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Mandalas of the Three Pure Land Sutras
A Comprehensive Dictionary of Buddhism Zuio Jirin
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By Zuio Hisao Inagaki
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Zuio Jirin 瑞雄辞林
A Comprehensive Dictionary of Buddhism
By Zuio Hisao Inagaki
It has been my long-cherished desire and, I believe that of all Buddhist students, to have a comprehensive, and yet practical, dictionary of Buddhism. A Dictionary of Japanese Buddhist Terms., first published in 1984, was my initial attempt to realize this desire. Over the years, this handy dictionary, with some 5,000 entries packed into less than 480 pages, has served the purpose of making general Japanese Buddhist terms accessible to Western students. The demand for this dictionary has necessitated reprints in enlarged editions; the most recent of which, the (fifth) edition published in 2003 contained about 5,500 entries in nearly 550 pages.
My wish to expand this dictionary substantially proved impractical due to the fact that the printing that used to be set manually is now electronically processed. Therefore, I had no other choice but to edit a new version using more updated methods. As it turned out, this change has given me unlimited freedom in relation to both the scope and content of this work. Many new entries drawn from various sources in India and China - not just Japan - have been added, covering the range of different schools of thought and including even non-Buddhist ideas, such as those of the Vedas and Upanishads from India, Confucianism and Taoism from China, and Shinto and new religions from Japan. Apart from adding a number of entries derived from Chinese and Japanese Buddhist texts, I have ventured to explore further dimensions of Buddhist studies, both Mahayana and Hinayana, esoteric and exoteric, historical as well as doctrinal. Although the entry words are in Romanized Japanese, I have tried to give their Sanskrit and Chinese equivalents wherever possible.
The total number of entries is now nearing 13,000 in more than 1,200 pages. Single entries often cover a ｆｅｗ pages. A separate volume comprising comprehensive indexes of terms in various languages, e.g. an index of Chinese characters, arranged according to the number of strokes, will prove a useful guide for readers with varied interests.
In 2009, while preparing for the final proofreading, the publisher told me that the publication of this dictionary would have to be suspended - for some unforeseen reasons. I have looked for anothe publisher to take over the work but without success. While groping for a solution, a flash of thought occurred to me. It was to upload the bulk of thedictionary files onto this web site. Although this will no doubt entail an enormous effort on my part, this change will provide the opportunity to revise and enlarge the contents whenever required. I trust that this dictionary will grow larger as long as I live.
When I began to produce this web site more than ten years ago, I thought of making some contribution to the dissemination of Buddhism throughout the world, side by side with continuing to publish translations of Buddhist texts. While keenly aware of the great advantage of internet facilities for communication purposes, I became increasingly convinced that many visitors would be led to the Dharma through Buddhist web sites.
At that time, however, it did not occur to me that a dictionary of this dimension would be successfully loaded onto a web site. My immediate concern was as follows: (1) to introduce the Horai school of Shin Buddhism to which my father, Zuiken, was devoted in expounding; (2) to disseminate Pure Land Buddhism, especially Shin Buddhism, by presenting translations of the Three Pure Land Sutras, works by the Seven Pure Land Masters and Shinran Shonin; (3) to study and introduce to many readers the precious mandalas of the Three Pure Land Sutras, which came into my hand through the late Mr. Harold Stewart of Australia; (4) to clarify the fundamental teachings found in Mahayana sutras and discourses; (5) to introduce the academic activities of Shin Buddhism; (6) to make public Chinese poems which I have composed over the years; (7) to publish Buddhist essays, often in a question-and-answer form; and (8) to publish a comprehensive dictionary of Buddhism. When the new dictionary project was introduced, a few hundred entries had already been included on Amida Net. Now new entries from the dictionary files will be added every day.
In compiling this web site, I owe a debt of gratitude to many Dharma friends but would like to mention two names for their special contribution: Rev. George Gatenby and Rev. John Paraskevopoulos of Australia. They have carefully checked the dictionary entries and supplied useful suggestions.
Zuio Hisao Inagaki
September 1, 2009
|International Association of Shin Buddhist studies
|Mugeko: : Horai Association of Australia-
Web master: George Gatenby
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