Sungbum Project

Sungbum Project

PURPOSE, BENEFICIARIES & NECESSITY OF SUNGBUM PROJECT

The compositions of Je Tsongkhapa are recognized by international scholars as classics of philosophical and spiritual literature. His texts are studied at the Tibetan monastic colleges along with highly regarded texts by his two main disciples, of Gyaltsab Je and Khedrub Je, the first two Gaden Tripas of the Geluk lineage.

The complete collection (sung-bum) of the compositions of Je Tsongkhapa, Gyaltsab Je and Khedrub Je is entitled the Collected Works of Je Tsongkhapa and His Spiritual Sons — Je Yabse Sungbum (rJe yab sras gsung ‘bum). Three historical editions of the Sungbum were printed in Tibet in volumes of Tibetan unbound, wood-block printed pecha. One of those Sungbum editions consists of 18 volumes of pecha compositions by Je Tsongkhapa, 12 volumes by Khedrub Je and 8 volumes by Gyaltsab Je.

International academics of Religious Studies and Philosophy recognize the works of Je Tsongkhapa as masterpieces of Buddhist scholarship, philosophy and literature. Those that have been translated into Western and Asian languages are essential guides for lay and monastic Buddhist practitioners. English readers who are interested in Tibetan Buddhism have only one translated publication of the very valuable treatises of Khedrub Je and none by Gyaltsab Je.

PURPOSE OF THE SUNGBUM PROJECT: To digitize an authoritatively accurate edition of the Collected Works of Je Tshongkhapa and His Spiritual Sons (Je Yabse Sungbum) that will include extensive annotations (e.g., accurate citations of its quotations from the Kangyur and Tengyur).

BENEFICIARIES OF THE SUNGBUM PROJECT. The worldwide Buddhist community and international scholars and students of Buddhism, Philosophy, Comparative Religion and Asian Studies.

NECESSITY OF THE SUNGBUM PROJECT. Currently, there are three extant wood-block pecha editions of the Je Yabse Sungbum that were printed before 1959 in Tibet:

(1) Zhol-par edition [Lha sa’i zhol par] from Lhasa consists of 38 volumes.

(2) Tsang-par edition [gTsang par] from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse consists of 38 volumes.

(3) Kumbum-par ma edition [sKu ‘bum spar ma] from Kumbun Monastery in Amdo consists of 43 volumes.

These pecha editions of the Sungbum contain discrepancies and errors. Furthermore, most of the collections’ texts cite quotations from the pecha libraries of the Kangyur and the Tengyur, without providing the references necessary to locate the original quotations.

The Project’s Team will meticulously scrutinize, word-by-word, the digitized input in conjunction with the three pecha editions to determine all textual anomalies and unreferenced citations. In order to render the most accurate edition of the Sungbum’s texts and to prepare citation references and relevant annotations, the Project’s scholars will engage in extensive research. For three months at the end of each year, consulting scholars will work with the Project personnel and review the preceding nine months’ final digital output. The culmination of these efforts will be a definitive digitized edition of the Je Yabse Sungbum.

METHODOLOGY – PROJECT ACTIVITIES REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE OBJECTIVES

DIGITIZING THE COLLECTION.

The very first task for the Sungbum Project to undertake is to digitize the entire 43-volume Kumbum-par ma (sKu ‘bum spar ma) edition of the Collected Works of Je Tsongkhapa and His Spiritual Sons, Je Yabse Sungbum. The Kumbum edition is generally considered to be the most accurate of the three extant wood block print editions (although scholars have found that some of its volumes are less accurate than corresponding volumes of the Lhasa Zhol-par or Tashi Lhunpo Tsang-par editions). The Project’s Consultant has donated a digitized draft of Je Tsongkhapa’s compositions. The Kumbum edition’s 20 volumes of works by Gyaltsab Je and Khedrub Je have not yet been digitized.

PROJECT ESSENTIALS: ACCURATE DATA PROCESSING, METICULOUS PROOF READING & SCHOLARLY RESEARCH/SUPERVISION

Several efforts to digitize Tibetan Buddhist pecha have been undertaken in the past. Unfortunately, the outputs of many of these efforts are replete with errors.

The Project’s Patron, the 102nd Gaden Tripa, Rizong Rinpoche, stresses that the success of the Project depends upon its being undertaken with the requisite personnel and resources. Producing a precisely accurate, informatively annotated, digital edition of the Je Yabse Sungbum will require highly educated personnel who are familiar with the collection’s works and reference sources as well as someone technically skilled in Tibetan data processing and publication.

A team of Tibetan proof-readers will be required to repeatedly and painstakingly compare the digitized input to the original three pecha editions of the Sungbum, and to proof, word-by-word, all corrections to the digitized texts. This Project must also employ the dedicated expertise of recognized scholars, who are capable of supervising and reviewing the work of the proofreaders, researching all issues regarding accuracy and discrepancies, reliably editing the collection, and composing informative annotations. These scholars, in turn, need to be able to consult with eminent scholar consultants. To ensure accuracy, each year, two such consulting scholars will review the prior nine-month’s edited digital production of Sungbum text.

ACCURATE DATA PROCESSING. The Project is fortunate to have arranged for the well-qualified Gelong Thupten to serve on the Project’s staff. He has many years of experience working with digitization and publication of similar textual materials for the Drepung Loseling Library and Publications department. He is highly skilled in entering Tibetan pecha text into digital formats and has the data processing skills required for such a voluminous project.

METICULOUS PROOF READING – COMPARING THE DIGITAL INPUT TO THREE TIBETAN WOOD-BLOCK EDITIONS.

The SUNGBUM PROJECT Team will employ four persons as proof-readers and two scholar monks as their supervisors and researchers.

When digitized portions of the Kumbum-par ma collection are ready, the four proof-readers will painstakingly make a word-by-word comparison of the digitized text to the wood-block printed pecha edition of the Kumbum-par ma under the supervision of the two scholar monks. Having corrected any input errors found in that first comparative review of the digital text, the four proof-readers will do word-by-word comparison of the digital edition to both the Lhasa zhol-par pecha and the Tashi Lhunpo Tsang-par pecha editions. During all such proof-reading comparisons, they will record any issue of discrepancy, variation, possible error, unreferenced citations, etc., for investigation by the Project’s two scholars.

The Project’s scholars will engage in extensive research in order to accurately resolve all textual issues, prepare corrections, accurate citation references and relevant annotations. The scholars’ research efforts will be very time consuming because no reliably accurate digitized editions of the 110-volume Kangyur and 225-volume Tengyur collections are available. Therefore, the scholars will need to repeatedly comb through hundreds of volumes. If accurate digitized volumes of the Kangyur and Tengyur become available during the course of the Project, the estimated duration of the Project will be shortened.

Whenever portions of the digitized collection are edited with corrections, amendments, and annotations, the six monks and their scholar supervisors will again carefully proof read the digital edition.

Each year, the Sungbum Project’s two Consulting Scholars will proof read and edit the final digitized output of the previous nine months of Project output.

WORKSHOP TRAINING SEMINAR FOR THE PROJECT’S PROOF-READERS.

When necessary, training workshops or seminars will be arranged for the proof-readers.

About Author: Je Yabse Sungbum