A Profound Scholar Who Preserved the Tibetan Culture and Religion

I am sorry to hear that Dr. Gene Smith has passed away.  When I first came to the USA in 1998 after I escaped from Tibet, I was walking in NYC one day and  happened upon the TBRC.  I was amazed to find so many Tibetan texts there.  Then I met Dr. Smith and one of the Tibetans at the library translated our conversation since I did not speak English at that time.  I learned about all of the works of Tibetan literature he had published that included all of the Buddhist schools and every type of literature.  When he found out that I needed a special prayer book that I had not been able to bring with me from Tibet, he graciously put a copy of it on a CD that I could take home with me.

In later years, I met him from time to time.  Once when I was in NYC again, he gave me the Derge Kanjur CDs.  Then he presented me with a CD set of the complete Kanjur which I have placed on my altar as a sacred object.  One time he asked me if I had any works from previous Arjia Rinpoches.  I was able to find works of 4 of my predecessors,  and he scanned them.  I believe they are still in his collection.

Dr. Gene Smith was truly a great person.  He preserved many, many great religious and literary works of the Tibetan people.  We are certainly indebted to his efforts.  I always remember hearing one of his workers say:  “He is a real scholar.  He remembers everything.”

Finally, I want to say that I appreciate his wonderful contribution and pray for his happy rebirth.

Arjia Rinpoche, Director of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center

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