Make the Ageless Wisdom of Tibet Available to All

 
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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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Attachments:
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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Attachments:
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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Jun 4, 2012

Berzin Archives Trimonthly Report: March through May 2012

From my desk in Berlin
From my desk in Berlin

Through your kind support during the second three months of our Global Giving campaign, we have continued making great progress with the Berzin Archives web site www.berzinarchives.com. We have prepared and published online a large amount of new material in each of our 12 currently available language sections. We have also continued work on our upcoming Italian, Vietnamese and Tibetan sections. In addition, we have started preparing a Turkish section. All of this has been accomplished through the efforts of our talented staff of 80 dedicated men and women, working part-time for us all around the world – 27 salaried and 53 volunteers.

During these last three months, our technical team has constructed the Italian and Vietnamese sections in our content management system. As soon as we have completed a sufficient number of articles in these languages and our web developer has made the final check, we will be ready to make these sections go live on the web site.

On the technical side, our web developer has been writing the code for automating the generation and management of siblings for our articles and audio files. Siblings are second copies of items on the web site, appearing elsewhere in the menu structure. They make it easier to find articles and audio files when browsing through the site. In the 14 language sections presently managed in our system, the 3,034 articles and 866 audio files have 1,313 siblings. When completed, this latest innovation will greatly enhance the speed and efficiency of our system’s publishing process – a valuable improvement as we continue to add new material to the web site nearly every day.

You can find the statistics for these last three months in the attached document. Thank you once more for your continuing support, helping to make all of this possible. But imagine how much more we could accomplish if we could offer full-time employment and a career to some of our key salaried staff presently working only part time. With the help of people like you, we can make this dream come true and bring even more of the wisdom of Tibet to the world.

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Attachments:
Apr 26, 2012

Berzin Archives Update, March 26 to April 22. 2012

From my desk in Berlin
From my desk in Berlin

This past month has seen us continuing to expand our website with some exciting new developments.  From October 26, 1999 to January 31, 2006, I taught a weekly course on Shantideva’s Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior (Bodhicharyavatara) in Berlin, Germany. There were 276 ninety-minute classes – that’s 414 hours of teaching, probably one of the most extensive courses given on this text in the West. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said, “If one needed to choose one text that best represented the Buddhist teachings, it would be Shantideva’s Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior.” 

Over the years, we have been collecting and digitizing the audio tapes of this course, making separate bilingual English-German and English-only audio versions, and transcribing the lectures in English. We have just finished taking stock of what we have done so far and what is left to do before we can present this material online.

We are dividing the course into two parts. Of the 276 classes, 85 covered the first eight chapters of the text, and 191 covered the ninth chapter on voidness and the tenth chapter dedication prayer. We have found the tapes from almost all of the classes – 75 from the first part and 187 from the second. Due to the poor quality of the recordings of the first eight chapters, we have decided to present online only the English transcripts for them. We’ve done 68 so far, so only 7 more to go. For the voidness and dedication chapters, we’ve already digitized 143 tapes and transcribed 102. That leaves 44 more to digitize and 85 more to transcribe. With your continuing support, we can now organize the remaining work needed for bringing this unprecedented detailed explanation of this text to the world.

Our eleven foreign language sections already online are continuing to grow at a fast rate. This month, we have started work on a new Turkish section, so now we are preparing four additional language divisions: Turkish, Tibetan, Vietnamese and Italian. That makes sixteen! If you would like to see a detailed list of our week-to-week progress, please take a look at the enclosed file.

Thank you once more for your continuing support.  With your help, we can indeed “make the ageless wisdom of Tibet available to all.”

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Attachments:

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Project Leader

Alexander Berzin

Berlin, Berlin Germany

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