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EAST online - and a call for pramāṇavādins to collaborate

This is a: article, written by Birgit Kellner 1619 days ago.
Keywords: digital humanities, pramāṇa

Over the past months, Patrick McAllister (Vienna), Manuel Batsching (Heidelberg), as well as Jens Petersen and Dulip Withanage from Heidelberg’s HRA have been working with me to release EAST, a somewhat hyperbolically chosen acronym which resolves as “Epistemology and Argumentation in South Asia and Tibet.” I have larger plans for this, and what’s currently available is a rather humble beginning.

In the early 1990s, Ernst Steinkellner and Michael Torsten Much put together a systematic survey of the logico-epistemological or pramāṇa school of Buddhism. This was published as the “Systematischer Überblick über die Literatur der erkenntnistheoretisch-logischen Schule des Buddhismus” (Göttingen 1995: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht; Systematische Übersicht über die buddhistische Sanskrit-Literatur 2). This is an immensely helpful resource (in German), structured according to representatives of this particular school of Buddhist philosophy, and their works. There are short summaries of available biographical and historical information (as usual for Indian philosohpers, rather sparse), but the core is a systematic bibliography, well-structured, of editions, of classical and modern translations, and of other helpful resources such as extant indices or glossaries. All this allows a student of this tradition to easily navigate through the work others have already done.

Building up on the work of others in the internet era is much easier, since, provided they allow it, one can simply integrate it into a larger framework. And this we decided to do for EAST. We have translated the text sections of the book into English (tacitly corrected some minor errors in the process), transformed its structure into a database, and entered the bibliographical records into the HRA’s Tamboti:http://tamboti.uni-hd.de, from which they are integrated into the database. Tamboti is a metadata framework which allows us to store records according to the MODS:http://www.loc.gov/standards/mods/ standard of the Library of Congress.

The result is not yet perfect; there are glitches here and there, but we are working on them. But most importantly, we now wish to start an initiative towards updating data, and towards expanding EAST.

The first step is to update bibliographical coverage of Buddhist pramāṇa works: the print publication of Steinkellner/Much extends up to 1994; we now want to update data so that the database represents the current state of research. This is no small undertaking, as pramāṇa research expanded considerably since then (some would even say: it exploded).

Towards this end, I hope we will be able to carry out a two-step process: First, gather publication records in a collaborative effort, second, convert and “EASTify” the records (associate them with texts and authors, introduce keywords) with Tamboti and our database.

To begin, I have created a Zotero group called east.uni-hd.de. This group is public, so anyone can see the records, but it is closed, so you need to request an invitation to join and be able to add and edit (which I shall gladly issue). Please spread the words in pramāṇa-related circles about the existence of this group. Further details on how to enter and annotate records can be discussed in the discussion forum that is linked to the group on Zotero.

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Counterfeit Tibetan textbooks?

This is a: snip, written by Birgit Kellner 1874 days ago.
Keywords: Tibet today

“While consumers in China are already using the “HiPhone 5”; a cheat of Apple’s much anticipated smartphone, iPhone 5, the Chinese state media reported last month that government officials in its “latest move to show the country’s determination to combat piracy” confiscated “20,000 fake Tibetan language text books”.

“In one case, Zhang Xinfeng was found to sell more than 30,000 copies of textbooks, including more than 20,000 Tibetan books, to 25 schools in 19 Tibetan cities and counties between September 2009 to September 2010,” the report said.

Speaking to Phayul, a Reuters reporter based in Hong Kong expressed surprise at the confiscation of Tibetan text books when the markets are flooded with fake medicines and copies of high-end designer labels.

“I tried to contact Chinese officials on the confiscation of Tibetan text books but they refused to give further information,” the Hong Kong based reporter told Phayul.

“This indeed is very mysterious,” he added.”

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XVIth IABS congress: some panel reports and Moriyama Shinya's paper

This is a: snip, written by Birgit Kellner 1913 days ago.
Keywords: ākāra, conferences

Moriyama Shinya of Shinshu University (Matsumoto) has a weblog, I just learned (Shinya used to be in Vienna for several years, and I had the honour of working rather closely with him in my own research project on svasaṃvedana or self-awareness). Shinya recently posted a report (in Japanese) on some panels, including that on ākāras (“forms” or “aspects” in consciousness) which Sara McClintock and myself convened. Shinya also made available his own excellent paper on Ratnākāraśānti’s Alīkākāravāda for download (in English) – highly recommended!

The indefatigable Kataoka Kei of Kyushu University, to whom I owe the link to Shinya’s blog, likewise posted some panel reports (in Japanese), as well as pictures – of presenters, of the conference site, and, last but not least, of gastronomic delights.

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