Catalogue of the Yongle Northern Buddhist Canon
The Yongle Northern Buddhist Canon is an imperial canon engraved in the period of Yongle (1419) and the period of Zhengtong (1440). During the reign of Emperor Shenzong, his mother Empress Dowager Li donated money to engrave 41 han 函(cases).
Dr. Darui Long has been working on the Chinese Buddhist canon for a long time. He started to investigate the Yongle Northern Canon in 2009 and has made great progress in understanding this unique edition of imperial canon engraved by the imperial court. The catalogue he compiled is characterized with following unique features:
- It has corrected the mistakes in the catalogue of the Shōwa hōhō sōmokuroku and the catalogue of the Yongle Northern Canon reprinted by Xianzhuang shuju in Beijing in 2006.
- It provides titles for scriptures in Sanskrit and Tibetan languages
- It provides the English translation of the titles if available.
- It records the corresponding catalogue numbers for both the Koryo Canon and the Taisho Canon so that scholars may continue to search the scriptures that they wish to compare with the corresponding scriptures in Korean Buddhist Canon and the Taisho Canon.
When all these are done, we may ask experts of internet to put it on the website of UWest.
In the next stage we plan to do the following:
- The catalogue will provide the Qianziwen and the catalogue number of the editions of the Chinese Buddhist canon which are available in libraries and temples, including Yongle Southern Canon, Qisha Canon, Zhaocheng Canon, Puning Canon, Hongwu Southern Canon, Jiaxing Sewn Edition, Dragon Edition, Puhui Edition, Pinqie Edition and Foguang Canon.
- A union catalogue is to be compiled based on the authenticated catalogue of the Yongle Northern Canon. We plan to collect information on the extant copies of the Yongle Northern Canon kept in various libraries and temples in China and the US. We will provide information about the missing scriptures, repair and present status quo of these scriptures. This aims at further preserving rare books and further studies of the the Yongle Northern Canon. Dr. Long has made field investigations into this unique Buddhist canon in many libraries and temples in both China and the United States. He has found that two copies are kept at Princeton University and the University of Chicago. It would not be easy for mainland Chinese scholars to come to the United States to study these copies. It is also equally difficult for American scholars to go to China to do the same field research work. Currently, no American scholar is doing research on this edition of Buddhist canon. Dr. Long has taken advantages of his connections in China – he has found that about 20 copies are extant in P.R. China. He has collected the catalogue of the Yongle Northern Canon kept at Shandong Provincial Library. Most of these copies are not classified or catalogued. Dr. Long is using his networks in China National Library and Chinese Buddhist Association for more research work.
- Two catalogues will be designed in the formats of hard copy and internet.