DLLM Glossary

Please note that the DLLM Glossary provides explanations of some of the terms used in the context of the DLLM database and website, rather than general definitions.

Term Definition
Pali. Canonical Abhidhamma texts give an analysis of mental and physical processes and natural phenomena. A number of texts in the DLLM collection in which Aphitham forms part of the title have mostly narrative content, and do not appear to have any relationship to the canonical texts. The Category ‘Abhidhamma’ in the DLLM database includes all related texts, whether canonical or not.
Alternative Titles
With reference to titles rather than the contents of texts, two variants are distinguished in the DLLM collection: ‘orthographic variants’ and ‘significant variants.’ The former refers to minor variations in titles due to different orthographic usage, which are preserved in the inventory but not in the simplified alphabetical Search List. The latter refers to alternative titles of the same text, such as Suphommamokkha and Ma kao hang. In such cases, a search for one of the alternative titles will find all related texts.
Lao rendering of Pali ānisaṃsa. Term for a genre of texts describing the rewards of meritorious deeds, commonly called salong or song in Lao. It is both a Category (Anisong/Salong/Song) and an Ancillary Term (anisong/ānisaṃsa) in the DLLM database.
Apocryphal See Jataka below.
Bai lan
Lao. ‘Palm-leaf.’ The leaves or bai of the lan tree, which are made into palm-leaf manuscripts or nangsue bai lan.
Buddhist Era (BE)
One of the date systems found on manuscripts in the DLLM collection, beginning 543 BC.
Bundle or ‘manuscript bundle’ here refers to the manuscripts bound together by a cloth wrapping. These may be sections of a single work, or apparently unrelated texts which were perhaps sponsored by the same donor.

Where the word mat or bundle appears as part of the title of a text, such as mat ton (first bundle), mat 2, etc., it signifies that the text is part of a larger work with the same title.

The first 11 digits of the PLMP Code Numbers identify the manuscript bundle, and can be used for search on the Home page. There is also an option to ‘Show Other Texts from this Bundle’ when viewing a particular text.

A section of writing, usually found at the end of a manuscript, which is added by the scribe, giving details such as the name of the scribe, the donor, the time, date, and place of completion of copying the text, personal remarks, etc. Colophons can also be found at the end of fascicles within a text or on the covers of paper manuscripts.
Cunlasakkalat (CS)
Lao rendering of Pali Cullasakarāja. The so-called ‘Little Era,’ beginning at 638 CE. The majority of dated texts in the DLLM collection are according to the Cunlasakkalat Era.
Refers to works which are not found within the Theravada Buddhist Canon, but which are afforded the same status within local cultures.

The DLLM collection contains a huge number of extra-canonical works, the bulk of which consists of narrative literature, especially Jataka stories, a considerable number of which are thought to originate from local Southeast Asian traditions.

An average palm-leaf fascicle comprises 6-12 folios for traditional religious manuscripts, with normally not more than 12 fascicles found in any one bundle. Secular texts may comprise several hundred folios. The fascicles are traditionally held between wooden covers.
A ‘leaf’ or page of a manuscript. A typical Lao palm-leaf folio has four or five lines of engraved writing on each side. The writing on the front of a folio continues on the reverse of the same folio, which means that in a digital image showing for example seven folios, the first frame will typically show the front of the folios with given numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and the following frame will show the reverse side of the same folios, numbered 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14. A variety of systems are traditionally used to number the folio pages, using consonants combined with short and long vowels rather than numerals, normally appearing only on the reverse side. Since the text continues from folio page 1 to 2 to 3, etc., it is necessary to read alternatively between consecutive digital image frames. For palm-leaf manuscripts, a folio is one leaf, which is the normal way of counting the ‘pages’ in such manuscripts in Laos. For paper manuscripts, the number of folios refers to the number of pages.
Pali. Buddhist ‘birth-stories,’ 547 of which are commonly found in the Pali Canon. Many additional stories in the Jataka style are found in local Southeast Asian traditions. The DLLM collection contains complete sets of bi-lingual (Pali-Lao) Paññāsajātaka or Ha sip sat, as well as some twenty bundles representing other incomplete sets of these famous ‘Fifty Apocryphal Jatakas,’ which are believed to be of Southeast Asian, perhaps Lan Na, origin.
Khoi paper
Paper made from the wood of the Streblus Asper tree. Khoi paper books, or samut khoi, which are not traditionally made in Laos, are of the concertina or leporello-type.
Lao Buhan
The old secular Lao script
See Bundle above.
See Fascicle above.
Sa paper
Paper made from the bark of the Paper Mulberry tree. Mulberry or sa paper books made in Laos are found with pages bound at the top and also in concertina or leporello-type. They are widely used by the Tai Lue and Tai Nuea.
See Anisong above.
Pali. Texts containing narrative Buddhist teachings. A number of manuscripts in the DLLM collection in which sut forms part of the title are bi-lingual versions, often with elaborated Pali-vernacular translations, which shed light on the local interpretation of the texts. Other texts are extra-canonical and do not appear to have any relationship to canonical Sutta texts of the same title. The Category ‘Sutta’ in the DLLM database includes all related texts, whether canonical or not.
This term is used to refer to a distinct written document given an Inventory entry within the DLLM collection. Each text has a unique 13-digit code number assigned during the Preservation of Lao Manuscripts Programme.
Lao rendering of Pali Dhamma. A script, mostly used for religious writings, derived from an ancient Mon alphabet, the origins of which stem from South India. Buddhist monasteries in what is now the Upper North of Thailand, Northeastern Myanmar, Southwest Yunnan, Laos and Northeast Thailand, use this script in contrast to Khom – a variant of an old Khmer script, which was formerly used for religious writings in Siam. This large area of common cultural tradition may therefore be referred to as the ‘Tham Script Domain.’ The Lao, Lan Na, and Tai Lue versions of the Tham script are very similar.
Pali. Texts related to monastic discipline. A number of manuscripts in the DLLM collection with canonical titles are bi-lingual versions, often with elaborated Pali-vernacular translations, which shed light on the local interpretation of the texts. The Category ‘Vinaya’ in the DLLM database includes all related texts, whether canonical or not.