Karma Tensum: Appreciating Life's Miracles
Karma Tensum was born in Tibet and escaped to India with his family at a very young age, fleeing the violent Chinese Occupation of Tibet in 1959. Thanks to the educational sponsorship program setup by The Dalai Lama, and the kindness of individuals who participated in this program, Karma was able to attend Wynberg-Allen School, Mussoorie—one of the top schools in India—which set him on a track to pursue higher education and teaching.
In 1994, he won a Fulbright Scholarship and got his Master’s from Harvard Graduate School with a concentration in International Education. As a leading Tibetan educationalist, Karma was a member of the first Tibetan National Education Policy Committee that helped to draft the inaugural policy document for Tibetan education in exile.
Karma has dedicated his life to Tibetan children in various capacities—as a teacher, administrator, planner and fundraiser in both Dharamsala and Clement Town, India. It was here that he met India Supera, founder of the Feathered Pipe Ranch, and developed a lifelong friendship that led to many good works, including the founding of the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation.
For 18 years, Karma has lived in Montana and worked as the executive director of TCEF, a nonprofit that runs scholarships programs similar to the one that put him through school and funds projects to preserve Tibetan culture and arts.
This is a nostalgic conversation filled with the miracles of his life. He reflects on how he’s been able to stay grounded in his Tibetan spirituality and heritage despite having lived outside of his native country for all but the first three years of his life.
We explore the meaning of the word home; discuss the ways that indigenous wisdom and ancient traditions like Buddhism can teach us about healing, the arts, and the importance of strengthening the muscle of the heart; and how it’s possible to hold pain and gratitude in the palm of the same hand--the heartache of being forced out of his homeland yet staying open to receive the blessings that have touched his life.
Tibetan Children's Education Foundation