A Perfect Partnership: TBRC and Khyentse Foundation
Khyentse Foundation Focus: August, 2015.
The work of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) is a prime example of outstanding impact. TBRC’s vast and unique vision of digitally preserving the literature of the Tibetan people, realized by concrete, actionable goals (such as number of volumes to be scanned annually, number of library objects created and indexed, number of libraries distributed and online website sessions) has significantly affected the future of Buddhism far beyond the scope of TBRC’s founding vision. Click here to read the article.
In Focus: TBRC–Harvard Upload
Buddhadharma Magazine: Vivien Shotwell, Fall 2015.
The goal of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) is immense: to digitally preserve all of Tibetan literature and make it available around the world. The TBRC has already digitized ten million pages–over a million in the last year alone–not just in Tibetan, but also in Mongolian and Sanskrit. “There’s no end, actually,” says Jeff Wallman, the executive director. “It’s not a bell curve.” Click here to read the article.
TBRC Brings Tibetan Manuscripts onto the Google Cultural Institute Platform
The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) has announced the opening of the TBRC exhibition space on the Google Cultural Institute (GCI) online platform. The TBRC said its partnership with the GCI will enable web users to explore and interact with high-resolution images from selected Tibetan manuscripts. Click to read the full article.
Preserving the Literary Traditions of Tibet: Visit to TBRC
Karmapa Foundation US: March 26, 2015.
(March 26, 2015 – Cambridge, Massachusetts) On his first day in Cambridge, His Holiness the Karmapa was invited to lunch at the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) on Harvard Square whose mission of preserving and making texts available lies close to the Karmapa’s heart. TBRC was founded in 1999 by the highly esteemed Tibetologist Gene Smith with the goal of sustaining and making accessible to anyone, anywhere, the whole range of Tibetan literature. Click to read the full article.
最漫长的博士 (The Longest Doctorate)
Wissen Magazine: Lily Shen, November 2014, China
The article was written in Chinese and publishes in a prestigious magazine in China. Lily Shen is a current Harvard graduate student. The article is about Gene Smith’s life story based on a series of interviews in the Spring and Summer of 2014 with TBRC executive director Jeff Wallman, Harvard University professor Leonard van der Kuijp, Gene Smith’s sister Rosanne Smith, Gene Smith’s assistant in India Mangaram Kashyap, and Rana Helmi.
Here is the link to the article: http://www.douban.com/note/
Harvard Library to Help Preserve Tibetan Literary Heritage
Harvard Magazine: Francesca Annicchiarico, June 6, 2014
BEGINNING IN JULY, Harvard Library will upload onto its digital storage system 10 million pages of Tibetan literature… read the full article
How an American Scholar Saved a Trove of Tibetan Literature from Extinction
Public Radio International: February 28, 2014
Marco Werman, host of PRI’s The World, talks with New York Times reporter Andrew Jacobs about TBRC’s founder Gene Smith. Listen to the interview
The New York Times: Andrew Jacobs – February 15, 2014
CHENGDU, China — Decades ago, the thousands of Tibetan-language books now ensconced in a lavishly decorated library in southwest China might have ended up in a raging bonfire. During the tumultuous decade of the Cultural Revolution, which ended in 1976, Red Guard zealots destroyed anything deemed “feudal.” But an American scholar, galvanized in part by those rampages, embarked on a mission to collect and preserve the remnants of Tibetan culture. The resulting trove of 12,000 works, many gathered from Tibetan refugees, recently ended a decades-long odyssey that brought them to a new library on the campus of the Southwest University for Nationalities here in Chengdu. Click to read the full article
The New York Times Style Magazine – China Edition: February 2014
In an exciting turn of events, the China edition of the New York Times Style Magazine has reprinted the story “After Winding Odyssey, Tibetan Texts Find Home in China”, which ran in the U.S. edition of the paper on February 15. Click to view the article
The Process of Building the Gene Smith Tibetology Literature Center at the Southwest University for Nationalities
Journal of Ethnology, Vol 5, No. 2, 36-42, February 2014
The Tibetan Buddhist Ｒesource Center ( TBＲC) founded by Gene Smith，is a non-profit organization which concentrates on collecting，sorting， and digitizing Tibetan literature． Most of the documents comes from Gene Smith’s personal collection，and the content covers religion，philosophy，medicine，arts，psychology，astrology，poetics，and history，etc. The digitalization of Tibetan literature and putting them on line is the key project of the institute． The purpose of the Ethnic Literature Center in the Southwest University for Nationalities ( SWUN) is to rescue and preserve the ancient manuscripts of the ethnic groups，and there is a Tibetan Literature Section in the center
Harvard Gazette: August 20, 2013
Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP) and recently appointed director of the Harvard Library’s Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC), in conjunction with the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC)—headquartered in Harvard Square—has been working to provide global access to more than 17,000 volumes of Tibetan literature. Founded in 1999, TBRC specializes in seeking rare Tibetan texts, and then digitally preserving, cataloging and disseminating the literature online. Click to read the full article
University of Chicago Library News: Anne Knafl – June 6, 2013
As of June 6, the Library provides access to Collections 8-10 of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC). These collections were purchased this spring with a combination of funds donated by the Library Society and the Divinity School, as well as a price reduction offered by the TBRC. With this purchase, the University community has access to all the collections available from the TBRC. Each collection consists of 1,000 volumes and covers the full range of genres and topics. The high-quality scans are zoomable and searchable. Many of the texts that have been digitized were printed in the pre-modern era, allowing users to study the physical qualities of the texts as manuscripts, and not simply its content. The volumes are available through the Center’s website for institutional subscribers and are also delivered to subscribing institutions as electronic files. Click to read the full article
Boulder International Film Festival – ‘Digital Dharma’ tells of one scholar’s work to save thousands of Tibetan texts
Boulder Weekly: Elizabeth Miller – February 14, 2013
Imagine a trove of knowledge as vast and extensive as the famous Library of Alexandria, heralded for its archives of literature from antiquity and destroyed in the first centuries of the Common Era — burned, in the best of the legends about its destruction, in a fire that took six months to work through the documents that contained what was then the best and most comprehensive collection of the world’s knowledge. Imagine a collection that big burning in an even slower fire, one that was eating away at some 17,000 volumes that catalogued a thousand years of study on Buddhism, and one man stepping in to beat the flames back. Click to read the full article
The Chicago Tribune: John Anderson – August 24, 2012
A divinely inspired gift for those devoted to Buddhism, preservation and/or a free Tibet, the new documentary film “Digital Dharma” is also an affectionate tribute to the late E. Gene Smith, the scholar, librarian and ex-Mormon who waged a 50-year struggle to save the endangered texts of Tibetan Buddhism. Click to read the full article
Barron’s: Phil Roosevelt – August 4, 2012
In the course of a day online—answering your e-mail, paying bills, sending a tweet about your favorite doughnuts—it’s easy to forget how completely and utterly miraculous the Internet is. The monks of Tibet have not forgotten. Some nine million pages of Buddhist texts and other Tibetan writings have been rescued from almost-certain extinction and now reside on the ‘Net in a searchable, easily downloadable form. “Every morning I will be doing prostration to the computer,” one famed lama said as the huge digitization project began to bear fruit. Click to read the full article
Shambhala Sun: June 29, 2012
The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) has moved from the Rubin Museum of Art in New York to a new office space in Cambridge, Massachusetts, right in Harvard Square. The new location features a kiosk and seminar room on site for visitors and students to assist them with their research. Click to read the full article
Stanford University Book Haven: Cynthia Haven – June 2011
There’s a celebration going on today in China, at the Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu. The library has just acquired a “significant portion of the personal collection of E. Gene Smith,” the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) announced yesterday in an email. “Significant” means about 12,000 volumes of what is the world’s largest private collection of Tibetan texts. Gene’s organization to digitally preserve his collection, TBRC, chose the Sichuan library because of the university’s strong Tibetan research, its focus on minority education in China, and its proximity to Tibetan cultural areas. The university is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Click to read the full article
Thanks to Gene Smith
Buddhadharma Magazine: Janet Gyatso– February 7, 2011.
Gene Smith was an academic maverick and preeminent pioneer of Tibetan Studies who singlehandedly preserved for posterity the vast heritage of Tibet’s texts on philosophy, history, and culture. For decades, he had been recognized by scholars around the world as the de facto dean of Tibetan Studies and held in the highest regard due to his extraordinary accomplishments in protecting and sharing Tibet’s imperiled literary treasures and his dedication to making Tibetan literature universally accessible. Smith had extensive knowledge of Tibetan religious history, and provided generous assistance to scholars worldwide for more than forty years. Click to read the full article
The Economist: January 13, 2011
When he visited the monastery of Menri, in the foothills of the Himalayas, in 2008, Gene Smith took a tiny gift for the abbot. He told him to wear it as an amulet round his neck, to ensure that all was well. Menri Trizan sports it today with his crimson robes: a memory stick, containing hundreds of pages of Buddhist scriptures. At other monasteries, up and down the remote hillsides and the steep valleys, Mr Smith made a present of portable hard drives. A bulky, jacketed figure among the swarms of shaven heads, making an untidy namaste with his chunky Western fingers, he handed over devices, no bigger than the palm of a hand, which contained 10,000 books. Click to read the full article
The New York Times: Margalit Fox – December 28, 2010
E. Gene Smith, a Utah native who through persistence, ardor and benevolent guile amassed the largest collection of Tibetan books outside Tibet, saving them from isolation and destruction and making them accessible to scholars and Tibetan exiles around the world, died on Dec. 16 at his home in Manhattan. He was 74. Click to read the full article
Other Obituaries for Gene Smith
Tricycle Magazine: Noa Jones – Spring 2010
The members of the Nyingma Monlam Chenmo International, representing more than 300 Nyingma monasteries in Tibet, India, and Bhutan, unanimously nominated E. Gene Smith to receive a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the preservation of the buddhadharma. Smith recently stepped down as Executive Director of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC), which he founded in 1999, so that he can devote his time and energies to the critical scholarly work of TBRC. The center so far has scanned and digitally archived more than four million pages of Tibetan texts in order to make them available throughout the world. Click to read the full article
Daily News and Analysis: Lhendup Gyatso Bhutia – January 31, 2010
An intrepid Tibetologist from Utah has dedicated his life to resurrecting ancient Tibetan Buddhist texts by digitizing them and uploading them on the internet where anyone — monks and laity alike — can access them.
My grandfather is a distant memory. Tall, dark-skinned, a little hunched, he spoke only Tibetan and Nepali. We did not spend much time with each other, but I still remember that every morning he woke me up and took me to our chausham (prayer-room). There I was made to clasp my hands and touch with my head a wooden box, about four feet by two. Click to expand the full text of this article
The day he passed away, he did not have the strength to come and rouse me from my sleep. But someone else called me in and made me pay my respects to the box. And then one day, the box was opened. It contained a bunch of antiquated papers, all neatly stacked and without any binding. They featured writings in Tibetan, with tiny drawings of people in meditation. It was called Lam remd (roughly translated as stages to a path) and contained prayers (to help attain enlightenment).
Unlike most other Tibetans, my grandfather Abo Kunga did not come to India in 1959, when the Dalai Lama took refuge in India. He came as a tradesman in 1945 to Kalimpong, which was then a small hamlet by a river in what is now northern West Bengal. He made the journey sometimes on foot, sometimes on mule, carrying silverware and wool atop 11 mules, traveling sometimes for two weeks at a stretch, surviving on yak cheese, dried meat and tsampa (barley flour that, with a little warm water, could make for a quick meal). This 10 day long trip that sometimes stretched to 14 was undertaken every month, and the trade was so good, he not only rented a house and a stable, he even brought my grandmother.
And then in early 1950, China invaded Tibet and they could never return.
When news reached of the invasion, I’m told the first thing my grandmother prayed for was not her house in Lhasa, nor her relatives, but for the book of Lam remd she owned in Tibet. But relatives who sneaked out of Lhasa brought bad news: the book had been destroyed in a fire. She did not cry on hearing that; instead she gathered enough money to travel to Dharamsala, get a reprint of an original Lam remd, and seek out the Dalai Lama to bless it. She died when my father was only 15, and the book was passed on.
When the Dalai Lama stated last year that a “cultural genocide” was taking place in China, he could have as easily been speaking about the genocide of these Tibetan books. Many of them were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s when monasteries and libraries were burnt; some were lost while the Tibetans were fleeing the marching Chinese, and many more were simply lost in the march of time.
As a matter of fact, there are ten kinds of Tibetan books, the more important ones being on Tibetan medicine, Buddhist religion and philosophy, architecture, grammar (of Sanskrit and Tibetan), and translated works of Indian scholars on Buddhist philosophy, mathematics and astronomy. Their content is Dharamsala explains. “Some extremely important Indian works were lost forever when the Nalanda University was destroyed by the Turks,” says the librarian of one of the world’s largest libraries containing Tibetan books. “But these are still available in Tibetan translation,” he adds. But these works, till now preserved in Tibetan, now risk being lost forever, if not lost already.
There is, however, a significant attempt going on to find these books and preserve them. At the forefront of this endeavour is a Mormon from Utah by the name E Gene Smith. He is a leading Tibetologist, the founder of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) in New York, and the subject of a new documentary, Digital Dharma (that has been directed by veteran television and documentary filmmaker Dafna Yachin) which is almost ready for release. The TBRC has more than a 1,00,000 Tibetan books, making it the largest collection of Tibetan literature outside Tibet.
Since 1968, Smith has been travelling across the world, collecting these books for preservation. And he has also helped reprint them, so that each one of these books is now not locked up in some dingy corner awaiting disintegration, but has a hundred other copies. This way, he hopes, the culture of a nation will not become a passing memory.
But of late, he has started a new project: digitizing these books. About 8,000 volumes of these books, ranging from religion to medicine, have now been uploaded on the internet. “We reprinted the books so that more people could access them. But imagine the reach when you upload it on the internet!” Smith says.
Along with this project of preserving and maximizing the reach of these books, Smith is also busy with what he calls a project of “giving back”.
Five years ago, the LTWA in Dharamsala, along with many other monasteries and libraries in Chinese- occupied Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India and Central Asia received a hard disk, containing 300 GB of different Tibetan prayers. That small hard disk, no bigger than the size of their fists, contained, to the utter amazement of many monks, content that could dwarf many a library. But a recurrent trouble bothered them. “They didn’t get strong enough anti-viruses, and the computer kept crashing,” says Smith.
It wasn’t the first time Smith had faced a problem. When he had first started reprinting Tibetan books, the Tibetans themselves weren’t happy. “Tibetan books are not like the ones we use. They are not bound and are long. The first set of reprints was like our modern notebooks and centrally bound, and most did not like this. I rectified this issue, by simply getting them bound from the top,” adds Smith.
Similarly, he solved the problem of the viruses too. Since last year, these libraries and universities, 70 till now, have been receiving brand-new Apple Macintosh computers that are more virus-resistant and have a storage capacity of 400 GB. Topgyel of LTWA says, “It is so much easier to use the Mac to read these texts. We don’t have to go through large libraries to find the relevant information.”
Widely acknowledged as a saviour of Tibetan culture and literature, Smith believes his task is still incomplete. “Several thousands of Tibetan texts are still lost across continents. What we have accomplished is nothing more than retrieving a solitary drop from the ocean,” says Smith.
As for me, my parents discarded a lot of old belongings when we shifted home a few years ago. But the book in the box still remains. And I still clasp my hands and touch my head with it. Not because it is religious, but because it tells me who my grandfather was and where he came from.
Khyentse Foundation: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche – November 2007
When E. Gene Smith was asked how he managed to single-handedly gather together a tremendous amount of the Tibetan literature that had been dispersed during and after the events of 1959, he replied simply, “Karma, I guess.” It’s not that Gene is at a loss for words–he often tells amazing tales–but Gene Smith is primarily focused on one subject only: Preserving Tibetan spiritual literature in its entirety. In Gene’s view, this literature can and must be preserved and made available, at no charge, to anyone, anywhere in the world. Click to read the full article
Preserving Endangered Cultures
Span Magazine: Lea Terhune – February 2004
Bringing Karma to the Web
The Chronicle of Higher Education: Peter Monaghan – June 6, 2003
“I know where to find some things,” comes E. Gene Smith’s standard response when he is asked to find particular items in his enormous collection of Tibetan Buddhist texts. “There’s some sort of reason to it.” For years, from India to Indonesia to Egypt to Boston, and here at his office, some 12,000 manuscripts and block-printed volumes on thin, mulberry-husk paper, wrapped in red-and-gold cloth decorated with colored flaps, have followed him around. They hem him in now, looming on bookshelves and piled on the floor. Click to expand the full text of this article
Mr. Smith, 66, has spent his whole adult life collecting the texts of the 1,300-year-old tradition, on which he is a leading authority. In recent years, the advent of affordable, user-friendly digitization has presented him with a way to escape being nearly buried by the texts.
“Say you want to find everything we have about the eighth Karmapa,” or incarnation of the founder of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, he says, sitting at a computer terminal. He taps out the name of Mikyo Dorje (1507-54) in so-called Wiley transliteration — “mi bskyod rdo rje” — and a database returns a stream of records on the man’s works as well as information about his life and his teachers.
The references are provided by the digital archive that Mr. Smith, an independent scholar, is creating here at the non-profit Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, which he founded and directs. At http://www.tbrc.org, one can access the center’s rich memory bank of Tibetan traditions.
The Web site also provides links to a growing number of other digital resources. “Let’s click on this,” says Mr. Smith, and a portrait of the karma pa appears. Depicted in ground mineral pigment on cotton, he is surrounded by eight dancing figures enveloped in rainbow light.
The picture is from the 6,000-image collection of the Himalayan Art Project (http://www.himalayanart.org), run by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving Tibetan culture. Last year it invited Mr. Smith’s center to move here to share its space in the Lower East Side headquarters of the health- insurance company that Mr. Rubin runs.
Mr. Smith’s center is reached via a serpentine stroll through corridors hung with hundreds of works of Tibetan art. He moved here last spring from the center’s former quarters, in a duplex house in Cambridge, Mass., which was also home to Mr. Smith and a couple of colleagues. There, users who browsed shelves, room by room, were liable to stumble over cots set among the books.
The collection includes all four of the major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. To illustrate its range, Mr. Smith — a genial, large- framed man, pulls out such works as a 13th-century manuscript that details the secret initiation rites for one variety of practice. A woodblock print of the Tibetan translation of the Kalachakra Tantra, the Wheel of Time, was printed in 1300 or so for the queen of the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan. A complete set of the official biographies of the Dalai Lamas, in 16 volumes, is here, too.
Many of the volumes have rarely been printed from the original wood-block versions; in the Tibetan tradition, books were typically read aloud by teachers — or, in the case of the most sacred texts, recited from memory. The lamas who memorized texts became, in effect, living libraries. Now, through the Internet, digitally scanned versions of many texts are readily available to users worldwide. “With the explosion of interest in Tibetan Buddhism in the West, there’s a need to make these more available,” says Mr. Smith, determined that no future scholar of Tibetan Buddhism will share his own experience: “When I began in Tibetan studies, we didn’t have any books.”
Amassing the digital archive takes on some urgency because many texts were destroyed or dispersed during China’s Cultural Revolution, in the 1960s and ’70s, and many that survived are deteriorating. Fortunately, Mr. Smith’s collection, which he built over decades of working as a foreign-service officer for the Library of Congress, includes most of the core texts. Written by monks or noblemen, they are largely about religion and ritual — theories of perception, songs of realization, spiritual biographies, meditation instructions. Others deal with medicine, astrology, poetics, mathematics, history, and art.
When the Chinese invaded Tibet, in 1959, the Dalai Lama and some 100,000 other Tibetans fled into exile, taking tens of thousands of books with them. Many were sold to buyers who coveted the illustrated manuscripts. Some images were even painted over.
There has been good news, too: “Many of the books that we thought had been destroyed during the revolution turn out not to have been,” says Mr. Smith. For that, thank Zhou Enlai, who convinced Mao Zedong that each Chinese province should set up one or two “living museums” of culture. In Tibet, says the scholar, “small cadres of monks were allowed to function within carefully circumscribed guidelines.”
That, and Mr. Smith’s dogged searching of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, proved crucial when he organized a publishing project in New Delhi beginning in 1966. Thanks to federal financing of the acquisition of texts from developing countries, he was able to arrange for some 8,000 Tibetan texts to be published in small runs. Those formed the basis of collections at the Library of Congress and several American university libraries. They also swelled his own growing hoard.
His own quest for Buddhist learning began during the 1960s. Seeking deferral from the draft for the Vietnam War, he enrolled for graduate study at the University of Washington, at one of nine centers of Buddhist research set up around the world by the Rocke- feller Foundation. At first, he had no interest in Buddhism as a spiritual practice. It certainly differed markedly from the Mormon faith in which he had been raised, in Ogden, Utah.
Tibetan Buddhist leaders were invited to each of the nine centers. In Seattle, Mr. Smith was asked to live with and work as an assistant to the family of one of them, Sakya Phuntsho Phodrang. The family’s tutor, Deshung Rinpoche Kunga Tenpai Nyima, became Mr. Smith’s instructor, too, from 1960 to 1964. At first, “I wasn’t interested in Buddhism at all, except academically,” Mr. Smith says, “but my teacher turned out to be one of the most learned men who came out of Tibet. He was a good example of what Buddhist practice could result in.”
The young American, drawn to Tibetan spirituality, took up Buddhism himself. He traveled to India in 1965 on a Ford Foundation grant to study with Tibetan Buddhist savants, and then took up a post as a book buyer with the Library of Congress’s New Delhi field office, where he remained until 1985. Most of his collecting dates from that period. Fearing that he would be misunderstood, though, he did not tell his employers that a spiritual quest, not just librarianlike fastidiousness, was driving his success in finding and acquiring texts.
His reputation among Buddhist scholars began to grow. In New Delhi, as one colleague has remarked, his apartment became “an oasis for a whole generation of scholars coming of age” in Tibetan studies. He later worked for the library in Indonesia and Egypt. “I had a lot of shipping charges to pay,” he says.
In 1999, after taking early retirement, he opened the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center in Cambridge, even as he was working as acquisitions editor at Wisdom Publications, a publisher of Buddhist texts and commentaries. The press published Mr. Smith’s Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau in 2001. In their original appearance in the 1960s and ’70s, as prefaces to the small-run publications, they opened up whole new areas of Tibetan literature, history, and religion.
Most Tibetan Buddhist texts are in the public domain, so they can be scanned, digitally stored, and distributed without restriction, although the center has agreed to the requests of traditional caretakers of specific texts not to scan some that relate to secret rites. To obtain copies of texts in the center’s collection, users may search through extensive bibliographical data and request texts on disk. Mr. Smith receives many requests — more than his few staff members can quickly handle — from libraries in Asia and elsewhere.
Finances, predictably, are an issue. “It’s all based on donation,” he says. “There is an uneasiness in the Tibetan tradition about selling books or images.” He and his colleagues send out the digital texts without charge, leaving it up to libraries when, or even whether, to respond with donations to cover the cost. “We like to try at least to cover the cost of postage,” he says.
“The idea is that we just don’t want to be selling back the Tibetan culture to the Tibetans.”
The New York Times: Barbara Stewart- June 15, 2002
There are stacks of Tibetan books in every room but the kitchen of E. Gene Smith’s house here. Many are centuries old, and from the looks of things they are practically nudging Mr. Smith out the door. The books are just a fraction of the 12,000 volumes of Buddhist and Buddhist-influenced literature that Mr. Smith began to collect in 1965, when he first went to India and found work in the Library of Congress office in New Delhi. Click to read the full article
Reprinted from The Boston Globe: Michael Paulson – August 20, 2001
CAMBRIDGE – Crammed into bookshelves and piled onto tables, about 10,000 long, narrow tablets wrapped in red and gold fabric pack the corners of a North Cambridge duplex. Printed from hand-carved wood blocks by monks over the last millennium, these looseleaf books of mulberry-husk paper feature, in ornately lettered and occasionally illustrated Tibetan characters, the mystical poetry of Milarepa, the astrological theories of Asian scientists, and the religious teachings of the great lamas of the ages.
Over four decades as an itinerant archivist with a passion for preservation, a Mormon convert to Buddhism named E. Gene Smith has amassed a rare collection of the endangered Tibetan Buddhist canon: some original writings of Buddha, early commentaries by Indian Buddhists, and the writings of Tibetan Buddhist sages over the last 12 centuries. Click here to read the full article
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