digital dharma

Digital Dharma uncovers E. Gene Smith’s 50-year journey with renowned scholars, lamas and laypeople as they struggle to find, preserve and digitize more than 20,000 volumes of ancient Tibetan text.

programme information


1 x 60' or 1 x 82'

Production Company

Lunchbox Communications






Boulder International Film Festival 2013, Official Selection Cambridge Film Festival

Episode Information

When ancient Sanskrit and Tibetan texts were lost during the political turmoil of the 1950s and 1960s, the roadmap to enlightenment was in danger. Enter American Mormon E Gene Smith, the unlikely rescuer of these insights from mankind’s early consciousness. We follow Smith on his journey to Asia to ensure the preservation of these texts. Armed with only letters of introduction from a high lama, Smith crossed geographic, political and philosophical borders to locate and preserve thousands of volumes of the literature that embodied the history and wisdom of a people, from the medical to the mystical. In gathering and printing the texts, Smith bridged political and cultural differences. In Digital Dharma, the man who saved Tibetan Buddhism tells his remarkable story as he returns to Southern Asia to continue his 50 year mission. As political borders shift and societies merge, the preservation of all cultures becomes critical. Gene Smith demonstrates how one person’s ingenuity and diplomacy can save a culture despite overwhelming obstacles.

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