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Buddhadharma : Spring 2009
91 spring 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly It was decided that practitioners of any nationality and from any Buddhist tradition who wanted to do intensive Buddhist study would be eligible for financial assistance from the Khy- entse Foundation. “This scholarship fund is for Americans, Australians, Europeans, Asians, anybody,” says Che. “We are only limited by our financial resources.” Many of the scholarships, however, go to lay Westerners be- cause, according to Dzongsar Khyentse, so many of them have to slot in their practice around their jobs. “People tend to help the Tibetan monks and nuns,” he explains, “because of what has happened to them and because there is the sense that Tibetan Buddhism is something exotic and sexy to help.” But not many Western dharma practitioners receive financial assistance. Establishing university chairs is another Khyentse Founda- tion project that is helping to promote Buddhism in both the West and beyond. In 2006, the foundation endowed a chair of Tibetan Buddhism at the University of California at Berkeley, and now the foundation is exploring opportunities to endow similar chairs at other major universities in Asia, Europe, and Australia. At the other end of the education spectrum—the educa- tion of children, especially second-generation Buddhists—the long-term goal of the Khyentse Foundation is to establish in- ternational, nondenominational schools with curricula based on Buddhist principles. So far the Australian sangha has made great progress with its pilot project, and associates in Brazil and Germany are working with government agencies to create Buddhist courses for public school systems. But Jones would like to see the foundation do more with its education program, and she’s hoping they will eventually host a conference on Buddhists education for children. Dzongsar Khyentse’s most pressing concern at the moment is the foundation’s publication projects, particularly those related to text preservation and translation. He says he feels anxious about addressing the issue of translation, “because within the Tibetan tradition, many texts are written in the classic Tibetan language and with the way things are going, in about thirty years there will be very few people left who can actually speak classical Tibetan.” The Khyentse Foundation has commissioned a number of new translations. It also supports the translation projects of other groups and provides scholarships for translators in train- ing. Perhaps most remarkably, however, is that the foundation plans to host a landmark translators’ conference, Translating the Words of the Buddha, in Bir, India, in March. Some of the objectives of this conference are to discuss ways to facilitate collaboration among translators and to identify priority texts for translation. Che is very pleased so far about the work the Khyentse Foundation has done in all five of the areas originally identi- fied by Dzongsar Khyentse. “The need is just so huge,” she says. “Not everything that we want to do can be achieved within our lifetimes, but it is a start. It is the beginning of a very long-term effort.” But-SouLai