Print this Page. Send this Page.

Buddhist Dictionaries

Buddhist Dictionaries, Project RE9.10/08

Coordination: Rudolf G. Wagner


Chinese Buddhist dictionaries of the 7th century (Xuan Ying 玄應, "Zhongjing yinyi" 衆經音義 (Phonetic and semantic dictionary for the Buddhist Sutras), Hui Lin æ…§琳,"Yiqie jing yinyi" 一切經音義 (Phonetic and semantic dictionary for all Buddhist Sutras), and its sequel Shi Xilin 釋希麟, "Xu yiqie jing yinyi" 續一切經音義 are a little-studied but crucial source for the historical understanding of the semantics of the Chinese calques created to render Buddhist ideas and concepts. Most Buddhologists read the Chinese (Tibetan, Japanese etc.) Buddhist terms as identical in content with their Sanskrit or Pali originals, only expressed in a different language. This practice has been introduced by Buddhist scholars with Sanskrit and Pali backgrounds who have to cope with the fact that most Buddhist texts only survive in translations, and who read these translations as a source for the reconstruction of the "original" version without much interest in the Chinese, Tibetan or Japanese context, understanding, and linguistic form of these works. For research on the translingual and transcultural flows of Buddhist concepts as well as their adaptation and transformation in new environments, these Chinese Buddhist dictionaries provide excellent data.

While Hui Lin's and Shi Xilin's Dictionaries are accessible in fulltext through the CBETA digitization, Xuan Ying's Dictionary has not been included into the standard Japanese edition from the Taisho period, because it has been regarded as being reproduced by Hui Lin's work of the same title. The CBETA project, being based on the Taisho edition, therefore does not include Xuan Ying's work in their digitalisation. Since it is the earliest such dictionary, however, Xuan Ying's work is of particular importance; the Cluster publication of this text will make it digitally available for the first time.

Xu Shiyi, professor at Shanghai Normal University, has spent the last twenty years working on a critical edition of all three dictionaries based on all the sources available.

The project opens access to Xuan Ying's dictionary by configuring a digital version on the basis of Xu Shiyi's work with full TEI mark-up. The mark-up and building of the XML database presentation is done by Jens Østergaard Petersen.

In January 2010 the project hosts a small international workshop "The Lexicalisation of the Hybrid Semantics of Chinese Terms and Its Impact on Traditional Chinese Philology," involving the leading scholars in the world on the subject.

« HRA10 Turkology Annual Online EAST: Epistemology and Argumentation in South Asia and Tibet »


Rudolf G. Wagner

Latest News

No current items available.