Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in Varanasi. Photo courtesy Pawo Choyning Dorji.
Words of Wisdom 11
Rinpoche on giving, receiving, and sustainability
A letter from our founder, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche to our supporters, volunteers, grant recipients and the general KF community at these uncertain times.
As we all know, our world is being hit with all kinds of rocky challenges, from pandemic to war to inflation to climate change, and who knows what awaits us in the future. In tough times like these that truly test us, we followers of the Buddha must strengthen and rejuvenate ourselves with determination to study and practice the dharma.
And so, without a doubt, it is also time for those who facilitate the study and practice of the dharma to renew their own determination to fulfil this role as best they can for as long as possible and as long as their merit allows. At the risk of sounding narcissistic and counting Khyentse Foundation as one such agent, all of us involved in KF must be mindful of the current state of the world and hold this aspiration close to our hearts.
To that end, we must not only remember but always deeply appreciate the incredibly generous offerings of our donors and the tireless and dedicated efforts of our volunteers who make this Khyentse Foundation vehicle possible. This appreciation is not only mental but manifests practically—for example, in keeping our overhead costs remarkably low. In fact, it is entirely the noble spirit of our Khyentse Foundation donors and volunteers that enables all our efforts to maintain and propagate the Buddhadharma in the world. As practitioners, we try to see that contribution as our core practice.
It is equally important for recipients of Khyentse Foundation funding to hold the same mentality and to see every penny and every action as extraordinarily precious, never to be wasted or taken for granted. It’s this kind of honorable attitude and principled action from donors, workers, and recipients that has built Khyentse Foundation into what it is.
As we all know, the great patronage of ancient emperors and kings that Buddhism once enjoyed is long past, and for many centuries now Buddhists in general have suffered from a chronic lack of support.
Given this reality, we must never see Khyentse Foundation as some kind of inexhaustible source of funding, or treat it as an Elon Musk-type fountain of wealth. Even if KF’s resources were to become as inexhaustible as we might wish, our attitude as givers and receivers and followers of the Buddha should still always be that every donation is precious and sacred.
Along the same lines, I want to encourage Khyentse Foundation to support institutes and groups that will learn to sustain themselves for the long term rather than always relying on KF handouts. In the long run, it will have far greater impact for these various organizations to take care of themselves.
Of course, Khyentse Foundation will still offer initial seed funding to get worthy initiatives started. One recent example is Buddha Pada Centre. But unlike in the past, India’s interest in Buddhism is slowly picking up and spreading. So I can see the day when Buddha Pada will stand fully on its own, as Deer Park already does, rather than relying on outside support.
Let us pray that all will quickly become harmonious, peaceful, and prosperous in the world, and that, even in these tumultuous times, the Buddhadharma will flourish and shine.
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse
27 September, 2022
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