Two New Academic Partnerships to Drive Forward 84000’s Vision

Members of the 84000-UCSB Buddhist Texts Translation Initiative (from L-R): Dr. Nathaniel Rich, Dr. Vesna Wallace, Dr. José I. Cabezón, and Dr. Rory Lindsay

This month, we are thrilled to announce that 84000 is launching partnerships with both the University of Toronto, and with the University of California Santa Barbara. Our vision to make the 231,800 pages of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon freely and comprehensively available to the Western world over the next ninety years, is dependent on our ability to identify, attract, and retain skilled translators of Classical Tibetan. These partnerships will greatly support our ability to make our vision a reality, and to ensure that future generations will continue to be able to easily read, practice, and study the words of the Buddha.


84000 is, therefore, proud to be able to facilitate the establishment of a new Assistant Professor position at the University of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion that will further enhance its growing Buddhist studies program. Dr. Rory Lindsay, editor at 84000, assumed this Assistant Professor position from July 1, 2021, and will focus principally on teaching Classical Tibetan and conducting research related to the texts in the Tibetan Buddhist canon while continuing his editorial work with 84000.


“The Department for the Study of Religion is so excited to have Dr. Rory Lindsay joining us, and we’re so grateful for the support from 84000 and from the Faculty of Arts and Science at U of T,” said Professor Pamela Klassen, Chair of the Department for the Study of Religion. “Rory is going to bring his expertise in Buddhist studies and Tibetan language, allowing this partnership to place Tibetan studies and Buddhist studies on a stronger footing, which is so important for the Study of Religion.”


The Department for the Study of Religion (DSR) at the University of Toronto is one of the best and most comprehensive religion departments in the world, with faculty who encompass diverse theoretical and methodological approaches spanning many religious and spiritual traditions and over forty source languages. A vibrant site of research and teaching, the DSR offers an interdisciplinary environment for the critical study of religion as both a concept and practice at work in the world.


Both the University of Toronto and 84000 believe that this partnership will further strengthen the reach and relevance of Buddhist Studies in North America. 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.



Concurrently, 84000 is partnering with the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) to establish the Buddhist Texts Translation Initiative at the university’s Department of Religious Studies, opening July 2021.


“84000 is creating a bridge between the past and present and is facilitating the transmission of Buddhist knowledge between different cultural regions and languages,” said Prof. Vesna A. Wallace, an associate director of the new initiative’s executive committee. “We are delighted to take part in that global initiative and to be able to strengthen and expand the opportunities of our Buddhist Studies program by training and supervising the work of qualified translators into English, enhancing the scholarly understanding of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist cultures that have expressed themselves in various Asian languages.”


Two editors at 84000, Dr. Nathaniel Rich and Dr. Rory Lindsay, will join the Initiative as Visiting Scholars. They will work closely with the director, Dr. José I. Cabezón, and Dr. Vesna A. Wallace to guide various translation groups and to develop and implement a range of public lectures and workshops that promote the study of canonical Buddhist texts. The Initiative will provide funding for students engaged in 84000 translation projects and for programming that investigates and illuminates the translation of Buddhist texts from historical, theoretical and practical perspectives.

Founded more than a half century ago, UC Santa Barbara’s Religious Studies Department is recognized as one of the best in the nation. Embracing multidisciplinary approaches to the understanding of religions around the world, the Department emphasizes the study of religion in diverse global contexts. The study of Buddhism is one of the Department’s core strengths.


“The translation of Tibetan texts, including scriptures, has been central to the training of students at UCSB,” said Dr. Cabezón, Dalai Lama Professor at UCSB. “Several UCSB student groups have already published translations that can be found in the 84000 Reading Room, and others are underway. This new partnership will formalize already existing strong ties to 84000 and provide support for training a new generation of translators whose work is grounded in the academic study of Buddhism and the rigorous study of classical texts.”


For 84000, these two academic partnerships mark a major step forward for the editorial team and for the organization. “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,” said Huang Jing Rui, executive director of 84000.


This partnership complements 84000’s recent announcement of postdoctoral fellowships and underscores its commitment to ensuring that a legion of skilled translators of Classical Tibetan remains available now and into the future.

Posted: 11 Aug 2021