Snow Lion Publications was established in 1980 in Ithaca, New York. Inspired by a meeting with the Dalai Lama, the three individuals who began Snow Lion vowed to create a press devoted to the preservation of Tibetan Buddhism and culture. The original idea was to present translations from all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism and to publish academic as well as popular titles. The editors were particularly interested in publishing monastic textbooks from the various traditions. The first manuscripts offered were primarily from Glenn Mullin, Jeffrey Hopkins, and his students at the University of Virginia, the foremost academic program in the West for Tibetan Buddhist studies. Despite initial financial hardship, Snow Lion has gone on to become the largest press devoted to Tibetan Buddhism, having published over 200 titles on Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism (printing over one million copies) and distributing over 650 titles published by other presses. Read more about us by visiting Snow Lion's Story, and also read a Mandala Magazine article about Snow Lion's early founding days with the Dalai Lama: Twenty-Five Years of Kindness, Clarity & Insight.
Snow Lion has been particularly committed to publishing works by the Dalai Lama such as Kindness, Clarity, and Insight (1984), which has sold over 70,000 copies. It also published an introduction to the Dalai Lama's life through The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness (1990), which has sold over 70,000 copies. Despite its relatively small market, Snow Lion has also been committed to publishing important academic works on Tibetan Buddhism. Snow Lion has sought a balance of works by all of the lineages of Tibetan Buddhsim and publishes translations of important works from all the various sects. Most of the translators of these works are Westerners (often scholars working closely with a Tibetan lama). Its periodical newsletter is a major forum for news, new books and products as well as advertisements for meditation retreats and appeals for aid by a number of Tibetan refugees and religious groups. Snow Lion, as a confluence of the scholarly and the popular, founded to serve the growing popular interest in Buddhism in Europe and America, has published much of the North American scholarship on Tibetan Buddhism produced during the last two decades.