Khyentse Foundation Announces Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies Recipients
This year’s recipients of the Khyentse Foundation Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies have now been announced. Every year, the foundation provides US$1,000 to 10 universities on 4 continents to encourage excellence in Buddhist academia (plans are currently under way to expand this number to 15 universities), with the winners being chosen by the departments that manage Buddhist Studies in those universities. According to the Khyentse Foundation’s website, “In the grand scheme of academic expenses, $1,000 is not a huge sum, but it is our way of showing respect for the good intentions and hard work these students are investing in their studies. Many have expressed how this gesture of encouragement has been a positive influence.”
The scholars receiving the prize this year are: Ma Shengnan of Peking University, Kathryn Boden of UC Berkeley, Leopold Eisenlohr of the University of Pennsylvania, Jörg Heimbel of the University of Hamburg, Eiji Okawa of the University of British Columbia, Chris Clark of the University of Sydney, Alan Wong Chiu Ming of the University of Hong Kong, and Natthan Manirat of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. “I am very fortunate to be a recipient of the award from Khyentse Foundation,” said Ma Shengnan. “It will be a twofold help to me: Financially, it is a timely support, and mentally, it is a generous encouragement. I will be always grateful to the foundation and your sponsors. In my everyday life, I will turn my gratefulness to you into kindness to people I meet.” (Khyentse Foundation)
The award recipients are from a diverse range of academic backgrounds, with interests spanning a range of subjects. Ma Shengnan’s specialty is Sanskrit and Tibetan iconographical literature, while Kathryn Boden is focusing on sociological studies of monks studying science in India and Nepal. Leopold Eisenlohr is researching the adaptation of Buddhist literary and philosophical forms to Islamic texts in Old Uyghur and Chinese, and tracing the written interaction of Buddhism and Islam from the Yuan through Ming dynasties as they shaped each other in China and Central Asia. Jörg Heimbel recently joined his university’s Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies as Tibetan lektor (lecturer). Eiji Okawa is studying the sacred landscape of Mount Koya and the social space that has developed there. Chris Clark is working on a translation of the Theravada text of the Apadana, and Alan Wong Chiu Ming is a retired COO and CFO and a Master of Buddhist Studies graduate. Natthan Manirat is earning his PhD in Buddhist Studies with an emphasis on numerology.
Besides the Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies, the foundation’s other annual awards include the Prize for Outstanding Translation (US$8,000), which this year went to Professor Mark Blum (Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair in Japanese Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, at UC Berkeley) for his translation of Volume I of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra from Dharmaksema’s 5th century Chinese, and the Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation in Buddhist Studies (US$8,000 each), awarded jointly to Jens Wilhelm Borgland for his thesis “A Study of the Adhikaranavastu: Legal Settlement Procedures of the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya” and to David Higgins for “The Philosophical Foundations of Classical Dzogchen in Tibet: Investigating the Distinction Between Dualistic Mind and Primordial Knowing.” The foundation’s top award, the Khyentse Fellowship (US$30,000), went to Venerable Professor Dhammajoti for his lifelong service to the Buddhadharma.
Established in 2001 by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, the Khyentse Foundation is dedicated to the support and enhancement of Buddhist Studies, practice, and scholarship throughout the world. It emphasizes two major programs: Nurturing the Source (aimed at revitalizing Buddhist education in traditionally or formerly Buddhist countries, including India, China, Mongolia, various Eastern European nations, and the countries of Southeast Asia) and Training For The Future (which seeks to establish a “critical mass of Buddhist teachers, students and practitioners worldwide” by developing practical skills in leadership training, youth development, teacher training, and other elementary, secondary, and tertiary level Buddhist education programs).
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is also the founder of Siddhartha’s Intent, an international Buddhist association of non-profit societies and charities that seeks to preserve the Buddha’s teachings and make them available across different cultures. Siddhartha’s Intent was established in 1981.
Announcing the 2015 KF Award for Academic Excellence Winners (Khyentse Foundation)