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Chattha Sangayana Tipitaka 4.0. Copyright © 1995 Vipassana Research Institute

The world has a deep debt of gratitude to the country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). This country maintained a tradition of preserving the words of the Buddha in their original form. And, equally importantly, the gem of the Buddha's teaching, the practice of Vipassana, was preserved there for over two millennia by a small number of devoted meditator bhikkhus and lay people.

Unfortunately, the Pali texts and the practice of Vipassana were lost in India. Realizing the importance of the Pali canon as an invaluable part of the ancient heritage of India, the Government of India after the Chattha Sangayana took the decision to publish the entire Pali literature in Devanagari script. This task was entrusted to Nalanda Mahavihara, at the Nalanda Institute. The work of publishing the Tipitaka was undertaken in earnest, and the efforts of many eminent scholars culminated in the publication of the work in Devanagari. However, the work slowed down, and today the complete set of Tipitaka volumes in out of print. Even isolated volumes are not available. The sublime record of the Buddha's teaching in Devanagari is therefore now not readily available to those speaking the languages of the country in which it originated.   

VRI undertook the monumental task of publishing the entire Pali canon and allied commentarial literature. This work supplemented the efforts of Nalanda Mahavihara. VRI has taken the Chattha Sangayana version in Burmese script as the authentic, authoritative version. Pali scholars from India and other countries, including many learned bhikkhus and research scholars in Myanmar, assisted in this work. The work product has provided an authentic version of the Tipitaka and allied literature in Devanagari script in printed book form.

More importantly, the entire Pali Tipitaka in Devanagari script which has been produced by VRI has also been digitally encoded and is being published on a CD-ROM (Compact Disk-Read Only Memory). Having the information contained within the Pali Tipitaka in this form of storage will preserve this invaluable legacy indefinitely. It will also greatly facilitate study and research into the words of the Buddha by computer search programs capable of locating any word or phrase in any part of the Tipitaka in a matter of seconds. Digital encoding of this information and it use with such search engines open up vast possibilities for both research scholars and students of Vipassana. Information retrieval software will enable the assembly of comprehensive indices of relevant words and terms.

The CD-ROM produced by VRI also contains custom developed computer software which automatically converts the Devanagari script Pali into either Roman script Pali or Burmese script Pali as the reader prefers. This will be of great value to people everywhere interested in the original words of the Buddha.

 

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