The WiPitaka project is solely and generously funded by the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies – A Recognised Independent Centre of Oxford University.
What is WiPitaka?
First of all, it is a wiki. Quoting Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and pioneer of all wikis: "A wiki is a website which allows its users to add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser usually using a simplified markup language or a rich-text editor. Wikis are powered by wiki software [see Help]. Most are created collaboratively. Ward Cunningham, the developer of the first wiki software, WikiWikiWeb, originally described it as "the simplest online database that could possibly work." "Wiki" (pronounced [ˈwiti] or [ˈviti]) is a Hawaiian word meaning "fast" or "quick"."
WiPitaka, due to its very purpose and function, emphasizes the collaborational aspect which requires the wiki content to be as available and free as possible. Therefore, it uses the CC0 License to provide the perfect environment for a fertile co-operation.
Now, what kind of cooperation is supposed to happen here?
The 'Pitaka' in 'WiPitaka'
This project wants to provide translations of the canon, the Tipitaka, and its commentaries used by contemporary Theravāda Buddhists from Pāli in other languages. The WiPitaka uses the freely available PTS edition. You're currently on the English WiPitaka which means only English translations can be found here. There are WiPitakas in other languages under construction, e.g. French (which is currently still looking for an administrator), German and Hindī.
Given the numerous translations of Pāli texts which have already been published – what justifies the very existence of the WiPitaka? Why should anybody visit or even contribute to it? Well, as Kenneth R. Norman put it: "What has not been done needs to be done, and what has been done needs to be done again".
In order to do this, the WiPitaka fulfills three main purposes:
- To provide translations to as many languages as possible (especially those which hitherto have been left unattended).
- To enable translators to discuss, adapt or criticize their own/others translations.
- To give especially students of Pāli which are often small numbered and scattered all over their country (if not continent) the opportunity to learn with/from each other.
Ways to contribute
- You can translate Pāli texts.
- You can contribute to other people's translations.
- You can administrate a WiPitaka yourself given that you're a native speaker of the respective language. Please contact the admin for further information.
- A Philological Approach to Buddhism, p.2; School of Oriental and African Studies, London 1997.