Tipiṭaka Research Center (TRC)

The Tipiṭaka Research Center (TRC) is a research unit under the DTP consisting of a dozen researchers in Buddhist scriptures and Pāli language, both monks and laypeople, from different countries: Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Japan. Our main tasks are to select representative manuscripts from all manuscript traditions of the Pāli canon, and to produce a new critical edition of the Pāli canon based on those manuscripts along with four major printed editions—PTS, Chaṭṭhasaṅgāyanā, Syāmaraṭṭha, and Buddhajayanti edition—through a process of textual criticism.

Selecting representative manuscripts

Selecting representative manuscripts out of a huge collection of manuscripts acquired from all Theravada countries is not an easy task. First, from a major group of manuscripts divided by scripts: Sinhalese, Burmese, Khom, Tham, and Mon. In each tradition, we need to group manuscripts into sub-groups by carefully considering and comparing various aspects, both internal and external evidence, such as manuscript age, location, variant readings, abbreviation style. From our experience, each major manuscript tradition will have 2-3 sub-groups of manuscripts. Then, the representative manuscripts, usually the oldest one, will be selected out from each sub-group to be our editorial materials. As a result, the representative manuscripts may be selected up to five manuscripts from each tradition—in total, around 20-25 representative manuscripts—for preparing a critical edition.

In producing a critical edition, we are working on a specially designated database system so-called ‘Indic Text Analysis Program (ITAP).’ On the system, researchers will preliminarily edit the text and finally re-edited by a chief editor. After having been finalized by the chief editor, we plan to have the new edition available as a printed and online version, under the title of the Dhammachai Edition, for scholars or students who are interested in studying in Theravada Buddhism or Pāli texts.
In a course of editing the text, we arrange a discussion group weekly to discuss editorial problems and exchange opinions among the team on issues of variant readings, editorial policies. The researchers will give a presentation about some of the interesting or challenging problems at an annual seminar help by DTP. All presentations at the seminar will be developed into a paper for our research series so-called "Pāli Text and Manuscripts."