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First-ever Encyclopedic Kangyur Catalogue reported poised for completion

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(TibetanReview.net, Dec16’22) – A landmark project to compile a comprehensive “encyclopedia” of the Tibetan Kangyur—the Tibetan collection of teachings of the Buddha—is almost complete, Khyentse Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the renowned Bhutan-born, Tibetan Buddhist lama, filmmaker, and author Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, has announced.

The Kangyur Karchag, a project of Sarnath International Nyingma Institute (SINI), will summarize the 368 sutras contained in the Kangyur that have been translated into Tibetan. A total of 51 writers and researchers from all Tibetan Buddhist traditions, based in Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Tibet, have been dedicating their time to the initiative, reported the buddhistdoor.net Dec 15.

“The Kangyur Karchag project has already exceeded its initial goals,” Khyentse Foundation, which funds the project, has said in a recent news update.

“As of 1 Dec 2022, more than 335 of the 368 sutras in the Kangyur have been summarized. The work is directed by Khenpo Ju Tenkyong from Larung Gar Institute in China, who recently finished editing a 223-volume Tibetan terminological dictionary. The researchers compare Tibetan editions of the Kangyur with those in Chinese, Pali, and Sanskrit, while the writers consult available commentaries, often reading 20–30 commentaries for sutras that are well known. The first full draft of the karchag [roughly translated as ‘catalogue’] will be ready by the end of January 2023 and the final version by early 2024.”

“The Kangyur is at the root of the teachings of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas,” Khenpo Ju has Tenkyong explained. “There are so many branches of Buddhism, so many different texts and traditions, but the Kangyur is the taproot that connects them all and from which they all arise. There is no teaching of the buddhas without the Kangyur,” the report quoted him as saying, citing SINI.

Launched by Tarthang Tulku in 2019, the Kangyur Karchag project is intended to be first-ever truly comprehensive Tibetan Buddhist encyclopedia of the Kangyur. Although the Kangyur has been catalogued before, the SINI’s execution can be considered unique, the report suggested.

“The sutras are initially synopsized in Tibetan with the intention to benefit monasteries, shedras, and Buddhist scholars,” Khyentse Foundation has said. “A condensed version of the karchag will make the material accessible to laypeople and form a springboard for the development of curriculum materials for Tibetan schools. There are also plans to render the summaries in English and Chinese and to make them available online.”

Established in 2013 in Sarnath, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, SINI is one of more than 20 organizations founded by the revered lama Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche (b. 1935), who was instrumental in introducing the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism to the United States. SINI is directed by the youngest of Tarthang Tulku’s three daughters, Tsering Palmo Gellek, the report said.

Khyentse Foundation was founded by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2001 with the aim of promoting the Buddha’s teaching and supporting all traditions of Buddhist study and practice. Its activities include major text preservation and translation projects, support for monastic colleges in Asia, a worldwide scholarship and awards program, development of Buddhist studies at major universities, training and development for Buddhist teachers, and developing new modes of Dharma-inspired education for children.


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