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Supachai Tangwongsan
Mahidol University Computing Center 
September, 1996

 

 

BUDSIR IV for Windows

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Buddhism arose in the world 2,500 years ago and has grown side by side with the human race ever since. The Buddha’s teaching has been adopted by people of many races and languages. The teaching has been tested and verified in all manner of ways during its 2,500 year history. Its durability has proven the fact that the Buddha’s teaching is truly deathless. For Buddhists it represents the Teacher himself. The words spoken by the Buddha over the mere 45 year period after his enlightenment until his final passing away (parinibbana) are said to cover 84,000 topics (dhammakkhandha), and these are collected and arranged in the scriptures that Buddhists revere most highly, known as the Tipitaka, and it is here that they have been preserved up to the present time. The preservation of the Tipitaka has been undertaken in accordance with the technology available in each age. For instance, in the Buddha’s time, instruments for writing were scarce, so the preservation of the Tipitaka at that time was done by the method known as mukhapatha—recitation and memorization. As time went on other methods were developed to preserve the teachings. Stone inscriptions, metal plates, leaf scriptures, cloth, paper and other materials—whatever was available in each age—were all used in the effort to accurately preserve these holy texts.

Because the Tipitaka is so vast, its inscription, preservation and use for study has always presented great difficulty. Thus the idea of using modern computer technology to preserve the texts seems to be a natural conclusion. The Mahidol University Computing Center began this project by creating the world’s first digital edition of Tipitaka in 1988, and since then it has continuously developed and expanded the project in order to make the preservation of the Buddhist scriptures more abreast of the times, thus ensuring that the Buddha’s teaching and discipline (Dhammavinaya) is truly “akaliko” timeless. Initially presented on hard disk, then WORM (Write Once Read Many) disk, the Tipitaka is now available on CD-ROM (Compact Disk Read Only Memory) disk, which is the most technologically advanced medium available at present.

Apart from the Tipitaka, the Atthakatha (Commentaries) and some portions of the Tika (Sub Commentaries), which are the scriptures that expand on and explain the Tipitaka texts, other important texts have also been included in the set, making it a truly comprehensive and indispensable aid for study and research.

A manual of user guide is provided to aid the use of this digital version of the Tipitaka and Atthakatha on CD-ROM and also the program BUDSIR IV (Buddhist Scriptures Information Retrieval version IV) in its newly developed form under the Windows platform, which is capable of displaying several windows at one time. Moreover, this version also includes the capacity to give audio readouts of the Pali texts as an extra aid in research. p_cdmonk.JPG (25351 bytes)

The BUDSIR user manual is divided into four main sections. The first chapter deals with the history and development of the digital version of the Tipitaka and Atthakatha up until the development of BUDSIR IV for Windows, the program’s general features and capabilities, the basic computer hardware and software requirements, opening up the program, quitting the program and getting help when problems arise. The second chapter explains the different menu commands in BUDSIR IV for Windows. The third chapter gives examples of searching the Tipitaka and Atthakatha by word/phrase, by volume/passage/page, and also other features of the program. The last section of the manual contains appendices, comprising an appendix on getting help via the Internet, a comparative table of the volumes of the Tipitaka and Atthakatha, current projects at the Mahidol University Computing Center and planned projects for the future development of the digital version of the Tipitaka and Atthakatha.

The Computing Center is exceedingly grateful for the gracious kindness His Majesty the King has shown in initiating this project and graciously donating some of his own funds towards its successful implementation.

The Computing Center would also like to reverentially give thanks to Somdet Nyanasamvara, His Holiness the Sangharaja, who was the project’s Honorary Advisor, and Venerable Chao Khun Phra Dhammapitaka (Prayudh Payutto), who helped the project with suggestions and advise about many of the problems that arose during the implementation of the project so that all problems were eventually overcome. The Computing Center also extends its thanks to Professor Dr. Natth Bhamarapravati, former President of Mahidol University, who began the project and supported and encouraged it while he was President of the University. Thanks also to Prem Sumetpong, Songpol Moonsanit and Lersun Kuvareewong for their contributions in the software development. This manual could not be made possible without the editing efforts of the following persons: Jiraporn Kiatpibool, Bang-orn Kornwirat and Bruce Evans, special thanks go to all of them. Lastly, let us not forget the users of the first version of BUDSIR, who pointed out its mistakes and shortcomings and provided us with advice and suggestions for its improvement, all of which were invaluable for the development of BUDSIR IV for Windows.

The Computing Center is proud to have played a part in the continued preservation of the treasury of priceless wisdom that is the Tipitaka, and hopes that BUDSIR IV for Windows and its manual will aid the user, at least to some extent, in his or her research, and we are happy to receive corrections or suggestions in order to improve future versions of BUDSIR IV for Windows.

 

Copyright 2002 Mahidol University All rights reserved.
Mahidol University Computing Center, Rama VI Road, Rajathewi, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND Tel. (662) 354-4333