Our support of BDRC continues to be one of the most visible success stories of Khyentse Foundation funding. BDRC’s vast and unique vision of digitally preserving Buddhist texts has significantly affected the development of Buddhism far beyond the scope of the center’s initial vision.
Gene Smith, the founder of BDRC, spent decades amassing and distributing the largest library of Tibetan books in the world. He founded the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) in 1999 to collect, preserve, organize, digitize, and disseminate Tibetan literature. Between 1999 and 2014, the organization scanned more than 9.5 million pages in 18,000 volumes and developed a model for preservation that could be replicated in any language for any topic. The texts include not only philosophical and religious treatises, but works on traditional medicine, astrology, astronomy, alchemy, art, history, geography, biography, grammar, folk culture, and poetry.
In 2016, having successfully completed Smith’s dream, the institution broadened its scope to include the preservation of texts in languages beyond Tibetan. Reflecting this expansion, TBRC changed its name to Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), and began preserving and making accessible texts in Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, and other South Asian and Southeast Asian languages. Along with the new mission came a second major project, the Fragile Palm Leaves Digitization Project. This initiative is the first to unify the diverse array of Buddhist texts into a single, all-encompassing digital resource for the core textual sources of Buddhism. Khyentse Foundation is committed to supporting the work of BDRC and continuing Smith’s legacy.