A treasure trove of Tibetan literature has left its temporary home in New York for Asia. Instead of ending up in Lhasa, however, the collection of original wood blocks and unbound pages now resides in China’s Southwest University of Nationalities. According to David Germano, a professor of Tibetan studies at the University of Virginia, the books include the scriptural canon, “histories, stories, autobiography, poetry, ritual writing, narrative, epics — pretty much any kind of literary output you could imagine.”
As The New York Times reported last week, this collection, considered to be the largest outside Tibet, would be more accessible to foreign journalists and non-Chinese visitors if kept in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province and 1,300 miles from Tibet. With its large population of ethnic Tibetans, Chengdu was a necessary, if not altogether satisfactory, compromise. Yet despite violent oppression and the specter of the Cultural Revolution, which destroyed and outlawed everything Buddhist, religious, and sacred, the re-assembling of these exiled Tibetan texts steadily continues:
In November, robed monks from the Dongkar Monastery in western Sichuan arrived with a yellowing collection of 300-year-old texts that had never been published. Scrawled in cinnabar and black ink, the manuscripts, detailing the tantric rituals of Buddhist deities, were copies of 15th-century texts. The monks stayed …read more

Via: Melville House Books