From the Dharma Association to the Foundation Karma Dechen Yangtse

In the early years of Bordo’s reconstruction, the village saw a constant flow of residents, visitors, friends, helpers and simply those interested in the project and its charisma. It was a large, dharma-oriented family that wanted to live in a community and realise new ideals.

In 1986, the dharma place Karma Dechen Yangtse was recognised as an associated centre by the Italian Buddhist Union.

Besides the visits of renowned dharma teachers, annual dharma events and for many years a daily Chenrezig puja, other activities took place over time. In order to create a vessel for these activities, the Dharma Association Karma Dechen Yangtse was founded on 13 September 1997. Founding members were Susanne Schatz, Andrea Lorenz, Andrea Dürkopp, Beatrice Ruckstuhl, Andreas Lorenz, Bernhard Machaczek, Norbert Schatz, Paula Seeger and Michael Steiner. All dharma guests were required to become members of the association for the current year, because this made it possible to accommodate them in the simple, not always up-to-standard rooms and to feed them. For other guests, various other solutions were tried out over time.

In recent years, the emphasis of guest activities has shifted, with an ever-increasing emphasis on dharma. The vast majority of those present attend the daily meditation sessions, take advantage of the rich dharma programme, make a retreat in the beautiful surroundings and appreciate the simplicity and tranquillity of the traditional houses.

The Karma Dechen Yangtse Participatory Foundation

A change and a more precise description of the activities of associations in Italy led us to find a new way. Accompanied by Dr Matteo Bottari, president of the Dharma Association, a lawyer’s study and a notary’s office drew up statutes for a new form of foundation created in Italy, in which both corporate bodies and private individuals can take a seat. The initial founders of the Foundation were the Cooperativa Bordo and the Association Karma Dechen Yangtse. On 6 November 2020, the two presidents, Gerhardt Frei and Matteo Bottari, signed the foundation charter.

Honorary members for life are Trinley Thaye Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, Kunsig Shamar Rinpoche and Lama Jigme Rinpoche. The statutes specify that they are our reference concerning the transmission of the Buddhist teachings on site. They have the right to veto decisions concerning the spiritual affiliation of the Foundation.

The Foundation and the Cooperative are two vessels with the same orientation. They work closely together to keep the historic mountain village of Bordo alive for the future as a dharma place.

Since 2022, the guest activities in Bordo have been run by the Foundation. The Foundation has been confirmed by the Italian Buddhist Union as the successor organisation of the Dharma Association on 9.12.2022. With this recognition, the Dharma Association could be dissolved and the remaining assets transferred to the Foundation.

The Karma Dechen Yangtse Foundation is religious and affiliated to the Italian Buddhist Union. This legal form, supported by the Italian state, gives us different advantages, including administrative ones, and allows us to continue running the activities in Bordo in the traditional way. The foundation is on a non-profit basis and the board, as well as the residents and volunteers, work in Bordo as volunteers. Donations from course participants and dharma guests are used entirely for maintenance, development and operation.

All persons who stay in Bordo overnight become supporting participants for the current calendar year, as was the case with the Dharma Association.

The statutes

The statutes of the participatory foundation Karma Dechen Yangtse are written in Italian. A German translation is in progress.

(here PDF statutes)

The Founding president of the Karma Dechen Yangtse Foundation is Dr. Matteo Bottari, who has been associated with Bordo since the 1980s, at that time as assistant to the long-time municipal secretary Daniele Miazza. Only people who are connected with our lineage, who stand behind the direction and operation of the Foundation, and who guarantee that Bordo will continue as a dharma place, will be accepted as members of the Foundation Council.

The president of the Foundation as well as the Board of Administrators are elected or confirmed every 5 years by the Foundation Council. An auditor and the Foundation Council control the course of operations and intervene if necessary.