Berzin Archives e.V.

Berzin Archives e.V., as a free information provider, is dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of academic teaching and reference material, in written, audio and video formats, produced by Dr. Alexander Berzin to preserve the cultural and religious traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
Feb 25, 2013

Berzin Archives Trimonthly Report: December 2012 through February 21, 2013

From my desk in Berlin
From my desk in Berlin

With your kind ongoing support, we have continued to expand the Berzin Archives web site (www.berzinarchives.com). In these last three months, we have added online 165 new written, audio or video items and furthered hundreds of more files along the way on the multi-step process to completion. You can find all the statistics and details of what we have accomplished in the attached document.

At the end of January, we implemented the new option for downloading Kindle and EPUB versions for all our articles and transcripts other than for those available in published book form. Now it is even more convenient to read the material on the web site whenever and wherever you wish.

Our upcoming Tibetan and Mongolian sections have gotten a step closer to their coming online. We have successfully located and hired part-time editors for both of them. Many centuries ago, devoted masters translated the Buddhist literature from Sanskrit to classical Tibetan and then on to classical Mongolian. But, nowadays, most of the younger generation of Tibetans and Mongolians cannot read these classical languages. Their access to the wisdom of their own cultures is therefore quite limited. It is very exciting, then, to help the great masters communicate their wisdom to this younger generation through modern media in their colloquial languages.

The scope of our project, however, is universal. We now have over a hundred people working around the world on our eighteen European and Asian language sections and in our audio/video and technical divisions. Translations, transcripts, and audio and video files in various stages of preparation come in and go out to them each day. With such a large and constant daily workflow, keeping clear up-to-date records is essential. To help with this daunting task, we have hired an administrative assistant. With increased efficiency, we hope to make even more of the “Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”

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Nov 27, 2012

Berzin Archives Trimonthly Report: September gh November 2012

From my desk in Berlin
From my desk in Berlin

From my desk in Berlin

With your kind ongoing support over the last three months, we have continued making great progress with the Berzin Archives web site (www.berzinarchives.com). In toto, we now have on our 15 language sections 3,578 articles and transcripts, plus 1,030 audio files. You can find all the statistics and details of what we have accomplished these months in the attached document.

Our most exciting achievement, however, is bringing online 64 video files of not only Dr. Berzin’s seminars, but also lectures of the previous Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche (1982) and Jhado Rinpoche (2004), with Dr. Berzin translating them into English. This is a unique opportunity for present-day and future readers to have a close-up view of one of the late tutors of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and one of the greatest Buddhist masters of the last century.

On the technical side, our web developer is in the process of writing the code to generate Kindle and EPUB versions of all our articles. Soon we will be able to offer four options for downloading files from the web site: Printer Friendly, PDF, Kindle and EPUB. With the web site already programmed to fit all mobile and hand-held devices and to be accessible to the blind, and with our audio material available through iTunes and video through Youtube, we are continuing to match the latest IT advances.

Our web developer has also completed expanding our content management system, which generates the web site, so that it now can also handle Tibetan and Mongolian. Preparation is proceeding well on both sections. We now have 66 articles translated into Tibetan and 48 into Mongolian; next will be the editing phase. With your continuing support, we can help to transmit the wisdom of their elders to the younger generation of Tibetans and Mongolians. What better way to repay the kindness of the older generation of Tibetan masters to share their wisdom with the outside world.

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Sep 4, 2012

Berzin Archives Trimonthly Report: June through August 2012

From my desk in Berlin
From my desk in Berlin

From my desk in Berlin

With your kind ongoing support over the last three months, we have continued making great progress with the Berzin Archives web site (www.berzinarchives.com). Our most exciting achievement is bringing online our new Italian, Vietnamese and Turkish sections, making a grand total now of 15 language sections online (3,341 articles and 914 audio files). Work on our upcoming Tibetan section is proceeding well and we have resumed searching for an editor to complete preparation of our Mongolian section. You can find all the statistics and details of what we have accomplished these months in the attached document.

With the help of your donations, we were able to employ our web developer full time over the summer. Firstly, he finished writing the code and implementing the new, more efficient way in which our content management system generates siblings on the web site. As explained in our last report, siblings are second copies of items on the web site, appearing elsewhere in the menu structure. He then upgraded and expanded our system to be able to handle video files.

His greatest accomplishment, however, has been completely redoing how our system generates and presents audio/video material. Now, there are four possible options for such files: (1) an edited transcript, (2) the audio version for streaming, together with the unedited transcript, enabling simultaneous listening and reading, (3) the audio version for downloading, and (4) the video version for playing or downloading. To fill out these four options, we have begun digitizing the vast amount of audio and video material in our Archives that is still only in cassette format. We have also begun editing the English transcripts so that they can be translated into the other languages of the web site.

From October 1999 to January 2006, I taught a weekly course on Shantideva’s Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior (Bodhicharyavatara). If one had to choose a single text that best summarized the Mahayana Buddhist path, it would be this. Of the 273 sessions of this course, we have recordings of 251 of them. Although we have digitized many of the bilingual English-German cassettes and edited out and transcribed many English-only versions, a great deal of work is left to be done. You can find the details in the attached document. We have resumed work on this monumental project during these last weeks, but it will require hiring more personnel to complete it and bring it online in a timely fashion. And this is only one of the many possible projects that can be undertaken with the remaining works in the Berzin Archives. Completing them, however, requires a sustainable source of funding. Your continuing support will make this possible, so that we can truly bring the wisdom of Tibet to the world.

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