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.”