In 2015, we at Windhorse Publications embarked on a major and important project. In the next five years we will publish Sangharakshita’s Complete Works, which will represent all the published works of the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community.
Sangharakshita, The Complete Works, Essential Details
- Twenty-seven volumes in six thematic divisions (provisionally titled as follows: Foundation, India, The West, Memoirs, The Arts & Poetry, Commentaries).
- Each volume will be of more-or-less uniform length and ‘big’ books: the average length will be about 450 pages (for comparison, A Survey of Buddhism, one of Sangharakshita’s longest books to date, is 538 pages).
- The first volume will be published in October 2016.
- The other four volumes of the first group will be published in April 2017.
- After the first group, there will be four more groups of five or six volumes each, until the last one in 2021.
- A subscription method of purchase will be launched – for hardbacks, softbacks and digital – with the first volume in October 2016.
- The volumes will not come out in numerical order, for example, the first one will be Volume 9 in the series, and the other four in that group will be Volumes 1, 3, 17 and 20. Several people have commented that this not-in-order production style has an honourable precedence, at least in popular culture: Star Wars. May the Force be with us!
A team formed for this work in the last year. As with any book, there is a chain of production, from the initial compiling and ‘structural’ editing, to copyediting, typesetting, proofing, the conversion to eBook formats, and finally printing. The amount of material to go through (including footnotes and references) and the desire to preserve Sangharakshita’s work in the most accurate way possible necessitates a team effort.
We had our first Complete Works retreat at Adhisthana in early January, and are very happy to be working with a small team of volunteers. I hesitate to use metaphors, being aware of the dangers of extending them – are we an orchestra, a farm, an assembly line? Whatever the metaphor we choose, we all know that we are part of a very committed team. We are all involved in, as it were, carrying precious objects from a treasury or archive, and making them universally available. That said, the crucial ‘heavy lifting’ of editing, copyediting and typesetting is being done by Kalyanaprabha, Vidyadevi, Shantavira, and Ruth Rudd, helped by our volunteers. We are also very glad to have as part of the team, and designing the covers, our design maestro, Dhammarati.
You will probably have read elsewhere that we are receiving grant funding for the Complete Works – a total of £102,000 over six years, which is a major part of the funds raised from Sangharakshita’s 90th birthday appeal in August last year. This will of course help ensure the highest quality for the Works, their affordability, and long-term sustainability.
We ran an online survey from August 2015 to February 2016 on the Complete Works. Two hundred and twenty-six people responded, and all the feedback has been very useful. Thanks if you contributed! It gives us data that will help us decide about pricing, subscription options, size of print runs, writing the marketing material, and how to target the campaign.
Many respondents asked helpful and searching questions, about paper quality, affordability, and much more. Even the few more ‘critical’ voices were very helpful.
Most people liked the idea of a ‘phased release’, particularly as this means that the cost can be spread out over five years. Forty-three per cent stated that they are happy to subscribe to the entire collection, in either hardback or softback. On the other hand, a few asked us to ‘bring it on’ much sooner, and were happy to purchase all the books up front!
There is also an enthusiasm amongst respondents for the digital editions – 32% would buy the entire collection and 27% selected volumes in digital – as expressed by this individual:
‘Having it as a digital resource will be extremely useful for those of us that travel or are living far away from centres of the Movement.’
There were also requests for a guide to the collection: ‘there is such a large amount of material that I will need guidance to be able to navigate it.’
Lastly, here are just a few of the appreciations:
‘Such an amazing – and important – project! I am grateful for the inclusivity of the different options of payment and editions. I wish you all well in your endeavour … SADHU!!’
‘A full standard set of his work will be much easier to use, and more aesthetically pleasing on my bookshelf!’
‘What a brilliant idea. All that richness of wisdom in a complete collection. GOLD.’