The Konchok Foundation is delighted to welcome our new Board Members, appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
Our new board members include:
Chuck Lief, President of Naropa University
Jessie Litven, Shambhala International
Jon Ransohoff, Bay Area Shambhalian
Mark Curtin, Rusung for Albuquerque Shambhala Center
Thanks to each of them for stepping forward in this way!
Below each of our new Board Members share their inspiration to join the Konchok Foundation in supporting educational programs in the Surmang Valley of eastern Tibet.
Chuck Lief writes:
As a student of the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche for 45 years, I always felt a heart connection to Surmang Dutsi Til as the seat of the Trungpa Tulku lineage and sacred land from which Chögyam Trungpa emerged as the most important Tibetan Buddhist teacher of the 20th century.
Having been taught and having personally experienced the power of devotion to the teacher, it was heartbreaking to realize the impact on the lay and religious communities of the Eleventh Trungpa’s abrupt need to depart in 1959. To have an opportunity to help support the Twelfth Trungpa Chökyi Gyatso as he restores the Surmang Shedra for the benefit of young students is a blessing. I am grateful to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and to Lady Diana Mukpo with whom I have worked closely for decades for their personal efforts on behalf of Surmang and the wonderful Tibetan communities surrounding it. The Konchok Foundation, its donors, board members and volunteers, has done remarkable work and I look forward to joining in those efforts.
Jessie Litven writes:
My relationship with the Konchok Foundation began with my translating the sparse dialog of Steven Segal movies for Karme Senge Rinpoche, the nephew of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche from eastern Tibet, while he worked with the Nālandā Translation Committee in Halifax in 2005. With each yearly visit to Halifax, my connection to Karma Senge Rinpoche grew as we then worked to translate Trungpa Rinpoche’s early Tibetan texts into English. In 2007, I was fortunate to be hosted by Surmang Khenpo and Karma Senge Rinpoche in eastern Tibet where I formed a deep personal connection to the people and projects of Surmang Monastery and its affiliates Kyere and Wenchen, including getting to know more of of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s extended family as well as the Twelth Trungpa Tulku. I am now so happy to be able to explore ways of growing those relationships beyond myself through the Konchok Foundation.
Jon Ransohoff writes:
I have been a supporter and voyeur of the Konchok Foundation’s work since the 2006 through my friendship with longtime Board Member, Lyndon Comstock. In 2010, Lyndon invited me to accompany him to Surmang Monastery to photograph and video progress on the Shedra and it’s delightful first classes for the children on September 1, 2010. Although the wonder of that visit was dampened by the devastating earthquake that struck the region, Lyndon and I added to the days at Surmang by visiting Wenchen Nunnery and Kyere Monastery, which are part of the Surmang group, as well as Shechen Monastery in nearby Dege and finally Larung Buddhist Academy in Serta where, along with with Surmang Khenpo, we were hosted by the Twelfth Trungpa, Chökyi Senge. More recently, I helped to spruce up Konchok’s Facebook page and with our transition to the new website.
Mark Curtin writes:
The mission of the Konchok Foundation inspires me to work for the preservation of Tibetan culture. The wisdom traditions of Tibet offer so much to alleviate suffering in the world today. When the Children’s Education Program opened, I was deeply moved to see pictures of the Shambhala banner on the wall of the Surmang Shedra; as if Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche had symbolically returned home.
Coming soon! An article by Mark Curtin on the Shambhala Times about how he convinced the business he works for to contribute matching donations for education programs at the Surmang Shedra through the Konchok Foundation.