Khyentse Foundation As a Patron of Buddhism

In a series of discussions with Rinpoche

A stone statue of a lion sitting on its hind quarters atop a pillar.

This article in the “Patron King” series is excerpted from Rinpoche’s comments at the KF Asia planning meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, on 10 May 2006.

I believe that we are doing something quite worthwhile, something that can become an example especially for the Tibetans. I am already hearing some whispers from other lamas and rinpoches, and they are beginning to see some kind of benefit in what we are doing. There was a little bit of raising of eyebrows in the beginning when I was doing this, because this is not a customary thing to do. I am more than ever determined now, especially after Sin Ming came to Dzongsar Institute recently and gave us a big “fishpond” talk about endowment.

What we are doing is not something that will benefit only temporarily, but something that will really benefit for the long term. Benefit not just a few people, but hopefully lots and lots of people, we are talking about tens of thousands.

From the time Khyentse Foundation was conceived up to now has not been very long. [KF was established in November 2001.] When I look at what it has done, it really makes me very happy.

I think a support system is very important. Even when Buddha was alive, when he was begging with a begging bowl, there was a support system. When Buddha walked on the street and begged, it was guaranteed that there was going to be support. There was no worry.

And after Buddha’s time, Buddhism flourished in different parts of the world, such as China and India. There were many reasons for Buddhism to flourish, but one of the main reasons was the very strong support system, involving everyone from kings to courtesans, business people to the general population.

Generally when we human beings support something, we always have a reason. We support something that will benefit ourselves and maybe the world. However, the motivation and object of supporting differs. We are here because we all believe that the words of the Buddha and Buddha’s path will benefit ourselves individually and the world at large. Therefore supporting this kind of institution is something that we feel is important.

When we come to the action of supporting, there are again different ways. When we talk about the practice of detachment, the practice of generosity, or the practice of renunciation, one way is to offer things. The aim is to detach or accumulate merit.

There is another way, which is what we call supporting. While accumulating merit, while practicing detachment, there is also a certain plan, a certain goal.

Even during Buddha’s time, there was one major sponsor.  The Diamond Sutra was taught in his garden. When this merchant asked the Buddha for permission to become a monk, Buddha said no, you have to become a businessman, you have to support the sangha. That is planning.

Khyentse Foundation is trying to practice this kind of support system.