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Tibet: Features Arts and Culture Harvard library to help preserve Tibetan literary heritage

Harvard library to help preserve Tibetan literary heritage

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Tibet-Haward-US-culture-2014Dharamshala: - A partnership between Harvard Library and the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) will lead to the upload of 10 million pages of Tibetan literature that survived the Cultural Revolution into its digital storage system in July 2014. TBRC is a non-profit organisation based in Harvard square that has been acquiring, scanning, and digitally preserving Tibetan volumes since its founding in 1999.

An enormous number of Tibetan texts disappeared during the Cultural Revolution, which affected the Tibetan plateau as much as it did the rest of China. Leonard van der Kuijp, professor of Tibetan and Himalayan studies at Harvard said,"But many books were somehow saved by local Tibetans, monks and laypeople who buried the books, put them in boxes, wrapped them in cloth, and buried them in the ground," he added. "And now, slowly, these books are coming out."

Sources said that the long-term preservation of the Tibetan literature as a service not only to the scholarly community but also to humanity as a whole. The center has so far acquired approximately 20,000 volumes dating from the eighth century to the twentieth, covering subjects ranging from Buddhist teachings and theories to philosophy, history, poetry, architecture, and medicine.

Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project and of the Office for Scholarly Communication stated, "The Tibetan language is endangered, not just for political reasons but because the speaker base is shrinking. Even apart from teaching Tibetan Buddhism to people who care to learn it, we have to preserve this culture from danger, from extinction."

 


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