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.
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.
“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)
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.
Meet Three of Our Scholarship Recipients
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.
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.
Children should have fun.
Therefore, they should read Shantideva.
— Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, from the preface to Little Hero