By Dr. Alexander Berzin | Founder and Author of Berzin Archives
As we approach the end of 2019, we’re not only heading into a new year, but we’re saying goodbye to a whole decade. As I sit here writing in the room that has been my office for over 20 years, I can’t help but feel amazed by what our website, studybuddhism.com, has become, by how many people are involved, and by what we’ve all achieved in bringing the ageless wisdom of Tibet to the world.
In some ways, our website has followed the lifespan of a human. Growing slowly over its first years, this decade saw its teenage years – rapid development and a new identity, from the Berzin Archives to StudyBuddhism. Now, at 18 years old, Study Buddhism has become one of the world’s leading websites offering the authentic wisdom of Tibet, entirely for free, in 21 languages.
We also have some exciting developments, especially in our language sections. Firstly, we’ve started preparing a Korean section, joining Chinese and Japanese to complete the languages of East Asia. We’re also excited to announce a Nepali section in progress. Nepal is consistently one of our biggest fans, especially on social media, and its addition will complete the traditional languages of Tibetan Buddhism, along with Tibetan and Mongolian. We are also delighted to begin working on adding another Indian language section. Marathi, spoken by over 80 million people in India, is also the main language of the Ambedkar Buddhists, who number over 10 million. Bringing our material to these people will help create closer connections between the different Buddhist traditions currently practiced in India. Extending that connection further, we’ve also started work on a Thai section, commencing our entry into the traditionally Theravada Buddhist Southeast Asian region. Finally, we’ve started work on a Bengali section, the main language of Bangladesh and India’s second language. With this addition, we’re fulfilling the Dalai Lama’s request to make the wisdom of Tibet available to all the major languages of the Islamic world.
Let me share with you what we’ve accomplished during this amazing year. In 2019, we have had more than 835,000 users of the website (up 21.1% from last year), who've read over 2 million articles (up 18.7%) in our 21 languages. Altogether, we produced more than 2733 translations of articles and subtitles, which is more than 7 every single day! Almost 60% of our users visited the site on a mobile device, while 35% visited on a computer and 5% on a tablet.
We now have 8,524 articles on the website, 17% of which are in English. Around 1/3 of our users read this English content, while two out of three people read articles in one of our 20 other languages. The most popular are Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese and Hindi. One out of six readers come from the US, while the rest come from 226 other countries. The most popular of these are India, Germany, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia, while Italy, Turkey, Mongolia, Mexico and Vietnam come close behind. We truly are reaching the entire world.
The community on our Facebook channel grows on a daily basis, with around 25 newcomers interested in learning about the wisdom of Tibet joining on a daily basis. We now have over 35,000 followers, an increase of 25% from last year. Our posts have been viewed 3.5 million times and our videos have been watched for an equivalent of 423 days.
Our YouTube channel is also enjoying great success, with over 12,500 subscribers, up 72% from last year. Having added 77 videos this year, we now have a total of 264 videos, consisting of interviews with 19 of the world's leading experts on Buddhism today. In total, our translators have produced an astounding 5007 subtitle files for these videos, bringing their content to all corners of the globe.
Over on SoundCloud, an increasing number of people are finding and enjoying our wide range of audio material. We now have 1,698 followers, up 20%. This year, we added 895 new tracks, making a total of 1,463 tracks. They’ve had 188,000 plays and 15,400 downloads. Our top listeners come from the USA, Australia, the UK, Germany, and Canada.
All of our work, from maintaining the website and creating new material, to producing video content and translating thousands of subtitles and articles, relies upon you, the public, and your donations. So, I wish to thank you all for your continuing support. Please share with your loved ones and friends our project, or anyone who might be interested in the wisdom of Tibet but does not know of our website and might like to help support our work. Together we shall “Make the Ageless Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”