Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center to Be Built in New York
June 21, 2021
Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, New York, the personal monastery and North American seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, announced in a public a statement on Friday plans to build the first Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center on its grounds in upstate New York. The statement also detailed the launch of a US$5 million public fundraising campaign for the project.
The 858-square-meter Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center represents the first phase of a planned development project that also aims at a later date to include a Dalai Lama Museum. The projects are described as the only facilities of their kind in the world.
“We are seeking the support of donors for a project of great benefit to all of humanity, the building of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s Library and Learning Center,” Namgyal Monastery president Ven. Tenzin Choesang said in a statement shared with Buddhistdoor Global. “Our vision—one that is supported and shared by the Dalai Lama—is to encourage genuine human interconnection and unity in an increasingly divided world. The Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center will do this by creating a transformational hub of compassionate and humane education that is open to everyone, both in-person and online.”
The Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center is intended as a repository for the collected works of all 14 Dalai Lamas—a spiritual lineage that dates to the 15th century—as well as serving as a public place for study that will welcome students, scholars, community leaders, and practitioners of all spiritual traditions. The Learning Center, which will be accessible in person and online, is expected to offer a range of free and low-cost classes, talks, seminars, guided meditation, and more.
The statement continues:
The Dalai Lama Trust kicked off the fundraising campaign with a US$1.3 million donation, and generous donors and members of the public already have donated an additional US$1.2 million of the US$5 million needed by year’s end to bring the Library and Learning Center to fruition. With suggested donation levels starting at US$25, there is an opportunity for many to express their support for the project, which will help to:
• Create a center of learning that promotes basic human values to include compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, and self-discipline regardless of nationality, religion or origin – both in person and online, with a wide array of free and low-cost programming (i.e. meditations, workshops, talks, retreats) accessible to everyone across the world
• Build understanding among different faiths and cultures by fostering dialogue and study in an effort to promote a culture of peace and compassion, therefore impacting social change by considering the collective flourishing impact our actions have on one another
• Extend the work of His Holiness the Dalai Lama by bringing together scientists, philosophers, and practitioners to explore and bridge relationships between contemplative wisdom philosophy and science, particularly the science of the mind and consciousness
• Establish an academic center for the study and preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture and history with its unique language, people, literature, art forms, architecture and performing arts, and its commitment to protecting our environment’s natural resources
• Preserve the collected works of the current and previous Dalai Lamas of Tibet
Alongside the library, the planned two-story building is to include an exhibition space, a reading room, an events hall for up to 250 people, a meeting room, an office, and storage space. The Learning Center will serve as an academic center for the study of Tibetan cultural and religious history, including literature, artwork, and performing arts. The Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center will also house the works of The Mind-Life Institute, an organization that aims to support the ongoing dialogue between Buddhism and science.
“We welcome all types of support—be it funds, time, or other resources—from individuals to corporations, foundations, and other organizations,” said Ven. Choesang. “We need the public’s help to make this vision of a better and inclusive world where our differences generate curiosity and appreciation for one another a reality.”
A fundraising campaign for the Dalai Lama Museum, which is projected to carry a development cost of US$10 million, is scheduled to begin after the completion of the first phase.