Since the KF Scholarship program became our top priority in 2006, we have supported an international array of students and practitioners in studying the Buddha’s teachings and putting them into practice.
From supporting long-term retreatants in Australia, India, and Tibet, to funding monks from Cambodia, Burma, and Sri Lanka to continue their studies in the Theravadin tradition, to enabling lay students from the Americas and Europe to study and practice, the program has provided the means for many worthy students to realize their wishes. It’s encouraging to see the gradual multiplier effect of the scholarship program, as scholarship recipients become teachers, translators, scholars, and researchers who in turn spread the dharma in their own countries.
Here we spotlight three KF scholarship recipients: a Nepalese monk who has been accepted into the master’s degree program at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, a Japanese woman who is pursuing her PhD at the University of Hamburg, and an American woman who is studying translation at the Guna Institute in India.
Ishwor Shrestha, from Nepal, is studying both colloquial and classical Tibetan so that he can act as a translator for Tibetan lamas, translating their teachings into Nepali. He attended classes at Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute in Chauntra, India, and is now enrolled in the Advanced Tibetan Language program at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, Boudhanath, Nepal. Ishwor’s next step: He has been accepted in the master’s degree program at Rangjung Yeshe Institute.
“My stay in Dzongsar was fruitful in many senses. It improved my colloquial Tibetan a lot. It helped me get acquainted with many vernacular dialects of various regions of Tibet. Before Dzongsar, I hardly understood the teachings given by the lamas and Khenpos in Tibetan. It helped me to understand at least more than 50 to 70 percent. I now am confident that after few years of rigorous study, I can really translate for my lamas and also translate Buddhist texts into Nepali.”
Tomoko Makidono received her master’s degree from Kyoto University, Japan, majoring in Sanskrit language and literature, where her thesis was on the antidotal meditations such as the Four Immeasurables, considering the Buddhist way of the true qualities of Brahmin in Indian Buddhism. She is using her KF scholarship to pursue a PhD at the Asia-Africa Institute of the University of Hamburg. Her doctoral thesis is titled “A contribution to the understanding of the Practice lineage in Indo-Tibetan Madhyamaka.”
Tomoko spent a year in Nepal, where she studied Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan language, and Buddhist meditation practices. She is especially interested in Buddha-Nature and emptiness that are culminated in the tenet of Great Madhyamaka of “empty of other” in Tibetan Buddhism, and in how the view is related to the practices.
“Besides my academic concern, I am personally devoted to the Pure Land Buddhism and am interested in the Buddhist heaven of the Pure Land across India, Tibet, China, and Japan. I hope that my work will be beneficial for all of those who practice Buddhism.”
Stephanie Kindberg is based in Vershire, Vermont, where she is the director of one of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche’s centers, Pema Osel Do Ngak Choling. She has spent six months of each of the past two years in Bir, India, attending the Guna Institute program for translation studies. In November of 2009, she started the third year of the five-year program.
Under the close supervision of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, participants in the program study classical dharma texts and translation as well as the Tibetan colloquial language. In addition to the intensive curriculum there is a strong emphasis on personal practice, with 3 ½ hours scheduled daily for formal practice sessions.
“My goal is to complete the full course of study at Guna and begin contributing to the monumental task of translation set forth by the teachers of this wisdom lineage, and along the way to become a more committed, disciplined practitioner.
“I want to thank Khyentse Foundation very much for its support and generosity. Those funds made it possible for me to attend Guna year three. This was my first scholarship of any kind, and I am very grateful. Thank you, Khyentse Foundation, for helping me and for helping so many others to study and practice intensively.”
Photos: Ishwor Shrestha in India; Tomoko Makidono in Kathmandu; Stephanie Kindberg in Bir.