Pali Translation, NFTs, Fundraising: help requested!

thumbnail
Daniel M Ingram, modified 7 Months ago at 3/7/22 10:29 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 3/7/22 10:29 AM

Pali Translation, NFTs, Fundraising: help requested!

Posts: 3232 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
If you are an NFT native, fluent in that world, and interested in how the exciting energy, funds, and culture there might interface with ancient wisdom, then this is the thread for you,  requesting your help and input.

Key points:

The Pali Translation Project has a great team, and they hope to raise the $7.5 million the believe is required to finish translating into English all the untranslated Pali Canon texts and Commentaries, re-translate the badly translated portions, and make it all freely available and easily searchable through Sutta Central.

Basically, this is historical like the King James version of the Bible was important for Christianity.

However, Pali scholarship is dying, and some of the structures that help promote is (like the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies) are in serious need of immediate support.

Obviously $7.5 mil is a lot, so the idea arose: Hey, the NFT space is exciting, enthusiastic, vibrant, and full of people who might appreciate an opportunity to do good, and the question arose of how to merge these world, to bring new energy and interest and funds to help support bringing beneficial ancient wisdom forward and make it available for many generations?

Could a skillfully done NFT sale encourage to promote this non-profit project and be a win-win-win-win-win-etc. for Wisdom, Art, the world of Pali Scholarship, Crypto/NFTs, Mature Philanthropy, Religious Literature in General, and Future Generations? 

This is where your ideas some in! If you have some creative talent in the space, how to help make this happen, have it promote ethics (generosity, humility, kindness, etc.) and how to have this work in a way that, at the end everyone goes, "Yep, great project! Such a good idea! Works from all sides! Yay!", then your ideas are welcome here. 

To preempt criticism:
  • Yes, NFTs at the moment use a lot of power, but we hope that soon many Proof of Stake solutions such as ETH 2.0 will mitigate that downside by the time this launches.
  • Yes, NFTs can seem like a scam or absurd or immature or all about vane and expensive posturing, but we believe that they can also be used to reward good behavior and promote philanthropy for a worthy cause as well.
  • Yes, NFTs can often seem exclusive and exclusionary, but we believe they can also be used to bring people together, create interest and excitement, and promote good in the world for all, hence the distribution of the fruits of the project (completing the Pali Canon and Commentarial translations) to all freely.
So, can we figure out a way to work around the downsides and gain great benefits for all in an ethical way that the Wise would Praise? Best ideas welcome!

A few things kicked around so far:
  • Palm leaves inscribed in Pali made into NFTs that stated the great merits of those who supported this project for the benefit of wisdom and future generations. (Purchasers would get both the real palm leaves, an NFT of the palm leaves, and also a translation in NFT form). This would be sort of like the NFT equivalent of the Buddha praising the patrons who helped the Sangha back in the day and whose names we will remember from them being included in the text.
  • NFTs of key passages from the translated texts (this obvsiously has the time delay problem, as money needed to translate the texts).

Ok, how would you do this if you really, really, really wanted the Pali Translation Project to succeed?

The PTP need help specing this out, roadmap, advertising strategy, NFT style, artist, etc., as first time doing this sort of thing.

Thanks!

Daniel
thumbnail
Ian Pitchford, modified 6 Months ago at 3/8/22 11:33 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 3/8/22 11:33 PM

RE: Pali Translation, NFTs, Fundraising: help requested!

Posts: 29 Join Date: 2/10/20 Recent Posts
This is an unfortunate state of affairs in Pali scholarship and I have a couple of observations:

(1) When I first joined the Pali Text Society in 1980 I didn't even know of anyone else who knew what Pali was. In these days of Sutta Central and the Digital Pali Reader I would have hoped we were entering a golden age of, if not Pali scholarship, then at least widespread understanding and appreciation of the basics.

(2) For another project I recently estimated that the c. 4000 Buddhist nonprofits in the US probably have something like $1-3 billion in combined assets. Although most of this is property some individual organisations have tens of millions in cash. Supporting this project would be a very worthy contribution for Western Buddhism to make.
thumbnail
Daniel M Ingram, modified 6 Months ago at 3/11/22 4:50 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 3/10/22 10:34 AM

RE: Pali Translation, NFTs, Fundraising: help requested!

Posts: 3232 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Those are helpful thoughts. Is there a database with contact information for the organizations on that list of nonprofits? Thanks!

​​​​​​​Daniel
thumbnail
Ian Pitchford, modified 6 Months ago at 3/10/22 10:55 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 3/10/22 10:55 AM

RE: Pali Translation, NFTs, Fundraising: help requested!

Posts: 29 Join Date: 2/10/20 Recent Posts
I used a combination of Guidestar https://www.guidestar.org/NonprofitDirectory.aspx

And the IRS Tax exempt organisation search https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search

And for comparison I also used the database of the Charity Commission for England and Wales https://register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-search
thumbnail
Daniel M Ingram, modified 6 Months ago at 3/11/22 4:51 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 3/11/22 4:51 PM

RE: Pali Translation, NFTs, Fundraising: help requested!

Posts: 3232 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Thanks!

Kinda surprised that this IT-heavy DhO population hasn't chimed in on NFT related topics. Thought it might be a natural fit.
thumbnail
Ni Nurta, modified 6 Months ago at 3/12/22 3:06 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 3/12/22 3:06 PM

RE: Pali Translation, NFTs, Fundraising: help requested!

Posts: 936 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Something like NFT's will definitely become very popular. As soon as we get brain-computer interfaces capable of projecting sensual experiences it will become irresistible to make everything in to 'digital' a token and have everything exchangeable with anything else if we do not already do it until then. Humans always end up playing with some kind of virtual blockchain-like tokens in these simulations... presumably ;)

IT-heavy DhO population probably have their own ideas how things should be and how they should operate and there are rarely any tokens in these ideas. In fact imho these token and blockchain based systems to me sound like they are against ideas of buddha-dharma... though I didn't do thorough analysis and its just my hunch. It of course is just a tool and like any tool it depends how it is used.

Through many births I have wandered on and on,
Searching for, but never finding,
The builder of [this] house. 
To be born again and again is suffering.
House-builder, you are seen!
You will not build a house again!
All the rafters are broken,
The ridgepole destroyed;
The mind, gone to the Unconstructed,
Has reached the end of craving!

People will create new hells there. Not right away and not everyone but some people will not be able to keep up with all the inventions. People minds will have things forced by devices against their users will, also because of flow of these tokens. Some people already fail and loose it when using normal smartphone apps so anything more integrated will be end for them. Sanity will evaporate and be replaced by tokens... as people like to do ;)

Anyways, idea to translate untranslated Pali texts is great.
If money is needed then NFT sale is some idea. I would however do not expect miracles and also not focus on what NFT should be. All that can be made is symbolic NFT without any real value other than translated Pali texts selling those NFT's would support. Because of that what it is doesn't really matter.

If the NFT itself had any value then people would need to somehow use it. For that they would need to install some software or register to some sites. Many people do not know anything about this stuff and might not even want to know. Especially at this time. So the NFT in question should not be really anything important or valuable so that when buying it and leaving on e-mail would not stress them.

Breadcrumb