(TibetanReview.net, Sep08’23) – A new library and learning center is being opened at the Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies in Ithaca, New York state, with the inaugural festivities continuing from Sep 8 to 10, reported ithacajournal.com Jun 7. The center is stated to be the only place in the world that would house a complete library of the written works of the current, 14th Dalai Lama, as well as all previous Dalai Lamas.
This includes an archive of 40,000 hours of the Dalai Lama’s teachings, about 4,000 books containing translations of ancient texts that document the evolution of Buddhist thought, and artefacts of religious significance from periods throughout the history of Buddhism in India and Tibet, the report said.
The Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies is one of five practicing Namgyal monasteries of the Dalai Lama in the world and the only one operating outside of India, the report noted.
Namgyal-Ithaca was stated to have been developed as a fully functioning Tibetan monastery offering a three-year program — designed in part by the Dalai Lama — emphasizing Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice for western dharma practitioners.
“His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, is taking a huge step from Dharamshala, India to Ithaca to create his sacred space — a meditation and peacemaking center — a teaching center for anyone who wants to come and study to learn about Buddhism and other religions,” Project donor Diane Brandenburg was reported to have said in Apr 2022.
Opening ceremonies for the new library and learning center will begin with the unveiling of a statue depicting the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, followed by a ribbon-cutting and speeches from project supporters, the report said.
Presentations by local religious leaders are expected to introduce attendees to the practices of other various religions as well.
The Dalai Lama established the North American seat of his personal monastery in 1992, as a nod to Ithaca’s role as a haven for a small group of Tibetans fleeing persecution. A $5 million fundraising campaign funded the 9,000-square-foot library and learning center, which was designed by HOLT Architects, the report noted.