invitation letter

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Dear Dharma friends and co-lotsawas

Over the last couple of decades we have seen a tremendous development in the translation of Buddhist literature from the Tibetan language and a dominant portion has come through practitioners with close links to the living lineage. With a very particular plan in mind, I have begun to compile a list these yogi-scholars – you seem to be among them – from recently published works and emails lists. It’s a small world; I’ve either met, corresponded with or am a close friend to most of you. We share similar aims and activities and are already a virtual circle of translators or otherwise involved in bringing the Dharma into the European languages.

Besides printed books for teachings, the Internet has become the main venue for communicating current teachers, who is who, teaching schedules, texts, etc., what has and has yet to be translated. We have access to millions of fragments.

On a trip across the US, coincidence would have it that I happened to sit next to Kent Sandvig who was playing around with an idea for a Dharmapedia, a more private area of the Wikipedia type of program, just for Dharma people. In a “Wiki” you can post-and-edit while you surf and the new material can instantly be seen by others. We discussed the idea of expanding this to include a Tibetan English online dictionary, as well, which will grow while we use it and add to it and improve it. Later the same month, after meeting separately with Gene Smith and Eric Colombel in New York, the idea hatched and there is now an official www.dharmadictionary.net slowly and gradually making its way onto your screen. I sense there is a lot of goodwill and spirit of sharing. Several experts - Eric, Gerry, Kent and Peter - are working selflessly so all of us can benefit from this. Moreover, the Wiki format has a short learning curve and the benefits are many, as you will notice.

Here is the plan: I feel there is a real need to have one common database for lineage histories, short biographies of our teachers and their teachers, descriptions of texts, what has been and has yet to be translated, the locations and descriptions of sacred places, indices, notes and other back matter from you published books which you want to share. We have a tremendous amount we could be sharing with each other, lying around on our hard disks, waiting for the next crash.

Such a “circle of lotsawas” is also in tune with the times we live in, especially while there is no King of Dharma to issue a final decree for all of us to follow. Consensus will come naturally and as we exchange more and share more together – the Wiki on www.dharmadictionary.net has plenty of room for discussion pages, plus there is an easy way to email each other.

The “first round” is to post a brief description of yourself. Your name should be on the “Translators”, “Editors/content” or “Technical development” page. If not, please add it in – inside double square brackets. There is a sample page for Gyurme Dorje. If your name is already there, simply click on it, and then paste in the text you copied from the sample page (in edit mode). Next, please give short biography of your main teachers, if they are missing. There is a sample page for Chatral Rinpoche, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Remember, you can create links to your own websites. See the syntax on page for Gyurme Dorje.

I am sending this email out to about 120 of you, and I expect that you will pass it on to the rest of our good lotsawa-friends who you feel has valuable resources for us all.

Warm wishes, Erik Pema Kunsang