How We Work

Historically, most of the survival and expansion of Buddhism can be credited to the determination and decrees of monarchs and rulers, but today much of it depends on the collective and creative efforts of individuals. Khyentse Foundation pools funds and energy to continue the work of the many dharma patrons of the past.

Any success we have had thus far is due to the incredible generosity of our many donors, workers, volunteers, and supporters. Offers of time, effort, money, expertise, field work, heart and mind work, and many other forms of support are invaluable contributions to the fulfillment of our mission.

Today, we have to look at different ways to support those who wish to study and practice the Buddhadharma. Khyentse Foundation was established with this in mind, to act as a vehicle, as a platform — the traditional term is "patron" — to support this ongoing, living wisdom tradition of the Buddha.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

We are part of an active and supportive sangha of donors and beneficiaries. We pray that the younger generation of donors and translators will be able to flourish and continue our work, that it may be beneficial for many generations to come.

Anne Benson, Ashoka Grant Recipient

Our Process

As chair of the board of directors, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche sets the direction for Khyentse Foundation’s work by identifying the areas that need attention and action. Each year at our annual board meetings, we examine the effectiveness of the programs and outreach currently in place. We take a careful look at the issues affecting Buddhism in the world, and we set priorities for the year ahead. Rinpoche’s thought leadership challenges staff and volunteers to approach how we work from various angles, encouraging creativity, flexibility, and the fearlessness to adopt new ideas or change course when needed. With the help of a global network of volunteers, supporters, and experts, Khyentse Foundation works to bring Rinpoche’s thoughts into action.

How We Fund

Mainly a funding organization, Khyentse Foundation seeks out programs that fit our goals and mission. After identifying or becoming aware of areas of concern, we investigate what is being done to address those areas and do our best to fill any gaps that we perceive. Our primary wish is to offer support and encouragement to existing efforts that may be struggling due to a lack of resources. However, if we aren’t able to find people or projects that are addressing particular needs, we consider incubating projects ourselves. With committees composed of team members and expert advisors, we discuss the best course of action relevant to each project. When we decide to move forward, we carefully consider the appropriate allocation of Khyentse Foundation resources.

The Buddhist Concept of Merit

It is widely accepted that the act of giving not only benefits the recipient, it also offers the giver a feeling of satisfaction. In the Buddhist tradition, this idea goes a step further. In addition to a sense of well-being, benevolent acts are said to accumulate merit, which is the intangible product of good actions that result in positive experiences in the future. Merit is instrumental to Buddhist practitioners, facilitating a swift path to realization. For this reason, patronage in its many forms plays a significant role in the spiritual path.

Three Lenses

Using the three lenses of past, present, and future, Khyentse Foundation has established three themes that guide our efforts to preserve and promote Buddha’s wisdom.

Nurturing the Source. For Buddhism to flourish in the world, we believe that it’s necessary to ensure the longevity of traditional sources of Buddhist wisdom, including texts, education, and traditional practice. Much of what we do involves supporting efforts and activities that may be threatened by modern influences.

Training for the Future.The grand scale of many of Khyentse Foundation’s projects means that many of us will not live to see their completion. Taking special care to ensure the continuity of our activities, we have put into place numerous training programs and endowments that will support programs in perpetuity.

Embracing the Present. Essential to the Buddha’s message of wisdom and compassion, “embracing the present” serves Khyentse Foundation as both an internal reminder and a guiding principle. By creating physical and virtual spaces for interacting with the dharma and those who practice it, we hope to provide ample opportunity for eager Buddhists to learn and grow with us.

Operating Principles

Khyentse Foundation is guided by Buddhist wisdom and values. Our operating principles encourage us to adopt the “three supreme methods,” a technique that allows any activity to be used as a step toward enlightenment. In the context of our work at Khyentse Foundation, this technique involves setting a positive intention at the outset of each project, bringing awareness to our work and viewing it as a Buddhist practice, and dedicating our efforts and any success to the benefit of all beings.

Global Community

In the spirit of nonsectarianism, we support people and projects from all Buddhist schools and traditions, including Vajrayana, Mahayana, and Theravada. Emphasizing inclusivity, participation, open-mindedness, flexibility, and patience, we welcome the thrill and challenge of uniting as a global community of diverse cultures and working together to fulfil the foundation’s goals. We deeply value our volunteers, supporters, donors, and funding recipients, who all in their own way share the desire to preserve and promote Buddha’s wisdom. With representation in numerous countries around the world, but no central headquarters, we are truly an international organization.