FOCUS

MAY 2020.

Khyentse Foundation 2019 Annual Report

Buddhist Children, Cultural Buddhists, and Buddhist Stakeholders

In this May Focus, we present the foundation’s 2019 Annual Report. The report features Rinpoche’s December address to the KF Board of Directors, the annual message from Executive Director Cangioli Che, an introduction to KF’s eight program areas with a set of newly designed icons, and highlights from our Ashoka Scholarships and Grants program. Khyentse Foundation is now in its 19th year of operation.

Rinpoche’s Remarks

Excerpt from Rinpoche’s address at the KF Board Meeting in December 2019

Khyentse Foundation is a platform to help propagate and preserve the authentic buddhadharma. When we talk about propagation and preservation, traditionally we are always talking about study and practice. Of course, study and practice are very important, but there are a lot of other elements to consider as well.

For instance, to propagate and to preserve the buddhadharma, it’s important to have a population of Buddhists. As you know, there are slightly fewer than 500 million Buddhists in the world. That’s not so many, relatively speaking. And apparently the population of Buddhists is declining, by something like 25 million every 10 years. 

Even though we may not be able to help increase the population of Buddhists, at least we can help Buddhist children who are already there. That’s very important. When we think about study and practice, we should really be thinking about the next generation of Buddhists. We forget this quite often.

In the West, many of you have come to Buddhism through intellectual study and analysis. And many of you have children. Like many children, they may end up doing the opposite of what their parents want them to do. But they may not, also! They may feel very close to what their parents do. Like thangkas, butter lamps, or even the sight of parents doing meditation, on a subliminal level it builds something in their minds. And these generations of children need to be taken care of. These emotionally connected, culturally connected Buddhists are so important.

Another thing is that when we talk about propagation and preservation of the dharma, there is the dharma itself and there is also the tenzin ji chebu, we call it in Tibetan, which means the stakeholder or preserver, people who are doing the preservation and people who are doing the propagation.

For a relatively young foundation, we have done a considerable amount of work, like establishing Buddhist chairs in the academic world, translating the words of the Buddha, and helping individual practitioners and students. And of course, we will continue. But in the back of our minds, we need to also think about stakeholders or next-generation lineage holders. And helping emotionally connected, not necessarily “smart” or intellectual Buddhists. Just Buddhists, helping them. And the children.

KF’s North Star and Guiding Lights

Our North Star is the precious guidance from Rinpoche, who often shares his aspirations and vast vision. We would like to share three basic guiding lights from Rinpoche.

Buddhist Patronage

“I have an aspiration that Khyentse Foundation follow the footsteps of the great patron kings of Buddhism such as Ashoka of India and Trisong Deutsen of Tibet.”

There is no royal patronage in present times, and the survival of Buddhism in many parts of the world is challenged. Khyentse Foundation’s mission is to pool our resources to preserve and propagate buddhadharma, in whatever way possible, in this modern age.

Focus on Education 

“We do not build monasteries, we build people.”

We aspire to build an infrastructure of human power—not just temples and statues and stupas—as the way to inspire people to the Buddhist path.

Support Buddhist “Mother” Countries and Buddhist “Child” Countries

Rinpoche advised that Khyentse Foundation must support Buddhist “mother” countries that have a long tradition and heritage of Buddhism, such as India, China, and Thailand, and Buddhist “child” countries where Buddhism is relatively new, which includes all the countries in the West. This directive basically includes all countries in the world in terms of geographical area, and also includes all times, past, present, and future, in terms of history, in our preservation and propagation efforts.

Khyentse Foundation Programs

Rinpoche’s guiding lights and principles shape the scope and structure of KF’s programs: Nurturing the Source (Preservation) and Training for the Future (Propagation). The categories are of course arbitrary, and many interlace and overlap, but they do present the array of our efforts in a logical way, providing a perimeter for effective planning and execution.

NURTURING THE SOURCE (Preservation)

Monastic Support
The foundation started with taking care of Rinpoche’s monastic responsibilities in India and Bhutan and later expanded to support other monasteries.

Text Preservation
KF has supported Buddhist text preservation for more than 15 years, including the work of the Buddhist Digital Resource Center, and the Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation.

Translations
KF incubated the organization 84000, which has now operated independently for 10 years, to translate the Tibetan canon into English. In 2019, KF launched the Kumarajiva Project to translate the Tibetan canon into Chinese.

Revitalizing Buddhist Traditions
KF strives to revive buddhadharma in Buddhist “mother” countries such as India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

TRAINING FOR THE FUTURE (Propagation)

Ashoka Grants and Scholarships
An open channel for KF to receive applications for all kinds of Buddhist endeavors, lay and monastic, study and retreat, and to connect to creative Buddhist projects.

Buddhist Teacher Training
Initiatives include Milinda Program, a 10-year innovative Buddhist teacher training for westerners, and English for Buddhist Scholars, which aims to equip khenpos and eastern scholars with language skills and modern knowledge.

Academic Development
KF supports academia in many ways, including funding endowed Buddhist chairs, study centers and programs to facilitate Buddhist study, and research in many universities around the world.

Education for Children
Middle Way School, a pilot project of Middle Way Education, was launched in upstate New York in 2018, and plans for Blue Lion Preschool in Singapore are under way.

The widening scope and growing complexity of KF’s activities over the years have made it increasingly challenging to report on all our programs in detail. The 2019 annual report summarizes all of our programs, with emphasis on Ashoka Grants and Scholarships —the only KF program that accepts open applications from the worldwide Buddhist community for funding support.

   Ashoka Grants and Scholarships:

   Connecting to Buddhist Aspirations

The KF scholarship program, originally set up to support western lay students, was Rinpoche’s top priority in the early years of the foundation. Today, the program has developed into a comprehensive worldwide support system for both monastics and lay people. More recently, the Ashoka Grants program was formed to receive applications to support dharma projects. Together these programs serve as the foundation’s window to the Buddhist world and help us connect with aspiring students, practitioners, upholders of the dharma, and future stakeholders. We hope that these programs will plant the seed of buddhadharma, to encourage people and to help projects to sprout and grow.
 
In 2019, the committee reviewed 341 scholarship applications and 149 applications for Ashoka Grants, and a total of $625,000 was awarded to 90 recipients and 30 projects from 39 countries and regions.
 


Meet Three of Our Scholarship Recipients 

Olga Maksimova from Russia received a KF scholarship to support her MA degree in Philosophy and Culture of Buddhism at Kalmyk State University in Elista, Republic of Kalmykia, Russia.

Guy St. Amant’s scholarship funded his travels to Kathmandu to conduct an important portion of his PhD research, which focuses on the works of Shankaranandana (11th century). He was able to study with traditional pandits and scholars at the Nepal Sanskrit University, as part of his research with Columbia University.

Erdene Bataar Erdene-Ochir from Mongolia was supported by a Translation Studies Scholarship for three years at UC Santa Barbara and has recently been granted a PhD Program and Research Scholarship.

 

A very special acknowledgement of appreciation to the KF volunteer team and our generous sponsors, without whose dedication, effort, and financial support the work of the foundation would not be possible.

 

KF Voices

Sharing the Merit

Luciana Novaes, Brazil

Luciana is KF’s Brazil representative and a member of our Scholarship Committee.

 

“The first time I heard about KF was back in 2001 during a presentation by Cangioli about the recently incorporated foundation. KF proposition immediately hooked me and I wanted to be part of the collaborative effort. Over the years I have witnessed the implementation of Rinpoche’s vision by a dedicated team of volunteers that operates under high governance standards. On a practical level this means respect for the amount of time and money that is offered to the foundation. I believe that this is so important nowadays.

The confidence that I have in KF’s accountability and commitment to deliver Rinpoche’s vision was crucial in my decision to include the foundation as the major beneficiary in my will. 

I encourage those who intend to do the same to take practical steps in order to avoid obstacles that may arise due to impermanence. 

Though only a drop in KF’s ocean of offering, I have no doubt that my donation will be used to support the flourishing of the dharma. I am very grateful to be part of Khyentse Foundation.”

If you wish to discuss planned giving, please contact Cangioli.

IN OTHER NEWS

KF-India distributing food and face masks to local communities

On April 30, KF-India, accompanied by monks from Sangdo Palri Monastery and volunteers from Buddhist Art-Education & Development Society, distributed dry rations in areas of Mushalpur in Assam, where poor communities are finding it difficult to survive the lockdown. Villagers arriving to collect the dry rations were surprised to receive such great quantities of supplies. They expressed their gratitude for the timely help. 

Earlier in April, KF-India partnered with Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute to distribute face masks and hand sanitizer around Lower Chuantra Panchayat in Himachal Pradesh, in  an effort to help local community to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Little Hero: The Buddha’s Way of Awakening for Children, by Alicja Zmigrodzka, is available for purchase here.  

KF supported the printing of the illustrated book Little Hero through our Ashoka Grant program. Little Hero is a gentle and warm introduction to The Way of the Bodhisattva, one that makes Shantideva’s timeless Buddhist wisdom come alive for children and their families. A joint effort of a group of dharma students, Little Hero, now published in eight languages, is available for purchase. The author is finishing up on her second book Prajapati, a story of the first female Buddhist teacher and her 500 female disciples.
 

Children should have fun.

Therefore, they should read Shantideva.

— Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, from the preface to Little Hero