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Editorial Policy

Editing principles

In order to retain the peculiarities of the original documents such as archaic spellings, alternation between aspirated and unaspirated consonants, the use of ya btags, etc, the text is transliterated as it appears and is edited as lightly as possible with minimal annotations. As a consequence, liaisons like phyogsu (for phyogs su) and alternation between aspirated and unaspirated consonants are left untouched without emendation.

However, in order to facilitate the reading of the transliterated text, the following measures have been taken by deliberate editorial decision:

  1. A syllable is often divided into two parts, the first part being written at the end of a line and the second one at the beginning of the following line. In such cases, the two parts are merged together to reconstitute the original syllable and its line number is that of the line in which the radical letter of the syllable is written. For example, when sang is written at the end of line x, and the letter sa alone at the beginning of the following line (x+1), the syllable sangs is restituted at the line x.
  2. Very often the last letter of a syllable is written below the preceeding letter (for economy of space), like དྔ་ for དང་ , and བཀཱ་ for བཀའ་ . In such cases, dang and bka' are restituted without mention of this peculiar paleographical feature.
  3. Certain lines are indented in oder to clearly indicate :
    • verses in six or seven syllables,
    • casts of dice in divination texts, and
    • evident internal divisions which however are not marked by any punctuation signs.

Full critical editing and notes can be found on the website of Old Tibetan Documents Online (OTDO), where search facilities, such as a KWIC concordance tool, are also available. Furtheremore, as updating, revision, and enlargement will continually and regularly be done on the website, readers are advised to refer to it for the latest version.

Transliteration system

The transliteration system of Tibetan followed in this edition is based on the Wylie system, but some changes and additions have been made in order to faithfully transliterate certain features which are peculiar to Old Tibetan manuscripts.


 ཀ་ ka  ཁ་ kha  ག་ ga  ང་ nga
 ཅ་ ca  ཆ་ cha  ཇ་ ja  ཉ་ nya
 ཏ་ ta  ཐ་ tha  ད་ da  ན་ na
 པ་ pa  ཕ་ pha  བ་ ba  མ་ ma
 ཙ་ tsa  ཚ་ tsha  ཛ་ dza  ཝ་ wa
 ཞ་ zha  ཟ་ za  འ་ 'a  ཡ་ ya
 ར་ ra  ལ་ la  ཤ་ sha  ས་ sa
 ཧ་ ha  ཨ་ ^a


 ཨ་ ^a  ཨི་ ^i  ཨྀ་ ^I  ཨུ་ ^u  ཨེ་ ^e  ཨོ་ ^o
 ཨཻ་ ^ai  ཨཽ་ ^au  ཨོེ་ ^oe


  • The letter is transliterated as ^a with ^ as consonantal element.
  • The reversed gi-gu is transliterated with I (capital letter).
     གྀ་ gI  ནྀ་ nI
  • When the radical ya is prefixed with ga, the combination is transliterated as g.ya.
     གཡག་ g.yag ~ (cf.  གྱག་ gyag)  གཡུང་ g.yung ~ (cf.  གྱུང་ gyung)
  • The wa-zur is transliterated with v, not with w.
     གྲྭ་ grva  ཕྱྭ་ phyva
  • When the letter འ་ is written beneath a consonant, it is considered as gtags-yig, not as a long vowel sign.
     ཨཱ་ ^'a ~ (not â)  ཧཱུ་ h'u ~ (not hû)  སཱོ་ s'o
  • When two consonants form a vertical ligature which is not legal in classical Tibetan grammar, the + sign is inserted between them.
     སྷོ་ s+ho ~ (cf.  ཤོ་ sho)  ཟྷ་ z+ha ~ (cf.  ཞ་ zha)
  • The anusvāra is transliterated with M (capital letter).
     ཨོཾ་ ^oM  ཨཱོཾ་ ^'oM
  • A tsheg is, irrespective of its forms, transliterated with a space. Therefore it is not physically represented in the transliteration. Single and double tsheg are not differenciated.
  • A shad is, irrespective of its forms, transliterated with /, repeated the number of times that it is written.
  • A sign marking the beginning of a follio, paragaph, etc. is, irrespective of its forms, transliterated with \$.
     ༄༅།ཿ།  \$ /:/
  • The vertically placed two dots or circle (double tsheg) and four circles between two shad are transliterated with /:/ and /::/ respectively.
  • A circle representing the eye on the face of a divination die is transcribed with @.

Signes critiques

Supplements; s is illegible or disappeared, but supplied by the editor.
Doubtful readings.
[nus (/dus)]
Ambiguous readings.
Additions; letters omitted in the sources, but added by the editor.
Illegible letters; number unknown.
An illegible letter or letters in one syllable.
Interpolations; letters found in the sources, but which are considered to be intrusions.
Editor’s note.
(interline<) sangs rgyas (>interline)
Interlinear additions; sangs rgyas is written between two lines.
(inverted<) sangs rgyas (>inverted)
Inverted letters; sangs rgyas is written upside down with respect to the main text.
(seal<) phyag rgya (>seal)
Inscriptions; phyag rgya is inscribed in the seal.
(vermilion<) phyag rgya (>vermilion)
Vermilion letters; phyag rgya is written in vermilion ink.
Italic letters
Letters read by the previous study(ies) but not reconfirmed by the editors.
Blank spaces left by copyist.