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Engaged Buddhism: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Highlights the Value of Small Sacrifices in Breaking the Cycle of Poverty for Women


Speaking on the work of the non-profit organization Lotus Outreach International, which directs a range of projects for the education, health, and safety of vulnerable women and girls in the developing world, the renowned Bhutanese lama, filmmaker, and author Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche recently shared a message on the importance of giving in changing lives—even as little as the cost of a cup of coffee.

Lotus Outreach focuses on improving the lives of women and girls in developing countries, in particular Cambodia and India. Founded by Rinpoche in 1993 and working on issues including education, healthcare, and human trafficking, Lotus Outreach International’s programs aim to empower girls and women to break the cycle of poverty and improve their communities.

“Sometimes it’s really frustrating to notice that it takes so much effort and energy and time to really ruin the world, but we kind of do it, you know, just non-stop,” Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche noted in a message shared on social media. 

“And then there are small good things. Very, very small good things. So small that we sometimes underestimate them—not sometimes; all the time,” Rinpoche continued. “We can do a lot of good things, such as sacrificing a cup of cappuccino could actually change a girl’s life somewhere in Cambodia . . . that’s it.”

Lotus Outreach International launched the 1,000 Coffee Campaign as a fundraising initiative to engage individuals and communities in supporting their education programs for girls in Cambodia and India. Funds raised through the campaign go toward scholarships, school supplies, and other educational resources. Since its launch, the campaign has been successful in raising awareness about the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty.

Lotus Outreach empowers students and families in poverty around the world, in regions across India and Cambodia, and through partnerships in Brazil, Guatemala, Vietnam, and the US, ensuring access to education, clean water, counseling, and health and nutritional support into the future. Some of Lotus Outreach’s outreach programs include providing scholarships for girls to attend school, building schools and community centers, and providing vocational training and micro-finance opportunities for women.

“In 2022, 1,000 Coffee supported 150 girls with safe and reliable transportation to school on our Blossom Bus!” Lotus Outreach explained in a separate statement. “On behalf of these girls and young women who would otherwise not reach school, thank you to the more than 230 people giving up coffees monthly for Lotus Outreach access to education programs. Give today to support more Blossom riders in rural India and many other LO programs in 2023!”


Born in Bhutan in 1961, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is the son of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and was a close student of the Nyingma master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910–91). He is recognized as the third incarnation of the 19th century Tibetan terton Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892), founder of the Khyentse lineage, and the immediate incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (1893–1959). 

In addition to Lotus Outreach, Rinpoche’s projects include Khyentse Foundation, established in 2001 to promote the Buddha’s teaching and support all traditions of Buddhist study and practice; 84000, a non-profit global initiative to translate the words of the Buddha and make them available to all; Siddhartha’s Intent, an international collective of Buddhist groups supporting Rinpoche’s Buddhadharma activities by organizing teachings and retreats, distributing and archiving recorded teachings, and transcribing, editing, and translating manuscripts and practice texts; and Lhomon Society, which promotes sustainable development in Bhutan through education.

Sacrifice one cappuccino. Yes, spend that money on changing a girl’s life for her whole life. I’m not even exaggerating. This is not a metaphor, this is a reality.

(Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche)

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Lotus Outreach International
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