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.