Our Beneficiary Coordinator Gives Grants Administration a Friendly Face.

Irene Suyin Lee is the lead beneficiary coordinator for Khyentse Foundation. Along with Pat Hanna, she is responsible for the administration of scholarships and grants. This is a huge and important job; the scholarship fund is the top priority among Khyentse Foundation’s Five Projects. During the past year, the foundation has offered scholarships to 29 individuals, grants to 19 groups and institutions, and Awards for Excellence in Buddhist Studies to hardworking university students around the globe. In addition to western students, the program is increasing its support for monks in the Theravadin tradition in countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia.

As the primary liaison between grant recipients and the foundation, Suyin works directly with the individuals and organizations that receive KF funding. She says, “It is quite special to connect with individual recipients and groups from all around the globe to process their funding: the lone monk in Bangladesh, the physician in China who is translating the Dharma into Chinese, the small theatre group performing Bodhi Kata stories in rural India, and the large, well-respected Tibetan Buddhist Resources Center, which is digitalizing Tibetan language literature. It is even more special to meet some of these recipients during our travels in Thailand and Bhutan and the many who visit Vancouver. I am moved by their humility, devotion, and gratitude.”

Suyin has retired from her private psychotherapy practice, and she brings to the position of beneficiary coordinator her professional experience in nursing, psychological counseling, and group training and development. She and her husband, Doug Rickson, founded Rigpa Canada in 1998, before becoming students of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Suyin and Doug did several months’ volunteer service at the Bartsham Shedra in eastern Bhutan in 2004 and 2006. She recently retired as a co-coordinator for Rinpoche’s teaching events in Vancouver, Canada.

“Working with KF has been a very personal way to carry out Rinpoche’s vision of promoting Buddha’s teachings for the benefit of everyone through patronage. As well, Doug and I have been very blessed in having the chance to teach English to the monks at the Shedra in Bartsham. By the end of our tenure there, the monks were calling us Ama and Apa – this really touched us! Living and teaching in Bhutan has been the highlight of our lives; Bhutan is truly our second home. We love the country, the culture, and the kind and generous people. We cannot thank Rinpoche enough for giving us the opportunity to offer service in Bhutan!”

Photo: Suyin and Doug in Bhutan