I am kind of wondering about the Tibetan words for “edition/editing” (zhu dag or zhus dag) and “to edit” (zhu dag byed pa). Has anyone already “hinterfragt” (lit. “asked behind” = “ scrutinised”) them? What does zhu/zhus and dag here really mean? Remarkably, zhu ba in the sense of “to edit” does not seem to be lexically attested. But obviously zhu (or its perfect form zhus) in zhu/zhus dag (“edition/editing”) has been derived from zhu ba in the sense of “to request,” “to make a petition,” and so on (Jäschke 1881: s.v.). But what has “edition” to do with “to request”? And what is the component dag (which seems to be mean something “pure”) doing here?
Here is a possible explanation or speculation: In the Tibetan context, dissemination of Buddhism (particularly during the early phase) has been intricately linked with translation and transmission of Buddhist scriptures and treatises. Edition or revision of translation has been seen as a culmination of translation. In other words, a translation that has not undergone the processes of edition and revision is an incomplete translation. A scripture or treatise and the teaching or doctrine that it contains can be said to be transmitted in a (spiritual) meaningful way only if the scripture or treatise has been “translated, edited/revised, and established [i.e. by means of studying, contemplation, and meditation]” (bsgyur zhus gtan la phab pa). So edition in this context has been seen as act or process of “revision” or “correction,” and hence also as a kind of “polishing” and “purification.”
But how is this “edition/revision/correction/purification” done? It has been done by way of “consultation,” that is, often by “requesting” or “asking” (zhu ba) one or more persons of greater competency and authority to give their validation or suggestion and hence the process of “edition” seems to have been seen as a means of “authentication” or “certification.” I contend that zhu dag byed “to edit” includes zhu bar byed “to edit/validate” and dag par byed “to purify/polish.”
Note that a translator (lo tsā ba) in Tibetan is often glossed with “great editor” (zhu chen): zhu chen gyi lo tsā ba.