Digitising the Dharma

Did you know that in the basement of Jamyang London Buddhist Centre, there lies an extensive audio cassette collection?

Digitising these two thousand Dharma cassettes is a formidable task; luckily, a dedicated team of volunteers is on hand to help.

To make the teachings available as soon as possible, we are seeking to recruit volunteers who are interested in helping with phase two of the Digitising the Dharma project. We are particularly keen to welcome volunteers who have a degree of technical knowledge and who are familiar with post-production editing and audio mastering. If you have any questions about your suitability and/or would like to find out more, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at [email protected].

Discover more about the project in this post!

About the Project

Numerous teachers have generously shared their insights on a wide range of topics, which span over forty years!

Previous students have carefully recorded these teachings but they are currently unavailable to the general public.

Thus, the aims of the digitalising Dharma Project are twofold:

  • to digitise the cassettes, and until now we have created over 200 digital recordings of Dharma teachings;

  • to launch an online public access catalogue in the online library

As volunteers have become more familiar with the digitising process, concerns have arisen about the quality of the recordings since they vary significantly between tapes. For instance, the digitising process introduces noises such as tape hissing, hums, rumbles, and crackles. Since many of the tapes date to the 1970s, artefacts in the audio files are to be expected. Yet, more can be done to improve audio quality.

Listening to the digitised tapes prompted the team to carefully consider two key questions. Is there anything we can do to mitigate the effect that artefacts have on the overall quality of the teachings? Have we done everything we reasonably can to preserve these precious teachings? Following experimental work by Venerable Konchok, it was found that imperfections can be addressed through processes such as active noise reduction, compression, and equalisation. Since editing the tapes proved to be a worthy investment of time, the team developed phase two of the project: post-production editing.

About the Volunteers

The digitising team has been working on the project since December 2022. In this time, we have created over 200 digital recordings of Dharma teachings. We have also been very fortunate as we recently welcomed two new volunteers: Diana and Timothy.

‘I volunteered because I am passionate about Buddhism and motivated to offer all I can and be of service to others. I was excited by the prospect of learning the digitising process, having the privilege to listen to invaluable talks and, most of all, being part of the preservation of the Dharma. I hope the digitising project will make Dharma more accessible through the teachings of the talks being readily available digitally for the first time. It is the hope of the team that by making these teachings widely available, the insights gained by listeners will be put to use for the benefit of all living beings.’ — Lewis

‘I volunteered to help with the digitisation project because I have prior experience of digitising a few cassettes of teachings by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. Rinpoche visits the Bodhicharya Buddhist Group, Hamblin Hall, Bosham, West Sussex every year. I have been studying Tibetan Buddhism for around 34 years and have been going to Jamyang on and off since 1989, as well as Bodhicharya Buddhist Group, and Southsea Sangha. The project also enables me to hear teachings which at times are very in depth but at a level which enhances my understanding of the Dharma. I hope that anyone who listens to the digital versions of the teachings will benefit from them, especially future generations of students. The teachings are just as relevant today as they were when they were first recorded, and I feel privileged to be involved with their digital preservation.’ – Timothy

‘I am most excited about working together towards a common aim which is having a substantial impact on my learning as it progressively elevates my understanding of the Dharma. Besides, I hope that delving into the historical archive will contribute to the growth of our Centre by allowing a broader audience to encounter these almost forgotten, precious teachings that were transmitted to Jamyang’s students by many remarkable Dharma teachers.’ —  Stefania

‘Having catalogued the Library some years ago, I realised the value of having teachings and information readily and easily available. This project is an extension of that aim.’—  Henry

‘Being new to Buddhism and the Jamyang London Buddhist Centre, I wanted to learn more through service. The Winter Project of digitising decades of lectures from cassette to MP3 tickled my music production brain. I feel this project will give generations to come the opportunity to hear otherwise lost lectures from boxes (and boxes!) of decaying cassettes. I’m proud to be a part of this project.— Wolf