Digital Edition of the Tipitaka, Thai Language Version on CD-ROM
On May 30, 1988, Visakha Puja Day, the Digital Tipitaka Development Team under the Mahidol University Computing Center announced the completion of its project to record the 45 volumes of the Pali Tipitaka in Thai script onto computer, together with the development of an application program, BUDSIR, for searching it. BUDSIR could search and find every occurrence of every word, sentence, and saying of the Buddha occurring in the Tipitaka promptly, precisely and comprehensively. It was the world’s first digital edition of the Tipitaka. Three years later, in compliance with the wishes of his Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, 70 volumes of the Atthakatha (Commentary) were added to the database, and three years from then, in August 1994, the Tipitaka and Atthakatha, numbering 115 volumes in all, were recorded on CD-ROM and a more efficient search program, BUDSIR IV, was developed. Today marks another great step forward in the development of the project with the successful completion of the Thai translation edition of the Tipitaka on CD-ROM and the new search program, BUDSIR/TT for Windows.
The Tipitaka is the repository of the Dhamma-Vinaya, (Teaching and Discipline), the teaching of Buddhism, and is the highest scriptural authority for Buddhist teachings, beliefs, and practice. The Thai script edition of the Pali Tipitaka now in existence is known as the Siamrattha Edition. It contains 45 volumes, consisting of 8 volumes of Vinaya, 25 volumes of Suttas and 12 volumes of Abhidhamma, representing more than 24 million characters. The Tipitaka in Thai translation also fills out 45 volumes, which is convenient for comparison with the original Pali source. There are 27 million characters in the Thai version of the Tipitaka. All of this has been recorded on a single CD-ROM disk 120 mm. in diameter, 1.2 mm. thick and weighing just 14 grams!
The Thai language version of the digital edition of the Tipitaka was created on PC computers and is presented on the Windows platform within which it is possible to open and read many windows at once, just as one might open many different volumes of scriptures at one time for comparison. Up to eight windows can be opened at any one time. The program can be used on any PC computer, but for best results it should be used on a Pentium-equipped computer with at least 16 MB of RAM, a CD-ROM drive and a magnetic storage device with at least 40 MB of free disk space for temporary storage of data.
Data search on the Thai version of the digital Tipitaka is done through the search program BUDSIR/TT (Buddhist Scriptures Information Retrieval/Thai Translation version). It works much the same as previous versions of the program, with fast, accurate and, most importantly, comprehensive search capacity. It can search for words, names, place names, sentences, or parts of passages in all 45 volumes of the Thai Tipitaka. For example, search the word "Phra Anon" (Ananda) and the computer will promptly inform us that there are 1,335 occurrences of the word in all 45 volumes. Furthermore, it also tells us where the word occurs in each volume and, when instructed, shows each passage in which the word occurs. with the word "Phra Anon" highlighted at every occurrence.
The ability of this version of the digital Tipitaka to search for parts of Thai words has some very important implications. For example, one may search for all words that begin with the letters "kusol". The search method is to type in the search string kusal*. The computer will then search the online dictionary for all words that begin with those letters, and will display those words, such as kusala, kusonlakam, kusonlakammabot, kusonlajit, kusonlamul, and kusonlavitok, together with the number of occurrences of each within the 45 volumes of the Tipitaka. When you have chosen the particular word that interests you from the list, you then search for the word in the same way as in the "Phra Anon" search described above.
In addition to searching and displaying data in the Thai Tipitaka, BUDSIR/TT can also collate the data displayed in Thai language with the Pali Tipitaka in Thai script, the original source text, volume by volume, paragraph by paragraph. It can also do the reverse, that is, having searched for text in the Pali Tipitaka, Thai script, and received a result passage in the Pali language, one can then collate that passage in the Pali language with its corresponding passage in the Thai Tipitaka for comparison.
Having made a comparison between the Thai Tipitaka and the Pali Tipitaka, Thai script, it is also possible to make another comparison by converting the Pali passage in Thai script into Roman script (Romanized Pali), a format that will be convenient for the dissemination of the Buddha’s teachings in other countries. Western students of Buddhism have long been familiar with the Pali language in Roman script through the publications of the Pali Text Society in England. Easterners are also familiar with the Roman script as it is the script of the English language. Thus it represents no problem for them to read the Romanized version of the Pali Tipitaka. The program’s ability to display data in the Romanized Pali will be a useful step in the spread of the Buddha’s teachings. Once this is augmented by an English translation of the Tipitaka, the result will be even more comprehensive.
The Digital Tipitaka Development Team has many other projects to implement in the future to aid in the study and dissemination of the Buddha’s teachings, as study and research of the Tipitaka is an essential duty of Buddhists. It is one way of ensuring the longevity of the Buddhist religion and that Buddhism continues to serve the people of the world.
Mahidol University Computing Center
December 1, 1998
Copyright © 2002 Mahidol
University All rights reserved.