2018 KF Board Meeting Review
As Rinpoche reminded us in his address to the Khyentse Foundation board, “The essential teaching of the Buddha is up to date. It is progressive, and the essential message of the Buddha is something the world needs today.” Khyentse Foundation aspires to play a role in keeping the essential Buddhadharma pure, preventing it from being hijacked by cultural baggage or modern-day values and concepts.
Khyentse Foundation will play this role in part by training teachers and by providing support to students who want to study Buddhism or put what they have studied into practice.
Taipei was warm and pleasant in early December. The occasional light drizzle created a crisp and fresh feeling in the air. Many of us attending this year’s board meeting were fortunate to also participate in, at least in part, the amazing Ushnisha Vijaya puja that was held just prior to our meeting. It was in a blissful mood that the board gathered at board member Kris Yao’s well-equipped office on December 3rd for a full day of discussion with Rinpoche to review the Foundation’s activities of the past year, brainstorm new ideas, and make plans for the coming three years.
We were fortunate that Prof. Peter Skilling, KF’s long-term friend and 2012 KF Fellow, joined us from Bangkok. As our valued advisor, Peter has been instrumental in a number of KF initiatives, especially in academic development. Also, thanks to modern technology, nearly all our board members and advisors joined us in person or via the internet. We were impressed and moved by the commitment of our remote participants; many joined the meeting at what was 2 or 3 in the morning for them.
Photo from the KF strategic planning meeting: Front row: David Tan, meeting facilitator Alex Trisoglio (with board member Anja Hartmann’s son), Richard, Dixey, Patrick Jacquelin Back row: Lynn Hoberg, Anja Hartmann, Isabel Pedrosa, Cangioli Che, Sarah Wilkinson, Wyatt Arnold
In October, we held a small-group strategic planning meeting in San Francisco to look at fast-changing global trends and their potential impact for KF’s direction and activities over the next few years. We brought many strategic considerations to the attention of the board and brainstormed on how these trends may impact the two major categories of our existing activities, Nurturing the Source and Training for the Future.
Some of the strategic considerations included:
- Will traditional monasteries act as a building block for preserving the dharma 50 years from now? Is there a need to reinvent the model?
- Should KF invest in the development of computer-aided translation tools?
- How should KF work to bridge the gap between monastic and western values?
- Should we explore how we communicate the Buddha’s message in the future, possibly in very different ways?
- How do we prioritize our resources in view of the many projects that we are now engaged?
Many ideas were generated and we brought back several concrete action items that can fine-tune our programs and improve the efficiency of our operations.
At the board meeting, Rinpoche gave clear guidance on the focus of the Foundation’s programs, which remains fundamentally unchanged. Our major efforts will continue to focus on:
- Training 21stCentury Buddhist Teachers
- Academic Development
- Buddhist Education for Children
The board unanimously approved the budget and programs proposed by the executive committee for the coming three years (2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021) as well as the allocation of our assets into Board Designated Funds and Reserves for different projects.
After the board meeting, the group participated in a casual gathering of tea and snacks with professors from the National Cheng Chi University, where Rinpoche was invited to teach that evening. After the teaching, which KF helped sponsor, we took the opportunity to present our 2018 KF Fellowship Award, our highest honor, to Gao Mingdao, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Buddhist education during the Cheng Chi talk. Stay tuned to meet Gao Laoshi (Gao teacher高老師) in our January Focus.
A very special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Kris Yao for their generous hospitality in hosting the board meeting, and to Maryann Lipaj for preparing the graphics for the board presentation.