History has an important place in human life and its study in the sphere of interaction of cognitive interest is imperative.
The investigation of historical events is scientifically augmented on the basis of a time frame called the "chronology" which forms the subject matter of the present study. The system of sexagenary cycle was adopted in India and China and Asian-duodenary animal system was adopted in East and Central Asia.
Tibetan scholars came to adopt the system of sexagenary cycle so called "Rab-byung" in the 11th century commencing from 1027 A.D. This system has proved very conducive in enumerating events of each year with precision. The system became popular and two Tibetan chronological tables were compiled; one by 'Jam-dbyangs bZad-pa and the other much later by Sum-pa mkhan-po. The tables cover the first twelve cycles out of the seventeen cycles including the current one.
Dr (Mrs) Alaka Chattopadhyaya realizing the importance and need of an English translation of 'Jam-dbyans bzad-pa's chronological work; despite Sum-pa mkhan-po's already translated work into English by sh. S. C. Das, undertook the present translation in collaboration with Sh. Sanjit Kumar Sadhukhan. The translation is mainly based on 'Jam-dbyans bzad-pa's work whereas Sum-pa's deviations-major or minor, are included in it which provide additional information.
I am glad that this translation is being published under the Dalai Lama Tibeto-Indological Series of the Institute's publications. I hope that the work will benefit a great number of scholars and researchers of Tibetan and Buddhist studies.
The original suggestion of preparing an English version of the Chronological Tables came to me from Dr. E. Gene Smith and throughout the work Dr. Ashin Dasgupta, then Director, National Library as well as the Administrator, Asiatic Society, Calcutta, has extended his help. His successor in National Library Sm. Kalpana Dasgupta did her best to continue it.
As I have always mentioned in all my books, I shall never forget the original incentive for Tibetan studies I received from Professor Lama Chimpa of Visva-Bharati University. For the present work, too, he has helped me with some rather hurriedly prepared draft notes on the Chronological Tables which often proved highly useful.
Though I could personally meet Dr. Helmut Eimer in his University at Bonn for a brief period, his regular correspondences with me have been of substantial encouragement for myself not merely for the present work but also for many other things besides that concern Tibetan Studies.
Dr. Geza Bethlenfalvy, Secretary General, Csoma de Korosi Society, Budapest, Hungary through his long association with India, frequently visits Calcutta and has become practically a family friend of ours, though the main plank of this friendship is our mutual interest in Tibetology. When I visited Budapest as a guest of his Society, most of the time he spent with me was devoted to the exclusive purpose of discussing Tibetan Studies. I naturally took the opportunity of getting his confirmation of what we suspected as scribe's errors particularly in Sum-pa's Re'u-mig, the only copy of which was available for us.
I may be permitted to mention here that two of us explored various repositories of rare books in Calcutta since 1983 in search of the legendary collection of Tibetan and other mss/xylographs brought by Sarat Chandra Das from Tibet over a hundred years back. We eventually traced this in a corner of the Department of Sanskrit in the University of Calcutta, which promises to throw new light also on the understanding of Tibetan Chronology particularly on the work of annotations proposed to be added to the proper names in our next volume of the work. Fortunately Dr. B. Roy choudhury, then Vice-Chancellor of the university had taken keen interest in the collection so far remaining neglected. He wasted no times to take necessary steps for preserving and cataloguing it and formed a committee for the purpose, with myself as an expert in an honorary capacity.
Above all, I am anxious to express my sincerest thanks to Dr. Sanjit Kumar Sadhukhan, M.A., Ph. D. His enthusiasm for Tibetan Studies is most unusual in these days of declining interest in it. He assisted me for the present work and so much of his labour has eventually gone into it that my conscience demands to mention him as much more than a mere research assistant. Sanjit also introduced me to his guru Venerable P.C. Lama. Our acquaintance with both gradually grew so much that my daughter Aditi, MA in Modern History started taking keen interest in Tibetan Studies and learning the language for the purpose. She along with my younger daughter Atasi also helped me in many ways to prepare the present manuscript.
Last, but not the least, it will be most ungrateful for me not to mention the amount of encouragement and active help. I have received throughout the present work from Professor S. Rinpoche, Director, along with his staff, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (Deemed University) Sarnath, Varanasi. As a matter of fact, it is because of this constant guidance that along with my husband Debiprasad, I could spend several days in his magnificently organized Centre at Sarnath. These few days of our stay there ostensibly for delivering some lectures proved in fact more illuminating then would have perhaps been the effort of plodding through Tibetan works for several months, if not more. I cannot honestly thank him enough for all the academic help I have received from him.
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