British actress Joanna Lumley lends voice to save cultural heritage
NEW YORK CITY – Media OutReach – June 5, 2020 – 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, a global non-profit initiative to translate and preserve the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, is launching a video campaign to raise awareness around one of the world’s largest and oldest collections of writings: With 230,000 pages locked within the fading Classical Tibetan language, the world is on the brink of losing access to a priceless archive of wisdom. This launch marks 84000’s 10th anniversary.
In 2009, a conference of the world’s leading Tibetan Buddhist teachers, translators, and academics concluded that less than 5% of the Canon had ever been translated into a language spoken today. That 5% of writings has already offered the modern world much insight into the mind, human psychology, relationships, and ethics.
Since its founding, 84000 has awarded over US$6 million in grants to translation teams around the world–from UCSB, Oxford, the University of Vienna, through to Rangjung Yeshe Institute (Nepal)–who work to decipher the Tibetan Buddhist Canon.
“The number of scholars who are both proficient in Classical Tibetan and trained to interpret this profound philosophy, is fast-fading,” explains Huang Jing-Rui, 84000’s executive director. “If we don’t act now, imagine how much wisdom might be lost forever, locked within this ancient language.”
In just ten years, 84000 has translated over 30% of the sūtras. It has the endorsement of all four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism, and continues to work with the support of some of the most learned, living teachers of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
This historic initiative makes freely available for the first time, primary-source material in English that is proving invaluable for international scholarship on Buddhist history, philosophy, and insight into the development and transfer of cultures across Asia.
And 84000 continually integrates new technologies with its digital library giving its readers access to multi-language glossaries, and source-text, bilingual reading ability. The translated Tibetan Buddhist Canon is made available freely to the public to enjoy.
The launch of this 3-min animation, voiced by award-winning, British actress Joanna Lumley, is accompanied by a weekend “Like and Share” campaign from June 5th (5am EST/5pm SG) till June 7th (5pm EST/June 8 5am SG). With millions confined to their homes, 84000 urges everyone to make their screen time count: With one click, help preserve the world’s largest archive of wisdom.
“It’s entirely possible that the survival of the Buddhadharma could depend on it being translated into other languages,” notes the Founding Chair, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche known for his long-sighted vision and innovation in an arena that still highly values conservatism.
“By translating and making available the Tibetan Buddhist texts to modern people, a vast swath of Buddhist civilization and culture may be saved from annihilation.”
Today’s launch coincides with Saga Dawa, a day celebrated by Buddhists around the world to commemorate the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing.