Gene Smith (1936 – 2010), a great scholar that is widely revered and beloved for his life’s work of preserving a vast amount of Tibetan literature, was honored in China yesterday with the opening of the Gene Smith Library at the Minorities University in Chengdu, to whom he had bequeathed his collection of Tibetan texts.

The following was posted yesterday on the travel blog of Jeff Watt, director of Himalayan Art Resources, after attending the opening ceremony of the Gene Smith Library in Chengdu, China,

Today was the opening ceremony for the Gene Smith Library at the Minorities University in Chengdu (new campus). Scheduled to begin at 11:00, it was actually 11:30 before all of the out of town (Beijing ) dignitaries arrived. The ceremony was actually short with a few medium length speeches. Two parties were being honored – Gene Smith for all his great work and the donation of his collection of Tibetan texts and Thubten Phuntsok who just recently published a new comprehensive Tibetan dictionary. Representing Gene Smith were Tuden Nyima, Jeff Walllman and Paldor of TBRC. Thubten Phuntsok gave his own speech even attempting a Sichuan accent – I was told.

After the ceremony we visited the Gene Smith library, on the third floor I believe, which was splendid, with beautiful rooms, decorated in the Tibetan style, probably four large halls in total. The most surprising thing was the extremely large sculpture of Gene – a bust – very surprising indeed.

After some difficulty in finding a taxi, four of us returned to town and had lunch before moving on to the next event. In the afternoon was another ceremony but in this case is was for the re-opening of
the Tibetan Museum in the Minorities University (main campus). I first visited the old museum back in 2004. The building was somewhat damaged during an earthquake a few years ago and needed to be replaced. The new building is very good with large halls and beautiful decoration.

I would say it has been a very full day with a stop at the local Starbucks and a rest on the patio under the trees. It was very warm in the sun and I am a little red from standing outside for so long this morning . When there was cloud it was thin and offered little protection. Tomorrow I will be spending most f the day indoors working to make up for all of the events today.

To view more images from the event, please visit Jeff’s blog.

To learn more about Gene Smith and his life’s work, please read “The Man who Saved Tibetan Buddhism” by Noa Jones, from our current issue.



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