Teaching the Teachers of Tomorrow
Rinpoche and the board identified three additional primary areas of focus for the next five years at last summer's board meeting in France: youth development, teaching the teachers, and other education programs. "Education is the key," Rinpoche said. Committing the Foundation’s resources to developing these projects will help turn that key.
In this issue, we look at what Khyentse Foundation is doing to help cultivate the teachers of tomorrow. Taking the lead from Rinpoche's inspiring new direction, the Foundation is investing in creative and long-lasting projects to support the next generation of Buddhist teachers, students, and practitioners. By cultivating new teachers and developing young Buddhist leaders, the Foundation will be providing opportunities for people to study and practice the dharma.
Also in this issue:
Masthead photo bar: Our Logo, the Ashoka Lion; magnetizing KF; Kung Fu Panda; Khenpo Choying Dorjee in Hollywood; Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche pointing the way; students at the North Sikkim Academy, a former grant recipient and KF success story.
THE WISHES OF THE GURU:
OUR FIVE-YEAR PLAN
Which Education Projects Does Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Wish to See Enacted Five Years from Now?
- Buddhist-education curricula for kindergarten through high school
- Leadership management courses and conferences for young Buddhists
- University-level Buddhist education programs in Hungary, Poland, and other Eastern European countries
- A program to train Western Buddhist teachers
- An intensive course for old and young lamas to learn how to teach Westerners
- A new crew of highly skilled translators: at least ten non-Tibetans and four Tibetans
A Little Monthly Math: How To Make Rinpoche's Wishes Come True
An initial start-up fund of US$750,000 is allocated for the coming five years to launch these initiatives. The best way to support Khyentse Foundation is to join the Matching Funds program as a recurring donor. Even $20 per month can make a difference and connects you to this vast ocean of activity. We rejoice in the many people who have supported us over the years—all the committed monthly donors, and the generous group of matching donors who double every monthly contribution made through the Matching Funds program. Thank you!
The entire annual budget of the Youth Development Program could be fully sponsored if just 25 more people signed up to the Matching Funds program.
2 @ 250 per month
5 @ 100 per month
6 @ 50 per month
8 @ 20 per month
4 @ 10 per month
The DJKR Instructors Meeting
In October 2010, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche called a gathering of several of his appointed instructors for a three-day meeting in Bodhgaya, India, to discuss the role they play in propagating the Buddhadharma.
They gathered at Shechen Monastery, just down the road from the Mahabodhi Temple.
The group included a mix of young and old practitioners from all over the world—including Canada, Singapore, Brazil, the U.S., Hong Kong, Germany, and Australia—who have been authorized to provide support to fellow practitioners in a variety of ways.
Joining the group was Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche (also known as Meme Lama), the incarnation of Rinpoche's grandfather Lama Sonam Zangpo, of Bhutan; Chagdu Khandro and Lama Sherab from Chagdud Gompa, Brazil; and Dominique Messent, a senior instructor appointed by Sogyal Rinpoche. Rinpoche said he hoped that he could collaborate with other lamas in training more non-Tibetan teachers, and that the instructors of different sanghas should feel like a team, supporting each other.
Discussions revolved around the qualities an instructor should have and the obstacles and challenges an instructor might face. Rinpoche advised that instructors should work to inspire other students to practice and study. He said that instructors should study themselves and have a certain level of knowledge. Most importantly they should strive to be kind. In doing so, he said, being an instructor becomes a practice in itself.
"Our role is really to be intermediaries, to help guide people through the proper channels," said one participant.
Rinpoche repeatedly emphasized the importance of such meetings and the fact that non-Tibetan instructors should be trained properly, particularly because the tulku system is fast becoming outdated. Rinpoche concluded by saying that this kind of meeting will happen again, and that other rinpoches may very be involved in this process.
Photo (above): Melitis Kwong, one of Rinpoche's designated instructors who attended the Bodhgaya meeting.
“The trend today is for teachers, priests, scholars, politicians, and fanatics to obscure the original meaning of important texts by interpreting them to suit their own personal agendas. It’s happening in all religions, and, sadly, Buddhism is no exception. When problems created by such interpretations arise in the future, our beacon of truth can only be the words of the Buddha, and their amplification in the shastras of the great Indian masters.”
~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
SAMDRUP JONGKHAR INITIATIVE
Developing Secular Education for the Monastic Community and Beyond
Rinpoche's latest project is the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative (SJI). SJI is a grassroots organization based in southeastern Bhutan. Khyentse Foundation is partially sponsoring the development of SJI's new secular curriculum, called Druk 3020, that will be introduced to the monks of Chokyi Gyatsho Institute, Dewathang. Classes begin in 2013. In line with the wish Rinpoche made at Khyentse Foundation's last board meeting, the curriculum is infused with Buddhist and Gross National Happiness principles, and will be made available to any outside educators. The comprehensive draft of the Druk 3020 Framework document is available upon request. SJI is yet another example of Rinpoche's far-reaching view.
NOTE: SJI is seeking the assistance of experienced curriculum developers to assist in the completion of the first set of 12 units. Please contact SJI or visit the SJI website for more information.
DEER PARK INSTITUTE
Deer Park recently hosted two innovative, but very different, education conferences. In April, the Learning Communities "Unconference" attracted more than 300 of the most radical, progressive exponents of "de-schooling" from India and beyond. Discussions ranged from homeschooling to nonviolent communication to clowning.
Just a few weeks after this motley crew vacated, a distinguished group of highly educated khenpos, geshes, lopons, and other red-robed scholars arrived for the Science for Monks Leadership Training. The monks are receiving training to be teachers of science. At the same time, a new six-month level-two Tibetan Language Program was launched, free of charge. Khenpos Pema Longdrol and Ngawang Woser are the instructors. Khyentse Foundation is a major supporter of Deer Park.
SIDDHARTHA SCHOOL UPDATE
The Siddhartha School board has found an ideal property to house Rinpoche’s long-planned project to establish a secular childrens’ school based on Buddhist principles. The site is a 15-minute drive from Lismore, Australia. Plans are underway to open to students in January 2012. For inquiries visit the Siddhartha's School website.
|BUDDHIST EDUCATION INITIATIVES IN GERMANY
Teacher Training for Buddhist Religious Education in Germany
Since 2006, the German Buddhist Union has offered a Buddhist-Studies program, open to teachers of ethics and religious studies from other traditions. Each module is taught by two teachers from different traditions, creating a united education that conveys the essence of Buddhism combined with contemporary and social topics. For more information contact Doris Wolter.
Tools for Teachers
The German Buddhist Union is currently working on a series of handouts that will enable teachers of religion, ethics, or philosophy to share aspects of Buddhism in their classes. The publications are being prepared by a group of Buddhist schoolteachers and scientists, working as a team. The first three handouts will be published through the Deutschen Buddhistischen Union in the fall.
The next issue of the Communiqué will be sent in August, 2011. It will include a report from the Khyentse Foundation board of directors meeting at the end of June.
Khyentse Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary at a special event in Vancouver, June 18, 2011.
Annual Khyentse Foundation board of directors' meeting June 21-22.
RINPOCHE'S TEACHING SCHEDULE
Embracing Life by Letting Go: Parting With the Four Attachments
Center for American Buddhism
3902 Woodland Park Avenue North, Seattle, WA
25-26 June, 2011
Dudjom Tersar Empowerments and Teachings
Santa Cruz, California 95076
9-11 August, 2011
The Chicken and the Egg
Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
19-21 August, 2011
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KF NEWS AVAILABLE IN CHINESE, FRENCH, AND PORTUGUESE
If you prefer to read the KF news in Chinese, sign up here. Please visit our Chinese language site for information about how to participate as a sponsor and/or as a volunteer. We also have French and Portuguese editions of the Communiqué. Please send an email to let us know if you would like to be added to those lists.
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.
If you have art or photography that you would like to submit for use in future Communiqué
s, please send it to us.
Khyentse Foundation: Nurturing the Source and Shaping the Future of Dharma
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche translated a rare exchange extracted from notes between Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö and Khandro Tsering Chödron, who passed away in May.
So much to report
Khyentse Foundation is branching out in many directions, identifying the most effective ways to support education initiatives around the world.
Education News Roundup:
What your contribution is making possible
Third Annual Khyentse Lecture at the University of California at Berkeley
The Third Annual Khyentse Lecture was held at UC Berkeley on February 17th to a standing-room-only audience of students, faculty, and invited guests. This year’s guest lecturer was Prof. Janet Gyatso, of Harvard Divinity School, who gave a most interesting and inspiring lecture entitled Buddhism, Medicine, and the Everyday World: Issues around Religion and Science in Tibetan Intellectual History.
These annual Khyentse lectures are part of the program offered by Berkeley’s Center for Buddhist Studies made possible through the establishment of the Khyentse Chair in 2006. Prof. Jake Dalton joined the Berkeley faculty in January 2009, and has since then been teaching a number of increasingly popular undergraduate and graduate courses to a growing population of students interested in Buddhist studies. The collaboration between UC Berkeley and KF over the years is a significant success story of shared aspirations and joint efforts to strengthen the academic study of Buddhism in North America.
Photos: UC Berkeley Library; Professor Janet Gyatso
A Khenpo in California
Khenpo Choying Dorjee, whom many of us have met at his base in Chauntra, at Dzongsar Khyentse Chokyi Lodro Institute, had a five-month stay in the West as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. "During his time at Berkeley, Khenpo participated in our graduate seminars, tutored both our doctoral and postdoctoral students, audited classes in the area of cognitive science and biology, and greatly assisted our faculty with their own research," said Robert Sharf, Professor of Buddhist studies. "We are all extremely impressed with Khenpo's dedication to his studies, with his intellectual curiosity, and with his generosity in sharing his expertise. His extraordinary learning was a wonderful asset to our program." Khenpo also received intensive English instruction in the local community.
“I so deeply appreciate Khyentse Foundation and UC Berkeley for the chance to come to the West. In my short term here I met people from so many different religions and nationalities, and I learned so much about other cultures. I was able to take classes in neuroscience, leadership, psychology, and philosophy of mind. Berkeley is an amazing place,” Khenpo Choying said.
Khenpo spent his recent spring break exploring the western landscape, taking a bus trip to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, and taking time to visit some local sangha in Los Angeles. He was also invited to Grass Valley and Lake Tahoe. Before his return to India this summer, he will visit Seattle and New York. Khenpo continues, “It was wonderful to be so welcomed by Rinpoche’s students—I had so much fun, and these things made my trip even more meaningful.”
Photo: Professor Jake Dalten and Khenpo Choying at Berkeley
The Khyentse Foundation Award for Excellence Continues to Expand Reach
The Khyentse Foundation Award for Excellence has now been established at ten premiere universities around the world, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, Sydney University, Hamburg University, and Peking University. Some of these institutions have already selected candidates for their second-year award. Coordinator Florence Koh writes, "During the last eleven months, five new KF awards were established at the University of British Columbia, Canada; Kelaniya University, Sri Lanka; Chulalongkorn University, Thailand; Hong Kong University and National ChengChi University, Taiwan. None of these have had the actual award ceremony yet." The award recognizes distinction in Buddhist studies, especially expertise in the classical languages of Buddhist traditions. Recipients are chosen by their department faculty and given all or part of a US$1000 award depending on each university's decision to bestow the honor to one, or more than one, student.
Youth Buddhist Society of India Connects Authentic Buddhist Teachers to Indian Dharma Students
Since 1986, the Youth Buddhist Society (YBS) has been working with villagers in India to promote Buddhism, the environment, education and peace. YBS has been putting particular effort into making the study of Buddhism from the Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana traditions accessible to all who are interested. They invite teachers to visit the various YBS centers to conduct teachings, lead 3-10 day meditation retreats and otherwise support the study of Buddhist philosophy and meditation.
Khyentse Foundation provided financial support to YBS for a full-time Project Manager and to cover the expenses for the travel of the teachers. The grant will also support publication of course materials and a scholarship fund for youth to attend Buddhist programs in traditional centers of Theravada and Mahayana traditions in Bodhgaya, Sarnath, and Dharamsala.
Authentic Teachers Need Authentic Texts
By Huang Jing Rui, Executive Director
There is a growing demand for the Buddha's teaching in the modern world, yet less than than 5 percent of the Kangyur and Tengyur is available in English. On the Internet, we can Google quotes from the Buddha, but often cannot be sure of their source and authenticity.
By establishing an effective system to ensure the accurate translation of the words of the Buddha, 84000 seeks to make the right view, as expounded by the Buddha, readily available to anybody who is interested.
We are now working in collaboration with Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) to develop an online reading room, where completed translations will be published and made freely available to all. We envision the 84000 online reading becoming an important resource for Buddhist teachers and students, who will be able to refer to any Kangyur and Tengyur text with the click of a button.
Since we formally started operations in January 2010, 84000 has commissioned the translation of 3,848 pages of the Kangyur, undertaken by 60 qualified translators from all over the world. A list of the works in progress can be found on our website
With the recent launch of our second translation-grants cycle, we aim to commission another 4,000 pages of translation this year. This will mean that about 10 percent of the Kangyur will be commissioned for translation by the end of 2011.
84000 is a nonprofit global initiative to translate the words of the Buddha and make them available to everyone. The words of the Buddha are comprised of two major sections:
a) Kangyur (words of the Buddha): 70,000 pages
b) Tengyur (commentaries on the words of the Buddha): 161,800 pages
8400 is a project of Khyentse Foundation. We seek your support to make this a reality. Visit our website
or send us an email
A Modern Monk's Life at DKCL
By Suzie Erbacher
Khyentse Foundation provides essential funding to support the English Language program at DKCLI in the interest of giving the monks an opportunity to broaden their horizons and prepare for a life of teaching in a variety of environments. Suzie Erbacher of Australia has been coordinator of the English program for more than two years. Here is her account of a day in the life of her students.
It’s 7:30 a.m. and the Dzongsar Institute’s English program is underway with the first monks filing into the computer lab, keen to start their “English day.” Some don headsets and practice their pronunciation; others are working on their vocabulary and writing; beginners learn to touch type or watch Elmo explore the world of adjectives on Sesame Street. Under the guidance of their supervising teacher, the monks use a variety of computer programs that allow them to progress at their own pace.
The English program has been developing and evolving over six years, with assistance from many qualified Western volunteers, to provide the best English instruction possible for monks in this little village of Chauntra, in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India.
There are twenty-five monks participating in the program that has up to five hours of English instruction and computer-lab practice a day, lots of homework, and English movies offered one or two nights every week. The monks are graduates of the shedra, having already completed at least ten years of study in Buddhist philosophy. They are bright, keen, love a good laugh, and possess a wealth of dharma knowledge. They could be of benefit to many beings in the future.
Potentially, these monks will develop sufficient English skills to travel confidently both around India and internationally. They will have some appreciation of Western culture and values, which will help them with translation when English-speaking visitors arrive at the monastery. Also, they will be better prepared to assist in the business of running the monastery. If they excel in their English studies and continue over a number of years, they could become translators or teachers of the dharma in English.
It’s an intense program of English study and challenging for the monks when there is little opportunity to practice English outside of the classroom. While the volunteer teachers from various parts of the globe (currently Bhutan, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.) are well-qualified and experienced, speaking English is difficult for the students, and requires patience and tenacity. Many students are already philosophy teachers in the shedra, or are responsible for other activities in the monastery, so English study may need to be squeezed in around their other duties.
A new extension of the program, introduced this year, was a special five-week intensive called the Winter English Program. This program was open to any monk in the shedra—not only the graduates. Over eighty monks enrolled, demonstrating the enthusiasm the monks have for studying the language, even during their holidays. This program will be offered again in 2012 with even more monks expected to participate.
It’s now 9 p.m. and the monks have just finished watching the movie Kung Fu Panda, with some explanation and coaching from one of the teachers. English in action. It’s been a long day and there is homework still to finish before classes start tomorrow. It is a busy program for these dedicated monks and their teachers.
| FACES OF THE FOUNDATION
She Cares About the Little Things
In each issue of the Communiqué, we introduce members of our volunteer team—country representatives, project coordinators, advisors, board and committee members, and members of the executive office.
This is the first issue of the Communiqué in seven years that doesn't have the stamp of approval of the eagle-eyed Jessie Wood. That's because we're giving her some much-deserved time off after all these years of hard work and dedication. She just completed the Herculean task of creating the KF Annual Report, a document dense with information and imagery that she helped bring to life. So while she's resting, we thought we'd take this opportunity to give Jessie a moment in the spotlight. Though Jessie is busy with her professional career as a copyeditor for major corporations, she finds the time to serve as Managing Editor of the Communiqué, collecting articles, writing copy, making sure every word is letter perfect (if ever there is an error, it would have entered the picture only after it left Jessie's hands). She edits every inch of our website, brochures, documents, and other materials, and she always does it with good cheer, humor, and accuracy and timeliness.
"With Jessie looking over everything we write, I can be certain that a professional standard is maintained across the board," says Executive Director Cangioli Che. "Such a consummate professional is difficult to find within an all-volunteer organization. We are so lucky to have her." Moreover, the KF editorial team, including Jakob Leschley, Alex Trisoglio, and Albert Wongchirachai, who regularly have the pleasure of dealing with Jessie, often comment on what a delightful person she is to work with. We all feel very fortunate to have Jessie on our small but harmonious communications team.
Khyentse Foundation maintains a very simple organizational structure. The foundation is incorporated as a nonprofit in the United States, with representation in 13 countries. We operate by committees and working groups on a project and function basis. To learn how you can contribute to KF activities in your own country, please contact your KF country representative.
Exchange between Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö and his wife, Khandro Tsering Chödron
Photo: Khandro Tsering Chodron offering a khatag to Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro in Bodhgaya.
"Listen! Precious Lama, without remembering the dharma from the depth of my heart, I have just realized my life has ebbed. I am sure that when I die I will go to hell." Thus wrote Khandro Tsering Chödron.
As a reply the husband-lama wrote, "But you know what to do. You have means to escape in your hand. Even though you can't practice myriad ways of practicing the dharma, if you can maintain kindness and dedicate the merit, have aspiration and remember the nature of the mind that is clear and empty in union and most importantly if you remember the guru and supplicate, that is the essence of all the teachings of the Buddha."
Translated by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
If you have devotion,
the Buddha is right in front of you.”
—Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche