The global non-profit initiative 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, founded by the renowned Bhutanese lama, author, and filmmaker Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, has announced the establishment of a new assistant professorship in Buddhist studies at the University of Toronto.
The university’s Department for the Study of Religion has received a five-year renewable grant from 84000 to establish the assistant professorship, which is expected to enhance its growing Buddhist studies program. The holder of the new position will focus on teaching Classical Tibetan and conducting research related to the Tibetan Buddhist canon.
“Both the University of Toronto and 84000 believe that this partnership will further strengthen the reach and relevance of Buddhist studies in North America,” 84000 noted. “Through the application of academic standards and methodology to study of the Buddha’s teachings and translation of Tibetan Buddhist texts into English, it will widen access to—and deepen understanding of—them.” (84000)
84000 editor Dr. Rory Lindsay has taken on the new assistant professorship role since 1 July. Dr. Lindsay completed his doctorate in Tibetan studies at Harvard University in 2018 and is a Visiting Scholar at the Buddhist Texts Translation Initiative at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).*
“My greatest hope for my role at the University of Toronto is to help create a really robust community of translators, to really make it a center for Tibetan translation studies, and just to incorporate as many people as possible and build bridges between scholars in the community,” Dr. Lindsay shared.
84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha is a long-term undertaking that aims to translate and publish all surviving canonical texts preserved in the Classical Tibetan language—70,000 pages of the Kangyur (the translated words of the Buddha) in 25 years and 161,800 pages of the Tengyur (the translated commentaries on the Buddha’s teachings) in 100 years. According to 84000, less than 5 per cent of the canon had hitherto been translated into a modern language, and due to the rapid decline in the knowledge of Classical Tibetan and in the number of qualified scholars, the world is in danger of losing an irreplaceable cultural and spiritual wisdom legacy.
“Beyond allowing the university to expand its scholarship and teaching in the area of Tibetan language, the assistant professor will be taking on an editorial role with 84000 in pursuit of its 100-year vision to translate and publish the Tibetan Buddhist Canon in English,” 84000 explained. “This partnership complements 84000’s recent announcement of postdoctoral fellowships, its role in establishing the Buddhist Texts Translation Initiative at University of California Santa Barbara,* and underscores its commitment to ensuring that a legion of skilled translators of Classical Tibetan remains available now and into the future.” (84000)
Since its founding some 10 years ago,** 84000—named for the number of teachings the Buddha is said to have given—has awarded more than US$6 million in grants to teams of translators around the world, including Tibetan scholars and Western academics—from UCSB, Oxford, and the University of Vienna, to Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Nepal. In just 10 years, with the endorsement of all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, 84000 has already translated more than 30 per cent of the sutras, and continues to strive forward, supported by some of the most learned living teachers of the Vajrayana tradition.
“We are thrilled to facilitate the creation of a new Buddhist studies professorship at the University of Toronto. This is truly a joint effort, and one whose impact will extend beyond the boundaries of a single university,” remarked 84000 executive director Huang Jing Rui. “With this precedent set, we look forward to further opportunities for partnership across the academic arena, to help strengthen the tradition and future of Buddhist studies in North America.” (84000)
Born in Bhutan in 1961, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is the son of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and was a close student of the Nyingma master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910–91). He is recognized as the third incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, founder of the Khyentse lineage, and the immediate incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (1893–1959).
In addition to 84000, Rinpoche’s projects include Khyentse Foundation, established in 2001 to promote the Buddha’s teaching and support all traditions of Buddhist study and practice; Siddhartha’s Intent, which organizes, distributes, and archives his teachings; Lotus Outreach, which directs a wide range of projects to help refugees; and more recently The Lhomon Society, which promotes sustainable development in Bhutan through education.
* 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha Invites Applications for Postdoctoral Fellowships and 84000 Partners with UC Santa Barbara to Translate the Tibetan Buddhist Canon (Buddhistdoor Global)
** 84000 Launches Video Campaign to Mark 10 Years of Preserving the Tibetan Buddhist Canon (Buddhistdoor Global)
84000 Establishes Assistant Professorship in Buddhist Studies at University of Toronto (84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha)
Department for the Study of Religion (University of Toronto)
84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
The Hundred Deeds (84000 Reading Room)
84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha (Facebook)
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