As the “mother country” of the Buddha, India is vitally important to Khyentse Foundation’s mission to preserve and promote Buddha’s wisdom. India enabled, nurtured, and provided the space for Shakyamuni Buddha to attain enlightenment and share the fruits and secrets of his awakening with the world.
Khyentse Foundation India (KF India) was established to expand the reach and effectiveness of Khyentse Foundation’s activities in India. Officially incorporated by the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs in 2011, KF India is dedicated to the preservation of the Buddha’s heritage as part of India’s wisdom tradition in his home and heartland. Implementing projects and collaborating with local organizations and individuals, KF India hopes to reacquaint Indians with the teachings of the Buddha. With guidance from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and our India Program Committee, KF India provides funds for projects throughout India, from small village Buddhist activities to long-term university professorships.
Life of Buddha Shakyamuni
Born to the wealthy Shakya clan in the ancient city of Kapilavastu (now in Lumbini Province, Nepal) in about 563 BCE, Siddhartha Gautama was shielded from the common, daily hardships of life. When he was finally permitted to leave the palace grounds at the age of 29, he was deeply troubled by the suffering of old age, sickness, and death that he witnessed around him. Determined to know the truth of suffering and impermanence, he fled his life of luxury and distraction and set out on a spiritual quest.
After years of wandering, study, and meditation, Siddhartha vowed once and for all to find the state beyond birth and death on his own. Sitting under a pipal tree, now the site of the Mahabodhi temple in the Indian village of Bodhgaya, Siddhartha attained realization and became the Buddha, “the enlightened one.”
Although he was reluctant to teach because his discovery was so profound, Buddha was convinced that his words could be of great benefit to others. He ventured to a deer park in Sarnath, near Varanasi, where he “turned the first wheel of dharma” and taught the doctrines of the Middle Way and the Four Noble Truths. As his fame spread, he travelled throughout Northeastern India and continued to teach, spending the rainy season in what was then Shravasti, near the Rapti River in northeastern Uttar Pradesh.
At the age of 80, in the ancient city of Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, Buddha entered meditative absorption and passed into parinirvana. After Buddha left his form body, his teachings gradually spread across India, giving rise to some of the most profound spiritual thinkers and brilliant minds of all time.