About English translation project of the Buddhist Canon


The English translation project of the Buddhist Canon began in January 1982, when Rev. Dr. Yehan Numata, the founder of BDK (Society for the Promotion of Buddhism), established the Editorial Committee of the English Tripiṭaka Translation Project.

The Buddhist scriptures known as "sutras" constitute a part of the Tripiṭaka. "Tripiṭaka" (three collections) is comprised of the Sutra Pitaka, the Discipline Pitaka, and the Commentary Piṭaka. "Piṭaka" in "Tripiṭaka" means "collection."

The Collection of Sutras refers to the teachings taught by the Buddha, the Collection of Discipline refers to the regulations of the lives of monks and nuns, and the Collection of Commentaries refers to the commentaries on the first two collections. The Tripiṭaka of southern Buddhism, in such places as Sri Lanka and Thailand, is referred to as the Pāli TiPiṭaka.

In China, Indian scriptures from the early period and the later Mahāyāna scriptures were transmitted without distinction between the two. These were, then, translated into Chinese from the Later Han to the Northern Song periods (148 -1129). These were, then, combined with the works of Chinese commentators to produce what came to be known as the "Buddhist Canon." In Tibet, the translated scriptures were divided into the words of the Buddha (Kanjur) and their commentaries (Tenjur). These two sections were brought together to comprise the Tibetan Canon.

Among these various these canons the Sino-Japanese Canon is the largest in volume. Today, the standard version of Sino-Japanese Canon is the Taishō Canon in 100 volumes, which also includes the works of Japanese Buddhism. The Taishō Canon is comprised of 3,360 works, totaling 11,970 chapters.

For the purpose of transmitting the Buddhist teachings to the English-speaking world, we felt it necessary to translate the entire Taishō Buddhist Canon. Realizing the extreme difficulty of translating the voluminous Taishō Buddhist Canon in a short period of time, the Editorial Committee selected for 139 works the first stage of its project, which amounted to one-tenth of the entire canon. And in order to facilitate this prodigious project, the Publication Committee was established at the Numata Center for Translation and Research in Berkeley, California in the United States.

As of today, 69 works have been translated in 41 volumes to make up the "English Buddhist Canon." The remaining works are being translated by Buddhist scholars in over ten countries throughout the world. We are making every effort to complete the first stage of the project at the earliest possible time.

Apocryphal Scriptures
Awakening of Faith
Baizhang Zen Monastic Regulations
Biographical Scripture of King Aśoka
Biography of Tripiṭaka Master of Great Ci'en Monastery
Blue Cliff Record
Brahmā’s Net Sutra
Buddhacarita: In Praise of Buddha's Acts
Buddhist Monastic Traditions of Southern Asia
Canonical Book of. Buddha's Lengthy Discourses    Vol. I     Vol. II     Vol. III
Collection for Propagation and Clarification of Buddhism    Vol. I     Vol. II
Comprehensive Commentary on the Heart Sutra
Esoteric Texts
Essentials of Eight Traditions / Candle of Latter Dharma
Essentials of Vinaya and Teachings Tendai Lotus School
Expository Commentary on the Vimalakīrti Sutra
A Forest of Pearls from the Dharma Garden    Vol. I     Vol. II     Vol. III     Vol. IV     Vol. V
Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Western Regions
Hundred Records of the Temple of National Purity
Interpretation of the Buddha Land
Kaimokushō or Liberation from Blindness
Kyōgyōshinshō: Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment
Lives of Great Monks and Nuns
Lotus Sutra, Revised Second Edition
Madhyama Āgama (Middle-Length Discourses)    Vol. I     Vol. II    Vol. III
Nirvana Sutra, Vol. I
Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch
Pratyutpanna Samādhi Sutra / Śūraṅgama Samādhi Sutra
Prince Shōtoku's Commentary on the Śrīmālā-sūtra
Scriptural Text: Verses of the Doctrine, with Parables
Scripture of Medicine Master / Sutra of Girl Candrottarā
Scripture on the Explication of Underlying Meaning
Senchaku Hongan Nembutsu Shū
Shingon Texts
Shōbōgenzō: The True Dharma-Eye Treasury    Vol. I     Vol. II     Vol. III     Vol. IV
Storehouse of Sundry Valuables
Summary of the Great Vehicle, Revised 2nd. Edition
Sutra of Queen Śrīmālā and The Vimalakīrti Sutra
Sutra on the Concentration of Sitting Meditation
Sutra of Maitreya Buddha / Sutra of Mañjuśrī’s Questions
Sutra on Upāsaka Precepts
Tannishō: Deploring Deviations / The Letters of Rennyo
Three Chan Classics
Three Pure Land Sutras
Three Short Treatises by Vasubandhu, Sengzhao, and Zongmi
Three Texts on Consciousness Only
Tiantai Lotus Texts
Treatise on Elucidation / Cycle of Schismatic Doctrines
Two Esoteric Sutras
Two Nichiren Texts
Vairocanābhisaṃbodhi Sutra
Zen Texts