Keep Wisdom Alive Campaign
ACIP is engaging in the largest preservation project it
has ever engaged in — the National Library of Mongolia.
This library is a national cultural heritage treasure of Asian wisdom literature. The collection itself, and the contents within, represent a national cultural heritage. We have an exciting window of opportunity to preserve this treasure and make it widely available to the Mongolian people, and to the world. Preserving an endangered text at the National Library of Mongolia, keeps wisdom alive.
The National Library contains 41,000 volumes of precious manuscripts. With one scanning station, we can scan 500 volumes in one year. With 4 stations currently ramping up to 16 stations by year three, it will take six years to complete the entire collection, starting in 2019. We have a very willing administration that is eager for us to complete the project over the next six years. It is very important to meet this window of opportunity while we can, because political and social changes can affect our access over the longer term.
$466,000 per year covers direct project costs for computer and scanning equipment, office expenses and local staffing. $200,000 per year covers technical assistance, including professional staff time and international travel for ACIP home office staff based in Sedona, AZ USA. Total project costs, therefore, are $666,000 per year. With 41,000 volumes to be preserved over the next six years, it costs $100 to preserve a single volume. 20% processing and transaction costs brings the total cost to $120 to preserve one volume.
Keep Wisdom Alive Campaign
Our cultural preservation work has very concrete outcomes. Our campaign strategy is to connect individual people
with individual volumes of manuscripts and block prints.
If donors have a personal connection to actual manuscripts,
it will make our preservation effort more transparent.
Therefore we want to offer a unique opportunity for our donors. For your one-time donation of $120, we will inscribe your name on the manuscript metadata, forever
to be preserved with that particular volume.
There are different levels of donations: text and collection donations. Text Donors can make a one-time gift to preserve one text volume, and Collection Donors can
make a one-time gift to preserve 108 volumes.
P R E S E R V E O N E T E X T
$120 ~ preserves one text volume.
P R E S E R V E A W H O L E C O L L E C T I O N
$12,000 ~ preserves 108 volumes.
W I S D O M K E E P E R
$50,000+ ~ significant donations, please contact Executive Director, John Brady.
Please join us by spreading the word of this exciting campaign at https://asianclassics.org/get-involved/keep-wisdom-alive/
Dr. John Campbell joins ACIP at Sedona Headquarters as Director of Sanskrit Projects
ACIP welcomes Dr. John Campbell, Ph.D. to join our team in Sedona!
Dr. Campbell holds a doctorate in Religion from Columbia University, with a specialization in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies. A translator of Sanskrit and Tibetan texts, his main areas of research are Yoga and Tantric practice systems
in India and the Himalayas. A Fulbright Fellow and National Endowment for
the Humanities grant recipient, for over a decade he taught undergraduate
and postgraduate courses in Religious Studies, as well as Sanskrit and Tibetan language at several American universities, most recently at the University
of Virginia. His translation of an early Indian Buddhist scripture along with
its principal Indian and Tibetan commentaries is due in 2020 from
In 2011, Dr. Campbell co-founded the Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia (UVA), the first center of its kind at a major research university for the advancement of contemplative practice in medicine, education, and the humanities. As first executive director he spearheaded the regular inclusion of yoga and meditation instruction into UVA’s Arts and Sciences curriculum. Dr. Campbell currently serves now as the Director of Sanskrit Text Projects for the Asian Classics Input Project in Sedona, Arizona, USA.
John has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for the past 27 years. In 2001 the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute of Mysore in South India awarded him with its highest certification, recognizing John as a master teacher-practitioner and senior lineage holder of the system.
Dr. John Campbell and the Future of Cultural Preservation Through Digital Technology
Digital technology has ushered in a revolution
in human knowledge, and nowhere is this more apparent than in fields of academic research. Powered by robotics and super-computing, previously unimaginable observations of human society, the natural world, and the stars beyond and now everyday occurrences. Many important scholars attended, including our friend and colleague Dr. Miroj Shakya
who helps run the Nagarjuna Institute of Buddhist Studies (NIBS) in Nepal where Dr. Campbell is helping with preservation of Nepalese Sanskrit manuscripts.
While a late-comer to the party, Digital Humanities is also expanding the horizons of knowledge, as the ability to sift vast quantities of data has similarly revolutionized scholars’ insight into human history and culture worldwide. November 22-26, ACIP Director of Sanskrit Projects, Dr. John Campbell attended the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Diego where he met with dozens of top scholars of South Asian manuscript traditions the traditions of pre-modern South Asia. In collaborative effort with scholars and institutions worldwide, ACIP has embarked on several groundbreaking projects in India and Nepal to make available to the general public never-before studied Sanskrit texts.
With the enthusiastic collaboration among scholars and technologists at such academic gatherings, it will soon be possible to preserve, display, analyze, and ultimately translate into modern languages this and other treasure trove of human heritage. Thanks to such advancements in Digital Humanities the core mission of ACIP to make sacred knowledge freely available worldwide is coming to fruition. The future of this vital endeavor to safeguard precious world is looking very bright.
Dr. Ramachandran’s Collection of Rare Ayurvedic Texts
Dr. N. V. Ramachandran of Palakkad, Kerala in South India is a renowned Vedic scholar and preservation specialist.
His vast knowledge of the Sanskrit language and of local medical traditions is exceeded only by his generosity as a scholar. For decades he has been making himself available to a steady stream of international researchers in the fields of Ayurveda, Vedic ritual, and South Asian ethnography. Virtually everyone in these areas of Indological research has at some point benefitted from his guidance.
In 2005 Dr. Ramachandran began working together with Asian Classics Input Project to photograph, digitally preserve, and catalog fragile Sanskrit manuscripts written in a variety of South Asian scripts. Assisted currently by eight workers in his Kerala office, Dr. Ramachandran travels throughout India, seeking out collections of ancient texts to photograph and preserve. To date, Dr. Ramachandran’s team has preserved 4.2 million digital scans of palm-leaf and paper manuscripts, as well as rare printed books.
Thanks to Dr. Ramachandran’s tireless preservation efforts over nearly two decades, ACIP is now in possession of one of the world’s most significant collections of handwritten Ayurvedic texts, mostly in Sanskrit, many of which remain only barely examined. The vast majority of the digital images made available to ACIP are handwritten documents on palm-leaf and paper, both extremely fragile media. Not only does the collection contain extremely rare books on traditional healing practices throughout South Asia, each individual manuscript is a unique witness to some aspect of a medical system dating back millennia.
The hallmark of the medicinal heritage of South Asia are healing methods for the maintenance of balance within one’s environment so as to insure the maximum flourishing of both the individual and the natural environment on which she relies.
The Ayurvedic physician Robert Svoboda writes, “…Ayurveda (literally, “the science of life,” or “the knowledge of living,” or “the art of longevity”) encompasses far more than mere therapeutic art. Ayurveda addresses everything that makes life worth living…. No doctor since the beginning of time has ever cured a patient and no doctor ever will, for Nature alone can cure.” Accordingly, the Ayurvedic tradition has amassed a vast knowledge of the subtle and overt interactions between an individual organism and its supporting environment, and it has especially focused on the medicinal use of plants.
By contrast with modern pharmaceutical therapies, the use of expertly prepared plant-based medicines has the enormous benefit of avoiding the toxicity that so often comes with drug-based regimes. Prednisone, for example, is an extraordinarily effective anti-inflammatory but tends to cause significant problems for the patient over time. Ayurvedic pharmacology and other healing modalities pursue medical treatment based on an individual’s constitutional requirements, ever mindful that all powerful medicines can entail toxicity which must be balanced out with the support of the individual’s overall health.
Not surprisingly, therefore, a great deal of emphasis in Ayurvedic healing is on preventative care. The information contained in Dr. Ramachandran’s manuscript collection, particularly in the arena of medicinal plant knowledge and plant-based medicine preparations, represents a treasury of healing and a precious source of endangered human heritage. The passing along of these healing systems requires not only the ongoing transmission of Ayurvedic methods, but also the continued existence of the “textbooks” on which these methods rely for their reference. ACIP’s collaboration with Dr. Ramachandran seeks to ensure the preservation of this invaluable database through text preservation. Without such efforts, this previous world heritage will likely disappear.
In the name of the preservation of medicinal heritage of South Asia, ACIP and Dr. Ramachandran are currently at work cataloging the vast collection of Ayurvedic texts in order to make the digital images freely available online. With the benefit of digital storage, ACIP endeavors to display
the manuscript images online alongside comprehensive catalog information and, eventually, complete transcriptions and select translations of the material.
In the home of the late Shri Shankanarayan Akititipad,
a master of Ayurveda and
Vedic ritual in the village of Vattamkulam in Kerala State. Before this great scholar’s passing at the age of 73,
Dr. Ramachandran was able
to digitize the rare family collection of Ayurvedic texts, passed down for generations in this hereditary lineage of traditional healers.
UPDATE ON OUR PRESERVATION CENTERS
Our Friends Sydny Ang (Singapore) and Tatiana Kondruchina (Russia) Visit Nagarjuna Institute of Buddhist Studies (NIBS) in November
Sydny Ang’s visit: Sydny is from Singapore and leads a team of devoted sponsors who are keeping this center going with monthly donations. She visited NIBS this November and felt the work they are doing is very precious.
She was able to meet with the entire transcribing team and had a wonderful time being shown around the Institute by its director, Milan Shakya.
Tatyana Kondruchina’s visit: Tatyana is representing our ACIP Russian team and she also had a chance to visit NIBS in November. She actually went twice to the center where Milan Shakya showed her the institute as well as old manuscripts in their collection.
The second visit, Tatiana met the entire transcribing team and took lots of videos and photos for us. She said it was a great chance to connect with Nepali people doing such important work, and also to hear how their lives changed since they joined the project.
Sanskrit Center in Kerala
Dr. Ramachandran’s Kerala Center receives a visit from a well-known
vedic scholar, Sri Narayana Somayaji from AndhraPradesh.
He came with his two sons, who are also studying the vedas, to see Dr. Ramachandran’s rare vedic collection of manuscripts. He appreciated the collection very much and then they stayed for dinner, but insisted on cooking their own food.
Most orthodox Brahmins do not take any kind of food from outside. Dr. Ramachandran said it reminded him of his childhood when he was not allowed to go to a restaurant or take food from any place other than their home when he was studying the vedas.
Varanasi Input Center
Tatiana Kondruchina’s visit: After visiting Nepal and the Nagarjuna Institute of Buddhist Studies (NIBS) in Kathmandu, Tatiana headed
to Varanasi. She told us it was such an amazing visit. Santosh Dvideli, Director of the ACIP Center welcomed her with flowers, Indian masala tea and the best Indian food she said she ever had, prepared by Santosh’s wife in their home located right above the center. She felt right at home surrounded by Santosh’s huge family. Tatiana was able to record many videos and photos for us. She said she was especially amazed at the way Santosh treated his team and the way they respond with dedication and love; a great inspiration and example to her.
Sonam Lhamo’s South India Input Centers
Sonam writes that things are moving along very well at her three input centers. They work efficiently, and as soon as they complete a text they immediately begin to input the next text. The women love to work as a team and keep their centers very clean and organized. They are very proud to work for ACIP.
Dickyi Larsoe (TDL) Input Center
This Center has completed text named Narthang Tengyur Rgyud DZI (Vol. 51) consisting 792 pages and now we have already started working on Narthang Tengyur Rgyud WI (Vol.52), containing 566 pages.
Hunsor Input Center
Hunsor Center has completed Tibetan Russian English Dictionary
(Vol. 10), consisting of 344 pages. Narthang Tengyur Rgyud TZI (Vol.49) has also been complete, consisting of 552 Pages. Narthang Tengyur Rgyud TSI is in progress, which will have 566 pages to complete this volume.
Bylakuppe Input Center
This center has successfully completed the text named Crystal Mirror Siddharta consisting of 485 pages. They have started working on preserving the ‘DUL BA MDO RTZA RNAM BSHAD NYI MA’I OD ZER (Vol.2) consisting of 666 pages.
Ways to Support ACIP
ACIP Needs Your Help
ACIP is doing exciting work around the world to help
find and preserve the ancient wisdom texts endangered
by environmental and cultural change and upheaval. We’re making these works available for free online on our website. And we hire, whenever possible, women from underserved or impoverished communities, train them to scan, catalog, and transcribe, and give them salaries and benefits to enrich their lives and the lives of their families.
But ACIP needs your help to keep helping others. We make it as easy as possible. Your help can come in many ways and many amounts:
A One-time Gift in Any Amount
• You can conveniently donate online or send a check
• Signing up for our dollar-a-day program. We will
charge your credit card or debit card $30.41 a month
(a dollar a day).
• Committing to a regular monthly donation.
Any amount — large or small, will help greatly.
Many of you are current, generous donors
who have been supporting ACIP for a long time. Our heartfelt thanks go out to you. You make our work possible. We could not do it without you.
Thank you for your support and generosity.
John C. Brady
Executive Director of Asian Classics Input Project