About Wisdom Library
Hi and welcome to Wisdom Library. My name is Gabe Hiemstra and I am the author of this website. First of all, thanks for visiting! Whether you're on a regular visit, or here for the first time, I am honoured to have you as a guest. On this page I will give you a short introduction regarding myself and this website. Enjoy your time while you're here...
The personal stuff:
Date of writing: July, 2019
My name is Gabe Hiemstra, I am a thirty-three years old male; recently turned vegetarian, and living with my partner in a coastal village in the Netherlands. Starting from a young age I have always questioned everything my mind couldn't fully explain. Although my experience in daily life occasionally provided answers, my feeling always told me that there was more to it. That got me started on a journey which continues this very day, and will probably continue as for long as I breath, and hopefully after that.
It wasn't long before I came into contact with India: the country whose cultural and literal traditions never failed to amaze me both in terms of intellectual maturity as well as the vast heritage of spiritual legacy.
It is exactly this heritage that I believe humanity can learn and benefit from, if only with an open mind. Personally, I do not adhere to any kind of faith, except for the truth. And that is exactly what I would like to present on Wisdom Library: the truth. When I look at India, and neighbouring countries, I see ancient cultures whose achievements are reflected in their many traditions and religions. These traditions combine intellectual prowess and spirituality in order to pursuit the purpose of human life, while living in harmony with each other and the planet.
I believe that every human being has the potential to benefit from past experience. So in the following sections you can read about how Wisdom Library came to be and its vision regarding the future.
In early 2008 I created the first (website) version of Wisdom Library, originally meant for collecting definitions from various branches of sciences and knowledge. Back then, I saw building websites as training projects in order to get more experience with programming. Seeing the fruits of my efforts got me motivated and I starting envisioning all sorts of cool things I could accomplish with such skills.
Wisdom Library evolved out of the aspiration to become better in my work, as well as to use it for projects I deemed innovative and beneficial. For example, long before 2008, I was already collecting and preserving as much documents as I could find related to our ancient history. It was that love for preservation that evolved into creating and maintaining a site such as Wisdom Library
Also, being a programmer has its perks: whenever I see the time to create new tools for the site, I will benefit from its experience, while my experience from my daily job also benefits the quality and maintenance of the site. This gives Wisdom Library great potential as a research platform into ancient history and spirituality. If only I have the time ;)
Eager to discover the truth behind all those uncertainties in life, I spent many days learning about the ancient history of almost every culture I could find. Reading about the fascinating and glorious stories about the past made me realize how important it is to preserve ancient history in whatever form available. I often say to myself that, no matter how much trouble you (or humanity) have gotten into, as long as you can retrace your steps then you got exactly what you need in order to fix it!
So my mission is clear and I am resolute. Whenever I learn something, whether it’s from a helpful book or a technical term, I want to preserve and share it on my website. For when someone comes along seeking answers to a similar question in life, they could potentially benefit from this knowledge in the same way that I did.
Unfortunately, when dealing with ancient India, many people are unfamiliar with the actual traditions and are often frightened or defensive in nature. I recognize that, for a large part, this is caused by distinguished persons sharing their biased opinions among the masses. This causes a great deal of unjustified mistrust.
In the western world, it happened all too often that respected authors who translated sacred texts, were at the same time commenting upon them with biased, and sometimes degrading remarks which often directly contradicts traditional views and explanations.
Today, modern writers on ancient Indian culture are a bit less offensive, and a slightly more professional in nature. But unfortunately, there is still a global tendency to transform traditional Indian history using contradictory explanations and biased opinions.
However, what many people fail to realize, is that these ancient Indian traditions are still alive today, even after thousands of years! In fact, we have the opportunity to directly learn from a tradition of uninterruptedly passing down of knowledge from one generation to the next, leaving behind an extremely rich intellectual and spiritual heritage. I believe that, when treated with an open mind and respect, this heritage can only benefit humanity in a most positive way.
So part of my mission is to present the knowledge exactly as it is understood and explained by the actual descendants and prodigies of the ancient Indian culture and traditions. That means, original Sanskrit/Prakrit/Pali texts, native traditional translators and a preference of critical expositions as opposed to biased opinions.
As my personal journey took me on a ride through the antiquities of human history, so did my vision for Wisdom Library. My vision for Wisdom Library, and my role in its future, consists of a couple of elements.
1) The content: Currently I am only focussing on uploading content related to Dharma or Historical documents from Asia. Personally, I’d like to use the word Dharma for those traditions that adheres to a righteous way of life focussing on restoring balance without harming life itself, while ultimately leading to the purpose of human life: spiritual liberation.
So in a nutshell, I focus on uploading Dharma-related content, as found in traditions such as Hinduism (eg., Brahmanism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, etc.), Buddhism, Jainism and Sikkhism. Besides these traditions, I also focus on those literary treatises written in the languages such as Sanskrit, Prakrit or Pali.
2) The technology: Wisdom Library consists of thousands of books and articles, combined with an extensive glossary database hosting over 350,000 definitions. Whenever possible, I try to add new research functionality that connects these two, allowing the reader to explain or compare difficult words while reading a book. One of the projects I have planned in the future is a working community where people from around the global can come together and discuss.
3) Future and plea for help: The combination of the vast amount of books at my disposal, my skills in the programming languages and my vision of Wisdom Library creates plenty of possibilities for the future of Wisdom Library. I have numerous projects planned for the future, and numerous books on the shelf ready to be proofread and get uploaded.
It is my dream to one day dedicate myself entirely to the cause of Wisdom Library. Although I would love to spend all my time uploading new material and developing handy research tools, my spare time is little. I need a job to pay the bills and I need sleep to recover from work.
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Thanks for reading!