Years ago in late 1960’s, James George, then Canadian High Commissioner to India, “was instrumental in preserving sacred Tibetan texts.” Using his office as headquarters, he and his team microfilmed 500 Tibetan books. The project was “implemented by a young CUSO worker who was given a special camera for microfilming. He was invited to live at the High Commission for about a year to accomplish the task. The microfilming included texts of all the major Tibetan sects & schools. Each school was given their own microfilmed compilation, including ten Kagyu microfilm reels for Kalu Rinpoche, who later gifted the reels to Namgyal Rinpoche and the Dharma Centre of Canada.
The reels remained unused since the late 1960’s in the safe archival storage. The Centre has since the very early 1970’s paid a modest monthly fee to Preston Microfilms, Toronto, to store the reels. Only in early 2016 has the Centre begun digitizing the reels, one reel at a time. As of May 2017, three reels have been processed and placed on CDs, and then memory sticks, to distribute to Lama Sonam Gyatso (Toronto), Lama Mark Webber (Galiano Island, B.C.), and Wesley Knapp (Sakya Society of Canada and the Sakya Namgyal Archive, Montreal).
James George retired from diplomatic service in 1977, after 31 years in the Canadian Foreign Service. In Toronto in 2016, Mr. George turned 97, but is still very active now in spiritual and environmental circles. He lives with his wife Barbara Wright George. Lama Sonam Gyatso spoke to James George in 2016 to keep contact with him and tell him about our digitization project.
The Dharma Centre of Canada retains a master copy of the digitised reels. Translations of some of these sacred texts were made through Lama Sonam and will be in future through efforts made by Lama Mark.
We Request You Become A Sponsor and Donor for this Project
The ten microfilm reels are now being processed only on the basis of periodic fundraising efforts, $350 at a time. The Centre has received three donations and has digitized the first three reels since 2016. It is felt that a concerted effort should be made to complete this digitization project this year. This material is not known to Buddhist practitioners, nor available anywhere in translation.
Would you be willing to be a sponsor and donate $350 towards digitizing one reel? Would you be willing to sponsor digitizing multiple reels?
Bill Rolph, the Dharma Centre archivist, is coordinating this project. He is facilitating this activity with Lama Sonam. Payments by cheque or credit card are acceptable by the Dharma Centre Administrator. If you are at the Dharma Centre for a retreat or workshop, you may pay the Administrator in cash. Receipts for your donation, of course, will be given to you soon after your payment is made.