| Dec 5, 2022
Berzin Archives Report: September through November 2022
By Dr. Alexander Berzin | Founder and Author of Berzin Archives
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Singapore
We might be approaching the end of the first year of our third decade in existence (yes, you read that right – we just celebrated our 21st birthday!), but we’re happy to report that things are not slowing down by any means over here at Study Buddhism HQ. In fact, we’ve spent the latter part of this year hard at work creating new content and making plans for upgrades and new features for the website.
Accessibility is important to us, and over the last two decades we have focused on bringing excellent quality written content to our readers in English and, as time went on, in 31 other languages too. Over the last half year, we have been fine-tuning a very exciting upcoming feature: audio articles. Using the latest in AI technology, we are creating audio versions of our articles – currently only in English – which can be listened to at the click of a button. We hope this will make it easier for everyone to enjoy our content on the go, from the morning commute to work to a long treadmill run. Keep an eye out on the website over the next few weeks or sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with all of our work and latest developments.
As much of the world begins returning to a sense of normality and international travel opens up, we have also been very busy arranging and filming brand new video interviews for our website and social media channels. As part of our vision to be more inclusive and offer our audiences a wider range of teachings from the world’s Buddhist traditions, this fall we have interviewed three teachers from the Theravada tradition in Thailand along with a renowned scholar on Theravada Buddhism, and two teachers from the Chinese Chan tradition in Taiwan. We’re excited to share these teachers’ wisdom with you all.
The latter part of the year has also seen a boom in use of the website and engagement on our social media channels. The untiring energy of our translation teams is paying off, as our readership from India, Japan, Myanmar, South Korea, and Egypt, among many others, is all up over 100% compared to the same period last year. On our YouTube channel, we are racing towards 50,000 subscribers, while our Instagram and Twitter channels are also enjoying rapid growth as we share quotes, articles, and short videos. You’ll find more details in the bulleted list below.
Here are some of our accomplishments over these last three months:
- Addition of “The Dalai Lama’s Advice for Dealing with Abusive Teachers” and “An Open Letter on Ethics from the Network of Western Buddhist Teachers”
- Preparation and publication of 7 interview articles with prominent Buddhist teachers, along with captioned images
- Preparation, editing and publication of “Special Features of Mongolian Buddhism” by guest author, Dr. Zsuzsa Majer
- Preparation and publication of 327 translations into our various languages
- Copyediting of 42 English transcripts and files
- Revision and expansion of 18 parts of ““Details of Karma” containing extensive translations of Sanskrit and Tibetan primary sources
- Preparation of 4 graphic charts included in the revised “Details of Karma”
- Preparation of Recommended Reading Lists for 27 topics on the Study Buddhism website
- Preparation of blurbs for the above-mentioned Recommended Reading Lists
- Technical work begun for adding the Recommended Reading Lists to our new Accounts section and for managing them in our Content Management System
- Preparation of an AI-generated algorithm for locating all proper names on the website and implementation of it for the Tibetan Buddhism section
- Audio Recording of the correct pronunciation of the 707 proper names found in the Tibetan Buddhism section and generation of them in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
- Preparation of an AI-generated algorithm to prepare versions of our articles in which proper names are replaced with their IPA equivalents and Tibetan and Sanskrit vocabulary provided in parentheses is removed
- Preparation and testing for a new system for machine-generated voice synthesis for the articles of the Tibetan Buddhism section, using the versions generated by that algorithm
- Further refinement and implementation of the AI-generated algorithm for indicating Related Terms for the Glossary and Related Articles for website articles
- Preparation and customization begun for replacing our present Fundraising Box with Micropayments for receiving credit card donations on the website
- Migration of the old Berzin Archives multilingual glossary to the Study Buddhism server
- Global change implemented in all languages for article titles, content and urls to change the spelling of Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche to Tsenshap Serkong Rinpoche
- Setup of New Google Analytics (GA-4)
- Continuing maintenance of all technical systems
- The uploading of 10 images to articles across the website.
- The commencement of the editing of our video interview with Ajahn Amaro, the abbot at Amaravati Monastery in the UK.
- Video interview with the Venerable Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, the first modern Thai woman to receive full ordination as a Theravada bhikkhuni and Abbess of Songdhammakalyani Monastery, the only temple in Thailand that currently has bhikkhunis
- Video interview with Robin Moore, the former abbot of Hartridge Monastery in the UK, who was a monk in the Thai Forest tradition of Luang Por Chah for almost two decades
- Video interview with Dr Peter Skilling, the founder of the Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation and a renowned Buddhist scholar, historian, researcher, translator, poet, and lecturer on a wide range of subjects, from history and philosophy to Buddhist art, archaeology and epigraphy
- Video interview with Phra Anil Sakya, rector of the World Buddhist University and assistant secretary to the previous Supreme Patriarch of Thailand
- Video interview with the Venerable Bhikshuni Guo Xing, the Vice Dean of the Bhikshuni Sangha at Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha University, and scholar on Buddhist poetry and the use of gong’an in Chinese Buddhism
- Video interview with Dr Weijen Teng, Dean of the Department on Buddhist Studies at Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, and scholar of Sanskrit language and the Yogachara school
- Preparation of 12 quotes taken from our video interviews and other sources from the website, accompanied with graphics, and the uploading of these to social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).
- Preparation of 12 different video clips and uploading them to social media channels. Each video was prepared for posting on Facebook with 32 language subtitles, on Twitter with embedded English subtitles and a maximum length of 2 minutes and 20 seconds, and on Instagram and TikTok at 9:16 format with embedded English subtitles.
- Preparation of 12 article posts for our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) along with introductions.
All of this hard work is made possible by your continuing generous support. Together, we shall “Make the Ageless Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”