Reports from Brazil, Germany, and Australia.
Protect the World
A rap video about climate change made by The Siddhartha School students.
Lilliana Bowen takes part in The Siddhartha School's "Rap for Climate Change" song workshop. Photo by Eva
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - W.B. Yeats.
You may have seen them before, but the smiling faces of
School students and
classrooms in Sikkim and Ladakh never get old.
Siddhartha School Brochure
Deer Park Ecological Report
News & Bits
Above: The Siddhartha School Crest
CALL FOR HELP:
We are interested in hearing from you about any other Buddhist
education programs, from preschool to higher education. We would like
to compile a
database of like-minded institutions. If you have access to any lists
of Buddhist schools or individual contacts, please send them to Noa
CALL FOR HELP:
We Need Your Photos
We need your photos to build the KF photo archive. We are collecting
photos that relate to the Five
Projects. Maybe you have a great photo
Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute in India, or shots from The
Siddhartha School in Australia. Send them in! Maybe you are a
scholarship recipient and have images from your classroom. We'll take
them! Or perhaps you have a nice series of retreat photos. We would
love to have
them in our library! Photos of KF people and activities are scattered
around the globe, and we need to consolidate them. This archive will
supply photos for the website, the annual report, the KF Communiqué,
and other KF publications.
Please send us your high-resolution photos so that we can store them in
our new achieve. Along with your photos, we need the following
1. Photographer credit
2. Permission to use the photo
3. Names of the people in the photo
4. Location of the photo
5. Date of the photo
6. Description or suggested caption
7. Type of camera used, photo resolution
If you have hard copies and no means of digitizing, you may send
originals or negatives, which we'll scan and return. Even if you think
have your photos, please send them again so that we can be thorough as
we set up this archive. Send your photos, along with the necessary
to Yulia Sheynkman.
A number of Khyentse Foundation supporters have contacted us about
including the Foundation in their estate planning. We have explored a
planned giving options and can help you select the best method for your
particular situation. If you would like to include Khyentse Foundation
beneficiary in your will and estate planning, please contact Cangioli
The Foundation has offered Enki
Education teacher training manuals to educators in Australia, Brazil,
and Germany. Enki Education is a unique and innovative approach to
holistic education for both the classroom and home school. It offers
multicultural, arts-integrated education for children, as well as
conferences, discussion groups, and training programs for parents and
THE SHAMBHALA SCHOOL in Nova Scotia
was founded in 1994 by parents in the Shambhala sangha who wanted their
children's educational experience to reflect their values as Buddhist
practitioners. The approach to curriculum is based on meeting the needs
of the child, not just academically, but socially, emotionally,
physically, and spiritually. The school fosters an environment where
compassion and curiosity go hand in hand, and where each child is
recognized for his or her unique capabilities while learning to work
with others in the community. At the elementary level, the arts are
integrated into the curriculum in all subjects and a thematic approach,
based on cultures from around the world, gives the students an
expansive world view and an appreciation of the wisdom that unites all
cultures in their diverse forms.
In July 2007, as part of the continuing development of The Siddhartha
School (TSS), the TSS team hosted Jackie Mitchell, a Shambhala School
teacher and cofounder. Through the sponsorship of Khyentse Foundation,
Jackie led a three-day curriculum workshop attended by TSS curriculum
coordinators, teachers, and board members. She also met with Rinpoche
to discuss and clarify the relationship between the Shambhala School
and The Siddhartha School. Team leader and Program Director Eva Thomas
says that TSS's experience with Jackie Mitchell "was a huge help in
bringing the school to the next level of formulating policies, building
plans, and setting out the educational philosophy of the school."
Jackie has offered her ongoing support, primarily in the area of
KF Coordinator: Noa Jones
Deer Park Institute
Bir, Distt: Kangra,
Himachal Pradesh 176 077 India
Phone No: +91 - 1894 - 268 508
The Siddhartha School
Board of Directors
Eva and Simon Thomas
Phil Davis, Curriculum Coordinator
Shakti Bourke, Ashoka Film Coordinator
Sarah Mist, graphic design
Enki Education, Inc.
P.O. Box 2223
Providence, RI 02905
Phone (401) 228-7200
In the Next Issue:
Report from the annual Board of Directors'
meeting--exciting announcements about the Berkeley chair, the
translation conference, and moving into the future.
What's the best way to support Khyentse Foundation?
Join Our Matching Fund Program
Welcome to the July Communiqué
is a skill, emotional balance is a skill,
compassion and altruism are
and like any skill they need to be developed.
education is about."
- Matthieu Ricard
This issue of the Communiqué focuses on our Buddhist Education Programs, which support education models in countries
world. But education is not relegated to this program alone, it is a key element of all
five of Khyentse Foundation's
projects. The KF Monastic
Fund supports the traditional heritage of higher
Buddhist studies, training young scholars to become Buddhist teachers for the world. The Scholarship Fund enables
dedicated individuals to study and
practice the Dharma. The Publication
Fund supports the preservation, translation, and distribution of Buddhist texts.
And the Endowed
the academic study of Buddhism. May these programs help create a more compassionate and enlightened world.
Read on for highlights and updates.
Note: If the Communiqué print appears too small on your screen, please click the
link above and see it online.
Above: Pema Maya, Venerable Agacitta, Melitis Kwong, Jennifer Yo, Prashant
Varma, Kurt Schwalbe, and Nawang Gelek.
NEWS FROM DEER PARK INSTITUTE
Park Institute, located in Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India, is a
centre for the
study of classical Indian wisdom traditions. The centre is under the
auspices of Siddhartha's Intent India, a registered educational society
formed in March 2006 with a distinguished board of directors and
advisory board. The society obtained charitable and tax exempt status
2006 and was deeply honored to receive the patronage of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama. Khyentse Foundation provided the core financial support
operation of Deer Park.
The administrators, teachers, and students at Deer Park Institute are
cultivate, in small ways and large, the conditions that prevailed at
Nalanda University centuries ago. Nalanda was a place where students
all traditions of Indian thought to enjoy the opportunity to debate and
study philosophy, language, literature, poetry, economics, medicine,
arts. "Such conditions were favorable to bring about both relative and
ultimate realizations of reality," says Institute Director Prashant
"Similarly, the Rimé tradition, which flourished in Tibet, was a
renaissance movement that brought about studies of Buddhism with
freshness." Using these models, the Institute is developing
programs that explore all schools of Buddhism with origins in the Pali
Sanskrit Canon. "It's important to note," says Varma, "that the pursuit
in Nalanda was not driven much by career-oriented studies. There was an
ambition, a pride, yet that came out of a contemplative pursuit."
Park is not just rooted in the past; the Institute is making
notable progress with its progressive environmental initiatives. Many
Western students who have visited Bir are awed by the staggering beauty
Himalayan foothills and brokenhearted by the garbage-filled streams and
fields. Deer Park is taking a leadership role in the community, working
educate people about the environmental impact of their actions.
"We feel a great responsibility to both the land and the people," says
"We are now beginning to develop a number of programs in the areas of
ecology, traditional economy, and right livelihood." For more
download Deer Park's Ecology Report.
settlements like Bir are not integrated with the surrounding
communities, but Deer Park is taking steps to bridge the gap so that
the benefits of its programs can be shared by all. In addition to the
environmental initiatives, the Institute reaches out to its neighbors
in a number of ways, both formal and informal. "I think what is really
is our work with the local communities," says Varma. "We support the
Youth Buddhist Society from Uttar Pradesh by having their three interns
us on various issues, including teaching meditation to villagers,
running workshops for children on domestic violence, and supporting
New Deer Park Video
Past Articles About Deer
Vision for a
Two Personal Accounts of Life at Deer
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche had invited my partner, Marlow Brooks, to
Deer Park. In August 2006, when Marlow introduced me to Rinpoche at a
Leggett, California, he turned to me and asked, "Are you coming to
India too?" I hadn't been to India in over 10 years, but with his quick
invitation, and knowing Deer Park as a center for classical Indian
studies (a subject close to my heart), I said yes. When we arrived the
January, the terrific, dedicated administrators, Prashant and Jennifer,
with their Punjabi-rock 'n' roll-singing support crew, had arranged a
week-long arts festival. (continued...)
Our group of Deer Park Institute
students felt lost and alone. After a much delayed train ride, the
the train station swirled around us. Suddenly, the Deer Park Institute
drivers appeared, calm and confident. They immediately organized
group and had us rolling toward Bir. After a long ride in the
dark through unfamiliar territory, we pulled up to the Institute gates.
faces were everywhere. Prashant's first words to us endeared him
to me forever: "We have kept dinner hot for you."
I went to my beautiful, clean
room with its beautiful, clean toilet and slept very well. When I
walked out on the veranda the next morning, I felt I
had awakened into a dream. I looked out at the courtyard and up the
steps to a beautiful shrine hall framed by snow mountains.
flooded my mind. (continued...)
UPDATES FROM OTHER PROGRAMS
At Khyentse Foundation's inception, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche shared a
long-term goal of establishing international, nondenominational schools
children with curricula based on Buddhist principles. The Foundation
has identified a number of projects that are in alignment with
For several years, the Brazilian government has required presentation
of religions other than Christianity in the public schools. State
education are responsible for implementing this requirement, but
the ministries work with private entities to develop curricula and to
the special training for public school teachers. Chagdud Gonpa Brazil
has become the first non-Christian member of the Board of Religious
Education, which coordinates the activities of the private
entities for the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Ianina Munarski and
are the Buddhist representatives on the board, and they have made
useful contacts with municipal education officials.
The first trainings of public school teachers have taken place, and to
support these trainings, an outline of Buddhist curricula and teaching
methodology has been drafted. As it evolves, this training outline will
be refined and expanded:
To create teaching modules on basic Buddhism for public school teachers.
To train lamas and senior Buddhist practitioners to answer the
questions of school children whom they receive in their centers. Khadro
Ling in Río Grande do Sul already receives hundreds of school children
each year, and Odsal Ling in São Paulo can expect similar visits now
that its temple has been constructed.
use at Sítio Esperança (Hope Farm), a Chagdud Gonpa Brazil
educational and community project in the state of Minas Geráis.
Sítio, formerly a cement factory, was nicely renovated by the sangha
and currently is used for children's camps; for Projecto Florescer, an
agricultural training project run in collaboration with a Brazilian
organization for special needs children; and for after-school
enrichment programs. The original intention was to start a school, but
this proved too complicated as a first step. However, there is still
the aspiration to establish a school--either a completely Buddhist
school that leads to a shedra education in Brazil (Sítio is an
excellent location for this purpose) or a school for the community that
incorporates Buddhist values.
part of the curriculum for a independent, private school, perhaps
located in Porto Alegre. To establish such a school is the long-term
objective of Ianina Munarski, whose aspiration is to provide
high-quality education based on Buddhist principles at the fundamental,
medium, and superior levels--a Philosophic Academy. The methodology
will stimulate the interaction between the school and the community.
Since 2004, Doris Wolter of the KF team in Germany, as coordinated and overseen the teachers'
training for Buddhist religious
education in German schools for the German Buddhist Union.
In 2006 the GBU started a
program for teachers of ethics (a new school subject in Germany), and
non-teachers as well. The program invites
speakers from all the main Buddhist traditions in the spirit of
inter-Buddhist dialog. The next two weekends will be October 8, 2008 in
Dr. Alex Berzin and FJ Litsch on the "Four Noble Truths" and December 8
in Berlin with Alfred Weil and Yesche Regel on "Violence and Peace."
Doris will represent this project of GBU at a conference on "Buddhism and Ethics," during a panel on
"Buddhist Ethics and Young
People" in Bangkok in September 2008.
The German Buddhist Union will hold a conference on "Paths into the Future" in October 2008 for children, teenagers, and parents. The conference will offer
many events, such as meditation classes, clown classes for children, and seminars for parents
In 2005, Rinpoche
recommended that King Ashoka be used as one of the role models for the
School children's programs. Shakti Burke wrote a children's musical
based on the king's life with the idea of videoing the kids performing
They filmed and recorded the first song, "I Am the King Ashoka," during
a children's day in late 2005.
The second song, "Hatred Ceases," is also based on the life of Ashoka.
It was written in 2003, around the time of the U.S.-led invasion of
served as an inspiration. The verses are based on a booklet by
the Dalai Lama. Shakti compiled a "study guide" summarizing the Dalai
arguments, which in turn draw from Shantideva, and then asked the
students to write their own rap songs based on the material. A young
artist, Karuna Bajracharya, answered a notice in the Gentle Voice aimed
at young people who might like to get involved. Karuna, then 24 years
his own rap recording outfit. While visiting his father in Nepal,
Karuna studied Tibetan art at Sechen Monastery in Kathmandu. He had
his first rap album and has a second on the way. Karuna came to Byron
to meet Eva Thomas and Shakti and to attend Rinpoche's teaching in
In March 2007, Eva and
Shakti put on a Siddhartha's School children's day in Kyogle,
Karuna, to record "Hatred Ceases." Karuna brought with him professional
recording equipment and a great energy for working with young people.
younger kids put down vocal "soundscapes" that they invented
themselves, with Karuna's encouragement. The older kids paired up to
cover the verses.
They spent the morning learning, arranging, and rehearsing, and later
took turns recording. Wearing earphones that played a sample of Karuna
the soundtrack, they performed several takes of their lines with
complete professional concentration and commitment. "It was a fun and
experience," says Shakti.
Around the same time,
Shakti had met a community volunteer, Ron Way, at the local technology
(Kyogle CTC). Ron, who has 40 years of experience as a director and
producer in Australian film and television. Ron asked if could he come
workshop and do "some quiet filming." Ron's "quiet filming" turned into
the visuals for the "Hatred Ceases" video clip that he then edited to
Feature:THE CAUSE AND EFFECT SCHOOL
By Jakob Leschly
"I realize it is time to think seriously about future generations." -- Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse
In recent years, many Western
Buddhists have contributed to the establishment of modern schools in
traditional Buddhist cultures. However, so far not much has been done
to establish Buddhist schools in cultures where Buddhism is only now
root. Although the former initiatives will enable youth, mainly Asian,
to obtain an education according to Western standards - ultimately
them with autonomy in a commercially oriented world - Buddhist
education for children is conspicuously lacking, in both East and West.
A group of
Buddhist parents in New South Wales, Australia, is making a difference.
They are working to establish The Siddhartha School - a secular school
on Buddhist principles. Inspired by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, the
group feels a strong impetus to share the wealth of the Buddha's
heritage with the
next generation. Jamyang Khyentse himself says, "After teaching
Buddhist philosophy in both the East and West for many years now, I
realize it is
to think seriously about future generations, and how we as a community
can best prepare them for the challenges and opportunities this life
The school has drawn inspiration and much positive input from the
Shambhala School in Nova Scotia, Canada. In 2007, Shambhala School
Mitchell visited the group in Australia and shared her experiences.
During her three-week stay she facilitated workshops, lectures, and
groups, addressing many aspects of school administration, curriculum
development, classroom meditation, and discipline.
The School's Philosophy
The principles of the schools
center on the Buddhist thesis of interdependent origination, the view
phenomena exist on the basis of causes and conditions. This perspective
of understanding encourages critical analysis and reasoning, and it
points to our responsibility and empowerment in creating auspicious
causes and conditions for our own lives and for the world we live in.
conditions for becoming a good and balanced human are not something
vague or arbitrary.
At the recent conference
"Happiness & Its Causes 2008" in Sydney, monk, scientist, and
Matthieu Ricard spoke about Buddhist principles in secular education:
"Based on an understanding of reality as the interdependence of cause
brings a sense of universal responsibility. Children can see that
opening up and having concern for others is a win-win situation, as
closing oneself in selfish pursuits of happiness which is a lose-lose
situation. It could be useful and reasonable to bring such a
practice into education, without the Buddhist label, but with the core
of the training the mind and considering these trainings as skills.
is a skill, emotional balance is a skill, compassion and altruism are
skills. And like any skill they need to be developed, that's what
about." Jamyang Khyentse says, "It is my hope that we can help children
develop a broader understanding of the world around them as well as
internal world and how the two are so closely related. I feel certain
that this new model of primary school education will be of great
just for the children and families involved but can have a far-reaching
effect on the world at large."
The Future of Education
The Siddhartha School is not an
isolated phenomenon - it is a translation project to bring the wealth
Siddhartha's universal insight and ethics to future generations
everywhere. It is therefore in the interest of Buddhists and
like-minded parents and
educators all over the world to gather around and support this effort.
Jamyang Khyentse has stated his intention to establish similar schools
countries, with The Siddhartha School as a pilot project for a global
movement in education. Read more about the school at www.siddharthaschool.org.
Jakob Leschly is a meditation instructor and translator living in Australia. He serves on Khyentse
Foundation's Grants Review Committee and is
on our editorial team.
Above: Andrew Schelling with partner Marlow Brooks.
Andrew Schelling Continued
I hadn't been prepared for the
generosity, for the warm friendship, or for the kind of place where
teaching and learning could happen in such utterly open, playful
circumstances. Meditation in the early morning amid butter lamps.
Spacious courtyards where we could sing out poetry and release wild
animal cries, or walk at night with lit candles. An outdoor communal
dining hall where students from across the planet came and went. The
setting is gorgeous--and profoundly interesting if you value snow-peak
mountains, soaring forests, cold streams, animated bird life, and the
endless processionals and pujas you find around Indian temples. The
Kangra Valley turns out to be a center for archaic goddess worship
(there are nine famous temples) and a major fly-over path for migrating
eagles. Also, it's full of terraced tea fields and many ornate new
Andrew Schelling is a poet, author of 15 books, student of natural
history, and amateur mountaineer. His translations from classical India
are celebrated and have received an award from the Academy of American
Poets and two Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry grants. He is
currently working on an anthology of Indian bhakti (devotional) poetry
for Oxford University Press, India.
Rinpoche has quite a few devoted Indian students, most of them artists
or scholars. Enduring friendships with them are the most unexpected
result of visiting Deer Park. It must be Rinpoche's easy international
ways, his commitment to returning Buddhism to India, as well as his own
film making, that draw unconventional people--artists, travelers,
bohemians--to Deer Park. I decided to run a day-long poetry course for
the arts event, where the group would create a linked-verse poem
(Japanese form: renga, collaborative poem). When 35 people showed up, I
was stunned. Participants ranged from about 14 years old to their
mid-70s, and included Indians, Chinese, Japanese, a Kashmiri, an
Israeli, Belgian, Spanish, Australian, and a few Americans, and with
Rinpoche joining in, Tibetan. Nobody got tired of poetry, and we worked
(and played) hard and seriously all day. By the end the shy youngsters
were bold makers of verse, and we ended up with a poem that
miraculously held together, flavored with Chinese monosyllables,
Spanish romanticism, Kashmiri sense of the ghazal poetic form, and
bawdy Tibetan Dharma humor.
Through it all--and through another arts festival held the following
autumn--ran these questions: What is art? What is its connection to
Buddhism? Why do we so strongly need to make things of beauty and
insight? Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche threw himself right in with the
questions--one of the things I admire most about him. He seems more
interested in questions than answers, and he likes to stir up
conversation between people from far-away cultures. He capped the first
festival with several days of talks in the Manjushri Hall, in which he
studied both Tibetan and Western notions of art, trying along with the
rest of us to get a sense of why it's so important.
... Kurt Schwalbe
At breakfast, I met the staff and more of our group. Deer Park
Institute makes me very happy and comfortable when I consider the
treatment of the staff. The staff eats the same food as the guests!
There are enrichment programs for staff as well, enabling them to
continue their education while working. Some of the staff members were
away, participating in an international peace march.
I loved seeing the well-treated dogs on the grounds, who were fed and
cared for regularly. And I especially welcomed the emphasis on waste
reduction and recycling at DPI. This program is a beacon in the night
in India. I am so happy to see the Institute take this leadership
I had planned some months before to come to India to teach a course in
Classical Tibetan to some Dharma students. We had arranged another
location but that was cancelled. One of the students knew of Deer Park
and suggested to Prashant that the Institute host the course. The
Institute kindly agreed, and we were back on the schedule.
We had a excellent group of ten students from North and South America,
Europe, Asia, and Australia. We studied together for a month, meeting
in the main shrine hall. By the end of the course, we read the Heart
Sutra together. We also read a number of short devotional poems. Our
exercise on the last day of the class was to read some of the
inscriptions on the beams of the entrance to the shrine room.
DPI was a very powerful and peaceful place for us to study. I
especially enjoyed that Tibetan and Himachali people included it on
their pilgrimage walks. I was surprised at first when people came in
during our class to make prostrations, circumambulations, and offerings
at the main altar. I came to find it charming that we all were
performing our practice together in our own manner.
I am very thankful to Deer Park Institute for giving us this place to study Classical Tibetan. And the food was fabulous.
Kurt Schwalbe earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy at
the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, California. He is currently
a professor of Classical Tibetan and will teach at DPI again in February