The basic unit of content in CBC@ is the “assertion”, that is, a record of an argument or evidence in a classical or modern “source” which problematises or defends the received ascription of one or more texts.
For example, on an “assertion” based upon this article:
Nattier, Jan. "Re-evaluating Zhu Fonian's Shizhu duanjie jing (T309): Translation or Forgery?" Annual Report of The International Research Insitute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University 13 (2010): 256.
and pertaining to the Shizhu duanjie jing 十住斷結經 (a.k.a. 最勝問菩薩十住除垢斷結經) T309, reads as follows:
"Nattier shows that Zhu Fonian 竺佛念 composed 最勝問菩薩十住除垢斷結經 T309 on the basis of Chinese materials, rather than translating it from an Indic source. This makes the text a relatively unusual case of an 'apocryphon' for which we can identify the author by name, and an "apocryphon" composed by an author who is also known to have engaged in genuine translation work. From a small sample of this large text, Nattier identifies three passages featuring extensive verbatim borrowing or paraphrases from already existing texts. Nattier terms Fonian’s method here as 'creative appropriation', meaning that rather than 'plagiarising' outright, Fonian has arranged passages borrowed from a variety of earlier Chinese texts into an original composition.”
CBC@ also records assertions based upon classical scholarly sources. For example, an assertion based upon Zhisheng’s 智昇 Kaiyuan Shijiao lu 開元釋教錄 T2154, relating to the Lu mu jing 鹿母經 T182a/b, reads as follows:
"The ascription of the Lu zi jing/Lu mu jing to Zhi Qian was overturned by Zhisheng in KYL: 鹿子經一卷: 右一經。與鹿母經文同名異。據其文義合從母立名。長房錄云。鹿子經吳代優婆塞支謙譯者謬也, T2154 (LV) 664b6-9 (cf. also T2154 [LV] 604b22-23). This led to the ascription of T182a/b to Dharmarakṣa, as currently carried in the Taishō."
Users should note that CBC@ records assertions—it does not endorse them. The fact that an assertion is recorded in CBC@ implies no judgement on the part of the author of the entry, or the CBC@ editor, that the argument recorded, or any ascription it defends, is correct.
In the remainder of this Guide, I will give examples of the content and structure of the database by hyperlinking directly to the database itself (some links, which call up a large quantity of information, may take a few seconds to load).
As the above examples show, CBC@ contains entries created manually by human beings, who have read and summarised the scholarly sources in question. The database already contains over 1000 entries of this type. For the period 2017-2018, with the generous support of the Chiang Ching-kuo Research Foundation (RG003-P-16), a fulltime Research Assistant is working to add further content of this nature, based upon modern research publications written in Japanese.
In addition to manually created entries, as a baseline for comparison, CBC@ also contains over 4,000 assertions conveying basic data automatically extracted from the bylines in the CBETA XML corpus (though this extraction was imperfect, and we occasionally discover glitches). An example can be seen here, where it is the only information that CBC@ has on the text in question:
Users should note, again, that CBC@ merely relays the information embodied in the Taishō bylines—the entry based upon Taishō does not endorse that information, nor make any judgement about it. This includes cases in which information from the Taishō byline might happen to be absent from the corresponding CBC@ entry. Our aim, with these entries, has been to accurately and completely represent the information presented in the Taishō. If part of a Taishō byline is missing in CBC@, it probably indicates a technical problem in the extraction of the data, not an editorial decision. Readers who notice such cases should please bring them to our attention for correction.
An example of a Taishō text upon which CBC@ contains a mix
of the above types of assertion may be seen here:
In the above example, we see assertions summarising modern
sources (Zürcher, Hayashiya), assertions summarising classical sources (Fei
Changfang’s 費長房 Lidai sanbao ji歷代三寶紀 T2034, Sengyou’s 僧祐 Chu sanzang ji ji 出三藏記集 T2145 ), and an assertion automatically
extracted from the Taishō byline as seen in CBETA.
For another example of a text for which CBC@ contains
relatively rich information, the “Consecration Sūtra” 灌頂經