Dictionary Department

Till a few decades ago, when interest in the Mahayana Buddhism began to rise world-wide, literature related to it was limited to classical languages like Tibetan and Chinese. As a result of the efforts of scholars like Mahapandita Rahul Sankrityayana, some Sanskrit texts did come to the attention of readers, but they were often inaccurate and incomplete. Seeing this situation, some contemporary scholars prepared an ambitious programme, the chief object of which was to prepare authoritative editions of the available Sanskrit texts, to restore fragmentary texts with the help of their Tibetan translations, to encourage high-level research based on the material available in these languages, and to make easily available the Buddhist literature available in the classical languages like Tibetan, Sanskrit etc. in modern languages like Hindi and English. In order to accomplish this ambitious programme, the need for various kinds of lexicons was felt. Accordingly, the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies undertook a grand Dictionary Project, in which there was a provision for the creation of two kinds of lexicons – general and specialized.

Complete Projects

Tibetan - Sanskrit Dictionary

As a part of the effort to prepare general lexicons, a Tibetan – Sanskrit Dictionary running into 16 volumes was started in the year 1981 and completed in the year 2005.


This is a specialized Tibetan – Sanskrit dictionary of synonyms, in which the Tibetan – Sanskrit equivalents related to the Buddhist realms of Logic, Philosophy, Metaphysics, Ethics, Scripture, practitioner literature, Tantra, Medicine, Astrology, Poetics, Grammar etc. are presented with their meanings, definitions and usages contextualized. In addition to this, the Tibetan-Sanskrit equivalents of the non-Buddhist Indian schools of thought such as Nyaya, Vaisesika, Sankhya etc. which are found in the Buddhist literature, are also recorded in this dictionary with their usages and definitions. Along with this, non-philosophical terms occurring in both, the Buddhist and the non-Buddhist traditions, are also taken care of in this dictionary. The Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary of 16 Volumes is a unique contribution of the Dictionary Unit of the Research Department of the CIHTS to the study of the Mahayana Buddhism in general and the Tibetan Buddhist Studies in particular. This is the largest ever Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary compiled, which consists of over 100,000 Sanskrit equivalents. Scholars working in this area have greatly praised this Dictionary and have termed it as a historic effort. It has been reviewed by Prof. J. W. De Jong in the Indo-Iranian Journal (Vol. 40(3) July 1997 p. 273). Database or CD-ROM of the Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary (16 Volumes) is completed & releasing very soon.

Dharmasangraha-Kosha (Tibetan-Sanskrit Dharma terms with Categories)

The term "Dharma" is used here to mean any word that suggests a category or a classification. For the present volume, Dharma terms have been supplied mainly from the Buddhist schools of sciences like Abhidharma, Vinaya, Tantra, Ayurvijnana, Jyotish etc. Non-Buddhist terms have also been incorporated insofar as they appear in Sanskrit works which have been fully translated into

Tibetan language

Two main points were kept in mind while making this Dictionary:-

  1. Easy access to the desired dharma term given in the main text, and
  2. Relevance for Tibetan and Sanskrit readers, as well as those engaged in the Tibetan -Sanskrit comparative study.

This Kosha was started in the year 2005 and completed in 2006.

Concordance of Tibetan- Sanskrit Texts (Sandarbha Kosha)

In the field of Buddhist literature, one has to often consult Tibetan translation of Sanskrit text and their Sanskrit originals while during research, editing, translation, or compiling Dictionary etc. This no doubt is a tiring job. Therefore, to save time and unwarranted exertion, it was decided to prepare a concordance of Tibetan-Sanskrit texts. This kosha was started in 2005 and was completed in 2008. It facilitate, the search for the desire portion of a Sanskrit text in its corresponding Tibetan translation either in Kagyur or Tengyur.

On-going project

Ayurvijnana Kosha

This encyclopedia is based on the Ashtangahridaya and its Tibetan translation along with some Sanskrit commentaries. The encyclopedia explains the contents of the Ashtangahridaya. At the same time, it also records general and technical Tibetan terms with their Sanskrit equivalents. The encyclopedia shall also contain pictures of different parts of medicinal herbs. This Kosha is in the final stage of proof reading and shall be completed within next few months.

Jyotisha Kosha

This encyclopedia will be based on the Sanskrit texts related to Astrology and Astronomy with their Tibetan Translations and shall explain the contents of these texts. Contextualized citations will be used to explain the technical terms. This kosha was started in 2006. Few Sanskrit texts related to Astronomy and Astrology were input in the computer and proof reading of the same was completed. Technical terms and citations from these texts is completed. Along with this, some Tibetan texts were also computerized and proof reading of the same was completed.

Students Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary (Chatra-Upayogi Kosha)

This kosha was started in 2008.This will contain Tibetan words with their Sanskrit equivalents. The Tibetan terms will be followed by their pronunciation. Notes, examples and modern Tibetan words will be provided where ever necessary in order to explain the meaning of Tibetan terms.

Sanskrit Tibetan Glossary

This glossary is based on the Tibetan Sanskrit Dictionary complied by the Unit. It contains Sanskrit terms with their Tibetan equivalents. This will prove helpful to students and researchers working in the field of comparative study of the Sanskrit and the Tibetan texts.

Database or CD Version of Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary (16 Volume)

This database is conversion (Unicode format) of the Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary(AtishaTibetan and AtishaSanskrit(Normal, Medium and Bold) and Bharti and BhartiSanskirt(Normal, Medium and Bold) fonts). This Database will help researchers to access desire term or main entry directly through searching tools, handy and user friendly. Right now it's in final stage of editing and complete within few months.

Concodance of Five Tibetan Buddhist Canons(Bhot-Sanskarno ka Sandarbha Kosha)

This kosha was started in 2008.This concordance will help researcher in finding the desire portion of Tibetan text in all corresponding Tibetan editions of the text in Kagyur and Tengyur.

Future Projects

  1. Bauddha Nyaya Kosha
  2. Bauddha-Tantra Kosha
  3. Concordance of Five Buddhist Canons (108 texts)
  4. Dictionary of Ancient Geographical Place Names in the context of Indian Buddhism (Tibetan)
  5. Tibetan-Hindi Kosha
  6. Granth-Kosha

Staff Members

  1. Dr. Ramesh Chandra Negi
    Officiating Chief Editor
  2. Dr. Tashi Tsering
    Research Assistant
  3. Dr. Karma Sonam Palmo
    Research Assistant
  4. Mr. Tenzin Norbu (Acharya)
    Research Assistant
  5. Mrs Lobsang Choedon (Jyotish Acharya)
    Research Assistant