by David Reigle
An extensive archive of Sanskrit texts has been assembled over the past thirty-five years in connection with research on the question of the existence of a once universal but now hidden wisdom tradition. In particular, these Sanskrit texts were gathered to one day annotate the so far unknown "Book of Dzyan," a generic title meaning Book of Wisdom (Jnana), used by H. P. Blavatsky for the source of the stanzas translated in her 1888 book, The Secret Doctrine. This ongoing research indicates the likelihood that such a book exists, and therefore that at some point it will become available.
There was always the intention to eventually make these Sanskrit texts widely accessible, and this has now become possible on the web. This archive of the Eastern Tradition Research Institute includes almost all known printed Sanskrit Buddhist texts, many Sanskrit editions of the primary Hindu texts, and the major Sanskrit and Prakrit Jaina texts. The Sanskrit Buddhist texts will be posted first, as being more in demand, since they are harder to find than the Hindu texts.
These are digital image scans of the original editions. They show the text exactly as it was printed, without the inevitable introduction of typographical errors when these texts are input to make electronically searchable files. They also make it possible to find specific references to specific page numbers in specific editions. Most importantly, they make available a full library of Sanskrit texts, many of which are rare and hard to find. As we continue the search for the Book of Dzyan, it is our hope that others will find these online Sanskrit texts to be useful in their own study or research.
We continue with texts from the pramana tradition, the tradition of logic or epistemology, answering the question: How do we know something? By a twist of fate, the Nyaya-bindu by the greatest writer of the Buddhist pramana tradition, Dharmakirti, had been found and published in 1889. But Dharmakirti's magnum opus, the Pramana-varttika, remained lost until the dauntless Rahula Sankrtyayana found it in 1936 on the third of his four trips to Tibet in search of Sanskrit manuscripts. This obviously opened up a whole new phase in studies of the Buddhist pramana tradition.
The Pramana-varttika, as the name "varttika" tells us, is a commentary. It is a commentary on the Pramana-samuccaya, the central work of Dignaga, founding father of the Buddhist pramana tradition. As sometimes happens, the commentary superseded the work it comments on, and became itself the standard work of this tradition.
We now post the editions of the pramana texts prepared by Rahula Sankrtyayana from the manuscripts he found, and published starting in 1935. We also post a later edition of Dharmakirti's Pramana-varttika, including its Tibetan translation, along with two volumes of indexes. Lastly, we post another text by Dharmakirti, the Hetu-bindu, that Sankrtyayana had re-translated from Tibetan back into Sanskrit, along with two commentaries on it, the first of which was discovered in a Jaina temple in India. These texts are:
A partial edition of Prajnakara-gupta's bhasya on the Pramana-varttika, the pratyaksa chapter, verses 330-539, published in 1935.
The complete text of Dharmakirti's Pramana-varttika, all four chapters, published in 1938.
The Pramana-varttika with Manorathanandin's vrtti on all four chapters, published 1938-1940.
The Pramana-varttika with Prajnakara-gupta's bhasya, complete edition, published in 1953. This commentary omits the svarthanumana chapter, since Dharmakirti wrote his own commentary on this chapter. Two editions of Dharmakirti's own commentary on this chapter were prepared independently of each other, and published in 1959 and 1960 respectively. These may be posted in the future.
A new edition of Dharmakirti's Pramana-varttika, edited by Yusho Miyasaka, along with an edition of the Tibetan translation, published in 1972.
A Sanskrit-Tibetan index to the Pramana-varttika, prepared by Yusho Miyasaka, published in 1975.
A Tibetan-Sanskrit index to the Pramana-varttika, prepared by Yusho Miyasaka, published in 1979.
Dharmakirti's Vada-nyaya with Santaraksita's commentary, edited by Rahula Sankrtyayana, published 1935-1936.
The Hetu-bindu tika by Bhatta Arcata and the Aloka sub-commentary thereon by Durveka Misra, edited by Pandit Sukhlalji Sanghavi and Muni Shri Jinavijayaji, published in 1949. This includes in an appendix Dharmakirti's Hetu-bindu as retranslated into Sanskrit from Tibetan by Rahula Sankrtyayana.
According to tradition, Dharmakirti wrote seven works. The main three are the Nyaya-bindu, the Pramana-viniscaya, and the Pramana-varttika. The supplementary four are the Hetu-bindu, the Sambandha-pariksa, the Vada-nyaya, and the Samtanantara-siddhi. Of the main three, the Nyaya-bindu was published in 1889, marking the beginning of the first phase of studies in the Buddhist pramana tradition. The Pramana-varttika was partially published in 1935, and fully published in 1938, marking the beginning of the second phase of these studies. The first two (of three) chapters of the Pramana-viniscaya was published in 2007. This publication, along with the edition of chapter 1 of Jinendrabuddhi's tika on Dignaga's Pramana-samuccaya, published in 2005, can be said to have begun the third phase of these studies. These latter texts were published through the initiative and indefatigable efforts of Ernst Steinkellner, as the first two texts of the series, Sanskrit Texts from the Tibetan Autonomous Region. This is a cooperative effort between the China Tibetology Research Center and the Austrian Academy of Sciences. We can expect many more important texts in this series.
As a supplementary note, it may be helpful to give English translations for the titles of the seven works of Dharmakirti. Adopting those given by Georges B. J. Dreyfus in his valuable 1997 book, Recognizing Reality: Dharmakirti's Philosophy and Its Tibetan Interpretations, these are as follows. (He does not refer to the Sambandha-pariksa, so the translation of that title was added by me.)