KF Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies has been presented to 20 students in 10 universities around the world.
All of these stories have been posted on our web site in the past couple of months. But if you are like me, and don’t have the habit of surfing the Internet, you may have missed quite a few exciting developments and interesting projects that Khyentse Foundation is supporting with your donations. 
You don’t have to wait for the KF Communiqué to stay in touch. I encourage you to bookmark www.khyentsefoundation.org and visit our site regularly. You’ll find a new posting about every
two weeks.

Karma yoga, the "discipline of action," is a path of selfless, altruistic service.

Sea to Sky Retreat Centre, a secluded 40-acre site with facilities for individual and group retreats in the spectacular coastal mountains of British Columbia, is largely staffed by a small team of resident volunteers who help to operate the centre in a sustainable manner.

A grant from Khyentse Foundation allows SSRC to give the volunteers a small monthly allowance in addition to their room and board.
For information about SSRC, and to find out how to volunteer, go to siddharthasintent.org and click Centres > Retreat Centres.

"For those who have the time and don't mind cloudy weather, I encourage you to consider a period of volunteering at Sea to Sky Retreat Centre as a way of connecting with the blessings of the Khyentse lineage. Even for those who are not so-called Buddhists, benefit will come from a period of residence in a place that encourages a simplified lifestyle and a reduced demand on the environment. As society becomes more materialistic, the need increases for wilderness sanctuaries of quiet and contemplation. Whatever can be done to support such sanctuaries is an act of compassion with great merit."
—Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Volunteers Working at SSRC

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, who currently heads this mission to translate the words of the Buddha, chose the name "84000" for the translation of the Kangyur and Tengyur because the Buddha was said to have taught in 84000 ways. There are almost as many ways that one can support the sharing of the Buddha's words. Find out more at www.84000.co.


The 2012 Khyentse Foundation board of directors meeting will be held at the end of October in Bodhgaya, India. As we report on KF’s 10th year of operations and continue to plan for the future of Khyentse Foundation, we hope that our gathering in this special location will be both inspirational and auspicious.

The KF meeting will be followed by a meeting of 84000, and a 10-day veneration and offering to the sixteen Arhats and aspirations. In addition, as we enter our second decade, Rinpoche will be doing a mahakala puja for Khyentse Foundation in November to thank the dharmapalas for KF’s success and ongoing accomplishments.

Look for a report on the meeting in the next issue of the Communiqué.

Photo of Mahabodhi Temple by Pawo Choyning Dorji.


If you are not receiving the Communiqué directly from Khyentse Foundation, please sign up on the
Khyentse Mandala Mailing List. If you have moved, changed your address, or any other contact details have changed, be sure to update your information.
The Matching Funds Program doubles all regular monthly donations through the generosity of a group of matching donors. Signing up for automatic monthly contributions is the best way for you to connect with and support Khyentse Foundation. If you are not yet a monthly donor, please consider it. It's easy to sign up.


Khyentse Foundation’s logo is Ashoka’s lion. King Ashoka reigned during the Mauryan Empire (3rd century B.C.), one of Buddhism’s golden eras. His trademark was the pillars inscribed with Buddhist teachings that he erected throughout his kingdom.
Thank you for reading.
Thangtong Gyalpo:
Mahasiddha and Builder of Bridges

by Charmaine Oakley

The 14th-century mahasiddha Thangtong Gyalpo was a busy man. His status in Tibetan and Bhutanese culture is unparalleled: He was a master of the highest Vajrayana teachings, in addition to displaying unparalleled skill as an architect, blacksmith, civil engineer, artist, writer of operas, and dispeller of epidemics. He is both a legend and a historical figure. Some records say that he was born in 1385 and instantly attained the age of 60 years. Most sources agree that he died when he was 125, having perfected secrets of longevity that practitioners can attain through supplication and prayer.

Rinpoche said in a recent teaching that Thangtong Gyalpo lived to be 900 years old, “but this 900 years old is very relative. Thangtong Gyalpo, depicted as an old man, with a white beard, nice white hair, really big, muscle-y, not frail — all of this has tendrel. Being a healthy old man brings the meaning of long life.  The white beard means wise. So by visualizing, praying, and supplicating, it creates this tendrel for the practitioner to receive this blessing of longevity.” 
Born in Ölpa Lhartse in upper Tsang, Tibet, the historical figure Thangtong was a unique mahasiddha both because of his tremendous realization and his engineering accomplishments. He established incredible engineering marvels under challenging circumstances and over difficult terrain. Imagine a larger-than-life man like John Henry (an American legend who made railway tunnels through mountains with his hammer and huge forearms faster than steam-powered machines) combined with the wisdom of Padmasambhava, sitting astride a horse that he’d ride into shrine rooms. He became known as "the madman of the empty land." In some Tibetan texts, he is reported to have been seen feasting just as easily on a long-dead and rotting horse as on delicacies...Read More.

Khyentse Foundation is staffed by volunteers, many of whom also work full time and have family and other obligations. Although they don’t build iron bridges, through their tireless work in fulfilling Rinpoche's vision, these KF volunteers are helping build connections for people to study and practice the authentic Buddhadharma.

Who is this? Click Read More to find out. Photo by Pawo Choyning Dorji
A Sadhana Composed by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Work as Practice: Applying the Three Supreme Methods

While in retreat at Sea to Sky Retreat Center in the summer of 2005, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche composed a sadhana for those who offer their work as practice. There is a worldwide community of people who volunteer their services to accomplish Rinpoche's expansive vision to benefit all. Some wash dishes, some oversee large investment funds, some offer counseling services, and all work many hours without pay. There are thousands of ways to offer work as practice. Khyentse Foundation exists because of its 100+ volunteers. Rinpoche teaches that applying the Three Supreme Methods helps enhance the merit of these good deeds.

Here is an excerpt from the sadhana:
If one approaches an offering of service with basic good intention, then one accumulates merit. But when three wholesome attitudes 
known as the Three Supreme Methods are genuinely applied, an outwardly mundane task can even become a paramita.

To apply the Supreme Methods begin by refining your intention, thinking you will perform the work for the sake of all sentient beings. Remember you are not making an offering of service to bolster your self-gratification, recognition, or mileage points. As Shantideva said, look upon yourself as a utensil and think,

I have offered my body to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
May I be a guard for those who are protectorless,
A guide for those who journey on the road.
For those who wish to go across the water
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.

The complete sadhana is available for download. We are grateful to Rinpoche for offering this precious instruction. May the Buddha's wisdom and compassion benefit all.

Working with Sangha

Thoughts on Work as Practice 

We interviewed several volunteers about the joys and pitfalls of working with sangha. Here’s what two of them had to say.

Volunteering for dharma activities or in dharma environments is fulfilling in many ways. It also has many challenges. According to the volunteers we spoke to, those challenges are actually opportunities. Nicole, who provides service for lamas during retreats at a center in France, finds the experience invaluable. "It's amazing what comes up when you are tired and busy. Even when you are working with sangha, you have some moments where you really see what is left of your practice, your compassion, your patience."

Arne Schelling, KF country representative for Germany and Siddhartha’s Intent instructor, also shared his thoughts: "Work is practice, of course. There is nothing more annoying than being confused and emotional and then having to deal with other confused and emotional people. The degree of my annoyance is the perfect marker for the possible potential for improvement, or in other words the need to train my own mind. No less difficult though. Good old habits, also known as hopes and fears, tend to be tricky. We often find ourselves trying to blame the other person. But I think Gandhi was right when he said ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’ Trying to change the others is never an option. All the struggle with my co-workers along the way is sometimes actually the greatest trigger to step out of my ego-centered comfort zone. Isn't that maybe far more important than the actual work that I was about to do?"
Symposium on Cross-Cultural Transmission of Tibetan Texts: Theories and Practices of Translation

Hosted by the Khyentse Center for Tibetan Buddhist Textual Scholarship at Hamburg University
Prof. Emeritus Dr. David Seyfort Ruegg (University of London)

Report by Roland Walter, KF Board Member

Organized and hosted by Prof. Dorji Wangchuck, head of the Khyentse Center for Tibetan Buddhist Textual Scholarship at the University of Hamburg, the Symposium on Cross-Cultural Transmission of Buddhist Texts was probably the most important event in the Center´s still young history. Founded in January 2011, the Center is supported by a grant from Khyentse Foundation.

Twenty-five participants and speakers from the world´s important places of research and studies of Buddhist texts assembled in July to exchange and discuss their contributions. Among them were Prof. Emeritus Dr. David Seyfort Ruegg (University of London), Prof. Dr. Leonard Van der Kujp (Harvard University), Prof. Dr. Akira Saito (University of Tokyo), and participants from the Universities of Lausanne/Sorbonne Paris, Leyden, Oxford, Naples, Michigan, Cornell, Hong Kong, Beijing, Vienna, Marburg, Munich, and Hamburg.

Prof. Wangchuck expressed the goal of the symposium as follows:

“… to allow scholars dealing with various Buddhist traditions to make a concerted effort in reflecting on the problems and prospects of translation, transmission and reception of Buddhist texts across various cultures in the past and present and thereby make valuable and lasting contributions to the study of Buddhist intellectual history and culture.”  ...READ MORE
First Person:
No Amount Is Too Small
We love to hear from our friends and supporters about their decision to become regular contributors to the matching funds program. All monthly contributions are automatically doubled through the program, thanks to a group of anonymous matching funders. In many ways, the matching fund program is the lifeblood of Khyentse Foundation. 

By Pon Peng
I got to know my dharma brother C.H. Tsai last September at work. He gave me the book What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, which introduced me to Tibetan Buddhism and taught me how to be a real Buddhist. Then I read more of Rinpoche’s books and listened to Rinpoche’s MP3 teachings on Words of My Perfect Teacher. Then at Losar this year, I made the aspiration to purify my past karmic debt. I originally wanted to sponsor one more pages of the “84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha” project. After careful consideration of my income, it seemed too much of a burden. Then I saw another opportunity—the Matching Funds Program.

Because of the Matching Funds Program, my monthly donation of US$15 is doubled to become US$30! If these anonymous monthly donors did not make this aspiration and let us know, I would probably think that US$15 is too small an amount and I just would not think of donating. Thanks to their alert, more people will be encouraged to contribute their small effort. May all sentient beings have enough to eat and to wear, and then make the aspiration toward goodness and good deeds. May Khyentse Rinpoche and my guru Woser Rinpoche have good health, and accomplish th
eir dharma activities.
If you would like to share your matching funds story, please send it to us. We love to hear what inspired you to join and how it makes you feel to be part of the KF ocean of activity. And if you have not joined the Matching Funds Program, please do! Every dollar you donate will be matched, doubling your contribution.
KF Supports Education Initiative in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Lhomon Education Focuses on Teacher Training and Alternative Curriculum Development

Lhomon Education (LME) is a project of the Lhomon Society, a registered civil society organization in the Kingdom of Bhutan. LME is dedicated to creating education alternatives for this fast-developing nation. In July, LME hosted 45 Bhutanese educators for a 10-day curriculum development workshop at Paro College of Education. Participating teachers came from a variety of educational institutions — nunneries and monasteries, government schools, the Ministry of Labor's vocational training program and nongovernmental organizations. Teachers were given meditation instruction, active learning strategies, and other skills training by a team of education experts from around the world. Over the 10 days, they were guided to use what they had learned to create sample integrated lesson plans. Each group uploaded their presentation on the LME web site.

In January, 2013, LME will host a meditation retreat for Bhutanese teachers in Samdrup Jongkhar, eastern Bhutan. With the support of Helvetas, they have also produced an educational video, Zero Waste Bhutan: The Choice is Ours, the first in a series of short films that will be distributed free of charge with accompanying teachers' guides.

LME is working with a team of khenpos and lamas to create twelve dharma education units, which will be available on line for teachers everywhere. Beginning in February, 2013, these units will be taught to the monks at Chökyi Gyatso Institute. For more information, visit the LME web site and the Blog.
A Birthday Gift for the Karmapa 

On the occasion of HH the Karmapa's 29th birthday, a couple in Hong Kong made a contribution of US$50,000 to 84000 in his name, making His Holiness one of 108 Founding Sponsors of the organization.
When asked why they chose to make such a generous contribution in His Holiness' name, Dr. Daniel Chui and Dr. Janet Hui replied, "We love 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha; we love His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje; we love our teachers (especially Khenpo Jurgme Tsultrim Rinpoche), our local [Hong Kong] Karma Kagyu Buddhist Centre, our fellow Dharma students, and all sentient beings, so what better way to create an upward spiral of auspiciousness and good karma than naming His Holiness a Founding Sponsor of 84000 and having all merit returned to all beings? May the wheel of the Dharma be turned endlessly."
Other sanghas have been working on similar donations in the names of their gurus to this most auspicious endeavor. 84000 is a global nonprofit initiative that aims to preserve the vast riches of the Buddha's teachings through translation into modern languages, and dissemination through digital technology. 84000 aims to make the collected words of the Buddha--the Kangyur (70,000 pages)--available within 25 years and treatises on the words of the Buddha--the Tengyur (161,800 pages)- within a hundred years. To date, about 8,000 pages (more than 10% of the Kangyur) are being translated. The first eight completed translations are now available without charge in the online reading room.
The Hong Kong Karma Kagyu sangha.
Meet Chou Su-ching of Taiwan

A Versatile Volunteer

In each issue of the Communiqué, we introduce a member of our volunteer team—country representatives, project coordinators, advisors, board and committee members, and members of the executive office.

Chou Su-ching became the KF Taiwan representative in 2009 after serving for years as president of Siddhartha’s Intent Taiwan. A long-time student of Rinpoche, Su-ching, among her many duties, coordinates the all-important work of translating the KF Communiqués, annual reports, and other communications into Chinese, forming a major bridge in our contact with Chinese-speaking communities worldwide.
Cangioli Che, executive director of Khyentse Foundation, who works closely with Su-Ching through Skype, calls her “an efficient coordinator, a capable translator, a pleasant colleague, and a caring vajra sister.”
Su-ching writes, “Several Taiwanese volunteers contribute their efforts to the Chinese translation of the KF Communiqué. Joanne Liao, Jane Huang, Florence Lee, and Sherry Lin help with the initial translation, which is then proofread by Vera Ho. Jimmy Chen and Peter Hu are responsible for the Chinese web page and sending the electronic newsletter.
“Some of us volunteers have full-time jobs. One volunteer is a mother who has two children to look after; one is a recent graduate who has just started working on her new job. Although we are busy, we all want to contribute ourselves to Rinpoche’s activities, which benefit all sentient beings. So we squeeze out time from our lives --- reducing a little working time, sacrificing some family time and leisure time. We form a pleasant work net, because we wish to share the Chinese Communiqués rapidly and properly.
“I think that working for Khyentse Foundation is a practice, and it is a way to serve our guru as well. May what we do become the cause for the liberation of all sentient beings.” 
Because Buddha’s wisdom and compassion benefit all.

P.O. Box 156648 | San Francisco, CA 94115 | phone: 415.788.8048 fax: 415.534.0819
[email protected] | www.khyentsefoundation.org

THE COMMUNIQUÉ is a publication of Khyentse Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2001 to build a system of patronage to support all traditions of Buddhist study and practice.


Address postal inquiries to:
Khyentse Foundation
PO. Box 156648
San Francisco, CA 94115
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