Naropa University launched The Chogyam Trungpa Institute (CTI) in 2018 to highlight the work of its founder. CTI is an academic center of excellence and a research center, encouraging a critical assessment by scholars and practitioners of Chogyam Trungpa’s body of teachings and his place in the development of Buddhism in the West.
Carolyn Rose Gimian, longtime editor of Trungpa Rinpoche’s work and founding director of the Shambhala Archives, the main repository for the lectures of Chogyam Trungpa, was appointed the first director of the Institute. We recently talked to Gimian about her role as Director and the CTI Transcription Campaign that is launching this month.
“As the director of the Institute, my role is to listen and to help develop and support the initiatives that will fulfill the Institute’s mandate. There are a number of great people who are working on this project, and a lot of my role is to be there for them—but also to step out of their way, so that they can help the Institute to grow,” said Gimian.
One of the goals of the Chogyam Trungpa Institute is to provide access to the many records that document his life and work. There are more than 2,500 audio and video recordings of talks, seminars, meetings, and other events—which will be the core of CTI’s online collections.
In order to increase the accessibility to these teachings, the CTI is launching ‘The Transcription Campaign’—a fundraising effort to match an extremely generous matching gift of $100,000 that the Institute received to help complete the transcription of all of the recordings mentioned above.
Gimian explains, “The money raised from the campaign will allow us to transcribe about 500 audio and video recordings and also make them fully interactive, which will be helpful to many students and others who want access to this material. The people working on the transcription project really enjoy the work, and they are learning a great deal, both about the technology and also about the Buddhist teachings they are transcribing.”
Gimian added: “Creating these transcripts is just the beginning. We will be building an awesome online digital platform, so that people can access this material and many other documents, interviews, photos, and other records that are part of this rich legacy.”
CTI is also working in collaboration with the Allen Ginsberg Library at Naropa, and this project will help the library to develop its own program to transcribe important audio and video material that is in its holdings. CTI is sharing the best practices and the technology they are using with the library and other groups who may have other uses for it.
Ultimately, the CTI hopes to become a valued member of the Naropa community. They are planning to sponsor events that Gimian says will be “educational and fun, possibly provocative.” She also thinks CTI will help “attract new and expanded audiences to Naropa and what it uniquely has to offer.”