Fwd: Opening of Gene Smith Library in China

LTBA ltba.email at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 1 09:28:30 UTC 2011

> Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 6:12:54 AM 
> Subject: Opening of Gene Smith Library in China 

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> Media Contact:                                                                      TBRC Contact:
> Tamela Knapp                                                                        Genevieve Waltcher
> Lunchbox Communications                                                      Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center
> +1 (610) 293.9990                                                                + (646) 839.5915  x1 
> tamela at lunchboxcity.com                                                       genevievewaltcher at tbrc.org 
> Opening of Library Housing World's Largest  
> Private Collection of Tibetan Literature Will Be Part of  
> Chinese University's 60th Anniversary Celebration
> *********************************************************************************************
> Donation to Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu a Testament to  
> Success of the Late E. Gene Smith's Lifelong Mission to Preserve Tibetan Texts
> *********************************************************************************************
> May 31, 2011, New York, NY - The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) today announced that a significant portion of the personal collection of E. Gene Smith - the world's largest private collection of Tibetan texts - will be donated to the library at the Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu, China.  The library will open on  
> June 1, 2011, as part of the university's 60th Anniversary celebration, reflecting the importance of this offering to the university.  E. Gene Smith, who died on December 16, 2010, chose to donate nearly 12,000 volumes to the university through TBRC, the organization he founded to digitally preserve his collection.
> E. Gene Smith was universally recognized as the Dean of Tibetan Studies.  During the turmoil of the 1950s and Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, thousands of rare and important texts, many of them centuries old, were carried over the Himalayas to India and elsewhere by Tibetan refugees. Through persistence and ingenuity, Smith was able to locate, publish and make accessible - eventually in digital format - these works of religious, philosophical, historical, medical and mystical literature, as well as poetry and narrative works.  His creative repurposing of PL 480 ("Food for Peace") made possible payments to local people in return for the reprinting of these documents.  Smith wrote prefaces to the reprinted texts, for the first time lending invaluable historical context to the origins and lineage of each Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  Representatives of more than 300 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, India, Nepal and Bhutan unanimously nominated Smith for a lifetime achievement award, which he received at a ceremony in January 2010.  His knowledge of Tibetan literature was the source and inspiration of TBRC's online archive.  
> Located in the Sichuan province of China, Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu was chosen for the donation, in part, because of the strong Tibetology research at the university, its focus on minority education in China and because of its proximity to Tibetan cultural areas.  Its choice reflects Smith's determination to make this incredibly rich body of literature available to all.  Attending the opening will be a delegation from TBRC, led by executive director Jeff Wallman.
> The life's work of E. Gene Smith is the subject of a forthcoming documentary entitled Digital Dharma, produced by Lunchbox Communications.  Smith, who was born in Utah, a grandnephew of the seventh president of the Mormon Church, became interested in Asian languages in college and was introduced to Buddhist culture when the great Tibetan scholar Deshung Rinpoche was brought to the University of Washington to teach in the 1960s.  Through interviews with Tibetan scholars and lamas in India, Nepal, Mongolia and China, as well as with Smith's colleagues, friends and family - and using archival footage to evoke the political obstacles standing in Smith's way - Digital Dharma brings to life Smith's 50-year mission to find, preserve, catalogue and disseminate the literature of ancient Tibet, including translations of seminal Buddhist texts.  The documentary highlights Smith's understanding of the importance of including the works of all sects in his preservation efforts, and his refusal to be limited by bureaucratic restrictions in pursuing his goal.  The opening of a library of his extensive collection in China is a tribute to his gift for diplomacy and the bridges he was able to build during his 50-year mission to save Tibetan literary culture.  
> You may view the first photos of the library at www.lbfiles.com/genesmithlibrary 
> E. Gene Smith's organization, Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, is a non-profit dedicated to the digital preservation and distribution of Tibetan literature.  TBRC hosts an advanced digital library resource online, combining cutting-edge technology with a dedicated team of scholars.  For more information about TBRC go to www.tbrc.org or contact, Assistant to the Executive Director, Genevieve Waltcher, at genevievewaltcher at tbrc.org   
> Lunchbox Communications is a women's-owned production and communications firm headquartered in Philadelphia.  For more than two decades its talented team of creative researchers, writers, strategists and production and programming professionals has been bringing great stories and brands to life for broadcast, commercial and nonprofit clients.  For more information on Digital Dharma, go to digitaldharma.com or contact the director, Dafna Yachin, at dafna at lunchboxcity.com 
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