Deer Park Institute is a centre for the study of classical Indian wisdom traditions. It is a project under Siddhartha’s Intent Society (SI).
In remembrance of the Buddha’s first teachings at the historical Deer Park (Mriga Dava) in Sarnath, where the Buddha displayed a spirit of open inquiry into the nature of mind, existence and suffering, without any bias, the president of Siddharthat’s Intent Society, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, named the institute-Deer Park.
The core vision of the Institute is to re-create the spirit of Nalanda, the great university of ancient India in which all traditions of Buddhism were studied and practiced, alongside other schools of classical Indian philosophy, arts and sciences.
Siddhartha’s Intent Society wishes for Deer Park to grow into:
– A modern day Nalanda, in a small yet beautiful way, which preserves the significance of this land – India – of being an eternal spring of offering of philosophies for all mankind.
– A centre for study and practice of classical Buddhist traditions, infused with both spirit of the ancient Nalanda and the freshness of contemporary expression.
– A valuable space for individuals and organizations from India and the world over, to study and explore the Buddhist philosophy, which has been preserved in Pali and Sanskrit traditions. A space that accepts everyone, and makes these unique traditions accessible without cultural or historical trappings.
– An institute that preserves and propagates the classical philosophical traditions of India, and makes these very unique traditions and inner sciences accessible to people from all walks of life and denomination, so their richness may benefit and enrich the lives of all.
– A place which nurtures a spirit, in thought and activity, of non-sectarianism in Buddhist and other philosophical traditions.
– An institute which offers short and long courses on various philosophical texts, commentaries and other essential teachings. Alongside there will also be study of classical languages, culture, aesthetics, literature, history and poetry.
– An institute which builds deep relationship with the local Indian and Tibetan communities through understanding the problems faced by them and bringing positive changes.
Deer Park is still a very young centre and the curriculum is being developed gradually. Since opening in March 2006, the Institute has hosted teachings by great masters of all lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as courses and retreats in the Zen and Theravadin traditions.
Courses on other classical Indian philosophy, such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and Kashmiri Shaivism, are gradually being integrated into the program. Language courses in Sanskrit and Tibetan are offered on a regular basis. Apart from the vision of growing into a modern day Nalanda, the vast range of programs offered were also based on the ecumenical tradition, known as Rime in Tibetan. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche had this to say about the idea behind Deer Park and the Rime tradition:
“Buddha said that at the core of Buddhist practice, three things one should avoid – desire, anger, and ignorance. Rime liberates one from these. The spirit of Rime should not be understood as a sort of new age movement where everything is collected under one roof. Dissolving sectarianism is the quintessence of Rime. Historically, human beings have suffered because of their attachment to their countries, concepts, and especially religions. They become attached even within their particular sect of that religion. This attachment can be expressed as anger towards others or at least a sort of disinterest in the activities of others.”
“At least between Buddhist sects there has been no bloodshed, only the loss of many great teachings. Buddha’s teaching is like a lion’s roar, simhanada. The only danger to a lion is decay from within. And to prevent this it is essential for the authentic teachings of the Buddha to be studied and practiced with a vast attitude.“