Staff

Marc Agate

Position: Server-side Developer

Marc Agate holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech, Atlanta (GA) and graduated from the École des Mines de Nantes in Computer Sciences. After working for a web services company for five years in Atlanta, he returned to France and joined the Dashang Rimay community where he learned Tibetan and started to develop several multilingual lexicographic projects.

With his wife, he published a practical guide on Tibetan kunye massage. He also translated several sutras from Tibetan to French, as well as the Uttaratantra and its commentary by Asanga (to be published soon), and Books 2, 3 and 4 of the Treasury of Knowledge by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye. Marc has joined BDRC to offer his expertise, and help preserve and spread Buddhist teachings around the world.

Marc Agate

Server-side Developer

Nicolas Berger

Position: Client-side Developer

Nicolas Berger holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Nantes, France, where he has spent 4 years both researching at the Laboratoire d’Informatique de Nantes-Atlantique and teaching at the Faculty of Science and Technology. His specialization in the field of Constraint Programming has led him to focus on the design of specific yet simple algorithmic languages in a variety of topics including web development. As a freelance web developer since 2012, he has been working with graphic designers and communication agencies from France to Japan through Switzerland, where his expertise in development has been much appreciated.

More than fifteen years of interest in Buddhism give Nicolas a deep motivation for helping BDRC achieve its mission of preserving and disseminating Buddhist literature. Being personally interested in directly studying Pali, Chinese and Tibetan original sources, working on BDRC’s Buddhist Universal Digital Archive (BUDA) project is like a dream come true for him! Developing BUDA also provides an opportunity to significantly advance Semantic Web technology, another field of research that interests him. Putting the most recent technologies at the service of the most ancient wisdom moves Nicolas close to the center of his own ikigai, “the reason for which you get up in the morning”.

Nicolas Berger

Client-side Developer

Travis DeTour

Position: Digital Archive Engineer

In his endeavors at BDRC, Travis brings together his years of experience working in the software industry with his passion for Buddhism and meditation. He graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2004 with a degree in Software Engineering. After his studies at engineering school Travis spent 3 months on a leadership expedition through the backcountry of Mexico with the National Outdoor Leadership School. After returning from his outdoor adventures Travis began his career working at IBM as a Tools Support Engineer and then swiftly moved on and worked at Vistaprint as a Release Engineer for the next 7 years. During that time, Travis became interested in yoga and meditation and in 2010 discovered his love for Dharma at the Boston Shambhala Center where he began to devote himself to the study and practice of Buddhism and meditation.

In 2014 Travis connected with Jeffrey Wallman through a member of the Shambhala community and has been working with BDRC ever since.

Travis DeTour

Digital Archive Engineer

Drupchen Dorje

Position: NLP Developer

Drupchen Dorje was born in a mountain farm in Provence, France. As a small child, he was enrolled in a Buddhist school there. When he was thirteen, he was offered the opportunity to study at Shechen monastery, in Nepal. He accepted this rather unusual proposal, joined the primary school of Shechen and fully embraced the monastic life. Ten years later, after successfully completing the first four years of shedra, he decided to leave the monastic life and return to Europe. After spending two years in Brussels (Belgium) to get his high school diploma, he enrolled at the University of Bordeaux (France) and studied linguistics. Tibetan Linguistics and Natural Language Processing became his main areas of interest, leading him to the publication of his Master’s thesis as an article in Himalayan Linguistics. While pursuing his studies, he worked on translation projects and served as the interpreter for visiting Buddhist teachers in France and neighbouring countries. He co-founded Esukhia in 2009, on his return from Nepal.

For Drupchen, working for BDRC is a great opportunity to use and further his understanding of Tibetan language and linguistics. He feels he contributes to the creation of the kinds of resources he would have loved to have during his years at Shechen Shedra.

Drupchen Dorje

NLP Developer
Karma Gongde

Karma Gongde

Position: Head Librarian

Karma Gongde has worked with BDRC to catalog and create outlines for its vast collection of Tibetan texts since 2007. He also maintains the English and Hindi language collection of books at BDRC.

Karma received an Acharya (M.A.) degree in Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan language in 1991 and a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree in 1992 from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS) in Sarnath, Varanasi, India. He studied extensively with his first cousin, the late Ven. Pema Gyaltsen, who was the Tibetan Language Department Chair at CIHTS from 1982 to 2001.

As a teacher in the Central School for Tibetans (CST), Karma taught Tibetan language, poetry, and history; the history of Buddhism; and Buddhist dialectics and philosophy at CST Mundgod, Gurupura, and Dolanji (1992-1997).

From 1997 to 2002 he was a Research Assistant in the CIHTS Dictionary Unit, working with Chief Editor J.S. Negi to compile references, check Tibetan equivalents, and proofread Vols. 5-11 of the 16-volume Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary. He taught supplementary classes in Tibetan grammar, poetry, and prose for graduate and undergraduate students at CIHTS.

Since moving to the USA in 2002, Karma has taught Tibetan language as co-instructor of the summer Tibetan language intensive course at Padma Samye Ling, a retreat center in upstate NY; as a Language Partner in the Directed Independent Language Study (DILS) at Yale University; and as a tutor to individual students. He has proofread and corrected texts for Asian Classics Input Project (ACIP) and worked on translation projects for authors Mikel Dunham and Douglas Veenhof.

Karma Gongde

Head Librarian
Jim Katz

Jim Katz

Position: Archives and Infrastructure Manager

Jim Katz is a lifelong New Englander who moved to Boston to pursue a music career, but found software development a more difficult, yet more relevant challenge.

Earning his BA in Computer Science from University of Massachusetts, Boston in 1985, he began software development in the twilight of the minicomputer era. Since 2000, he has developed and created web applications in finance, government, and life sciences, acting as a team lead and manager at several points. He recently designed and implemented a workflow management platform for translation of an online clinical library into Mandarin.

A long-time practitioner in the Shambhala lineage, Jim has assisted and consulted on some of their internal IT projects. After consulting for BDRC in 2017 to work on uploading BDRC’s holdings to Harvard University’s digital archives, he joined BDRC full-time in 2018 to facilitate the coordination of BDRC’s technical activities.

Jim sees the chance to strengthen the internal operations of BDRC as an auspicious opportunity to repay and continue the devoted work of those who make these profound treasures available.

Jim Katz

Archives and Infrastructure Manager
Kelsang Lhamo

Kelsang Lhamo

Position: Senior Librarian

Kelsang was born 1973 in Lhokha area, south of Lhasa. She received teachings from Sheldrak Khen Rinpoche and Dungkar Losang Trinlé, mainly on Tibetan medicine, but also on the Five Minor Sciences, mostly Nyingma teachings.

To pursue further studies, she left for India in 1989. She received novice vows from His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, and for a period of ten years studied and received Geluk teachings, mainly from Geshe Drubthob Rinpoche and many other masters. At the same time she studied Hindi language and the Vedas in Varanasi.

Kelsang moved to USA in 1999 and for a period of several years taught Tibetan and Buddhist philosophy to the son of Sogyal Rinpoche. During this time she also translated Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying into Tibetan language with Ringu Tulku. In 2003, with the kind support of Alak Zenkar Rinpoche and Tashi Tsering Josayma, Kelsang joined the Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), formerly the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC). Under the guidance of Gene Smith, the founder of BDRC, she continued her study of Tibetan literature. Kelsang has taught Tibetan language and literature to many students. At present she is working as Librarian and cataloger at BDRC.

Writings

  • Dreaming at the Sage’s Abode: Biographical Sketches of Four Living Tibetan Nuns
  • Biography of Great Kalayanmitra Geshe Yeshe Topden
  • Collection of Contemporary Writings of Tibetan women
  • A Maiden’s Wandering Westward
  • Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (Tibetan translation)

Kelsang Lhamo

Senior Librarian
Philip Menchaca

Philip Menchaca

Position: Manager of Grants and Programs

Philip is the former Senior Editor for the politics and current events website Bloggingheads.tv, and former Project Coordinator at Union Theological Seminary. While at Union, he helped launch MeaningofLife.tv, a website for discussions about science, philosophy, and spirituality. Philip also implemented a major science and spirituality project at Union. Before entering the nonprofit world, Philip applied his writing and research skills to federal and state civil litigation as a legal analyst. With a deep interest in Buddhist literature and philosophy, Philip is delighted to contribute to BDRC’s mission.

Philip Menchaca

Manager of Grants and Programs
Chungdak Ngakpa

Chungdak Ngakpa

Position: Senior Librarian

Chungdak joined BDRC in May 2009 and since then he has been working on cataloging works, creating outlines, and mapping person and place records from the BDRC archives.

Before joining BDRC, Chungdak was a lecturer of Tibetan Buddhist History and Philosophy at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing for eight years. He also taught Chinese classes at the Higher Institute of Tibetan Buddhism founded by the 10th Panchen Lama in Beijing for four years. After moving to the U.S., he taught Tibetan reading classes at Columbia University in New York for four years.

Chungdak is an experienced translator of Tibetan Buddhism. He started his translation career when he was teaching at the Higher Institute of Tibetan Buddhism in Beijing. Serving as interpreter for many great Lamas from almost all of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, he traveled to many places in China, and other countries in Southeast Asia and North America. He also translated, edited and authored numerous texts and articles on Tibetan Buddhism and Literature.

Chungdak Ngakpa

Senior Librarian
Dechen Pema

Dechen Pema

Position: Director of Administration

Dechen has an M.A. in Tibetan Studies from the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing and an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. She worked for two years at the East Asian Library at UC Berkeley, where she developed skills in cataloguing, reference service, and collection development. She also instructed college-level Chinese language classes in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley. For the past eight years, she worked for various insurance companies as Office Manager in charge of daily office operations, staff supervision, compliance issues, and account receivables.

With her tri-lingual fluency in Tibetan, Chinese and English, as well as academic training in Tibetan Studies and years of work experience as Office Manager, Dechen is well prepared for her current work at BDRC as Director of Administration to direct and coordinate the organization’s operations and communications.

Dechen Pema

Director of Administration
Élie Roux

Élie Roux

Position: Software Developer

Since obtaining his Diplôme d’ingénieur in Télécom Bretagne (France), Élie has been excited to promote cultural preservation through free software.

He first did so by creating a Gregorian Chant score engraving software that is now used by major publishing companies, encouraging the creation of a collaborative score repository and developing tools for the etymological hyphenation of liturgical latin.

Élie also developed free software for other issues he has a passion for, such as typography (with projects around LuaTeX), calendar calculation and astronomy (including the Tibetan Calendar), linguistics in general and Tibetan language in particular (Tibetan spellchecker, Tibetan collation, analysis and Unicode publication of parts of the Dunhuang corpus and publication of a verb database).

After 3 years developing a learning platform to train the French team for the International Olympiad in Informatics, Élie sees joining BDRC as a great opportunity to use and develop his skills and passion for the preservation of Buddhist teachings.

Élie Roux

Software Developer
Lobsang Shastri

Lobsang Shastri

Position: Senior Librarian

Lobsang graduated with a Shastri degree (equivalent to BA) from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi, U.P., India. He then joined the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA), Dharamsala, as a translator in 1985 and from 1988-2009 was the Chief Librarian of the Tibetan Manuscript Department (LTWA).

He was a Tibetan language instructor at the Department of History of Religion, Oslo University, Norway , in 1994 and a Lecturer/Visiting scholar at the Department of Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA in 2006.

He was elected Advisory Board Member of the International Association of Tibetan Studies (IATS) in 2003. Editor-in-Chief of Tibet Journal, LTWA, he was also a member of the XIIth and XIIIth Tibetan Parliament in Exile from 1995-2005.

He has attended the conference of the International Association of Tibetan Studies (IATS) since 1992 as well as many other seminars in India and Bhutan; presented papers on Tibetan history and culture; published research papers in various journals both in Tibetan and English; and compiled and published three departmental catalog books of the Tibetan Manuscript Library of LTWA.

He joined the Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), formerly the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) on 24th of August, 2009. He is interested in Tibetan history and culture, and the preservation of Tibetan cultural heritage.

Lobsang Shastri

Senior Librarian
Chris Tomlinson

Chris Tomlinson

Position: Senior Technologist

Chris is applying 38 years of experience in computer systems R&D to help preserve and make accessible Buddhist texts and cultural knowledge. This includes the design, development and support of current and future systems for cataloguing, semantic access, image retrieval and restoration.

A significant component of the BDRC mission is the return and redistribution of texts to lineage holders and practitioners in Asia where most still live. In support of this mission component, Chris manages Palri Parkhang Software, comprising a group of young people in Nepal outside of Kathmandu who restore selected texts from the BDRC archives. These texts are then formatted for printing on laser printers on widely available page sizes that permit low cost dissemination of hardcopies of texts for use in monastic curricula and the like.

Also there are a number of standalone installations of copies of the BDRC archives including the server that provide user searching and retrieval of texts in the archives. These installations are in various monasteries, institutes and national libraries in Asia and Palri Parkhang provides support for these.

The Palri Parkhang Software project provides training for young people in the use of image processing and text input applications as they apply to supporting Tibetan Buddhism. Palri Parkhang also prepares searchable Unicode text input of selected Tibetan texts. Searchable texts increase the depth of access to the BDRC archives.

Chris Tomlinson

Senior Technologist

Field Managers

Sommai Jaithong

Sommai Jaithong (Tom)

Position: Field Manager (Bangkok)

Tom’s first major job in Bangkok, after moving to the city from Kamphaeng Phet, the province where he was born, was as a file clerk at the Orderly Departure Program for Vietnamese refugees, which operated under the auspices of the Embassy of the United States. He worked at this from 1990 until 1998.

After the contract for that project expired, Tom worked with Peter Skilling helping to arrange and scan palm leaf manuscripts of Buddhist materials from Myanmar for Reiyukai , a Japanese foundation with offices in Kathmandu, Nepal. This work continued for ten years until the operation was taken over by BDRC in late 2016. Tom is currently a manager Scanning at BDRC, overseeing a staff to clean, process and scan manuscripts for the BDRC Project.

Sommai Jaithong (Tom)

Field Manager (Bangkok)
Mangaram Kashyap

Mangaram Kashyap

Position: Field Manager (India)

Mangaram is TBRC’s Indian representative at E-45. Sector 27 Noida, District Gautam Buddha Nagar via New Delhi, UP-201301. He can be reached +91 9810272788 via mobile or at +91 120 2528899 or 4323745 on STD or via email at mangaram@tbrc.org. In addition to running TBRC’s main scanning facility at Noida, New Delhi, India, Mangaram represents TBRC in India for a variety of other causes. Through Mangaram’s faithful and persistent service, TBRC has amassed the largest digital library of Tibetan materials in the world.

Mangaram Kashyap

Field Manager (India)
Ngawang Trinley

Ngawang Trinley

Position: Digitization Manager

Ngawang Trinley was born in a mountain farm in Provence, France. As a young child, he was enrolled in a Buddhist school there, where he also looked after cows for several years. When he was 16, he left behind his cows and went to India to study Tibetan language, philosophy, medicine, and Kalachakra cosmology and astronomy.

After eight years of study, he was encharged with the library at the College of Buddhist Sciences in Sherabling, where he also taught Tibetan language to Tibetan monastics. The following years, he was a lecturer (in Tibetan) for cosmology and astronomy. This work was instrumental in introducing modern teaching methodology to the college; due to the positive results, those teaching methods continue there to this day. Beyond that, Ngawang Trinley was involved as the editor and publisher of the yearly almanac and over 15 Buddhist books on medicine, astrology, grammar, poetry, and caligraphy for the monastery, while also translating English-to-Tibetan for astronomy papers and portions of anatomy textbooks.

Ngawang Trinley co-founded Esukhia in 2009, where he is currently the director of the branch in India; he also serves as a member of the Board of Directors. As the Executive Director and co-founder, he’s involved in every aspect of the organization, including but not limited to: project oversight and direction, such as for the proofreading and editing of the digital edition of the Derge Kangyur for the 84000 initiative; grant and project proposals; media relations; translation, transcription, and other editing/proofreading projects; supervision of the creation of translation tools, such as a real-time collaborative online environment for translation work, proofreading software and tools, and a Tibetan language spell-check; the development of teaching Tibetan as a Second Language; and much more.

Moreover, he’s participated in, and spoken at, several conferences held in the Tibetan language. He has also been an invited guest to other meetings of import, such as those held by Khyentse Rinpoche at the 2012 meetings of the Khyentse Foundation in Bodhgaya.

As the digitization project manager, NT is in charge of digitizing texts (scans and etexts) and creating and maintaining relationships with users and partners.

Ngawang Trinley

Digitization Manager