ABOUT

Rinpoche with orphans AWAM is a Sanskrit word for compassion coupled with wisdom. AWAM Foundation is a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Arizona, established to provide support to an orphanage and elder center initiated by Khenchen Lama Rinpoche in eastern Tibet. The activities of the AWAM Foundation are guided by compassion and wisdom and aim to manifest and propagate these deepest values. The foundation aims to engage in fundraising projects that would provide basic needs, housing, medical care and education for the orphans and elders. Importantly, AWAM Foundation focuses on long-term projects directed towards future self-sufficiency of the orphanage and elder center. In our activities, we respect, encourage, and support the traditional Tibetan values. The foundation is governed by three volunteer board members following the guidance of Khenchen Lama Rinpoche. Please consider supporting the worthy activities of AWAM Foundation.

HISTORY

Rinpoche with elders The orphanage and a shelter for older people near Jewo monastery in Tibetan province Kham has been established in 1999. At that point there were 30 children and 10 older people who did not have any family or government support to provide for them. Moved by their suffering, Khenchen Rinpoche decided to launch a project that would provide the basic needs of food and shelter for the orphans and elders and help them cultivate wisdom and compassion that would guide them to a better future. Arrangements were made for the children to receive basic general education, training in Tibetan and Chinese languages, as well as meditation. In addition, elders interested in meditation received practice instructione and were supported in their desire to engage in deep meditation practice.

Over the last nine years the orphanage and shelter for older people grew in size. Currently, there are 150 children, seven to eighteen years old, and 30 older people between sixty and eighty years of age. While the progress of children and elders in their study and meditation practice is encouraging, there is increasing need to provide for them. In response to Khenchen Rinpoche's request and under his spiritual guidance, Rinpoche's students in Arizona established the AWAM Foundation.

KHENCHEN LAMA RINPOCHE

Khenchen Lama Rinpoche Since early childhood Khenchen Lama Rinpoche displayed unusual compassion and inclination towards meditation. At the age of three, the head of Nyigma lineage - His Holiness Sera Yangtul Rinpoche recognized Khenchen Rinpoche as a reincarnation of Padma Dagnag Lingpa - a high Rinpoche of Nyigma lineage. Padma Dagnag Lingpa was a reincarnation of Nupchen Sangye Yeshe, one of the five closest disciples of Padmasambhava and the founder of the yogi lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. H.H. Sera Yantul Rinpoche also prophesized, that Khenchen Rinpoche would especially benefit students in Europe and the USA in this lifetime. Despite the pressures to take over abbot responsibilities at four monasteries at an early age, Khenchen Lama Rinpoche was encouraged by his mother to undergo rigorous study and practice. For 25 years he studied and practiced primarily Buddhist philosophy and meditation, but also logic, medicine, astrology, languages, grammar, lexiocography, dance, and drama. During this time his root teacher His Holiness Jigmed Phuntsok Rinpoche provided him with teachings and instructions over a period of ten years. After receiving his Khenpo and Khenchen titles, Khenchen Lama taught debate, astrology, sutra and tantra at many different monasteries and centers in Nepal, India, Malaysia, Singapore, China and the United States. The main focus of his teachings is on Dzogchen and the Six Bardos - especially dream yoga. He would also like to build a retreat center for yogis in Tibet in the future. He authored three books on sutra and tantra, and wrote a book of songs.

BOARD MEMBERS OF AWAM FOUNDATION

Dean Pielstick, Ph.D.

Dr. Dean Pielstick "Dr. Dean" (Drimed Dawa-Stainless Moon) began practicing Buddhism in the late 1960s and Tibetan Buddhism in 1998. He became an ordained Ngakpa (lay practitioner) and a student of Tulku Khenchen Prachhimba Dorjee Rinpoche, as well as having empowerments and teachings from HE Garchen Rinpoche, Ven. Traga Rinpoche, Ven. Gyalpo Rinpoche, Ven. Ontul Rinpoche, Yogi Lama Gursam, and numerous others. He has also studied extensively the teachings of HH the Dalai Lama, the beloved Thich Nhat Hanh, along with many other contemporary and historical figures. He has a particular affinity for the Dzogchen teachings of Longchen Rabjam; his primary practice is Dzogchen. He makes no claims to having great insights or accomplishments, but has been asked repeatedly by Tulku Khenchen Prachhimba Dorjee to teach the dharma nevertheless. In this spirit he agreed to share whatever he knows for the benefit of others. In February, 2007, he was installed as President of Dharmakirti College with primary oversight of operational responsibilities for the organization. In October, 2008, he will be granted the title of "Khenpo" by Khenchen Prachhimba Dorjee Rinpoche. This is a Buddhist title given to accomplished Buddhist practitioners and teachers comparable to a PhD in the United States.

Dr. Dean is also a Professor of Management and Business Program Coordinator for Northern Arizona University in Tucson, Arizona, where he also teaches management classes. He holds a bachelor degree in business administration, an MBA, and an EdD in leadership. He is the author of Authentic Leading: Where the Blue Sky Hits the Road and a number of articles on leadership and has presented at numerous conferences. He is an examiner for the Arizona Quality Alliance, the state level of the Malcomb Baldrige National Quality Award. Dr. Pielstick has also served as an officer on several boards of directors of non-profit and professional organizations and has assisted numerous organizations with strategic planning and operating-systems design.

Kit Cheong, Ph.D.

Dr. Kit Cheong Kit Cheong was born in Macao, a Portuguese colony until 1999 when it was returned to China. After high school, she traveled to Taiwan for College education with a major in Physics. She received a B.S. and an M.S. from the Physics Department, National Taiwan University, Taiwan. She came to the United States to further her education in Science and received her Ph.D. from the College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona. She is currently working as an Optical Scientist at Breault Research Organization, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona.

In her graduate program, she conducted research in experimental Solid State Physics to study the electronic structure in condensed matters using positron annihilation, experimental Quantum Optics in the study of manipulation and preparation of quantum states for quantum computation using atomic particles, and analysis in medical images using statistical theory, which is the same principle employed in Radar detection.

Being a Chinese, she was exposed to the Buddhism philosophy in an early age as part of the cultural constituents; however, it was never as in depth as the teaching conveyed by the Tibetan Buddhism tradition. To the Spiritual world, she used to adopt the philosophy advocated by the Confucian: 'Respect the Gods and the Ghosts, and stay away from them,' 'how can one know about death before one knows about life'. Also, with her training in Science, she thus naturally kept her focus on the current life in this tangible physical world.

However, in 2004, the sudden death of her husband has challenged her attitude towards life, death and the spiritual world. The death of her husband made death and the Spiritual world an imminent existence that could not be stay away from. In the quest of a better understanding of the Spiritual matter, she came across the topic of the study of mind in the Tibetan Buddhism tradition as well as the book of 'The Tibetan Book of the Death'. In 2006, when Khenchen Pachimba Dorje Rinpoche started the Bardos teaching at the Dharmakirti College, she decided to attend as an exploration to the Buddhism view on life, death and the Spiritual world. Rinpoche's genuine compassion towards all sentient beings and his easy-going style in conducting the teaching yet without losing sight of the essence of the Dharma has turned her exploration into a discovery: the discovery of a way of life, the discovery of the possibility of liberation by the understanding of impermanency and interdependence of all phenomena. She has found strength in the Dharma to let go of the sorrow brought forth by death and again focus on life. By understanding death, she has gotten to know about the meaning of life better: a contrast to the Confucian philosophy or just a full circle.

When Khenchen Pachimba Dorje Rinpoche expressed the intention to start the Foundation for the orphanage, she decided to take up the opportunity to serve such an honorable course when life still allows.

Dusana Dorjee, Ph.D.

Khenchen Lama Rinpoche Dusana has been practicing Tibetan Buddhist meditation for 10 years, primarily under the guidance of Khenchen Lama Rinpoche. Since 2005 she has been leading group meditation sessions. She also taught a course that examined changes in attention and emotions as a result of meditation training from Buddhist as well as Western psychological perspectives. Since her first encounters with Tibetan Buddhism she has been engaging in volunteer activities to preserve unique teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and their culture. She finds this work deeply rewarding and meaningful.

Dusana holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Arizona, and is currently a research officer in cognitive neuroscience at Bangor University in Wales, UK. She has also gained a graduate degree in clinical psychology and completed Ph.D. studies in philosophy of mind and science. Throughout her studies she has been interested in fundamental questions about the nature of our mind and its relationship to the brain.