A Publication of  Khyentse Foundation  |  AUGUST 2013

KF COMMUNIQUÉ  |   Academia 
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Academia: A solid foundation for the future of Buddhism

This issue of the Communiqué focuses on academia. It's filled with the latest news, new media, articles, updates, and more including:

Banner Images: Khyentse Foundation's logo, the Ashoka pillar; Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in Mexico, June, 2013 (photo by Emily Avery Crow); University of California at Berkeley library; Award for Excellence winner Sunisa Charoenpakdee at the University of Sydney with KF representative Chantal Gebbe and department chair Mark Allon, May, 2013; "A Flourish of Activity: Ashoka Splatter," a painting by Julie Adler donated to the foundation for auction; the University of Vienna campus; Rinpoche's seat at the Halifax, NS teaching, June, 2013.
To our donors,
As you read the Communiqué, one thing should be clear: You did this. You made all of this incredible Buddhist patronage of academia happen. We rely entirely on our sponsors, the IMS patrons, and all of our friends who have signed up as monthly donors to create this ocean of merit, so thank you again and again.
Please note that we recently renamed the Monthly Donor Program — it is now called Friends of Manjushri. If you are already a monthly donor, you are now a Friend of Manjushri. Nothing changes except the name. All of your monthly contributions are still matched, dollar for dollar.
To become a monthly donor, please sign up online or contact your country representative for instructions. As Rinpoche said, "Even if Khyentse Foundation becomes a multi-billion-dollar foundation, I hope that people still consider giving more. And I hope people never think that contributions of one cent are not worth it."

Of course, KF is not quite there yet, but even one cent adds to this great ocean of merit.

With great appreciation,

The KF Team


Khyentse Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of the Khyentse Foundation Award for Outstanding Dissertations in Buddhist Studies. The $5,000 prize will be awarded every two years to an outstanding PhD dissertation in the field of Buddhist studies written in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan during the previous two academic years. The dissertation must be based on original research in the relevant primary language or languages, and it should significantly advance our understanding of the subject or Buddhist scriptures studied. Accredited institutions that offer PhD programs in Buddhist studies or religious studies in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are invited to nominate one dissertation that was completed during the academic year 2011–12 or 2012–13.

(Hong Kong) -- In 2012, the University of Hong Kong Centre for Buddhist Studies produced two winners of the Khyentse Foundation Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies, Ms. Yoo Hee Sung (pictured left) and Mr. Scott Anthony Robert. Having earned the highest average scores in their foundation courses, both graduate students received certificates in recognition of their achievements at the Arts Faculty Prize Presentation Ceremony last November. In 2011 the KF award was given to Venerable Karmananda, a Buddhist monk born in Bangladesh, after he graduated from the same master’s degree program at HKU.


(Sydney, Australia) -- This year Khyentse Foundation acknowledges a talented and inspiring young woman studying in Australia. Ms. Sunisa Charoenpakdee received the Khyentse Foundation Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies at the University of Sydney on May 2, 2013, for her outstanding PhD thesis, which examines the complex issues around the validity of Thai bhikkhunī ordination. Her thesis is an important contribution to the scholarship on Thai female monasticism.

Sunisa grew up in a Buddhist family in Thailand, but it wasn't until she became an adult that she really embraced the dharma. For Sunisa, her thesis is not purely an academic exercise — it addresses an issue in Thai society that she feels deserves more attention. Scholarship on Thai bhikkhunī ordination will help draw attention to the issue and will also give it credibility. Sunisa sees the dispute about the authenticity of women's ordination as being both a social and a historical problem. Her academic training allows her to address the issues from an academic perspective, not just a social or political perspective, and to delve deeply into the Pali Cannon and Bhikkhunī Vinaya to present the historical evidence.

Sunisa Charoenpakdee at the University of Sydney with KF representative Chantal Gebbe and department chair Mark Allon, May, 2013
To help you keep up with the expanding scope of KF activities, we post regular updates on our website to keep you informed about the people and projects that you help support.Have you read these recent posts? Check back often for the latest news.

The twelfth annual KF board of directors meeting took place at Sea to Sky Retreat Center in the rain forest of British Columbia, Canada. Board members and advisors met with Rinpoche to discuss plans for the next 10 years. These rare opportunities to meet in person are the inspiration for the following year of work. The intense planning and meticulous reporting by our dedicated team of volunteers are what keep Khyentse Foundation strong. With this collaborative energy, the foundation is able to continually carry out groundbreaking new projects that support dharma practice and study across all lineages and traditions of Buddhism around the world.

Listen to Rinpoche saying a few words on merit at the 2013 board meeting

Cangioli Che 陳季佩, Chair
Dr. Sydney Jay, Research Director
Wyatt Arnold
Gregory Forgues
Steven Goodman
Anja Hartmann
Florence Koh 許功化
Isaiah Seret
Roland Walter

See a complete KF team list on the web site.
Siddhartha's Intent


     AND THEN...

The next major publication from Khyentse Foundation will be the 2013 KF Yearbook including the Annual Report, coming in April. Until then, we will send brief updates on individual projects. What would you like to know more about? In the meantime, check the KF website and join our Facebook group for news and updates on activities.

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.

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. Below is a portrait of King Ashoka by Michelle LaPorte, which she painted for Khyentse Foundation as part of the art auction. There were many wonderful submissions, and Rinpoche also donated two portraits on canvas board, which were auctioned off in Vancouver and Los Angeles. Six of the original 12 pieces are still available for sale. We will be featuring them on our web site.

"Our only mission is to preserve and protect the dharma.

Thank you for reading.
Top: Portrait of King Ashoka by Michelle LaPorte (2012). Illustration board with paper, ink, acrylic, and gold enamel. Above: Khyentse Rinpoche by Ven. Balangoda Manjusri. 

Investing in Academia
"We don't all have to be rocket scientists, but we can certainly benefit from those who are." —Peter Skilling

If the task of protecting and preserving all traditions of Buddhist study and practice for generations to come rested on your shoulders, what would you do? What methods would you use and in which areas would you invest your time, energy, and resources?

As one of its initial five prioritized projects, Khyentse Foundation has been investing in academic studies at universities around the world for over a decade. KF has now fostered working relationships with top institutions through a number of targeted grants, scholarships, and partnerships. KF Awards for Excellence are awarded to students at 10 universities, from the University of Pennsylvania to the University of Hong Kong to Sydney University, and a new dissertation award has just been announced. We are also supporting the next generation of translators through sponsorship programs in Asia and Europe.

The most outstanding and ambitious undertaking to date has been the establishment of positions for professors of Buddhism at major universities in the United States, Europe, and Asia. When inaugurating
the Khyentse Chair of Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley, Rinpoche said that with this advancement, he felt that he was building the equivalent to one hundred monasteries. KF’s support of the university was a turning point for the department. which has continued to flourish. According to UC Berkeley Professor Robert Sharf, “These endowments create stability in the transmission of knowledge across generations.”

However, according to KF advisor Professor Peter Skilling, “There is a crisis in academia, especially in the humanities.”
Top: Rinpoche at Pema Osel Ling in 2011, by John Solomon. Above: Gene Smith and Peter Skilling arrive in Kengtung, Shan State, Burma, early 1990s.
Watch the video made in 2007 at the inauguration 
of the Khyentse Chair of Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley. Still inspiring after all these years.

Making History at the Khyentse Center at the University of Hamburg 


Watch this short video about the Khyentse Center, featuring Professor Wangchuk in Hamburg.
(Hamburg, Germany) -- In January 2011, Prof. Dr. Dorji Wangchuk established the Khyentse Center for Tibetan Buddhist Textual Scholarship in the Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, Asia-Africa Institute, University of Hamburg. Supported by a grant from the Khyentse Foundation, the center is devoted to scholarly investigation of Tibetan texts, primarily Buddhist.

KF Executive Director Cangioli Che said that the Khyentse Center is exactly the kind of effort that the foundation wishes to support. “Very few people are focusing on such in-depth study of the texts in their original languages. While there is increasing support for exploration of basic Buddhist concepts such as mindfulness, often the objective is to make people feel good or to reduce stress, and it is often divorced from the essential Buddhist view of the four seals. Of course, mindfulness provides many positive side effects but the present day discourse is not necessarily tied to the view of emptiness. It is so important that we support rigorous academic religious studies so that the wisdom tradition can be preserved in its entirety."
Khyentse Foundation Meets University of Sydney Half Way

One matching sponsor could create a key position in the Department of Buddhist Studies
(Sydney, Australia) -- In 2011, the University of Sydney faced a critical funding situation in the Department of Buddhist Studies. Support was running out for an important faculty position: Lecturer in South Asian and Indo-Tibetan studies. KF’s Academic Development Committee realized that a more permanent visiting professorship (or an endowed chair or faculty position) would be the key to maintaining and strengthening the program, which could in turn benefit Buddhist Studies programs in the entire region. The University of Sydney has long been identified as a center of excellence, offering a range of Buddhist Studies programs, including Pali and Sanskrit, the two major Buddhist languages in the Australasian region.

The annual cost of supporting an academic lecturer at the University of Sydney would be at least A$120,000 (US$110,000). In 2011, Khyentse Foundation pledged to fund 50% of the faculty position for 3 to 5 years, as long as matching fund partners from the university or the community could be found. We are happy to report that a foundation in Australia has pledged up to $20,000 per year for 3 years. If we can find another sponsor to fund the remaining 33% (A$40,000) per year, this faculty position can finally be filled.   

For more information about supporting this position at the University of Sydney, please contact Sydney Jay: [email protected]
Khyentse Chair at UC Berkeley 

Jacob Dalton officially appointed to Khyentse Chair in his fourth year at Berkeley

Professor Jacob Dalton (back row, fifth from right) with students and friends on the annual Buddhist Studies Hike, Marin County. Dalton teaches Buddhist Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. His appointment was made possible through the establishment of the Khyentse Chair in Tibetan Buddhist Studies in 2006.

By Jacob Dalton

(Berkeley, California) -- With each passing year, the Buddhist Studies program here at Berkeley has been growing. In September, Mark Blum will join our faculty as the Shinjo Ito Professor in Japanese Buddhism. Blum is already a senior professor at SUNY Albany with particular expertise in the history of Pure Land Buddhism. His arrival will significantly expand our offerings in the area of Japanese Buddhism. Our current student cohort continues to grow. In recent years we have enjoyed great success in luring top 
young scholars to our program. At present we have 10 Ph.D. students, with another starting in August.

These developments have led to some felicitous connections between our own training program and the 84000 initiative to translate the Kangyur; several of our students are now translating sutras or tantras for the project.  Increasing numbers of students are coming to work on tantric Buddhism in particular, thanks to the combined interests of our faculty.  In March we hosted a ten-day workshop on Hevajra ritual practice, led by Professor Harunaga Isaacson of the University of Hamburg.  

KF Launches Groundbreaking Professorship at ELTE in Hungary

KF survey finds that Eastern Europe is ripe for a Buddhist Studies program to flourish
(Budapest, Hungary) -- Khyentse Foundation has made a commitment to fund Buddhist Studies programs at the Institute of East Asian Studies at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest, Hungary. With this funding the university will establish an additional faculty position and offer more courses in Buddhism and Tibetan language to the university’s BA students. The new faculty member will also lead the development of an MA program in Buddhist Studies and coordinate the activities of their newly created Budapest Center of Buddhist Studies. KF has committed to supporting the additional faculty position for 1 year, with future funding to cover a 3-year pilot program if the initial year meets the objectives of the proposal.

The Center of Buddhist Studies at ELTE was established in 2012 to meet increasing demand for undergraduate and graduate studies in Tibetan Buddhism, but until now lacked the resources to develop its programs. According to the department’s Professor Imre Hamar, an internationally recognized expert in Chinese Buddhist commentaries, the time is ripe for supporting ELTE.
First Person:
Tibetan Studies in the Land of Khan
by Greg Forgues

Greg has been a student of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche since 1999. While living in Vietnam working as a manager for European investment projects, he began learning meditation in Burma and has since practiced under the guidance of Rinpoche. Greg is an instructor for Rinpoche’s Dharmadas training program. He has also been translating sutras for the 84000 project for the past 2 years. The father of two teenagers, Greg currently lives in Austria, where he is completing his PhD dissertation at the University of Vienna. He specializes in Sanskrit and Tibetan philosophical traditions.

(Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) -- In July of 2013, the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS) held its largest ever conference in the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar — the first time this seminar has taken place in Asia. For the past 6 years the IATS has been presided over by Charles Ramble from Paris, who at the end of the seminar handed over the presidency to Tsering Shakya. This week-long seminar consisted of nearly 100 panels, with more than 600 scholars presenting on topics ranging from Tibetan climate change to Dzogchen philosophy. The IATS is seen as a chance for scholars of Tibet to present their research to colleagues and to map the direction the field is taking.

As the main social event for this discipline, it is also a chance to rub shoulders with our favorite scholars. I myself had the rare opportunity to meet with eminent scholars of Tibetan history, language, culture, and religion, including Leonard Van der Kuijp from Harvard, Vesna Wallace and José Cabezón from Santa Barbara, Matthew Kapstein from Chicago, and Dorji Wangchuk from Hamburg, to name just a few.

Although I am currently writing my dissertation on Mipham’s interpretation of the Two Truths of Buddhist “philosophy” at the University of Vienna, I decided to present at the IATS my master’s degree research on ritual practices of Gesar. Interestingly, I later found out that Mongolians consider Genghis Khan to have been an incarnation of Gesar.
In addition to attending the IATS conference, Greg met with Dean M. Bayarsaikhan of the National University of Mongolia (NUM) and Orna Tsultem, a visiting professor at NUM sponsored by KF, to explore possible KF support for developing an interdisciplinary Buddhist Studies and research center at the university.

Above: Greg in Mongolia, 2013.
The Next Generation of Translators

Translation programs at Rangjung Yeshe Institute and the University of Vienna get a boost from KF

(Vienna, Austria & Boudanath, Nepal) -- This year KF will dramatically increase its support of translation efforts by contributing to two translator training programs, one in Vienna and one in Nepal. The Program in Buddhist Translation Studies (BTS) at the University of Vienna’s Institute of South Asian, Tibetan, and Buddhist Studies aims to improve the training of translators involved in Buddhist canonical studies in general and in the 84000 Translation Project in particular. The department’s Professor Klaus-Dieter Mathes says, “With a high degree of synergy, a Program in Buddhist Translation Studies fits well in the BA and MA programs that already exist in Vienna.” KF’s initial funding of 1 year for BTS will support translation skills seminars during the winter and spring for MA and PhD students, a summer seminar on Buddhist text translation into English, and joint seminars with UC Berkeley and the University of Hamburg. A full scholarship for a PhD student and funds to bring one khenpo to teach year-round are also included in the initial year of support.

Additionally, beginning in fall 2014, KF will support the establishment of Rangjung Yeshe Institute’s MA program in Translation, Textual Interpretation and Philology. The MA program will augment the basic Tibetan language course of study, increase offerings in Sanskrit, and add more advanced language and translation methodologies to ensure that translation efforts into English are compatible with academic style and rigor. The new program will expose students to international experts and thus benefit their Buddhist study efforts. RYI’s goal is to create a program capable of educating working translators while at the same time contributing to the current shared knowledge base of all Buddhist translators. KF’s initial funding will support an additional faculty scholar for 2 years and one visiting scholar per year. RYI will match KF’s support to carry the additional costs of administrative support and infrastructure required to run the 2-year MA program.
Meet Sydney Jay

Research Director of KF's Academic Development Committee

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.

Sydney Jay, a student of Rinpoche’s since 1998, is the co-director of Khyentse Foundation’s Leadership Training Program for khenpos and tulkus and the research director of KF’s Academic Development Committee. An expert in the field of business psychology and communication, Sydney came to the business world after 15 years as a practicing psychotherapist and several years of project leadership, consulting, and training in the public and nonprofit sectors. When Rinpoche first shared his vision for KF’s activities, Sydney was delighted that supporting Buddhist studies in universities was among his top priorities.

“I was just coming out of my PhD program at Berkeley and the entire domain of academic activities was deeply embedded in my thinking. I jumped at the chance to serve Rinpoche in a context where I felt I might have something unique to offer,” she says. “Rinpoche has said that it is a top priority to support the academic study of Buddhism because universities and professors have so much credibility in the Western world. This really touched me because I know firsthand how hard professors work at increasing knowledge in their fields.”

Because Buddha’s wisdom and compassion benefit all.

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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.


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