A Bibliography of Tibetan Philology by Dan Martin

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Version: March 10, 2006

Compiled by Dan Martin

Edited by Alexander Cherniak



Although started years ago, much of the work of preparing this bibliography for distribution was accomplished during the course of my year as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, 2003 2004. I also benefitted considerably from the use of the Kern Institute Library in Leiden in 2005, with many thanks to the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and the Center for Non Western Studies (CNWS) for the generous use of their facilities, which allowed me to extend the length and coverage of this work considerably. On a more personal as well as professional note, special thanks are due to Dr. Henk Blezer (Leiden).
This is the kind of bibliographical work that should continue its existence as a digitally transmitted document only, never as a print publication, although of course with due consideration for the use of paper, you may feel free to print parts of it out if you feel that you must. This bibliography, imperfect and incomplete as it is, yet holding out the promise of some future perfection in some other realm, was conceived, developed and typed by Dan Martin. It reached a further stage in the pursuit of correctness when it was subsequently scanned for errors by Alexander Cherniak. It was done with neither direct remuneration nor financial incentives. I place it in the public domain. Feel free to make use of it, expanding it in the directions of your own research pursuits, making corrections and additions where needed. However, modified versions of this file, if passed on to another person, should be clearly marked as such. I will not be held responsible for any problems resulting from the use of this file or the information it does or does not contain (as with any work of this type, be well advised to double check references before making use of them in your own work; there are bound to be philological imperfections despite our best efforts at removing them).
Please do not suffer the least emotional trauma if your important writing has not been included here. Quite a lot has not been included. A few things even better, as if that were possible, than your important writing have not been included. There is some emphasis on less known works, which means that there may be more references to the published literature on a sūtra you've never heard about before than there is on the Lotus Sūtra (which I assume you must have heard about, or it may be that you have stumbled into this file inadvertently).
This may be rather simply defined as an essentially Tibetocentric (and secondarily Buddhocentric), but nevertheless Indologically framed, bio bibliographical work/index with the emphasis on the literary. Another way to put it: This bibliography is most likely to serve the interests of those who are involved in the Indic side of Tibetan or Buddhist Studies, or Indologists who need to find out what Indic or in some way Indian related materials are available in Tibetan. Those who might have been expecting a complete bibliography of Indian literature, or a complete bibliography of Tibetan writings, will have to learn to live with their dissatisfaction. If you are interested in scriptural, exegetical and literary works in those languages, this file is for your information, research and enjoyment. I personally consider this interchange between Indian and Tibetan cultural spheres to be one of the most significant of such exchanges in human history, productive of works of great beauty with very profound insights in the realms of psychology, philosophy and spirituality. Therefore I fear that this work might promote the unfortunate impression that it is one of considerable perplexity, with difficult technical problems at every turn.
I do try to be honest about what I think I know and do not know. When I am only guessing, I find some way of saying so. I do often give information with which I disagree (supplying the bibliographic source for it) without necessarily expressing my disagreement. Bear in mind that in those few places where I do express disagreement, it is with the idea, and not with the person who holds the idea, or who has once held it.
Those who need or want to find out about (just to give an example) Jayasena, or about a work written by someone named Jayasena, should be able to find out a thing or two about him and his works. The biographical and bibliographical source materials listed under 'Jayasena' ought to provide sufficient starting points for research, keys to open doors into further areas not covered here (but at the same time do try using your computer search function to look through the entire file as you are likely to find more information. Even though arranged, as printed reference works ordinarily are, in alphabetic order, it can be more effective to use it as a computer search file... of course one must make allowances for sandhi when searching for something in Sanskrit).
In general, as far as users of bibliographical works are concerned, there are two main types, as I see it: [1] those overly stern philologists who demand nothing less than an instrument of total control over the literature and [2] those who are content to find one more happy hunting ground, among others, for their research pursuits. This work ought to recommend itself to those in category two. Bless this work when it helps you on your way, fix it when it needs it, but please never curse it for imperfection or incompleteness. I enjoyed making it, and hope you will enjoy making use of it.


Wylie transcriptions of Tibetan are used here. Whatever you may think about Wylie, it does have the advantage of being diacritic free, making electronic transmission and word searching relatively trouble free. Since this is intended to be an easily searchable computer file, I have omitted all dashes from Tibetan titles and personal names, although in principle I see much wisdom in using them. Generally neither dashes nor spaces have been used to divide words in Sanskrit titles (meaning the sandhi is almost always left unresolved; spaces generally are placed only following the endings of oblique cases, like the ablative or genitive).
On a very minor note: I have generally not imposed consistency of spelling (although I have often read 'ng' as 'd' and 'b' as 'p' according to my own understanding). I have imposed the spelling Lo tsā ba (in place of Lo tstsha ba, etc.). I did this only to facilitate computer-aided searches for the names of Tibetan translators.


This file was originally created in the rather old and unusual font known as Orientaltimes. If you by chance do not have this rare font, it should prove quite easy (well, assuming you are at least a beginning Sanskritist and a budding cyborg) to transform the Orientaltimes file into your usual diacritic font using the 'global change' (or 'replace') functions of your computer. With a minimum amount of care, no errors will be introduced in the process.
In the present version of the file, the one in front of your eyes, none of this is very relevant, since it has been transformed into a unicode font. I made use of the Gentium font, which is freely downloadable over the internet. Just go to the SIL website: http://www.sil.org/ (or go to the more exact page: http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&item_id=Gentium). Of course any Unicode font should work just as well, assuming that your computer and word processing program are new enough to support unicode.

w===INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS=== This work includes Tibetan genres of a broadly philological nature (with some emphasis on the more strictly literary, grammatical and lexicographical), above all and primarily those located at the Tibetan Indian interface, including such works that were originally authored in South Asian languages, primarily Sanskrit, but at the same time not excluding Prakrit, Apabhraṃśa, Hindi, Sinhalese, Pāli and so forth. There is quite a lot of Indian language literature listed here that may not be especially or obviously relevant to historic Tibeto Indian exchanges, including a fair number of yogic or Shaivite texts and the like. However, Vedic and Jaina texts are almost entirely absent. Of course they should not be. Perhaps you would like to add them? I have deliberately stepped into the margins, thinking that if connections have not yet been established, one day they just might be.
There are some, but not so many, personal names occurring in inscriptions, and even then mainly inscriptions of a Buddhist character.
This work does not discriminate between sacred and profane texts, and some may find it surprising to find juxtaposed works of widely different sorts. Many titles of scriptural texts begin with the reverential Ārya ('Phags pa) or Śrī (Dpal), which have generally been omitted here, simply for bibliographical purposes, and not for want of reverence, and certainly with no intention to offend.
I believe the word Tibskrit was coined and consecrated by Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp (Tibetological genius of Harvard University), although I think I might be using it in a broader sense than he intended (Tibetan knowledge of, and ways of representing and translating, languages and literatures of South Asia).
This work is primarily structured around authors, secondarily around their works (all in English alphabetical order, the work subordinated to its author), and thirdly, notes on and references to studies about the authors and the works (further subordinated to them, visually, through indentation and smaller font size).
One common problem in Tibskrit studies stems from the fact that Indian authors are often supplied with names in Tibetan translation or transliteration, while Tibetans (especially, but not only, translators) may have their Tibetan names given in Sanskritic forms. In addition, Tibetan names of Indian figures are often re Sanskritized on the basis of their Tibetan language translations, sometimes or even rather often mistakenly. Here we try to overcome these problems (or at least supply sufficient resources for one day overcoming them) by giving names in all the forms in which they are found to occur, whether they might be in Sanskrit, Tibetan or Tibetan transcriptions of Sanskrit (and other Indic languages when relevant). That means that even if you were to search this file for a name that I would consider not quite correctly spelled, chances are you may still find it (and believe it or not, this is a good thing). The hope is that sufficient resources will be supplied here so that critical scholars will be enabled to see through the errors by myself and others, and can come to their own conclusions about what is acceptable.
Of course the two collections of canonical and of commentarial works translated into Tibetan — the Kanjur and Tanjur — constitute the primary monument to Tibskrit philology. A complete catalogue of the Derge woodblock print of Kanjur and Tanjur has been included here (initially based on the Tôhoku catalogue, but making corrections and additions here and there). As I see it, one of the main uses of this file is that it allows one to quickly locate texts in the Derge Canon, in whatever form (original woodblock or reprinted versions of the same, Asian Classics Input Project [ACIP] computer files, microfiche from the Institute for the Advanced Studies of World Religions [IASWR] or PDF files from the Tibetan Buddhism Resource Center [TBRC]) one may have it (it will be necessary to consult the end of this file for a key to the volume numbers).
All the names of authors found in the Tanjur are included in the form of main entries (often with references only to the works they authored, if there are no other details). Their names, when reconstructed by myself on the basis of their Tibetan translations (or with little certainty reconstructed from their Tibetan transliterations) I have marked with an initial asterisk (*). But note that even when found in standard reference works, re Sanskritizations of proper names are often suspect (meaning even if there is no asterisk, it is still no sign that the form has actually been attested in an Indian language source). One example: Līlavajra (but also, Lalitavajra) has been the more common re Sanskritization for Sgeg pa'i rdo rje (or Rdo rje sgeg pa) until recently when Ron Davidson demonstrated that the correct attested form for the name of this author is Vilāsavajra (who is sometimes confused with Lalitavajra...).
Many, but not all, of the names of translators of Tanjur texts, have also been made into main entries. Many, but not nearly all, colophons have been transcribed here (this often permits one to verify or correct information in the Tôhoku catalogue).
I haven't made much attempt to divide out works that may be by different authors sharing the same name (except where the figures are clearly datable or otherwise distinguishable beyond much doubt, in which cases I do sometimes give separate entries for them). I do not enter into my own discussions about the two or three Vasubandhus or the three or more Nāgārjunas, although I do try to supply references to the literature on these sorts of arguments.
Especially intended to be included are Alaṅkāraśāstra [rgyan gyi bstan bcos], Amarakoṣa ['Chi med mdzod], Abhidhāna [Mngon brjod]; works exemplifying kāvya [snyan dngags, snyan ngag], Nītiśāstra [Lugs kyi bstan bcos], epistles ['phrin yig or spring yig]; even some (mainly Sanskrit, but also Tibetan) grammar [sgra rig pa] and drama [zlos gar]. Vajrayāna songs — dohā [do ha], caryāgīti [spyod pa'i glu], and vajragīti [rdo rje'i glu] — are included.
For general coverage of Indian literary figures, this work will of course be found quite inadequate. For Indian kāvya writers I would especially recommend the use of Ludwig Sternbach, A Descriptive Catalogue of Poets Quoted in Sanskrit Anthologies and Inscriptions, Otto Harrassowitz (Wiesbaden 1978), in two volumes, and Timothy C. Cahill, An Annotated Bibliography of the Alaṃkāraśāstra, Handbuch der Orientalistik, Section Two, Indien, series no. 14, Brill (Leiden 2001). For Indian philosophers of all schools, the most comprehensive are Karl Potter's bibliographies (available in printed form or via internet download). For yoga, tantra and kuṇḍalinī, I recommend "Kundalini Bibliography" compiled by Kurt Keutzer, posted on the worldwide web in 1998 (accessed through spiritweb.org, but try this address: http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/~keutzer/kundalini/kunda-bib-web.html). For Tibetan authors and titles, best try searching the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center's (TBRC) online database (http://www.tbrc.org/).
Extra canonical historical, biographical, ritual and tantric-commentarial texts are not well represented, and were never intended to be.
Extra canonical Tibetan authored texts on medicine, crafts and logic have not been much included, although they may be subordinated to Indic works on which they comment or with which they are in some way related.
Works on the Tibetan Bon religion are nearly absent, although there are good arguments for including them, since there are a number of arguable or demonstrable connections with India. Some very useful bibliographical resources are now available for Bon scriptures (Bka', the Bon Kanjur) and compositions (Bka' brten, the Bon Tanjur), and more will become available before long. The more important resources for Bon scriptural bibliography are listed here:
Samten G. Karmay, A Catalogue of Bonpo Publications, The Toyo Bunko (Tokyo 1977).
Samten G. Karmay and Yasuhiko Nagano, eds., A Catalogue of the New Collection of Bonpo Katen Texts, Bon Studies nos. 4 5, Senri Ethnological Reports series nos. 24 25, National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka 2001).
Tseyang Changngoba, Namgyal Nyima Dagkar, Per Kværne, Dondrup Lhagyal, Dan Martin, Donatella Rossi, and Tsering Thar, A Catalogue of the Bon Kanjur, Senri Ethnological Reports series no. 40, volume editor, Dan Martin; series editor Yasuhiko Nagano, National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka 2003).
A website from Otani University in Japan makes it possible to search for Tibetan titles in the Peking reprint edition of the Tibetan canon. Visit their site at: http://web.otani.ac.jp/cri/twrp/tibdate/Peking_online_search.html.
There are very few titles of scriptures particular to the Rnying ma pa school. These titles may be found in a searchable database at the website of the "Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library" (http://www.thdl.org/collections/literature/ngb/index.html), where one may find links to another website developed by Cathy Cantwell and Rob Mayer. The Rnying ma tantras that are included herein are mainly those relatively few that are located in the Derge Kanjur.
There is some, yet I would say inadequate, coverage of proper names (both personal names and book titles) particular to the comparative philosophical Siddhānta (grub mtha') literature, a situation which ought to be remedied.
I have attempted to include the names of foreign translators of Buddhist texts who were active in China, even if it is true that overall, with very few exceptions, these figures played no significant role in the Tibetan realm. There are but a few entries for eminent Chinese Buddhist teachers, and even then the emphasis is on those Chinese teachers who worked together with Indians. I would hardly recommend this work as a primary reference for East Asian language resources in general. For Chinese scriptural works, a very good resource is to be found on the internet: "Bibliography of Translations from the Chinese Buddhist Canon into Western Languages," compiled by Marcus Bingenheimer. Japanese Buddhological writings are not well enough represented in this bibliography, and for this, too, I must apologize.
The general arrangement is quite simple: English alphabetic order is used throughout (regardless of whether the main entry is in Tibetan or an Indic language or, relatively rarely, English or Chinese form; entries in East Asian, Southeast Asian languages and Mongolian are rare and always at second hand). Wherever possible an author's name is given first. However, works of unknown authorship, including canonical works, are placed in the very large first section. Subordinated to the author's name (given in Indic language forms wherever possible, with Tibetan language translations or transcriptions immediately following and enclosed in parentheses) are sources of information about him or her. Then there is an alphabetic listing of works by that same person. Generally the main works are foregrounded on the basis of the existence of a Tibetan language version whenever available, even though the Indic language title is given precedence wherever possible. Be well aware that the presence of an Indic language title does not mean that an Indic text is therefore available (more likely than not, it is not). Subordinated to each title is a listing of translations, references and studies (where known and available to me) of that particular text.
The personal name index to Chimpa, THBI, has been included (excluding only a few of the irrelevant items), which helps explain why there are a number of names of kings and even (but rather rarely) some supernatural or divine beings listed here. Of course, kings are often of importance for dating Buddhist figures associated with their reigns, particularly so in the cases of poets and Mahāsiddhas. Therefore some kings' names have been included, especially when they were literary patrons, religious donors, or the like.
There are some, but not nearly enough, names of characters who appear in the pages of literary works. The presence of these other types of names should not obscure the fact that this database is primarily devoted to [1] authors and [2] their literary works. There are even, I fear, a few entries for place names, although this was not part of the original intent. It seemed better to leave them in than to take the trouble of taking them out.

Compiled and typed by Dan Martin,
Edited by Alexander Cherniak,
March 10, 2006