RESOURCE: Online database for attributions and dates of Chinese Buddhist texts

Michael Radich's picture

New online reference for Chinese Buddhist Studies

Dear colleagues,

I write to announce the launch of a new online reference work for the study of Chinese Buddhist texts.

As is well known, the texts of the received Chinese Buddhist canon, and other Chinese Buddhist texts, are rife with problems of incorrect attribution and dating, and scholars must exercise vigorous critical awareness in handling them. However, it is often difficult for individual scholars to keep abreast of relevant evidence, arguments and judgments in both primary and secondary sources. Such information is copious, but scattered in far-flung and sometimes obscure locations in numerous languages.

Programmer Jamie Norrish and I have created a user-contributor online reference resource to help scholars collaborate to keep track of such information—the Chinese Buddhist Canonical Attributions database (CBC@). CBC@ may be accessed at:

CBC@ already contains thousands of entries indexing such information in primary sources like the Chu zanzang ji ji 出三藏記集 T2145 or the Kaiyuan lu 開元釋教錄 T2154, or the works of key modern scholars like Hayashiya, Bareau, Zürcher, Nattier, and Funayama. For an example of the sort of information the database can contain on a single Taishō work, see:

More examples are given in a Guide that I have compiled for users of the database, available at:

I strongly recommend that prospective users read the Guide before using the database in their research.

I hope that scholars on this list will be persuaded to use CBC@, give me their feedback about how it can be improved, become contributors, and encourage their students to do the same.

For the period 2017-2018, work on CBC@ is generously supported by funding from the Chiang Ching-kuo Research Foundation (RG003-P-16). This financial support is being applied to systematically record information bearing on the critical assessment of ascriptions and dating from key modern Japanese sources, such as Ono Genmyō’s小野玄妙 (1883-1939) Bussho kaisetsu daijiten 佛書解說大辭典 and the works of Sakaino Kōyō 境野黄洋 (1871-1933). Earlier work on the database was supported by funding from the Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; and by funds associated with a Fellowship for Experienced Researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2015. Throughout the process of planning and building to the present point, we have also benefited greatly from the generous and nonpareil advice of Professor Jan Nattier, and I gratefully acknowledge her help here.


Michael Radich

Dr Michael Radich, Associate Professor  
Programme Director
Religious Studies
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
Room 207, 14 Kelburn Parade
ph:(64 4) 463 9477
Fax: (64 4) 463 5065