Dīng Fúbǎo 丁福保 (1874-1952)
Dīng Fúbǎo 丁福保 (1874-1952) was a writer, scholar and publisher of works on medicine, philology, numismatics, and religion. His best-known Buddhist work is his Fóxué dà cídiǎn 佛學大辭典 (Great Dictionary of Buddhism) first published in 1922, based on Bukkyō daijiten by Oda Tokunō 織田得能 and several other sources.
Dīng was born in Wúxí 無錫, Jiāngsū 江蘇 into a family with a scholarly background. His paternal grandfather had been a county magistrate in Zhèjiāng 浙江. In 1894 he taught in a local home-school 家塾 run by the famous book collector Lian Nanhu 廉南湖 (1868-1931), and in 1895 tested into the Nánqīng Academy 南菁書院 in Jiāngyīn 江陰, where one of his classmates was Jiǎng Wéiqiáo 蔣維喬. In 1896 he became a scholarship student in training for the civil service examinations (shēngyuán 生員) in Wúxí 無錫. He would go on to study at Dōngwú University 東吳大學 in Sūzhōu 蘇州. He also studied chemistry in Shànghǎi 上海, Japanese at the Fúzhōu Japanese School 東文學堂 in Fúzhōu 福州, and medicine from Zhào Yuányì 趙元益. He taught in the School of Translation Studies 譯學館 at Imperial Capital University 京師大學堂. Around 1900 he left his teaching position (reportedly because of poverty) and began his study of medicine, although he would continue to teach mathematics and physiology for short stretches of time. Late in 1902 he founded Wenming Books 文明書局 with Lián Nánhú and another friend, which began by publishing translations from the Japanese and of Western histories. In 1903 while traveling in Nánjīng 南京 he met the lay Buddhist publisher Yáng Wénhuì 楊文會. Some accounts say that the next year he happened to read a copy of Recorded Sayings of the Shakyas (Shishi yulu 釋氏語錄) which sparked his interest in Buddhism.
His medical practice brought an increased income, much of which he spent on rare books, the beginning of a life-long love of literature and publishing. In 1908, after his Translation Society 譯書公會 in Wúxí went bankrupt, he established the Medical Press 醫學書局 in Shànghǎi. In 1910 he traveled to Japan to research medicine there, and later translated and published Japanese medical texts through his press. During his lifetime he wrote and published on many subjects, including philology, textual studies, numismatics, medicine, Buddhism, textual collation, and so on.
In 1914 his mother died and Dīng nearly died of illness, after which he kept a vegetarian diet and began to believe more strongly in Buddhist teachings. He would remain a committed vegetarian for much of his life. In 1918 he began publishing his Buddhist Studies Collectanea 佛學叢書 through his Medical Press. The scholar Méi Guāngxī 梅光羲 helped edit and select many of the pieces in the volumes. He is said to have spent over ten years translating his Great Dictionary of Buddhism 佛學大辭典, which was published in 1922. His Medical Press would become one of the major publishers of Buddhist books in the Republican period, perhaps second only to Shanghai Buddhist Books 上海佛學書局 in terms of the number of Buddhist titles published. Many of the publications were funded by donations, and he never derived any profit from his work publishing scriptural texts. By 1924 he felt that his work of republishing Buddhist texts was completed. His press also published Daoist texts, such as Essential Records of the Daoist Canon (道藏精華錄, 1926) and Continuation Volume of the Daoist Canon (道藏續編, 1930?).
Dīng donated several tens of thousands of books and printed materials to Shanghai University 上海大學, Beijing University 北京大學, Wúxí University 無錫大學, and Aurora University 震旦大學. He also donated his house in Wúxí to the Wúxí Buddhist Association 無錫佛學會. He also sat on the board of directors for Shanghai Buddhist Books 上海佛學書局, the most important Buddhist publishing house in China in the first half of the 20th century. He continued to practice medicine almost daily throughout his life, one reason perhaps why he had few contacts with the larger Shanghai Buddhist community.
|Dīng Fúbǎo and his works|