Overview for Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary
The importance of Tibetan translations for the right interpretation of ancient Buddhist texts is generally admitted. These translations were always prepared by a committee composed of competent Indian pandits and a learned Tibetan translator (lotsava). The greatest care was bestowed upon the right rendering of the original. Special expeditions were sent out to India for the search of old and trustworthy manuscripts, translations were then corrected by the learned committee according to the new finds. Needless to say that both Indian pandits and the Tibetan lotsavas were profoundly versed in all the technical difficulties of Sanskrit grammar, poetics, philosophy and other mediaeval Indian Sciences. For the sake of uniformity bilingual dictionaries were prepared at an early date. The terminology established by them had been authorized by the Tibetan government and severe punishments were proclaimed against trespassers to the rendering enforced by state law. Under these conditions the Tibetan translations afford invaluable assistance for establishing the text of every ancient Buddhist work of which insufficient or corrupt manuscripts are alone available." (Prof. Th. Stcherbatsky in his preface page iv to indices Verborum Sanscrit-Tibetan and Tibetan-Sanscrit to the Nyayabindu of Dharmakirti and the Nyayabindutika of Dharmottara, compiled by E. Obermiller, Bibliotheca Buddhica XXIV, Leningrad 1927). The unique value of Tibetan translations of Buddhist texts has been again emphasized by Prof. J.W. de Jong (Cinq chapitres de la Prasannapada, Leiden 1949, p.xii-xiii): "La valeur des traductions tibetaines pour 1â€™edition des textes bouddhiques Sanskrits a ete reconnue depuis longtemps. L. de la Vallee Poussin, dans lâ€™ avant propos de son edition de la Prasannapada, dit: â€˜Je nâ€™ ai pas hesite a considerer la version tibetaine comme plus digne de confiance que la traduction manuscriteâ€™. Malheureusement les editeurs de textes Sanskrits bouddhiques ont rarement edite la version tibetaine du texte Sanskrit quâ€™ils ont publie. Neanmoins 1â€™edition de la version tibetaine de textes conserves en Sanskrit serait tres souhaitable pour trois raisons: I, Les versions tibetaines permettent de controller les lectures adoptees par Iâ€™editeur du texte Sanskrit: II, Elles sont souvent une aide precieuse pour lâ€™ interpretation du texte: III, Elles facilitent lâ€™ etude des versions tibetaines donâ€™t lâ€™ original Sanskrit nâ€™est pas conserve. Car ce nâ€™est quâ€™en etudiant les versions tibetaines de textes conserves en Sanskrit quâ€™on peut se rendre compte du systeme de traduction employe par les traducteurs tibetains. But as yet no systematic comprehensive work was undertaken either in the East or in the West, for supplying the Sanskrit equivalents of Tibetan renderings in the form of a dictionary. I have been working for the last several years in this direction. The result is the present Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary which has several thousand words, compounds, and phrases. Terms of technical subjects like astronomy, medicine, iconography, metrics, prosody and philosophy have also been included.
Lokesh Chandra (Author)
Prof. Lokesh Chandra is a renowned scholar of Tibetan, Mongolian and Sino-Japanese Buddhism. He has to his credit over 400 works and text editions. Among them are classics like his Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary, Materials for a History of Tibetan Literature, Buddhist Iconography of Tibet, and the present Dictionary of Buddhist Art in about 20 volumes. Prof. Lokesh Chandra was nominated by the President of the Republic of India to the Parliament in 1974-80 and again in 1980-86. He has been a Vice-President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research. Presently he is Director, International Academy of Indian Culture.