Khyentse Foundation supports organizations and individuals engaged in the preservation of seminal Buddhist texts in Tibetan, Pali, Sanskrit, and other Asian languages. Many of these texts contain the Buddha’s teachings as well as rich historical detail about such topics as metaphysics, ethics, philosophy, psychology, medicine, poetry, and art.
The three major recipients of KF support for text preservation are:
Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC)
The work of the Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC) is a prime example of the outstanding impact KF funding can make when matched with ideal partners. BDRC’s vast and unique vision of digitally preserving the literature of the Tibetan people, realized by concrete, actionable goals has significantly affected the future of Buddhism far beyond the scope of BDRC’s founding vision. Between 1999 and 2014, under its original name the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC), the organization scanned more than 18,000 volumes (9.5 million pages), continuously making them accessible in digital formats on and offline, and developed a robust model for preservation that can be replicated in any language for any topic.
E. Gene Smith founded TBRC in 1999 to collect, preserve, organize, digitize, and disseminate Tibetan literature. The result is a modern digital library unlike any other, an unparalleled collection of texts that illuminate more than 1,300 years of Tibetan literature. The texts include not only philosophical and religious treatises, but works on traditional medicine, astrology, astronomy, alchemy, art, history, geography, biography, grammar, folk culture, and poetry.
In 2016, due to the successful completion of Gene’s dream, and at the request of its board of directors and partners and collaborators in the field of Buddhist studies, the institution broadened its scope to include the preservation of texts in languages beyond Tibetan. To reflect this expansion, TBRC officially changed its name to Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC). In 2017, BDRC began preserving and making accessible texts in Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, and other South Asian and Southeast Asian languages.
Along with the new name and new mission comes a new logo and an inaugural project, the Fragile Palm Leaves Digitization Projects.
This initiative will be the first ever to unify the diverse array of Buddhist texts into a single all-encompassing digital resource for the core textual sources of Buddhism.
“This has never been attempted, has never been done, and has never before been possible. We are thrilled to now be applying our successes in preserving and making accessible Tibetan materials to the vast array of other language collections urgently in need of support,” said a BDRC spokesperson.
By using the latest digital technology, BDRC is helping to ensure that the treasures of this world wisdom heritage will not be lost or endangered again due to political, social, or natural disasters, and will be available for future generations. Khyentse Foundation is committed to supporting the work of the BDRC and continuing Gene’s legacy.
Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation
Khyentse Foundation supports the preservation initiative led by Professor Peter Skilling of the Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation, a nonprofit foundation based in Bangkok, Thailand. The aim of FPL is to preserve ancient Pali Buddhist manuscripts and make them widely available.
The project’s collection also includes manuscripts in several Southeast Asian languages other than Pali, including Burmese, Shan, Tai Khun, Tai Lue, and Mon. These manuscripts are in a variety of formats, primarily on palm leaf but also on paper and other materials. KF grants aid the day-to-day operation of FPL.
Khyentse Center for Tibetan Buddhist Textual Scholarship
The Khyentse Center for Tibetan Buddhist Textual Scholarship in the Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, Asia-Africa Institute, University of Hamburg was founded in 2011. Under the direction of Professor Dorji Wangchuk, the center is devoted to the scholarly investigation of Tibetan texts, primarily Buddhist. The main objectives of the center are to strengthen Tibetan Buddhist textual scholarship, enhance academic exchange in the field, and promote cooperation between researchers and students from Europe, North America, and Asia.
Professor Wangchuk, professor of Tibetology in the university’s Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, was greatly inspired by Rinpoche’s vision in promoting the study of Buddhist textual traditions through the activities of Khyentse Foundation. According to Professor Wangchuk, “The Khyentse Center at the University of Hamburg fits well in the broader framework of Khyentse Foundation’s agendas and aspiration and is unique in its academic focus, form, and function, not only in Europe, but worldwide. It is a true tribute to Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s vision and activities.” Professor Wangchuk described the Khyentse Center as “a stronghold of rigorous investigation of Tibetan (primarily Buddhist) texts that has the aim of gaining an accurate understanding of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and Tibet’s rich intellectual history.”
“Khyentse Foundation promotes in-depth study of the texts in their original languages. While there is increasing support for exploration of Buddhist concepts such as mindfulness, the emphasis is more on relatively positive effects such as stress reduction or anger control. Often it is watered down and divorced from the essential Buddhist view of the four seals. It is so important that we support rigorous academic studies so that the wisdom tradition can be preserved in its entirety.”Cangioli Che
“TBRC’s collaboration with Khyentse Foundation is a critical part of the health of our organization. Not only does KF provide key financial support, they also supported us in governance and strategic planning. It’s important for people to know that Khyentse Foundation not only gives generously of funds, but of people. KF Executive Director Cangioli Che (also a board member of TBRC) and strategist Ivy Ang were absolutely critical to the development of strategic plans and metrics that we could report against. It was the beginning of our reporting the huge numbers that are a part of our organizational focus—we know how to do stuff at scale.”Jeff Wallman