FOCUS: KF India’s Reviving Activities

India is the root of the Buddhadharma. It’s important to replenish that source.

— Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Nurturing the Source in India 

KF-India’s Impact in Villages, Academia, and Beyond 

KF is making special efforts to revive the Buddhist heritage in India, the source of the great river of Buddhism—the place where Shakyamuni Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment, and taught for 45 years before passing into parinirvana.
Through KF-India, the Foundation has been able to expand support for new projects in India, including having on-the-ground support to help ensure that our projects across the country flourish. Uma Pitta, administrator director, describes one of the most interesting initiatives in her First Person interview: “Right now KF-India is working with two Buddhist groups from the south of the country to help them get genuine teachers who speak their language. Our advisor Raji Ramanan, has played a key role in actively engaging with these groups to organize and participate in “Dhamma Teachings” in their villages. We hope to help develop these groups as knowledge hubs that share their learnings with other wisdom seekers.”

Being a part of KF has not only made it possible for me to connect to people who are engaged in extraordinary work in Buddhist studies—be it research or the work of translation—it has given me an opportunity to meet amazing teachers of Buddhadharma. Rinpoche has always inspired me to explore the great Nalanda tradition and recognize the hidden jewels there.

Raji Ramanan

Member of India Program Committee, and former KF board member

KF First Person: Uma Pitta

Uma Pitta is the administration manager of KF-India. Below she shares her journey to KF India and what inspires her work.
KF: Why is it so important for KF to have a presence in India through KF-India?
Uma: The programs that KF is focusing in India function differently. To enable KF in establishing a more active role in India, it is necessary that we develop operational capabilities and participate in the operations of these programs. This in turn requires that we have someone on the ground handling those responsibilities in real time.
KF: What is your aspiration for five years from now, through KF-India?
Uma: India is taking steps to honor its rich Buddhist heritage. Indians will slowly but surely begin to tap into the wisdom teachings of the Buddha. Many more Buddhists in India, especially in small towns and villages are actively seeking authentic teachers and reliable sources of Buddhist teachings in their local dialects.

Hindi Translation of Oldest Women-Authored Text  

Therīgāthā Pāli Shares the Spiritual Practice of Buddhist Nuns 

Who can forget the story of the nun who gives her eyes to her most ardent suitor in order to fully dedicate herself to her Buddhist practice? It is this and 100 other Buddhist poems written by elder nuns in the Therīgāthā Pāli, frequently translated as Verses of the Elder Nuns, that Siddharth Singh, professor at Banaras Hindu University’s Pali and Buddhist Studies department, is currently translating for the first time into Hindi.
As Professor Singh says in his Ashoka Grant application, “I consider it a good idea to draw the attention of Indian society toward this unique Buddhist text, which renders such creative and poetic utterances of the Buddha’s women disciples. The text illustrates how Buddhism was the only ancient Indian path that understood the immense potential of women and opened the door of liberation for them.”

There are few places in this world where all Buddhists come together under one umbrella—from the pilgrim who offers orchids fresh from Thailand to the Tibetan who has journeyed by bus or train from the Himalayas with a mandala offering of turquoise and coral or the westerner who meditates under the sacred Bodhi Tree. They all share a common commitment to understanding and deepening their relationship to this sacred place—the Mahabodhi Mahavihara, the great Temple at Bodhgaya.

Richard Dixey

Associate director of the Light of Buddhadharma Foundation International and Khyentse Foundation advisor