July 14, 2016 -- The first Tibetan calendar book, covering the years 1 to 2100 A.D., has been published in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, experts said.
More than 40 experts spent more than 15 years compiling the 4,200-page calendar book, which is based on the centuries-old Tibetan method of calculating years, said Yinba, director of the Astronomy Calendar Research Institute in Tibet.
"We have developed computer algorithms to obtain information on astronomical changes and the changes of days. It is a much more convenient method than calculating them manually," said Yinba.
Tibetan calendars used to be calculated by astronomical experts using sand boards. In the past, it took an astronomical master and his apprentices a whole year to calculate a 226-year calendar. It would have taken them over 30 years to produce the new 2,100-year calendar, which combines the four schools of traditional Tibetan calendar making and offers a comparison with Gregorian calendar and the Chinese lunar calendar.
Tibetan calendars are used by meteorologists to forecast the weather and predict natural disasters. It is also used by farmers as a reference for planting and pasturing.
Yinba and his colleagues came up with the idea of compiling a calendar book in 2001. Their work was suspended due to a shortage of funds, and it was not until 2014 when it received 800,000 yuan in funding from the government that they could proceed with the compilation.
"It is the most significant achievement in Tibetan cultural history and it meets the pressing needs of scholars as well as the common people," said Thubten Nyima Rinpoche, a renowned Tibetan scholar.
"The book will also facilitate the study of Tibetan Buddhism," said Buchung, director of the Institute of Religion in the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences.
"When studying historical records, I used to spend a lot of time converting between the Gregorian and Tibetan calendars. The calendar book has made things a lot easier for me," he said.