Take Note

Noa Jones

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.

Smith is best known for his work with the Library of Congress. In 1968, he joined the New Delhi Field Office and initiated a campaign to reprint every Tibetan text he could find. Many of the texts were brought to him by Tibetan-speaking exiles from Sikkim, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. For the next twoand- a-half decades, he led a tireless effort to seek out every available text in existence and in the process rescued numerous traditions from extinction. In 1985, he was transferred to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he continued his work in text preservation. In 1994, he was assigned to the Middle Eastern Office in Cairo. In 1997, he took early retirement from the U.S. Library of Congress.

“It is not an exaggeration at all to say it is because of Gene’s hard work and efforts that we have access to many of the precious texts we are using today,” said Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, whose foundation helps to support TBRC. “With Gene’s digital library, no future disaster will destroy these precious Buddhist texts again.”

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