PTS style Tipitaka CD-ROM ...$150

Mon May 20 22:53:52 UTC 1996

L.S. COUSINS wrote on the threelectronic Pali Tipitakaversions:

> 1. Mahidol University (Thailand) with the DOS program BUDSIR.
> This is the Thai script version of the Pali Canon and Commentaries.... 
> some errors...  data  encrypted.... no
> cross-references to PTS page numbers

<NB: the numbering used inside the texts themselves also differs between 
PTS and Thai versions!>

> 2. IBRIC  (Sri Lanka)
> This is the 'free' version, based upon the edition in Sinhala script. Only
> the Canon... freeware ...for searching on the Mac ... does contain 
> references to <most> PTS editions ...  still an uncorrected version.  You 
> can of course put the texts on your hard drive. 
> 3. Dhammakaaya Foundation (Thailand)
> ... based upon the PTS edition of the Canon. It includes a DOS version
> of a search program with various facilities. (Searching 1) by word or
> phrase; 2) by page and line; 3) context; 4) word index to the Canon.)  Due
> out in June. 
> A more advanced version for Windows together with the
> Commentaries is promised for December 1997 and a Mac version soon after
> that. 

  NB: SEE SEPARATE, forthc. ANNOUNCEMENT on this list.

<D. Wujastyk>: 
> > I think the people publishing CDROM versions for money
> >have failed dramatically to evaluate the publishing situation correctly.
> I don't think it is as simple as this. Even when the final versions are out
> (and others to come?), textual scholars will find the differences between
> the Thai, Sinhala and Roman editions important (and useful).

OF COURSE: and not just "textual scholars" but anybody who has worked a
little bit with Pali texts knows that there are a lot of
textual/transmission problems in the texts. <<Cf. now also J. Silk's
message>>.This is not the Rgveda which has come down orally/written
without (almost) any changes. As O. v. Hinueber has frequently shown, the
Pali Canon has been subject to constant redactorial change even late in
this millennium. 

Clearly, it makes a difference, e.g., if a king deals, in matters of
state, with caara "spies" or cora "thieves"... (even if tax officials
anywhere seem to combine both aspects). 

Anybody who wants to work with a reliable text has to make use of the 4
versions represented by the PTS editions and which are now available on
the new CD-ROM (Sinhala, Burmese, Thai and Cambodian) -- though,
unfortunately, it now comes with a price tag of $150, differently from the
original intent of the Dhammakaya Foundation (as announced in Sept. 93). 

This version also has the avantage that it allows to search for other 
mistakes of the type described above (cora/caara) -- and that will allow 
you to solve your textual problems more easily as you will find plenty of 
evidence of such mistakes. In short: scholars who pay attention to the 
*exact* wording of the text need *this* electronic version.

If you are content, however, with just having *any* version (to have a
rough idea of the text/context) you can use the electronic Sinhala or Thai
versions or just use the printed 5-6 versions. (In that case, as has been
pointed out by others, you will loose some time in finding the
corresponding PTS version.)

> I agree
> that when IBRIC completes their work this may be the most useful starting
> point for many people. Of course, prices of the other two may come down or
> even disappear eventually.

WE HOPE SO, and cf. the original Dhammakaya announcemnet of Sept. 93...

> One needs to remember that these are mostly volunteer projects and there
> may be limits as to what they are capable of doing initially.

THAT remains to be seen. I know that the 400 Dhammakaya volunteers have
typed in the text with (very) good accuracy. Since then, the texts have
been proofread several times. They also have typed in commentaries and
*other* very useful materials. It remains to be seen what the PTS will allow
on CD. 

> The PTS obviously has a right to seek to protect its market (particularly
> that to libraries).

That might be so. The copyright question, however, is moot.I wonder how you 
can claim copyright on, say Oldenberg's ed. of the Vinaya made a hundred
years ago, when the PTS began to copyright its texts only in the Sixties...
Let some clever British lawyers figure that out.

> I suspect myself that they are worrying unnecessarily
> but it is certainly important to be able to continue to produce new Pali
> texts and translations.

Yes, find some other way. And remember that Oldenberg etc. gave their work
free... to have the texts available for scholarship (etc.). A hundred
years ago that was by printing them, but now......

Or, to be more radical: Since we (almost all of us) type our new texts
and translations we can as well put them on a server somewhere and get rid
of overpriced publications (especially in some EUROPEAN COUNTRIES)..... 
Let us return to this topic 10 years from now... 

M. Witzel
Wales Prof. of Sanskrit
Harvard University
617-495 3295
witzel at

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