Friday, 30 December 2011

The catalogue of Tibetan manuscripts @ Bod

Dan Martin has come across our provisional 
online catalogue of Tibetan manuscripts, 
as noted in his excellent
Tibeto-logic blog. 

The descriptive catalogue was first developed by 
J.E.Stapleton Driver in the early 1970s, 
and then revised by David Barrett, 
onetime Consultant in Caucasian and Central Asian Studies, 
who died in 1998, an obituary is here. I never knew him, 
but posthumous thanks are due.
Many students of Tibetan culture also owe thanks to 
John Stapleton Driver, for his translations into English of 
G.Tucci's Tibet, paese delle nevi,  
and then R.A.Stein's La Civilisation tibétaine
I spoke to John a couple of months ago.
The typescript catalogue is online here as a preliminary move 
in a project to create a digital catalogue for all the 
Tibetan manuscripts in the Special Collections at Bodleian, 
see here for an introduction to the Bodleian's 
Tibetan Collection (scroll down a bit for Tibetan). 
The catalogue should be searchable. Please note that the 
transliteration system used is not standard 
Library of Congress or Wylie - you have to be a bit clever with 
your searches.
Thanks due to Christine Madsen for technical help with fixing up the file.
We intend to develop a digital catalogue along the lines of 
Bodleian's Fihrist catalogue for manuscripts in Arabic script, 
but for manuscripts in Tibetan script. 
This project is kindly being funded by the Aris Trust
thanks to Anthony Aris and Dr Ulrike Roesler for arranging the funding.

The catalogue will have Tibetan script for titles as well as 
LoC and Wylie transliteration, so hopefully the collection will be 
easily accessible for research by indigenous Tibetan users.
Watch this space...
John Stapleton-Driver sadly passed away on 28 May 2014.
An appreciation of him @ this LINK ,
reproduced below 
       John E. Stapleton Driver was one of the first Europeans to meet and receive 
teachings from the great Tibetan lamas when they fled homeland in the 
1950’s. He was an integral part of this unique period of history.
       John was born in 1931 in England. He taught himself Tibetan from a 
textbook when he was young.  In later years his natural linguistic 
ability gave him a wide knowledge of both occidental and oriental languages. 
He earned a degree in Classical Chinese at Oxford University 
(Merton and St. Anthony's Colleges). During those studies he 
became interested in Tibetan and Sanskrit and related Buddhist 
       In the mid-1950’s, he traveled to India to do research and field work 
for his Ph.D. on the Guhyagarbha Tantra. He lived in Kalimpong, 
a small town to which many of the most important Tibetan Buddhist 
teachers of the last century had fled. 
      He was a student of Jamyang Khyentse Cho Kyi Lodro and took 
numerous teachings from him in Sikkim and India. The Fourth Dodrup 
Chen Rinpoche lived in John’s house for some time and gave the 
Nyingtik Yab Shi empowerments there to him and John Blofield. 
John was deeply devoted to Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and 
often met him informally to receive teachings.  
      In India, John also taught English classes to Trungpa Rinpoche, Tulku 
Thondrup, Chime Wangmo (Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s daughter), 
and others. He was instrumental, with Freda Bedi, in getting a scholarship to 
Oxford for Trungpa Rinpoche and continued to help him with his studies 
in England. 
       John translated two great classics into English: 
Tibet: Land of the Snows by Giuseppe Tucci and R.A. Stein’s Tibetan 
Civilization. He wrote a descriptive catalogue of the Tibetan manuscripts 
in the important Bodleian Collection that still provides invaluable 
material for researchers.
       He worked for The London Stock Exchange as part of the team 
setting up Talisman, the first computerized share-dealing system. 
In 1979 he founded a consultancy, Flowergold Ltd, and one of his 
contracts was with The British Library, defining international 
cataloguing conventions and also facilitating technical 
compatibility with the Library of Congress.
       His warm and personal relationship with Khyentse Rinpoche 
continued over the years and in 1990, he traveled to Tibet with him 
and a number of students on pilgrimage. 
        John passed away on May 28th in England after a long illness 
that he faced with fortitude and courage.  R.I.P.

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