The Drukpa Kagyu Heritage Project

This page serves as a simple placemarker for what was an historic event in Tibetan Buddhism.

The Drukpa Kagyu Heritage Project was the first major project to use computerized methods in order to collect, preserve, archive, and re-publish the texts of an entire Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  Tsoknyi Rinpoche III, an important tulku of the Kham branch of the Drukpa Kagyu conceived the idea for the project but did not have the skills needed to execute it.  He asked Lama Tony Duff, a well-known Western teacher and translator, who was also the first creator of Tibetan word-processing software and typefaces, to establish the project.  To do the work, Lama Tony moved from the West to Nepal where he started, funded, and managed the project.  The office in Kathmandu, Nepal, was opened in January 1993 and quickly grew to a large project with fifteen typists and a full-time staff for correcting their work.  By the year 2000 approximately 2,500 titles had been input and corrected.  At that point, the work was printed on paper—500 sets of 101 volumes per set were printed in India and distributed to Tibetan monasteries in Tibet, mainly, and India and Nepal in 2001.

During the life of the project, Lama Tony developed the methodology and software necessary for doing this kind of work. During that time and since then he has provided it to nearly all of the major Tibetan Buddhist text preservation projects spread throughout Tibet, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and the rest of the world.  Because of this assistance, many Tibetans high and low began to preserve large amounts of the literature of their own traditions.  In particular, Tibetans in high places—for example Dzongsar Khyentse, Rabjam Rinpoche, Drigung Chetsang, Beru Khyentse, and many others— have been able to do major preservation works of literature that was badly in danger of being lost following the calamity that started in Tibet in 1959.  Because of this a number of high-ranking Tibetans began to refer to Tony as “The father of modern Tibetan publishing”.  In 2014, when this small commemoration was written, nearly all Tibetan monasteries in India and surrounding areas were still using the software and fonts developed by Tony.

After the project was closed, Lama Tony continued his work as a teacher and translator.  To see his works, go to the • Padma Karpo Translation Committee.