Patron King Series

Patron Kings Overview

In 2002, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche began identifying some of the great patrons of Buddhism, from Shakyamuni’s own patron, Sudatta Anathapindika to the warlord king Ashoka. Without these patrons, Buddhism would have had little chance to flourish. In every Khyentse Foundation Communique, Rinpoche shares the life story of one of these inspiring patrons.

Patron King Series

Great Patrons Part I: King Ashoka of India

July 16th, 2003

Part I in a series of discussions with Rinpoche It is beyond doubt that the past glory of Buddhism is due to its followers’ courage in seeking the true meaning beyond a material life. But we should never forget that this glory was also due to the support provided by people and nations who saw…

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Great Patrons Part II: Tenpa Tsering

December 16th, 2003

Part II in a series of discussions with Rinpoche King Tenpa Tsering (1678-1738), lived in Derge, Eastern Tibet in the era of the 8th Tai Situ, Chökyi Jungney (1700-1774). “He was one of the greatest patrons of Buddhism,” says Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. “Patrons are important even if they are often forgotten. They may not always…

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Great Patrons Part III: Sudatta Anathapindika

May 16th, 2004

Part III in a series of discussions with Rinpoche During the lifetime of the Buddha Shakyamuni, almsgiving was a common practice but there was one patron who stood out from the rest. Through his selflessness and generosity, Sudatta, a successful Brahmin merchant, came to be known as Anathapindika, the incomparable benefactor. Sudatta lived with his…

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Great Patrons Part IV: King Tran Nhan Tong of Vietnam

July 16th, 2004

Part IV in a series of discussions with Rinpoche The annual festival of the Truc Lam or Bamboo Forest Buddhist tradition in Vietnam’s Yen Tu Mountain attracts over 150,000 pilgrims. They climb steep paths, passing ten pagodas and hundreds of shrines and stupas, up to the cloudcapped peak at 1,068 meters (3,500 feet) above sea…

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Patron King V: Songtsen Gampo

December 16th, 2004

Part V in a series of discussions with Rinpoche Songtsen Gampo is the forefather of Buddhism in Tibet. Two generations before King Trisong Detsen invited Shantarakshita and Padmasambhava to Tibet, King Songtsen Gampo cultivated the nation for its transformation, clearing pathways for the dharma to enter and ultimately permeate Tibetan culture. Without Songsten Gampo there…

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Great Patrons Part VI: King Trisong Deutsen

May 16th, 2005

Part VI in a series of discussions with Rinpoche King Trisong Deutsen was the 9th century Tibetan emperor who is credited with establishing Buddhism in Tibet. Tibetan Buddhists consider him a manifestation of Manjushri, the bodhisattva who embodies wisdom. In his life, King Trisong Deutsen made monumental contributions to the establishment and propagation of the…

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Great Patrons Part VII: Khyentse Foundation As a Patron of Buddhism

May 16th, 2006

Part VII in a series of discussions with Rinpoche This article is part VII in Khyentse Foundation’s “Great Patron” series and is excerpted from Rinpoche’s comments at a KF Asia planning meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, on May 10, 2006. I believe that we are doing something quite worthwhile, something that can become an example. There was a little…

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Great Patrons VIII: Prince Shotoku of Japan

December 16th, 2006

When Prince Shotoku was born, Japan was not much more than a riverbank populated by barbarian hordes. By the time he died, though, Buddhism was the state religion, and the Golden Age had begun. In the middle of the sixth century in Japan, the Imperial Court was, according to Peter Matthiesson in his book The…

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Great Patrons X: Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk and DKCLI

May 16th, 2008

In Tibet, the monastic shedras (Buddhist Universities) maintain the authenticity and heritage of the Buddha’s teachings. One such university is Dzongsar Institute, in Derge, Eastern Tibet, founded by Rime master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo in 1871. It quickly became a major center of Buddhist learning and became famous for its scholastic excellence under the supervision of…

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