The Tenzin Gyatso Institute: Serving the Vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“Buddhism in the twenty-first century implies fuller knowledge: fuller knowledge of modern science, modern education and today’s reality, and at the same time a fuller knowledge of the structure of Buddhism.”

This is how His Holiness the Dalai Lama presented his blueprint for ‘twenty-first century Buddhists’ as he gave a teaching in the Lerab Ling temple to students following Rigpa’s Three Year Retreat. It was not the only time the Dalai Lama had spoken about the future of Buddhism during his visit to Lerab Ling. With the situation in Tibet so uncertain, he emphasized on several occasions the importance of establishing a stable basis for the preservation of the teachings of the Tibetan tradition outside of their homeland, both in the Tibetan communities in the East, and in the many Buddhist centres that have been established all around the world over the past few decades.

On the day after the Dalai Lama’s departure, a group of Tibetan and western scholars and professors held a meeting in the temple’s East Apartment to discuss the contribution they could make to this vision through the Tenzin Gyatso Scholars Program. Their aim was to develop an initiative to broaden the base of education within the Tibetan Buddhist monastic system, enriching the tradition and shaping the emergence of a group of Tibetan men and women capable of taking on leadership roles in monasteries, in society or in government. At the same time, these scholars will be better equipped to communicate the teaching of Buddha in an accessible, effective and beneficial way in the wider world.

Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, the Chairman of the Cabinet in the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government-in exile) and head of the Scholars Program’s advisory council, presented a clear mission statement to the meeting in a conference call from India. The initiative, he said, “should aim to prepare the future leadership of the Dharma and the various lineages of Tibet” by helping to train a new generation of teachers who could combine an in-depth knowledge of the Tibetan tradition with a keen understanding and appreciation of the issues affecting people today.

The full article can be found in the December 2008 edition of View, The Rigpa Journal.