Khyentse Foundation celebrated its fifth anniversary in November 2006. During the first five years of operation, the Foundation concentrated on supporting Tibetan Buddhism. That was our number one priority. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of Khyentse Foundation, explained, “Among many Buddhist lineages, Theravadin, Sri Lankan, everywhere, Tibetan Buddhism seems to be the only institution where there is actually the tradition of training a kid from four years old to be just a Buddhist teacher. That kind of vigorous systematic training, I don’t think even Theravadins in Thailand have. So I feel some kind of urgency to support the Tibetan tradition.”
Thanks to all of our donors and supporters, Khyentse Foundation has met that goal, and through its Endowment for Monastic Education will continue to support Tibetan Buddhism.
“Now,” says Rinpoche, “I am thinking that we should put more emphasis on scholarship as the primary goal for the next phase. As I mentioned before, beyond Tibetans, beyond monks and nuns, I think supporting western students for their practice and study is quite important”
Rinpoche’s aspiration to support students of the Buddhadharma in all traditions and all areas of the world has placed the Scholarship Fund as the first priority of Khyentse Foundation in the coming five years. (See related article elsewhere in current news.)
Rinpoche’s vision of establishing a system of patronage to support the study and practice of Buddhism to benefit all sentient beings is the guiding light of Khyentse Foundation.
The mission of Khyentse Foundation is to be an effective vehicle to translate Rinpoche’s vision into active programs. Our guiding principles, based on Rinpoche’s guidelines, will set our direction in the coming years.
1. The main objective of Khyentse Foundation is to preserve and support the Buddhadharma in all traditions, not just the Tibetan tradition. “I like to see Khyentse Foundation really supporting Buddhadharma in all kinds of forms and all kinds of lineages.” We support all Buddhist traditions, nonsectarian and rimé in the broadest sense of the word.
2. “Instead of building monasteries, we build people.” We emphasize support for the study and practice of Buddhism. As a corollary, we do not support capital or infrastructure building.
3. We value planning and aim at establishing long-term support systems to benefit all sentient beings- the kind of support that was practiced by King Ashoka, Sudatta, and others who have the intention to “plan for further benefit for more people.”
4. We collaborate rather than duplicate efforts or compete with other organizations. Where possible, we support the efforts of others in supporting the Buddhadharma.
On an operational level, our Five Projects provide the basic structure of the KF support system and will continue to serve as the framework to deliver our services.
During a series of planning meetings, Rinpoche and the Board of Directors set the following long-term goals for the Foundation:
1. Through the Scholarship Fund, support non-Tibetan and lay students in study and practice in all Buddhist traditions worldwide.
2. Through the Endowment for Monastic Education, produce Buddhist teachers and scholars to influence the world.
3. Through the Publications Fund, make Buddhist teachings readily available to all who wish to study.
4. Through the Endowed Chairs of Buddhist Studies, promote Buddhist studies in major universities.
5. Through Buddhist Education for Children, support Buddhist education for second-generation Buddhists where such studies are not readily available.
Where Will Our Projects Be in 2011?
The Foundation also set high financial goals in order to have the necessary capital to realize our goals. Our total endowment will be increased to US $9 million by 2011 (from $5 million in 2006), primarily to fund the scholarship, monastic education, and publication projects. Endowed chairs of Buddhist studies will be funded separately, and Buddhist education will be funded on a project and need basis. We also identified communications, fundraising, and community involvement as three main challenges in the coming years.
Support 100 students and practitioners in full-time Buddhist study and practice.
Establish an endowment of U.S. $3 million to generate an annual income at 5% of $150,000 for disbursements.
Help the Khyentse Buddhist Institutes to maintain traditional academic excellence and be recognized internationally.
Produce 20 teacher-scholars who can speak English and Chinese and who are computer literate.
Increase the present endowment to $5 million to support programs, resources, and facilities.
Preserve Buddhist texts through collaboration with other organizations.
Support translation of Buddhist texts and training of translators, and improve translation standards.
Continue publication and distribution of Buddhist texts.
Establish an endowment of $1 million and provide funding for the Digital Library of Tibetan Archives, translation projects, and other projects.
Explore and establish endowed chairs of Buddhist studies in Asia, Europe, and Australia.
Establish exchange programs between traditional Buddhist institutes and major universities.
To reflect the possibility of using different educational models in different areas, the “Buddhist Schools for Children” project is being renamed “Buddhist Education Programs.”
Create “Sunday School” education models, youth programs, and parent-child camps.
Create Buddhist courses for public school systems.
In conclusion, Rinpoche encourages continued support for Khyentse Foundation, which he says “will not only help temporarily, it will help in the long term. It will help not a few people, but lots of people. And not just certain people, but all kinds of people.”
The Foundation continues to operate as an all-volunteer organization. We invite you to contact us if you are able to contribute your time, knowledge, and expertise to further the mission of the Foundation.