Khyentse Foundation (KF), a nonprofit organization founded by the revered Bhutanese lama, filmmaker, and author Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, has announced the appointment of Prof. Flavio A. Geisshuesler as KF-Macready Senior Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism at the University of Sydney.
“This faculty position, the sixth in a KF series, is made possible through the Lynne Macready Education Fund, which Khyentse Foundation established to support Buddhist education and practice in Australia,” the foundation said in an announcement shared with BDG. “A long-time student of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Lynne sadly passed away in 2015 and magnanimously bequeathed a portion of her estate to the foundation.”
Swiss-born Prof. Geisshuesler holds two PhDs in the history of religions—from the University of Bern (2018) and from the University of Virginia (2019). His academic focus has latterly been on the study of contemplative practices in Indo-Tibetan religions, in particular the Dzogchen tradition. Following the completion of his second PhD, Prof. Geisshuesler has been a postdoctoral fellow in the departments of Comparative Religion and Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, supported by a number of fellowships, including a two-year Khyentse Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2019.
“Flavio has published extensively,” Khyentse Foundation noted. “His completed manuscript for a book titled Tibetan Sky-Gazing Meditation and the Pre-History of Great Perfection Buddhism, based on his doctoral research, is currently in press with Bloomsbury Academic. Building on his earlier study of Dzogchen, his current research project, The Tantric Brain: A New Paradigm for Meditation Research, engages a broader range of contemplative systems in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism from an interdisciplinary perspective that includes textual, anthropological, and cognitive approaches.”
Khyentse Foundation was founded by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2001 with the aim of promoting the Buddha’s teaching and supporting all traditions of Buddhist study and practice. The foundation’s activities include major text preservation and translation projects, support for monastic colleges in Asia, a worldwide scholarship and awards program, development of Buddhist studies at major universities, training and development for Buddhist teachers, and developing new modes of Dharma-inspired education for children.
“I am very pleased with Flavio’s appointment,” said Dr. Mark Allon, associate professor of South Asian Buddhist studies at the University of Sydney. “He is an enthusiastic and energetic young scholar who already has a sophisticated understanding of Tibetan Buddhism in its many permutations. Besides commanding both classical and spoken Tibetan he also has Sanskrit, which is an important language for the study of Tibetan Buddhism and for Buddhist studies more generally. This will enable him to teach Sanskrit in our program, which was one of the requirements of the position. I am also pleased that his interests include the meditative traditions of Tibet, since we have wanted to develop a course in Buddhist meditation for some time. In short, Flavio will be a great addition to our Buddhist Studies program.”
Khyentse Foundation’s achievements over the last 20 years include more than 15 million pages of Buddhist texts preserved and made available online; education provided for the children of more than 1,000 families; support for Buddhist studies at more than 35 major universities through endowed chairs and professorships, graduate support, and the establishment of Buddhist studies centers; more than US$1 million in sponsorship for Buddhist teacher-training granted; sacred Buddhist texts translated into more than 15 languages, thanks to the efforts of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, the Kumarajiva Project, and the Khyentse Vision Project; over US$1.8 million in funding granted to uphold Buddhism in its mother countries, including grassroots partnerships to revitalize interest in Buddhism in India; more than 2,000 scholarships and awards in recognition of excellence in Buddhist study and practice; support for over 3,000 monks and nuns to maintain the tradition of Buddhist scholarship in a monastic setting; and more than 120 open-access Ashoka and Trisong grants distributed to support Dharma and well-being programs.
“Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s vision is to establish an endowed academic chair in Buddhist studies at a major university on each continent, and the KF-Macready Senior Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism is just one of six long-term academic positions that KF is currently supporting around the world,” Khyentse Foundation explained. “The first two KF chairs in Buddhist studies were established at the University of California at Berkeley, in 2006 and at the University of Michigan,1 in 2018. In more recent years, we sponsored four additional long-term faculty positions: at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem;2 at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany;3 at the International Buddhist College, Thailand;4 and the new position at the University of Sydney.”
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 Khyentse Foundation, his projects include 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; 84000, a non-profit global initiative to translate the words of the Buddha and make them available to all; Lotus Outreach, which directs a range of projects to ensure the education, health, and safety of vulnerable women and children in the developing world; and Lhomon Society, which promotes sustainable development in Bhutan through education.
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