4 years ago around this time in the afternoon on December 16, Gene Smith died quietly in his New York City apartment. His humble death was a testament to a very private life. He eschewed any attention directed at him, including any announcements such as this post, which surely would have been met with a stern objection!
After working with Gene for many years, and since his death, continuing his vision, I am amazed at where are today. Its not just that we have changed, and grown. Its that the world has changed. And we have grown with the world. We have ridden the wave of technology, the wave of library trends, the wave of flourishing of the Tibetan Buddhist world. We started humbly, and progressed slowly, and have blossomed.
But the trends we see today were the founding concepts of our organization – an open library built on sharing on all levels – sharing knowledge, processes, and ideas. And for this, I am amazed at the brilliance of our founder. Gene’s vision for TBRC was singular – to “advance the preservation of the Tibetan cultural heritage by making its literary tradition widely available”. This connection between culture and the product of culture is an important one to magnify because preserving texts does not a culture make . Texts need to be accessible. This sense of generosity and sharing is an ingrained part of TBRC culture.
Like his life and work, Gene’s work plan for TBRC was based on achieving measurable successes, visible imprints in an otherwise overwhelming torrent of knowledge. And this work has progressed unabated – page-by-page, title-by-title.
Each and every person connected to TBRC is connected to one vital truth – each page is precious. What we see today is as phenomenal with one page as it is with 9,605,686 – the current number of pages in our archive.
This year we also discovered that 175,000 sessions were logged on tbrc.org – with half of the traffic coming from India and China. Could it be that Gene’s vision is taking root?
I am simply delighted by the progress of this institution and captivated by Gene’s vision, which knows no bound.