Tri-lingual dictionary to help Buddhist philosophy researchers

PTI, Oct 16, 2010

Pune, India -- A unique tri-lingual dictionary project, aimed at helping the researchers studying the Buddhist literature and philosophy is underway at Pune University.

The project which envisages compilation of dictionary consisting of Buddhist terminology in Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan with English meanings, is being funded by University Grants Commission (UGC) in collaboration with the Sarnath based Tibetan University.

Dr Mahesh Deokar, head of the department of Pali at Pune University, who is the project-in-charge and principal investigator, said that the work branded as major research project of UGC, would have significant relevance for those engaged in comparative research of the Buddhist philosophy all over the world as its timeless doctrines are enshrined in these three languages in the land of the Buddha.

"As of now only bilingual dictionaries --- Pali-Sanskrit, Pali-Tibetan or Sanskrit-Tibetan---- are available for the researchers. But a need is being felt to have an authentic work with Pali as its base, offering Sanskrit and Tibetan equivalents because just one language does not suffice an in-depth study of the Buddhist philosophy," he said.

Dr Deokar, who is visually challenged, said, "we also wanted to include Chinese in the project but it is not possible at present due to lack of resources. A lot of Buddhist literature is preserved in Chinese in addition to Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan".

There are two Buddhist traditions called 'Mahayana' and 'Theravada', and the original literature detailing them is available mainly in Sanskrit and Pali respectively.

Since Buddhism was also practiced in China and Tibet, the literature denoting its tenets in Tibetan and Chinese too is considered important for scholars doing a comparative research.

The current tri-lingual dictionary project is expected to be completed by mid-2011.

"We are planningto include Chinese in the second phase of the project," Deokar, who is working on the dictionary assisted by three research fellows, added.