A number of new changes have been made, principally to the file formats available. Going forward, the TEI XML format is being abandoned in favor of segmented translations stored in JSON format. This allows new translations to be used in a translation memory system, and provides more useful translation information, while also being easier to parse and convert into other formats. A catalog file for each translation is also available separately, providing metadata for the translation.
The file formats generated also differ slightly. PDF is still available, but plain Unicode text and DjVu have been dropped. To replace them, we have HTML and Markdown, both ubiquitous modern formats that are more useful, and more widely used.
Several new translations have also been added from the Ānāpānasmṛti Saṃyukta of the Saṃyukta Āgama. These can be found in the index for the Saṃyukta Āgama, Several of these sūtras have never been translated into English before, as is often the case with works from the āgamas.
A new article is now available on Ānāpānasmṛti in the Chinese Āgamas. A new page for organizing and listing translations from the Saṃyukta Āgama has also been added. Eight new sūtras are also available from this collection, taken from a variety of saṃyuktas within that collection.
A new font is now available for use in Buddhist and other works. It is based on a classic modernist sans-serif font that has a clear look. It has been expanded to include all the necessary glyphs for romanized Chinese, Pali, and Sanskrit. It is available in many file formats, and it is free and open-source software. It is also the new web font for this site, and used for its PDF content as well.
New translations from the Saṃyukta Āgama are now available! They all come from the saṃyukta for the Four Bases of Mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna). In The Four Bases of Mindfulness (606), all four are clearly and succinctly defined. The four are taught in a slightly expanded form in Correct Mindfulness (610). In Bhikṣuṇī Residence (615), we learn how to focus the mind even if we encounter physical pains or mental distractions. In The Monkey (620), there is a fantastic metaphor about monkey hunting in the Himalayas, with the aim of warning us not to stray from our “original home” in the Four Bases of Mindfulness. In The Young Bhikṣus (621), the Buddha teaches the Four Bases of Mindfulness, and how they should be practiced at every stage. In The World Beauty (623), a startling metaphor teaches how the Four Bases of Mindfulness are to be practiced single-mindedly without distraction. If you have not studied the Four Bases of Mindfulness before, or if you have done so through later composite texts such as the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, then you owe it to yourself to check out these, which are closer to the original teachings.
A new console CJK dictionary tool is now available, called cjk-defn. This program is simpler than some other tools, but it is fast and flexible, with a SQLite back-end. It does not come with dictionaries, but these can be loaded from some free dictionary projects, or you can make your own entries in a custom dictionary. Another set of very small tools, called edict-to-csv, can help to reformat EDICT dictionary entries for loading into a dictionary database.
A new overview of Chinese Buddhist canons is now available. This includes introductions to some of the major canons printed over the last one thousand, including their organizational principles. If you have never heard of the Yongle Beizang or the Longzang, you should learn more about this because at one time these were the standard Buddhist canons used throughout much of East Asia.
There is a new translation of a small text called Jie Zi Shu (戒子書), or “Admonition to My Son,” attributed to Zhuge Liang (諸葛亮), the famous military strategist from the Three Kingdoms era. This short text is a letter written to his son, instructing him on how to study and cultivate himself well. This text continues to be used as a guide for personal development.
We have a new Web tool for the sanzang-utils translation software. As with the previous one, the input text is fed into szu-r (reformatter) and szu-t (translator), but the new interface gives you the text input and results on the same page, which is easier and more convenient. As with our approach to this website and our other software, we try to make everything clean, simple, and lightweight.
New software is available for working with Chinese text, called pinyin-dec (“Pinyin Decorate”). With this software, you can reformat Hanyu Pinyin text very easily. Due to its flexible design, you can also automate the program easily, or you can even use its Python module to incorporate it into other programs. Like the Sanzang translation system, pinyin-dec is free and open-source software available under the MIT License. A new Web tool is also available so you can use it online if you like.
We have rolled out a new design for the website, this time using just ordinary sans-serif fonts in the Helvetica style. Our impression is that use of Windows XP is dying, so suitable Unicode fonts should be more widely available, and are at least on Windows, OS X, Linux, BSD, iOS, etc. If you are encountering empty boxes, or characters that do not display correctly, please contact us with the details.
We are pleased to announce the release of our newest translation from the Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra: 31. The Inquiry of Gaṅgottara. This text circulated independently in India under the name Gaṅgottara Paripṛcchā Sūtra. As in the inquiry of Bhadra the Magician, this text features observation of dharmas as being like illusions, and as insubstantial as empty space.
New translation: Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra: 30. The Inquiry of Good Wisdom. This text was known in India as Sumatidārikā Paripṛcchā Sūtra, the inquiry of the maiden Sumati, and the translation is also located at T. 336 in the Taishō canon. In Sanskrit, Sumati means Good Wisdom, so she is known by that name in the Chinese translation.
New translation: Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra: 21. Bhadra the Magician. This text circulated in India under the name Bhadramāyākāra Paripṛcchā Sūtra, or alternately under the name Bhadramāyākāra Vyākaraṇa Sūtra. One of the main themes in this text is the view that all dharmas are like illusions. This text pulls out all the stops with its characters, verses, action, drama, and cultivation methods.