We have received a number of requests concerning two estate-planning issues: (1) how properly to name the Nalanda Translation Committee in a will and (2) what should be done with the many vajrayana practice texts and materials, especially after a practitioner has died. We have researched both questions and continue to discuss this with our legal and lama advisors. What follows is our advice, in service of the Vajradhatu/Shambhala community and beyond. We hope you find this helpful. Please let us know if you have further concerns.
How to Name the Nalanda Translation Committee in Your Will
There are three parts to a charitable bequest in your Will or Trust:
- the legal entity receiving the gift
- the gift itself (a percentage of your estate, dollar amount, stock, or art)
- the purpose for which the gift is given
This page will explain how to designate the legal entity receiving the gift, offering model language with the other two elements.
For U.S. citizens or residents, a gift to the Nalanda Translation Committee should be made to:
“Nalanda Translation Committee, a division of Nalanda Foundation, a Colorado 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization (tax ID# 84-0671879), for its general purposes.”
For Canadian citizens or residents, a gift to the Nalanda Translation Committee should be made to:
“Nalanda Translation Committee, a division of Nalanda Foundation of Canada (federal business number 119050466 RR0001), for its general purposes.”
I give X percent (or: $_______) of my estate to the Nalanda Translation Committee, a division of Nalanda Foundation, a Colorado nonprofit corporation, for its general purposes.
I give X percent (or: $_______) of my estate to the Nalanda Translation Committee, a division of Nalanda Foundation of Canada, a Nova Scotia society, for its general purposes.
If you want to be more specific about the use to be made of your gift, you may state your wishes in your estate planning document. For example, you could say, “I give X percent of my estate to the Nalanda Translation Committee for the translation and publication of Buddhist literature.”
In all cases, it would be good to provide the address of our headquarters:
Nalanda Translation Committee
1619 Edward Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3H 3H9
If your attorney or advisor prefers a U.S. address for U.S. bequests, please use:
Nalanda Translation Committee
c/o Boulder Shambhala Center
1345 Spruce Street
Boulder, CO 80302
If using the U.S. address, it would be good to have a copy of any correspondence sent to our headquarters in Halifax.
For More Information
The above description is accurate as of March 2020. The corporate structure of Nalanda Foundation is continually evolving, and the names of its constituents change from time to time. If you have specific questions about how to make a gift in your Will, please contact us.
What should we do with vajrayana practice texts and materials?
Many people have asked us about what to do with used vajrayana practice materials (texts, liturgies, manuals, transcripts & vajras, bells, malas, etc.), especially after someone has died. As for vajrayana practice texts and manuals, if the editions are current or not too old, the Nalanda Translation Committee would be pleased to receive these for distribution to those in need. If the editions are not current or fairly recent, they are of much less use to others. In any event, the recipient would need to be qualified to receive and use them. It is fine for someone to receive these for possible future use—after they have received the appropriate authorization (abhisheka, lung, etc.).
In consultation with Lama Ugyen Shenpen, our trusted advisor for many years, we recycle old, unusable dharma texts, since burning them (which is the traditional approach) is environmentally harmful. If dharma texts are unusable by others, recycling printed dharma is the best and simplest approach. Published dharma books should find their way to a suitable library: public, university, dharma center, or of a dharma practitioner.
Vajradhatu Seminary transcripts are still very useful, even after the publication of the three-volume The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, which does not contain everything and is not in chronological order. As these transcripts are now being republished as e-Books, perhaps the hard copies will become less desirable, though still worthy to remain in a library. This process is underway, scheduled to be completed in 2020.
Practice implements other than texts are more difficult to be definitive about. There is a range of views about whether it is good to pass along used practice implements to others for their use.
From one point of view, it is best for new tantrikas to use new practice implements, rather than inheriting whatever residual energy/karma might be attached to a used item, unless they are inherited from truly exceptional practitioners. However, another understanding is that it is fine to leave used practice implements to a dharma center or a person who will use them for practice, or at least keep them with respect.
One donor to the Nalanda Translation Committee decided that his texts were too sensitive to leave to his children to distribute, and he also wished to make a post-mortem gift. He will be using the following language in a donative document attached to his trust agreement:
I wish that _(name)_, a personal and dharma friend of mine, review all of my Buddhist papers, booklets, texts, objects, and volumes, and determine how they will be distributed in consultation with a representative of the Nalanda Translation Committee. In appreciation of its many years of support to me personally and to others, my Trustee will distribute $_________ to the Nalanda Translation Committee, a division of Nalanda Foundation, a Colorado nonprofit corporation, for its general purposes.