The Dictionary of Sumatiratna
(53rd Annual Meeting of the PIAC, St. Petersburg 2010)
The compilation of Tibeto-Mongolian dictionaries, vocabularies and word-lists flourished since the 17–18th centuries up to the 20th century. An outstanding figure of the Buriat religious and literary life, Sumatiratna (Luvsanrinčen or Nomtu-yin Rinčen) prepared a bulky work in 1857 (arban tabuduγar γal taulay-yin ulaγaci üker jil-dür nayiraγulbai: Töbed-mongγol dokiyan-u bičig ner-e üg-e udq-a γurban-i todorqailan qarangγuy-yi arilγaγči jula (Tib. Bod-Hor-kyi brda-yig ming tshig-don gsum gsal-bar byed-pa Mun sei sgron me) “Tibetan-Mongolian dictionary that clarifies the expressions, words and meaning, the torch that lightened the darkness”. Sumatiratna was born in the Khori (Xori) aimag of Buriatia in 1820, at the age of seven he entered the Russian school of Dēd Üde, then, after three years, at an age of ten, he became a lama-student in the Čulūtai xīd where he learnt Mongolian, Tibetan and Sanskrit. After getting his initiations, at about the age of 30, he became the khampo lama of the Tsugol dacan, then the širēt lama of the same monastery. He was rather active in the religious literary life, translated and re-translated a great number of Tibetan works, corrected others and compiled new ones. At the age of 45 he left the lama life, married and started a civil life. However, he remained faithful to the religious literature. He was 57 when he finished his dictionary (Sumati-ratna ber öber-ün tabin doloγan nasun-u deger-e). He explains why he prepared the dictionary: surγaγuli-yin sin-e keüked-tür tusalaqu-yin sanal-bar büküi-eče edügüljü “I started the work in order to help the new students of the school” — this aim is rather similar to those given by the Liši-yin ordu qarsi and the other old dictionaries. The original manuscript contained about 1.000 leaves with 40.000 entries. Nowadays, this original manuscript can not be found, but a reprint of it was published by Rintchen: Sumatiratna. Bod-hor kyi brda yig ming tshig don gsum gsal bar byed pa’i mun sei sgeron me. Töbed Mongghol-un dokiyan-u bičig. Ner-e üge udq-a γurban-i todoraγulun qarangγui-yi arilγaγci jula. Corpus Scriptorum Mongolorum VI–V, Ulaanbaatar 1959, 1241 + 1391 pp.