Buddhist Encyclopedia

Dear all,
I am currently trying to find a way to store and organize informations extracted from the tipiṭaka, commentaries, later probably also sub-commentaries, into an on- and offline encyclopedia and hope to be able to find some guidance here from technically skilled people or anyone else who may have a suggestion.

I plan to go through all the mentioned material in an as extensive as possible manner (step by step; probably I will die before completion if I do it alone) and to illustrate the meanings of words with soteriological relevance in their unique occurances and in context, so redundancies are left out. For example, the word paṭisañcikkhati is used to refer to consideration or reflection upon the three characteristics but also to the reflection of the household life as being crowed and dusty. Findings of such character I would present collectedly in the form of critical encyclopedia essays or short dictionary entries. Pāli–English and English–Pāli would it overall be.

I tried to find a suitable dictionary software and a way to create an online wiki. I tried much until now but nothing without major shortcomings developed so far. All the wikis from this site: Free wiki hosting services | Comparison tables - SocialCompare are not suitable for example, mainly either because it is not possible to display diacritics or the set-up design is too disorganized. Other options I am not aware of. One dictionary software for PC I could find is in the main very suitable, the mere fact that I cannot edit the text properly for my purposes makes it useless for this task, however (unable to make lists, set the text bold etc. or even set the paragraphs freely). That is the software (freeware) Lexique Pro. Is there perhaps a way to add that feature to this software more or less easily? I myself cannot write code though …

Something in the style of ven. Varado’s glossary could also be helpful: Illustrated Glossary of Pāli Terms (might contact him too.)

Do you have any ideas about how to decently realize the project for on- and offline use? Thank you very much in advance!



Bhante, I strongly recommend you leverage as much as possible from the great work by Bhikkhu P. A. Payutto: “Dictionary of Buddhism”


The volume below has a lot of references to terms detailed and introduced in the commentaries.

Dhamma1.pdf (1.6 MB)



Thank you for that quite informative resource! I’ve saved a PDF copy locally for reference.

Will you include proper nouns? They don’t have a “meaning” as you describe here, but they could be useful in an encyclopedia.

I’d suggest working with others. Many people here would be willing to help you. Having other eyes on the text can make things more complicated, but in a controlled process it can add value and remove biases and inaccuracies.

You may consider consulting this text as well:


Thanks for the reference. Saw some earlier recommendations from you regarding this work P.A. Payutto. I keep it in mind. I can for some shorter entries imagine being guided by his approach, though generally they are intended to be longer and with detailed references.

I think some might be useful to include, such as Buddha. But for proper nouns we have Malalasekara’s awesome Dictionary of Pāli Proper Nouns.

You are probably right that it might be best to work with others but my my experience so far is that all the people I have asked and which could help are already quite busy with other things. So, not sure if there are much people who are willing or able to help. One prerequisite would be to know some Pāli which makes it a little less likely to find associates. One setback would be more complications, as you mentioned it. We’ll see, perhaps it will happen that way …

The modern encyclopedias on Buddhism are of fascinating quality. But not quite cheap … That’s their major setback.


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