Daily Archives: 30 December 2010

E. Gene Smith

This obituary appeared in the New York Times, finally, on 28 December 2010. E. Gene Smith was not just an extraordinary scholar; he was, by all accounts I have read and heard (I never met the man, though I know folks who knew him well), he was also an extraordinarily generous and kind human being. I personally cannot claim that without Mr. Smith’s lifelong efforts to preserve Tibetan literature I would not be able to do what I do today, as, for example, most Tibetologists in the western world today rightfully claim (see, e.g., David Germano’s remarks in this obit). But a handful of my teachers over the years, at least one of which has played a significant role in my professional career to this day, are enormously indebted to the labors of Mr. Smith. So I’m a generation or two removed from E. Gene Smith in terms of my professional pursuits. All the same, I am awestruck by his vision, his achievements, and his magnanimity. This obit is clearly superficial in its coverage of E. Gene Smith’s life and work. Yet, I think anyone who reads just these few paragraphs about the man will be moved.

NB: Click on the image to read the piece; you should have a magnifying glass option to enlarge once it appears in a new window.