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University of Sydney to continue Tibetan Buddhist scholarship with US$3.5 Million grant from Khyentse Foundation

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(TibetanReview.net, Aug03’22) – Khyentse Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by the Tibetan-Bhutanese lama, filmmaker, and author Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, has awarded the University of Sydney, Australia, US$3.5 million to ensure the future of its Tibetan Buddhist studies and related programmes.

The funding will cover a range of expenses associated with scholarship in Tibetan Buddhist studies for 20 years.

“This far-sighted and deeply generous gift allows the university to firmly establish Tibetan Buddhist studies in Australia through specialist teaching, postgraduate research, language training, and community outreach,” Dr Jim Rheingans, Khyentse Macready Senior Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism in the university’s School of Languages and Cultures, has said.

“Academic study of Tibetan Buddhism worldwide is not in its infancy anymore, but pioneering work still awaits the researcher, compared to other fields. Around 80 per cent of available textual sources in Tibetan languages have not yet been translated or studied, while an increasing amount is available digitally or in libraries,” Dr Rheingans has said.

The Bhutan-born Lama of Dzongsar Monastery in Eastern Tibet, now part of China’s Sichuan Province, belonging to an ecumenical tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, had earlier visited the University of Sydney in Aug 2017 for the inauguration of the lectureship bearing his name and that of Lynne Macready.

Macready was an Australian and a longtime student of Khyentse who passed away in 2015. In her will, she left a large portion of her estate to Khyentse Foundation, which then created the Lynne Macready Education Fund to support Buddhist education in Australia.

Dr. Rheingans, who began work at the University of Sydney in 2017, became the first to hold the position of Khyentse Macready Senior Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism, which was established with additional funding from the University Buddhist Education Foundation and the Aberbaldie Foundation, reported the buddhistdoor.net Jul 28.  

Professor Yixu Lu, head of the School of Languages and Cultures, has said the grant will also benefit language studies at the university.

“Our school has a proud history of advancing the study of languages, literatures, and cultures. Thanks to Khyentse Foundation, we are now able to continue offering Tibetan language and culture, first introduced in 2017, to students at the University of Sydney for decades to come. I am confident that we will continue advancing the teaching and research in Asian Buddhism and its impact on societies, cultures, and philosophy.”

According to Cangioli Che, executive director of Khyentse Foundation, “Khyentse Foundation has invested heavily in endowing Buddhist chairs and professorships over the last 15 years in universities, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And now the Khyentse Macready Initiative at the University of Sydney expands this investment in universities to the Southern Hemisphere.”

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