Alex Wright


June 13, 2011

For the past several months, I've been working with a team of talented volunteers to launch 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, a new global initiative to translate the Tibetan Buddhist canon into English.

Given the widespread popular interest in Buddhism in recent years, I was surprised to learn that fewer than 5% of classical Tibetan Buddhist texts have ever been translated into English. With the continuing decline of classical Tibetan in the wake of the post-1959 Tibetan diaspora, there is a real risk that some of these powerful teachings may be lost to posterity unless we act quickly to preserve them.

This project stemmed from an international translators' conference, convened in 2009 by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Since then, an extended team of teachers, translators and scholars have been working hard to get the effort off the ground. The current Web site is just the first step in a more ambitious untertaking to build an online "reading room" that will allow Web visitors to peruse the collection of translated texts as they become available over the next few years.

There's much more to be done, but thanks to my fellow volunteers (with a special shout-out to the folks from Milton Glaser's office and Hot Studio), I'm happy to report that the project Web site is now up and running:

84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha

Previously: Science Friday

Now available for pre-order:

Cataloging the World:
Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age

by Alex Wright

A “shrewd, brisk biography.”
—Kirkus Reviews     

Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages

Mastering Information Through the Ages

by Alex Wright

“A penetrating and highly entertaining meditation on the information age and its historical roots.”
—Los Angeles Times