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Lobsang Shastri

Lobsang Shastri

I would like to extend my greetings to everyone gathered for today’s meeting, especially our panel moderator, the scholar Tashi Tsering. As you are all know, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) was founded in 1970 by Kyapgön Rinpoche (Skyabs mgon). Since its inception, the Library has worked in coordination with the Government of India primarily to collect books on Tibetan religion and culture. Thus far, we have collected some 50,000 books. As for works relating to our meeting today, we made efforts from early on to collect the writings of Gendun Chopel.

Writings by Gendun Chopel that are now held by the LTWA include the Horkhang edition of The White Annals, and some four different editions of Adornment for Nāgārjuna’s Thought, which are displayed outside; similarly, his Guide to India, [his translation of] Verses of Dharma published by the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi, and [his translation of] Songs of Dpal Nag po, which was published in twelve parts. A sample of letters written by Gendun Chopel to the Indian scholar Rahul, which are from our holdings, are also on display here today. Some writings in Pali and the letters to Rahul were found by Kirti Rinpoche, who visited Gangtok and the Darjeeling area during 1979 and 1980 to search for materials. Our library also has a set of writings that we cannot identify exactly. Then, as mentioned earlier by Mr. Narkyid Ngawangthondup, he gave to our library the original text of the work published by the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi [i.e. Gtam rgyud gser kyi thang ma].

The LTWA not only collects works by Gendun Chopel but also started long ago to research and publish his works. For example, the LTWA published the [three-volume] Collected works of Gendun Chopel, which was edited by Kirti Rinpoche; the biography of Gendun Chopel written by Rakra Rinpoche; as well as Gendun Chopel’s supplement to the Ramayana. Other publications by LTWA that touch on Gendun Chopel include the biography written by Khetsun Zangpo, which can be found in his fifteen- or sixteen-volume collection of biographies. We also published the account of Gendun Chopel written by Gojo Lachung Thupten Gyatso (Go 'jo Bla chung thub bstan rgya mtsho). This last work was published in 2002, primarily thanks to Tashi Tsering. These are not the only works by Gendun Chopel that the LTWA has collected; however, these are the titles that we have researched closely and published.

Most important in terms of its relation to the life and writings of Gendun Chopel is Tharchin Bhabu and his newspaper, the Tibetan Mirror (Gsar 'gyur me long). Of all the cultural organizations established in exile, the LTWA has the most comprehensive archive collection of the Tibetan Mirror. In my opinion, these issues would be of great benefit for anyone researching Gendun Chopel.
Finally, I would like to show you the letters written by Gendun Chopel to Rahul Pandita. As I show these, Tashi Tsering will offer a brief explanation. I would like to mention that Tashi Tsering is the main person responsible for all that the LTWA has collected on Gendun Chopel and for our related research projects. Thus, I have asked Tashi Tsering to please comment on what will be shown here. [Items from the collection of the LTWA are projected onto screen.]

Translated by Lauran Hartley.