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Ancient Tibetan scriptures revived via modern technology

(Xinhua)

10:05, June 20, 2012

LHASA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- A scripture collection center in the Tibet autonomous region has digitally preserved, printed and published more than 300 ancient Tibetan scriptures with the help of modern technology.

The scriptures have been collected since 2007 at a collection center in the Sera Monastery in the regional capital of Lhasa. Funded by the monastery and Jokhang Temple, the center has employed 14 specialists to assist in the preservation of the ancient documents.

"The scriptures were collected from different monasteries and libraries in Tibet. Most of them are manuscripts and the content is obscure and difficult to understand," said Gyaltsen Jampa, a specialist with the center.

The specialists at the center are acquainted with multiple aspects of Tibetan culture, including literature, Buddhism and music, as the ancient scriptures are diverse in content.

Although many of the documents were given preservative treatments in previous times, a large number of scriptures have been damaged due to human activity and natural disasters, according to Guan Quejia, a researcher at the Institute of Ethnic Studies under the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences.

Gyaltsen Jampa said many of the scriptures are severely damaged, with some of them illegible.

"When we find a missing page or a blank in the scriptures, we write it on the blackboard and have a discussion about the missing part," said Gyaltsen Jampa.

"It cannot be rewritten unless a final conclusion has been drawn after the discussion. Sometimes, we have to turn to some eminent lamas for help or try to find the missing parts from other monasteries that might have a copy," he added.

After finding the missing parts, the specialists use scanners to store digital versions of the damaged documents, as well as attempt to repair them.

After digitizing the documents, they are printed out for further preservation, Guan said.

The center's work has not only provided valuable materials for monks, Tibetologists and religious scholars, but also made the texts available for a wider range of readers, Guan said.

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