A Primer in Chinese Buddhist Writings


These are materials I have compiled for students and scholars to learn to read Buddhist texts in Chinese. The first volume does not assume any knowledge of Chinese, but may be of use to even advanced readers of classical Chinese unfamiliar with Buddhist texts. The second volume builds on the first, continuing to focus on texts originating in India. The third volume introduces texts composed in China.

I have also provided a “supplement” with a selection of Mahayana texts.

This is very much a work in progress; suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Volume 1: Foundations
English Translation Key for Volume 1

Volume 2: The Indian Tradition
English Translation Key for Volume 2

Volume 3: Buddhist Texts Composed in China
English Translation Key for Volume 3

Supplement 1: Mahayana Texts

Note: The vocabulary for Volume 1 can be found in Quizlet.com (search for “Primer in Chinese Buddhist Writings”) which allows the user to learn vocabulary with digital flashcards. (Thanks to Bhikkhu Dhamma-dāsa for his help with this).

For Volume 3, flashcards are available through “Anki.” To use these, first  download the Anki program to your device (http://ankisrs.net/), then download the file for Volume 3 vocabulary  (https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/1866563030). After this when you open the Anki program on your device, the flashcards will be ready to use. (Thanks to Simon Wiles for setting this up).


— John Kieschnick