Central to our mission, the Himalayan and Inner Asian Collection focuses primarily on Buddhist sutras and accompanying commentaries.
At the core of this extensive collection are completed versions of the Tibetan Buddhist canon, including the Kangyur, Tengyur, and Sungbum.
The dramatic nature of the Himalayan landscape serves as a breathtaking backdrop for conceptual thought, as well as protection of a unique way of life.
Surrounded by the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayan region has enjoyed a cultural threshold geographically separated from the other powerful cultures of Eastern and Southern Asia. This has allowed for greater autonomy in the development of a richly distinct tradition of spiritual practice and the accompanying literary development. Like snow on the mountain, these powerful traditions continue to flow down and out into the world, influencing countless participants across multiple cultures.
Our preservation partners have located thousands of volumes of these cultural treasures, which we are now digitizing and cataloguing to incorporate them into our library.
At the crossroads of Asia, the Himalayan region is home to some of the most unique cultural wisdom traditions.
The Himalayan region has been a locus for spiritual practice for millennia. The primary religions practiced are Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. They originated in regions such as Bhutan, Nepal, Ladakh, Sikkim, Lahaul, Spiti, and of course the vast Tibetan plateau.
The primary focus of the Asian Legacy Library to date has been on Tibetan Buddhism – in particular the Gelukpa tradition. Our preservation partners have located rare and incomparable treasures that have since been translated for the modern world.
The book culture of the Himalaya is unique in terms of its precision in capturing the complicated spiritual concepts of its various traditions.
The book culture of the vast Himalayan region comprises far more than just documentation of agrarian societies existing amidst trade routes geographically situated at the top of the world. The Himalayan region eventually provided humankind with unparalleled documentation of the teachings of the Buddha.
The book culture of this region has provided a principal means of education, a source of tradition and authority, finely crafted aesthetic objects, a medium of Buddhist written culture, and a symbol of spiritual life itself.
There is a striking interrelation between political entities and religious organizations in their centuries-long support of Himalayan book culture.
The unique integration of secular and religious life at the apex of the Himalayan cultures provided an unusually rich opportunity for personal reflection.
Spiritual practice in the Himalaya, as in many parts of the world, has emerged shamanic traditions, where the natural world plays a primary role in the process, to one of a more contemplative nature. The analysis of the subject-object relationship and the study of interdependence are examples of the latter. The various traditions of the Tibetan Buddhist system—Kagyu, Nyingma, Sakya, and Gelukpa—all practice the same Buddhist philosophy in similar yet varied ways. The teacher-student relationship is primary in all four traditions.