Friday, December 31, 2010

Khenpo Appey (1927-2010)

It is again, within two weeks, with a very sad heart that I announce that Khenpo Appey has passed away, December the 28th, 2010. I first met Khenpo Appey in 1975 in Rajpur India during the Lamdre Tsogshe given by Sakya Trizin. It was there that I had an opportunity to spend time with Rinpoche, ask questions and learn that he was truly one of the great living Sakya masters - a Dzongsar Khenpo in the true spirit of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Chokyi Lodro.

It is also fair to say that of all the great Tibetan teachers to come out of Tibet it was him that I found most intimidating - it was in front of him that I felt I always had to be on my best behaviour.

Gorampa himself would be proud of the accomplishments of Khenpo Appey. He was the foundational rock for Sakya scholarship for the last 50 years and has tirelessly prepared the way for innumerable scholar practitioners of the future. Bravo to a life well lived in the service of others.

(See Khenpo Appey at International Buddhist Academy)

(See Khenpo Appey at Rigpawiki)

(See Khenpo Appey at Tsadra)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gene Smith - Icon & Legend

It is with a very sad heart that I announce that Gene Smith has passed away, Thursday, December the 16th, 2010. I have known of Gene through his writings and publications since 1973, visited his home in New Delhi, India, in 1980 and worked closely with him since 2001 to the present in New York City.

What always struck me most about Gene was his drive to not have students undergo the difficulties that he went through in learning and studying Tibetan literature and associated subjects. This is what was close between us and came up most often in conversation, the next generation - the future - making the literature and tools accessible. Gene and I shared a very important teacher, Dezhung Rinpoche Lungrig Tenpai Nyima. Dezhung Rinpoche was maybe the most important influence for what was to become the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, the second crowning jewel of Gene's career. The first great accomplishment, the first great crowning jewel, was of course the publication of thousands upon thousands of rare Tibetan texts and manuscripts while he worked in the New Delhi office of the U.S. Library of Congress.

As just one individual, Gene has been the most important single figure in the last half century working for the preservation of Tibetan literature. Gene has been the singular figure to galvanize the most important Tibetan scholars in the last 45 years in the preservation of Tibetan literature. In a half century, again, Gene has been the most important single figure to tirelessly work for the literary culture of Tibet and the Himalayan regions - to publish, to modernize, to digitize and to electronically archive for the present and future generations. Gene was truly a man suited for his time, an individual that accomplished what he set out to accomplish, responding to the needs of others. His passing is not a time for sadness but a time to celebrate the truly enormous accomplishment of his life that has benefited so many of us and in so many ways.