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An Account of the Various Editions of Kangyur and the Results of Their Collation

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It is recorded in Mahayanottara Tantra Shastra (Supreme Continuum of the Greater Vehicle) that all things relating to Dharma can relieve distress from the three realms and result in Parinirvana (extreme still- ness and extinction) as in the Buddha's sayings. The discourses attributed to the Buddha of complete enlightenment are called ka(bkav) (the Buddha's words). The Buddhist canon that contains the translated discourses of the Buddha is called Kangyur (lit. the translated discourses attributed to the Buddha). The new edition of Kangyur published by the Bureau for the Collation of Tripitaka under China Tibetology Research Center was based on eight earlier editions, with the Derge edition as the original work and the other seven for reference.

Microfilm of Kangyur (Litang edition)

There were altogether thirteen editions of Tibetan Kangyur(bkav-vgyur). Now only eight editions (of Derge, Yongle, Litang, Beijing, Nartang, Jone, Kure and Lhasa) exist. Besides them, the Wanli Kangyur is a reprint of the Yongle edition, the Chamdo or Yachang Kangyur is based on the Lhasa shol edition, and the Rega and Wara editions are based on the Derge edition. So they are not worthy of consideration. Only the title pages remain of other editions owing to changes of situation. The Derge cinnabar edition features distinctive characteristics; it was clearly printed, had few mistakes and was almost complete. Therefore the Derge edition was taken as the original edition and the other seven ones for reference only. The revised edition was made through collation between the Derge edition and other editions. Differences between them in volume, chapter, character, sentence and order, as well as mistakes in order and redundancy were recorded. In a word, the revised edition is completely based on the original text without any wild guesses, and it is convenient to read and consult. The revised edition is better in quality and completeness than the earlier texts and is currently the best available.

1. A brief introduction to the different editions of Kangyur

1. Yongle edition of Kangyur.

The best-known Yongle edition of Kangyur was the cinnabar edition of, based on the Tsalpa edition of and published in Nanjing in the eighth year of the Yongle period of the Ming dynasty (the metal-tiger year of the seventh cycle of Tibetan calendar, 141o) by Ming emperor Yongle. When the block printing of Kangyur was finished, the emperor wrote two eulogies for it: "Eulogy to the Kangyur Published by the Great Ming Emperor" and "Eulogy Granted to the Kangyur by the Great Ming Emperor." The Chinese originals of the eulogies and their Tibetan translation were printed on the first few pages of the book. At the beginning of each sutra were the following words, "I am grateful to my imperial father and mother who have given birth to me and brought me up, and I seek a way to return their kindness. So I sent people to the western region to take back Tibetan sutras, and had the sutras printed for publication. All living beings in the world will endlessly benefit from it. The merit it brings to us can not be described in words ... 1 wrote the preface to praise it in order that it will be passed on forever." The two eulogies were written on March 9, 1410 (the eighth year of Yongle period of the Ming dynasty). The Yongle edition of Kangyur has two catalogues, one in Chinese and the other Tibetan. The Tibetan catalogue is entitled "Catalogue of the Sutra of Buddha Tathagata, Sugata." The catalogue does not include the name of its author, or any mention of its source, edition or printing. It says: "The catalogue is made on the basis of Tibetan master Buton's classification of the five major and five minor branches of knowledge, contents of sutras, Mahayana, Hinayana and Tantra, as well as the translators' names." Thus it can be seen that this catalogue was based on that of The History of Buddhism by Buton(bu-ston). According to some Tibetan historical books, the Yongle,edition of Kangyur was printed from a copperplate. It was also said that the Kangyur was printed from copperplate in the Han areas., Actually it was block-printing. These sources confused the block printing with printing in cinnabar. The Potala and the Sera monastery each had a copy of this Kangyur. The former was the Kangyur given by the emperor Yongle to Sakya ruling lama Kunga Drashi. The Kangyur was kept in the Potala during the Cultural Revolution. It is said that two cases were absent in the Kangyur. The emperor gave the latter to Tsongkhapa's disciple Jamchen Chorje (Shakya Yeshe). Besides, another set of the Kangyur of Yongle edition was found in Labrang monastery of Gansu at the beginning of the first century.

As to the editorial arrangement, the Yongle edition of Kangyur begins with the Phala-vajra-yana or esoteric sect. The Yongle Kangyur has io6 cases, consisting of 24 cases of Tantra, 24 cases of Prajnaparamita sutra, six cases of Mahavaipulya, six cases of Maharatnakuta-sutra, 32 cases of Exoteric sutra, and 13 cases of Vinaya-sutra as well as a case for the catalogue. On the title page of each case are portraits of the Ten-Dhyani Buddhas, the Seven Buddhas, the Thirty-five Tathagatas, the Eight Tathagatas, and the Eight Disciples, as well as peaceful and wrathful portraits of Tutelary-deities of Upper and Lower Tantra. The Yongle Kangyur is characterized by being published earlier than other editions, and was the first of all Tibetan editions of Kangyur.

2. Litang edition of Kangyur.

The Litang edition of Kangyur, or Lijiang edition, was published by the Lijiang Tusi (headman) Senglong Rabten. The woodcarving began in the 36th year of the Wanli period of Ming emperor Shenzong (the Earth-monkey year of the loth year of the Tibetan calendar, or 19o8) and completed in the first year of Tianqi period of Ming emperor Xizong (the yin metal-cock year of Tibetan calendar, or August 1621). Then the wood-plates were moved to Litang monastery, so the edition was called "Lijiang edition" or "Litang cin-nabar edition."

The origin of Litang edition of Kangyur was that Chokyi Wangchuk, the 6th ruling lama of the Karma Kagyu Red Hat sect, when he practiced Buddhism at Tsari lake, asked Lijiang Tusi (headman) Senglong Rabten to publish a complete set of Kangyur. Lijiang Tusi Senglong Rabten asked the ruling lama to give him a set of an authoritative edition of Kangyur upon which to base the new one. So the ruling lama gave him the Tsalpa Kangyur, which had been proofed several times by Translator Gor Shonnupa, Karma Rangjung Dorje and Chokyi Drakpa, an attendant of the ruling lama of the Red Hat sect. The Tsalpa Kangyur was then kept at Chingwar Taktse Castle in Chongye Dzong(vphyong-rgyas rdzong).

The "Catalogue of Able Man's Joy" said: "In Tibet most of the editions of Kangyur, according to some wise men, were based on the Tsalpa Kangyur. Though some scholars found fault with the Tsalpa Kangyur, yet, in spite of what they said, the teachings of Karma Kagyu's supreme tradition are still considered as the main principle. There are many source texts for Kangyur, yet the Tsalpa Kangyur was the best of them. The Tsalpa Kangyur was edited by Shonnu Shakya Gyaltsen, all the previous ruling lamas of Karma Black Hats, Karma Red Hats, and other saints. It is the best of all editions of Kangyur." From this it can be seen that the Tsalpa Kangyur was the source text of the Litang Kangyur.

The editorial arrangement of the Litang Kangyur is in accordance with the order of all vehicles, starting with the Four Truths of the first turning of the wheel according to the doctrine of the Buddha, and four Vinaya-sutras. The Litang Kangyur has iocg cases, including 13 cases of Vinaya, 26 cases of Prajnaparamita- sutras, 32 cases of Scriptures of Exoteric School, six cases of Mahavaipulya, six cases of Maharatnakuta- sutra, 24 cases of Tantra, one case of Vimala and one case of catalogue. On the title page of each case are portraits of Seven Buddhas, great Shravakas (personal disciples of the Buddha), the Six Ornaments and Two pupreme Buddhist Philosophers of India, Eight Great Tathagatas, Eight Great Bodhisattvas, Sixteen Arhats, and Seven Protectors of Buddhism. On the title page of the case of Tantra are portraits of the Five Dhyani- Buddhas including Vairochana at the right side, and those of five Dharanis at the left side. This is the first block-printed edition of Kangyur in Tibet.

3. Kangxi or Beijing edition of Kangyur.

Kangxi edition of Kangyur, also called Beijing edition of Kangyur, was published by the order of Qing emperor Kangxi (also called Dekyi Gyalpo) in the iith cycle of Tibetan calendar. So the block-printed edition was called Kangxi edition. As it was printed at Beijing, it is also called the Beijing edition.

The title page of the edition had an article under the title of "Qing-xu-shu" (A memorial to the emperor to ask for a preface). The article said: "Ministers re- quest Emperor Kangxi to write a preface for the new edition of Kangyur, so Kangxi wrote it on the 16th day of the eighth month of the 22nd year of Kangxi period. " Another article under the title of "Qin-ding-zao-Kangyur-zhi-guan-zhi" (on the positions of the officials assigned by the Emperor for editing the new edition of Kangyur) lists Tibetan names and positions of the officials who were responsible for publishing the Kangxi edition of Kangyur, and says at the end of the list that the edition was completed on an auspicious day of the fourth month of the 39th year of Kangxi period. Therefore, we reckon the woodcut printing of the Kangxi edition of Kangyur began in the 22nd year of Kangxi period (the 11th cycle of Tibetan calendar, 1683), when the emperor wrote the preface, and was completed at the end of the fourth month of the 39th year of Kangxi period (yang-metal-dragon year of Tibetan calendar, 1700).

As for the source text of the Kangxi edition, it was the Wanli edition according to some scholars. However, the edition's postscript did not say anything about it. Nor did we find any evidence to prove it. We thought that its source edition might be the Yongle edition, so we compared the Kangxi edition with the Yongle one. Through comparison we found that over 95% of the number of cases, pages, lines of words, the words at the beginning and end of each line, and mis- takes in word and printing are identical.

The editorial arrangement of the Beijing edition begins with a tantric sutra. It has 107 cases, including 25 cases of Tantric sutras, 24 cases of Prajnaparamita sutras, six cases of Maharatnakuta-sutra (Great Gem-Heap Sutra), 6 cases of Mahavaipulya (Sutras of Mahayana), 32 cases of exoteric sutras, and 13 cases of Vinaya-sutras as well as a case of catalogue. On the title page of each case are portraits of the Buddhas of the ten directions, the Eight Great Bodhisattvas, the Seven Buddhas, the Thirty-five Tathagatas, and the Present, Past and Future Buddhas, as well as the Tutelary Deities of the Kalachakra Tantra. On the last page are portraits of Yellow Jambhala, the six-armed Protector, Shridevi (the Glorious Goddess), and Vasudhara (the Goddess of Fortune).

The wood blocks of the Beijing edition of Kangyur were destroyed in the 26th year of Guangxu period (igoo) when the Eight-Power Allied Forces of the west invaded Beijing. Afterwards, owing to the efforts of the 13th Dalai Lama and Tsarong Dasang Dramdul, a set of Kangyur and a set of Tengyur were moved to Tokyo by the end of the 15th cycle of Tibetan calendar. Now they are kept in the library of the Otani University. The Japanese Institute of Tripitaka has the Kangyur and Tengyur photo-printed. The photo- printed edition has the title "Tibetan Tripitaka" written in Chinese characters. It has 151 cases including a catalogue, of which the first 45 cases are Kangyur and the rest, Tengyur. The Beijing edition of Kangyur used for collation is the photo-printed one.

4. Jone edition of Kangyur

The 11th Jone Tusi Maso Gongpo for the propagation of Buddhism published the Jone edition of Kangyur. The carving of its wood blocks began in the sixth month of the Goth year of Kangxi period (the yin-metal-ox year of the lath cycle of Tibetan calendar, 1721) and ended in the loth month of the 9th year of Yongzheng period (yin-metal-hog year, 1731). It took 11 years to produce. The wood blocks of the edition were kept in the Jone Monastery, and thus it was called the Jone Kangyur.

The Jone edition of Kangyur was based on Yongle, Litang and UTsang editions of Kangyur. It was the Jone Buddhist master Drakpa Shedri who proofed the edition and edited its catalogue. The woodblocks of the Jone editions of Kangyur and Tengyur were de- stroyed in the military conflicts between the Jone Tusi and neighboring ethnic groups in 1929. An American bought a set of Jone Kangyur and Tengyur for the American National Library in 1925, and the Kangyur and Tengyur are now kept in Washington,D.C. The American World Religion Promotion Association reprinted the Jone Kangyur and Tengyur in Washington, and the reprinted Kangyur and Tengyur are also kept in the World Association of Buddhism and some well-known libraries. In addition, the Shifangtang monastery at Wutai Mountain has a set of the old-edition Jone Kangyur and Tengyur. The China Buddhist Association in Beijing and the Labrang monastery in Gansu both have a set of Jone Kangyur.

The editorial arrangement of the Jone edition of Kangyur is as follows: it starts with Tantra sutras. The edition has io8 cases, including 24 cases of Tantra sutras, 32 cases of Exoteric sutras, z6 cases of Prajnaparamita sutras, six cases of Mahavaipulya, six cases of Maharatnakuta-sutras, and 13 cases of Vinaya-sutras as well as a catalogue.

The portraits of Buddha on the title page of the Jone Kangyur are different from those of other editions. It has only a few portraits of the Buddha and bodhisattvas. Most of these portraits are Indian and Tibetan mahasiddhas. The Tantra section has the portraits of Indian mahasiddhas and the eight Bodhisattvas. The Sutra section has the Buddha, Manjushri, Tsongkhapa, and the Fifth Dalai Lama, with Maitreya, Asanga and other Shastra-masters of the Comprehensive Practice School at the right side, and Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti and other Shastra-masters of the Deep View School at the left. The Prajnaparamita section has Amitabha and some other Buddhas, as well as some Indian and Tibetan siddhis; Mahavaipulya-sutras and Maharatnakuta-sutras each have twenty-one Taras; and the Vinaya section has the Sixteen Saints and two great Shravakas.

5. Derge edition of Kangyur.

The sponsor and patron of the Derge edition of Kangyur was Tenzin Tsering, Derge 'Iusi of the Kham region. Its collation and printing took five years, from the 7th year of Yongzheng period of the Qing dynasty (the yin-earth-cock year of the 12th cycle of the Tibetan calendar, 1729) to the 11th year of that period (the yin-water-ox year of Tibetan calendar, 1733). The wood blocks of the Derge edition of Kangyur, also called the Derge cinnabar edition of Kangyur, are kept in the sutra-printing house of Derge Gonchen Monastery.

The Derge edition of Kangyur is the source (original) text of all editions of Kangyur printed in Tibet. As for the source text of the Derge edition of Kangyur, according to many Tibetan panditas and sutra-translators, Derge edition of Kangyur was based first on the Tsalpa edition of Kangyur of Chingwa Taktse Castle and the Lijiang edition of Kangyur (or Litang edition of Kangyur) whose original text was the Tsalpa edition. From then on the Kangyur was worshipped in accordance with the vows of Anyan Tenpa.

The Derge edition of Kangyur was also collated with the Kangyur in Lholung Castle of the Upper Amdo. It was mainly Situ Chokyi Jungne who edited the Derge edition of Kangyur. He wrote the Catalogue of Kangyur, the Buddha's Words in Tibetan for the Derge edition of Kangyur, the most detailed catalogue among those of Kangyur scriptures. In this catalogue he wrote: "By order of the king I began to write and edit in the iron-dog year and I was the chief proof- reader. With the scriptures edited by great linguistic masters as models, I checked the prefixes, suffixes, verbs and tenses of verbs, conjunctions, cases, and function words. I corrected the mistakes after consulting with great scholars. Buddhist sutras are plentiful and profound in knowledge. The proofreader is weak in intelligence, like a butterfly searching for the limit in space. Though there are still mistakes uncorrected, the Derge edition of Kangyur, I think, is better than the Kangyur published by the Chinese Ming emperor Yongle and the Kangyur by Lijiang Tusi." From these words we may know that the Derge edition of Kangyur is clearer, more complete and had fewer mistakes than other editions. So the edition is used as the source text for our collation work. The editorial arrangement of Derge edition is the same as that of the Litang Kangyur. It starts with the sutras on Four Truths, the Buddha had preached on the first turning of Dharma wheel. It has 103 cases, including 13 cases of Viyana sutras, Zr cases of Prajnaparamita sutra, four cases of Mahavaipulya, six cases of Maharatnakuta-sutras, 32 cases of Exoteric sutras, 2o cases of Tantra sutras, two cases of Dharani, one case of Difficult-Points Explanation by Vimala, and three cases of Nyingma Old Tantra as well as catalogue.

On the title page of each case of Viyana are portraits of arhats, Buddhas of ten directions, 35 Tathagatas, and eight attendants of the Buddha; on that of Tantra are the Tutelary deities, Protectors, and Protectors of Hidden treasures of Upper and Lower Tantras. On the title page of catalogue are portraits of Shakyamuni, Manjushri, Sakya Pandita and others. The wood blocks of the Derge edition of Kangyur are well preserved in the Derge Sutra-Printing House.

Mircofilm of Tangyur (Derge edition)

6. Nartang edition of Kangyur.

The Nartang edition was published by the order of the sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso (1683-1-706). The Dalai Lama ordered that a woodcut edition of Kangyur be made in Tibet. So Desi Sanggye Gyatso published Prajnaparamita Sutra in 28 cases as the first part of it. The publishing work took seven years. After Tsangyang Gyatso died, Lhazang Khan's wife owing to his bad relations with her husband –murdered Desi Sanggye Gyatso. The work of cutting blocks for printing the edition broke off. Afterwards, Lhazang Khan, Taktse Shabdrung Ragya Rabten, and Daching Pathur Sinlong Gyalpo (also called khang-chen-nas) continued the work, but did not finish it. When Pholhanas Sonam Tobgyal made donation to it, the work was finished in the 8th year of Qing Yongzheng period (the yang-metal-dog year of the 12th cycle of Tibetan calendar, 1730). Pholhanas offered the wood blocks of the edition of Kangyur to the 5th Panchen Erdeni Losang Yeshe. The edition is preserved in Nartang monastery and therefore called Nartang edition of Kangyur.

Olkha Lelong Rinpoche Lhorong Trinley wrote the catalogue of the Nartang edition of Kangyur, entitled "Catalogue of Kangyur, the most magnificent and mysterious one in the world,". As to the source text of the Nartang edition, the catalogue said: "At first the edition was collated with the Tsalpa edition of Kangyur. Then when Pholhanas became the patron of the edition, it was collated also with the Tsalpa edition which was given to him by the Chinese emperor, the incarnation of Manjushri." So, its source text was the Tsalpa edition.

The editorial arrangement was in accordance with the Buddha's three turnings of the Dharma wheel. The first part is the sutras of Four Truths beginning with Vinaya. The edition has 103 cases, including 13 cases of Vinaya, 21 cases of Prajnaparamita sutra, six cases of Mahavaipulyas, six cases of Maharatnakuta sutras, 31 cases of Sutras, two cases of Nirvana sutra and 21 cases of Tantra as well as catalogue. As to the portraits of Buddhas on the title pages, they are on the first chapter of each volume, with Shakyamuni and two Shravakas followed by Wisdom Prajna, Sarasvati, Avalokiteshvara and three deities of Longevity.

7. Mongolian Kure edition of Tangyur

The Mongolian Kure edition of Kangyur was block printed by the Kure monastery of Uganzi in Outer Mongolia (now the Ganden monastery of Ulan Bator of the Mongolian People's Republic) with the Derge edition of Kangyur as its source text. At first the block printing was suspended. Then by the order of the eighth Jetsun Dampa Choskyi Nyima and Erdeni Chetsang Nominhan Dondrup Lhamo the work continued and after two years was finished. The blocks of the edition were preserved in the Kure monastery, so it was called Mongolia Kure Kangyur. Its source text was the Derge edition. The Kure and Derge editions were almost the same in page number, the number of lines, and the words at the beginning and end of a line. The catalogue, entitled The Beautiful Music for Propagating Goodness, was written by jetsun Dampa.

The editorial arrangement of the edition was in accordance with the status of Buddhist vehicles with Tantra followed by Mahayana and Hinayana, and the order of the Buddha's three turnings of Dharma Wheels beginning with the Four Truths. There are altogether 103 cases including 13 cases of Vinaya, 21 cases of Prajnaparamita sutra, four cases of Mahavaipulya, six cases of Maharatnakuta-sutra, 21 cases of Sutras, one case of New Translated Sutras; 2o cases of Tantra, three cases of Nyingma Tantra, two cases of Dharani, and one of Difficult-Points Explanation by Vimala. The arrangement of the portraits of Buddhas was almost the same as that of the Derge edition.

Microfilm of Kangyur (kuri deition)

8. Lhasa Shol edition of Kangyur

The following is an account of the making of the Lhasa Shot edition of Kangyur. Drigung Gojo Rinpoche Ngodun Tenzin Choje Wangpo made a proposal to the 13th Dalai Lama in the Ninth year of the Republic of China (the Metal-Monkey year of the Uth cycle of Tibetan calendar, igao) that since the blocks of the Nartang edition of Kangyur was antiquated and damaged, and Litang and Derge editions of Kangyur were seldom found in U and Tsang, a new edition of Kangyur should be made. The Gojo Rinpoche donated 1,015 liang of silver and held a prayer ceremony for it. The 13th Dalai Lama accepted the proposal and promised that the Tibetan government would give material support, in addition to that by clerical and secular people, to the publishing of a new edition. The Nartang edition, Gyantse manuscript of Thinpama Kangyur, and Derge edition of Kangyur were used as source texts for the new one. The blocks for printing began to be cut. Soon afterwards Gojo Rinpoche and the 13th Dalai Lama died one after another. The block-cut suspended for a period of time. Then with the support of the Regent Radreng(rwa-sgreng) Rinpoche and Kunga Wangchuk, brother of the 13th Dalai Lama and Tibetan minister for political affairs, the work continued. Finally too cases of the new edition of Kangyur were published in the 23rd year of the Re- public of China (the Wood-dog year of the 16th cycle of Tibetan calendar, 1934). The blocks of the edition were preserved in the "Shot Treasury" by the side of the Potala, so the edition of Kangyur was called "Lhasa Edition" or "Shot edition."

The Lhasa Shot edition was collated and edited by some well known Buddhist masters such as Taktra Rinpoche Ngawang Sherab Thutop Tenpai Gyaltsen, Samey Gyawang Rinpoche Ngawang Choje Gyaltsen, Geshe Sherab Gyatso, Tsadru Rinpoche Ngawang Losang who was the Dalai Lama's attendant in reading, Seshe Wangdu Rinpoche Champa Chodan, Lhopa Bikchu Thubten Sherab, and Jone Geshe Losang Gyatso. Taktra Rinpoche and Tsadru Rinpoche wrote the "Catalogue for the Tibetan Translation of Shakyamuni's Words" for the new edition of Kangyur. There are various opinions about the edition in Kham, Amdo and Tibet. Some say that the Shot edi- tion of Kangyur has two editions: Potala edition and Lhasa edition. Others say that the Shot edition had some revision in the meaning of words by Geshe Sherab Gyatso, so it was not as seriously treated as it should have been. These isre false statements caused by ignorance of historical background and religious prejudice. In fact, the Kangyur did not have two editions; its block-cut had been suspended several times. It was collated mainly with the Nartang edition. Today we still find the two editions are almost the same in missing and redundant words and letters due to errors in copying or printing. There were, however, different opinions on the strong and weak points of the Shol edition of Kangyur. For instance, the Shol edition replaced the word "the incomparable," (which appeared frequently in the collated Derge edition from line 13, p.418 through to line 13, P-436, vol. 18 while talking about the fourth doctrine of "enlightenment wisdom" in Prajnaparamita in 100,000 Verses) with "the inestimable." Of this, honest scholars will have their own opinions. Besides, compared with other editions, the Shol edition is more standardized and carefully punctuated.

In editorial arrangement the edition begins with Vinaya Sutras. There are 100 cases, including 13 cases of Vinaya sutras, 21 cases of Prajnaparamita sutra, six cases of Mahavaipulya, six cases of Maharatnakuta-sutra, 30 cases of Sutras, two cases of Nirvana Sutra, 18 cases of Tantra and three cases of Nyingma Tantra, as well as one case of catalogue.

As to its illustrations, they are on the title page and the next page of each division. Let's take Vinaya sutras division as an example; the portraits of Upali and Gunaprabha accompany the portrait of Shakyamuni on the first page, Tsongkhapa and the 13th Dalai Lama on the second page. On the first page of Prajnaparamita in ioo,ooo Verses is Shakyamuni sided by Maitreya and Manjushri, while on the second page are Tsongkhapa and the 13th Dalai Lama. Shakyamuni is accompanied Shariputra and Mahamaudgalyayana on the first page of Prajnaparamita in zo,ooo Verses. Shakyamuni is sided by Shakyaprabha and Gunaprabha on that of Prajnaparamita in 18,ooo Verses. Shakyamuni is sided by Nagarjuna and Asanga on that of Prajnaparamita in 8,ooo Verses. Shakyamuni is sided by Avalokiteshvara and Samantabhadra on that of Mahavaipulya sutra. Shakyamuni is sided by Akashagarbha and Kshitigarbha on that of Maharatnakuta-sutra. Shakyamuni is sided by Dipamkara and Maitreya on that of Bhadrakalpika Sutra. And Shakyamuni is sided by Sarvanivara-navickamhini and Vairanani on that of Nirvana Sutra. On the first page of the catalogue are Shakyamuni ac- companied by Songtsen Gampo and Tonmi Sambhota and on the next page is Atisha sided by Tsongkhapa and the 13th Dalai Lama. The edition has 56 portraits in all.

The edition was well preserved in the "Shol Trea- sury for the benefit of all beings in the Snowland" in Lhasa.


II. A detailed account of the collation of Kangyur.

The present collation of the Kangyur, as we have mentioned above, takes the Derge edition as the main text, and another seven editions as subordinate texts. The process of collation is from three aspects: redundancy, missing data and difference. Notes of explanation will be given on places of redundancy or mistakes in sequence. If a passage is missing in the Derge edition while it appears on some other editions, it will be added in this new collated edition and an explanatory note will be given. In the table of results of collation it will be noted what passages are missing in what editions.

1. About the redundancy marks.

In the collated editions, if there appeared redundancy of verbs, nouns, function words, forms, verses, lines or page numbers, then a special mark (+) would be given in the corresponding place of this new collation edition, and the abbreviation title of the collated edition would also be given, such as Yong for Yongle edition, Li for Litang edition, Bei for Beijing edition, Nar for Nartang edition, Jo for Jone edition, Ku for Kure edition, and Shol for Lhasa edition. The redundant words also would be given.

2. About the marks for missing words.

In the collated edition if a letter, a word, a phrase or a part of a page are missing, then a mark of missing (-) would be given at the corresponding places of the new collated edition, the missing letter, word, or phrase would also be given.

3. About the marks for differences.

(1) Detailed explanations were made in notes for words or phrases with the same meaning but with a different translation, varied in nouns or verbs, or varied in function words or case particles

(2) About the marks for co-existence of differences and missing words. [The new collated edition] [Note for the collation}

(3) When missing words, redundant words and differences exist in different editions; a special collation mark would be added.

[The new collated edition} [Note for the collation}

(4) In the process of collation, it is correct to point out every minor mistake. But it seemed unnecessary to make notes for every minor mistake, such as missing a letter, mistake in carving, or misspelling, etc., so we did not make notes for all minor mistakes.

a) Carved letter missing. This problem exists in all editions, especially the Yongle edition. Some root letters, some vowels or superscripts are missing. After collating with the Derge edition, the missing parts are added, but no explanation is made in notes.

b) Wrongly carved words. There are wrongly carved words in block-printed editions, especially in the Litang edition. We have not pointed every one of them out in the notes but only made simple explanations.

c) Misspelled words. There are misspelled words, especially in the Yongle edition. We have not made explanations of every incorrectly spelled word. Explanations in the notes were made only when misspelled words appeared in several editions.

d) Vowel (-) written in reverse. Usually, vowel (}) in mystic forms of prayer (sngags or mantra) is written in reverse, which is often seen in ancient Tibetan documents found at Dunhuang and in inscriptions on ancient tablets. This is a customary way of writing in the ancient Tibetan language. However, the vowel in re- verse is also found in the Yongle and Beijing editions. This happened owing to the pronunciation of the word. No explanations are made about this in the notes

e) Words not clearly printed in the original texts. Here, the "words not clearly printed" means that, excepting the Derge and Shol editions, the other six editions were not printed clearly owing to repeated print- ing and wear and tear on the blocks. No special explanation about this was given in the notes.

f) The confusion of letters "z" and ",z" and and "}" As there are too many of these two pairs of letters wrongly spelled, explanations are only made on some of them.

(5) In the Derge edition of Kangyur, there are many mistakes in spelling and writing. For example, (tu) and " (du) ", "(kyi)and " "(gyi) etc. As these mistakes are so numerous, we deemed it unnecessary to make an explanation of every one of them.

(6) In different editions an identical word might have different spelling. In such cases, the spelling is in accordance with the Derge edition. No note is made.

(7) As to the punctuation mark at the end of a sentence, it is called "shad" in Tibetan and it is in the form of a vertical line. The punctuation has several forms: single vertical line (one shad), double vertical lines (two shad), and four vertical lines (four shad). As different editions of Kangyur have different ways in separating sentences, the use of the shad is not identical. So the two shad and four shad are often used randomly, not in accordance with grammatical rules. It would be very tedious and trivial and it is not necessary so no notes were made on them.

4. The disorderly arrangement.

Here the disorderly arrangement does not refer to the misplacement of a few words; it refers to the derangement of volumes, chapters, sections and lines. All this is signified with a missing mark (y) at the beginning of the deranged words and at the end of the de- ranged words is a mark (T,) and a note number. Explanation on the incorrect chapter, sections or lines would be made in the note.

5. Redundant carving.

Redundant carving does not refer to the repetition of a word. If the repetition of a line or a page appears in a certain edition, then a detailed explanation would be given in the notes.

6. Detailed explanation on the collation.

(i) On the explanation of the titles of sutras:

There are several ways to give a title to a sutra. However, the various editions of Kangyur are different from Tengyur. Kangyur has no redundant sutra titles. Few Kangyur need a new title, they use the first few Tibetan words for a title.

(2) On the explanation of the collation notes:

If variations in verbs, nouns, function words and case particles in other editions appear, we did not point them out one by one, but make a list of them with examples.

(3) The explanatory notes attached to the catalogue:

The explanatory notes attached to the catalogue are mainly about the differences in the order of chapters and sections. When necessary, the number of chapters and the first few words of a chapter are added to the explanatory notes.

7. The title of a book.

The title of a book is in accordance with the title appearing at the beginning of the Tibetan text. If a different title appeared, it would be revised according to the title in the catalogue of the Derge edition Kangyur, and explanation would be made in the collative notes.

8. Collative notes.

Generally, collative notes are placed at the end of the source text or of a book. They conclude the result of the collation of the source text and other editions. They point out the repetition, lack of, or difference of words between different editions and other necessary explanations.

9. Collative result tablets.

The collative result tablets are placed behind the collative notes at the end of each book. The upper parts of the tablets are the names of various dharmas, their page numbers are put into brackets.

III. The usage of collative symbols

1. Book mark ((( )). It is used in collative notes to signify the source text.

2. Mark for serial number ((I O. . .) It is used in the text to signify its attached note.

3. Mark for redundancy (+) is used in the text to signify the words that follow are redundancy.

4. Missing-word marks (--) are used in the text to signify the words that follow are missing words.

5. Linking marks (:) are used in the source text to signify the beginning of a difference and a serial number mark is put at the end of it.

6. Ellipsis dots (...) are used in explanatory notes when there are sentences or paragraphs missed in supplementary collated editions.

7. The mark of explanatory note (T,) is used to signify the difference in the writing order of the source text.

8. Two page marks ("}" and "7") are used in the collative tablets, with "i" signifies the obverse side, while "2", the reverse side.

9. Asterisk (*) is used on a book title in the catalogue to signify that an explanation of it may be found in the notes.

IV. On the explanation of the layout of script.

1. The layout of catalogues.

(i) At first, the catalogue of a certain book is compiled. The second step is to compile the catalogue, case number, and serial case number of the collated edition.

(2) At the beginning of every book is a total book number of the Kangyur; the title of chapters and sections of a long book is also listed in the catalogue.

(3) Below the title of a book are the names of translators and revisers.

(4) The collative results and the page number' of explanatory notes are in the brackets behind the catalogue.

(5) The additional explanation of the catalogue is placed behind the catalogue.

(6) In the catalogue the page number of every book is given in Tibetan numerals, the text of the book may be found according to this number. At the bottom corner of every page of the text is an Arabic numeral.

2. Layout of a Book.

(1) In the left upper corner of the first page of every book is the total book number of the Kangyur.

(2) The catalogue of every book contains the names of its chapters and sections while a sutra has no catalogue.

(3) Top margin and the layout of script: at the top of the first page of a book are two parallel lines, one thick and the other thin, while at the top of other pages is a thin line, above which on the single-number pages is the article name, but of the double-number pages are the book name, the case number and the serial number.

(4) Collative notes: every page of a sutra has its unified note numbers. Explanations are made in the square lines at the bottom of the page.

(5) The collative result tablets (for details see the chapter on collative notes in the new collative edition).

V. The binding and layout of the books.

1. The cover of the slipcase: the hardback slipcase is bound with brown cardboard while the slipcase of the deluxe edition is made with gray brocade. The title of the catalogue is gold. The book titles, sutra names, the number of cases and the serial number of the book are also golden.

2. The outer case of the book: on the front of the bookcase is the image of Shakyamuni; on either side of it are the book names, the catalogue they belong to, and the case number. On the back of the bookcase are golden Tibetan symbols; the pictures of the eight auspicious emblems.

3. The cover of a book: the cover of the hardback book is made of yellow brocade, while the cover of the deluxe edition is made of sheepskin. The sutra name with the deer-and-dharma-wheel emblem is in the center.

4. The first page inside the book is the image of a right-turn shell. The next page of it is in brown with patterns on the border. On this page is written the title of the book, the total numbers of books, and the name of the publishing house.

5. The illustrations in the book: the first and the last page of every book is a Tangka picture of ShMuni. All illustrations in the book are Tangka pictures.

6. Gencral1y speaking, in every case of a book there is an image of a corresponding Buddha or bodhisattva in accordance with the content of the book. Xhe image is placed bcfore the text of the book.

7 Above the picture at the beginning of a case is a rhomboid form. Inside the frame are two Buddha images, and inside the line frame bel0w it are the number of books, titles of the book and the number of the cases.

8. At the beginning of a book there is an image of a Buddha or bodhisattVa, in the middle of the book is the Buddha's speech and at the end of the book is of tho Bodhi StupH. Ttmo Hris thHt tho book has the three my tic things: mystic body, mouth and mind of the Tathagata.


l. Prof Wang Tho said in his Lectures on Tibetan Buddhist Culture: "The first Yonge edition of KangyUr was made in the 8th year of Yonge period of the Ming dynasty (14Io) from copperplate printing in cinnabar The second edition was madc in the 33rd year of Warili period (16o5) of the Ming dynasty from block--printing in black ink. The government published the tw0 editions. They botb were on the basis of Tsalpa edition of XanMr" Prof Wang Tho saw the printed in cinnabar Y0nge edition of Kangnf in the Sera Monastery He found from the Chinese words on the title page that the emperor Yonge published the edition for his late concubine Xu.

From China Tibetology(Chinese Edition) No.I, 2005
Thunslated by Chen Guansheng