UCR Acquires Largest Collection of Rare Buddhist Texts in the UC System

By Robert Bastone, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

The Tomás Rivera Library has recently purchased an extensive collection of texts that will significantly benefit the Religious Studies Program as well as the UCR and local communities. The purchase titled “Pali Canon, Commentaries, and Apocryphal Material in Pali and in English,” once received, will be located within the collection at the Rivera Library.

The collection comprises over 300 volumes and contains the Pali Canon, a collection of primary Pali language texts that form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism, and is also accompanied by additional material including reference works and other texts. This collection, combined with additional Pali material from Thailand and Laos, has established UCR as the owners of the largest collection of Pali language material in the University of California System.

Assistant Professor Justin McDaniel of the Religious Studies department personally contributed a large amount from the hiring package he received from UCR in order to make the purchase possible. Funds donated by Professor McDaniel, along with additional funding from the Rivera Library, allowed UCR to make the rare acquisition.

The purchasing of the Pali Canon collection is part of an ongoing effort by faculty and library staff to increase the resources available for the program. For example, Religious Studies Associate Professor Vivian Nyitray and Asian Language Librarian Kuei Chiu recently coauthored a grant proposal to the Japan Foundation for which they received over 2 million yen, or about $18,500 dollars, in order to purchase a full collection of Japanese Language reference material. Similar large collections such as these, as well as smaller collections and individual texts, have been slowly added to the collection through purchases from different faculty members and library staff over the past few years.

Professor Vivian Nyitray noted that “there has been a quiet tradition of building the library with significant acquisitions to this date.” Describing the recently added Pali Canon Collection, Nyitray added that “this (collection) is the capstone of it.”

Due to the fact that the Pali Canon collection is being delivered from Europe, the expected date of arrival is uncertain. This new acquisition should be available when it is integrated into the full collection at the Rivera Library next Fall.

For more information about the Pali Canon Collection or other collections at the Rivera Library, please visit the Library Website.

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