By Stephen C. Berkwitz, Juliane Schober, Claudia Brown

Buddhist Manuscript Cultures explores how non secular and cultural practices in premodern Asia have been formed by means of literary and inventive traditions in addition to through Buddhist fabric tradition. This learn of Buddhist texts specializes in the importance in their fabric varieties instead of their doctrinal contents, and examines how and why they have been made.

Collectively, the ebook deals cross-cultural and comparative insights into the transmission of Buddhist wisdom and using texts and pictures as ritual items within the creative and aesthetic traditions of Buddhist cultures. Drawing on case reviews from India, Gandhara, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mongolia, China and Nepal, the chapters integrated examine the variety of pursuits and values linked to generating and utilizing written texts, and the jobs manuscripts and pictures play within the transmission of Buddhist texts and in fostering devotion between Buddhist groups.

Contributions are by way of reputed students in Buddhist reviews and characterize diversified disciplinary methods from spiritual experiences, artwork historical past, anthropology, and heritage. This e-book may be of curiosity to students and scholars operating in those fields.

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Extra info for Buddhist Manuscript Cultures: Knowledge, Ritual, and Art

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However, when working with critical editions of canonical texts, it is often easy to forget that premodern Buddhists in Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia encountered texts that often took very different forms. This chapter will argue that surviving Sri Lankan manuscripts and manuscript collections offer critical insights into how materiality and merit functioned as key variables in reading and writing the Buddha’s Dharma in premodern Sri Lanka. A simple, but little-recognized fact about the interpretation of Buddhist texts is that the material embodiment of texts structures the way they are read and understood.

There is of course nothing surprising in this, since the equivalence of bodily relics and “dharma-relics,” that is, textual relics, is a familiar one in Buddhist tradition generally (see, for example, Allon 2007: 4). But what is remarkable here is that, in view of the condition of the scrolls and the inclusion of an index to them, the Senior scrolls were apparently written out for the express purpose of being interred in a st¯upa or other funerary monument. This, it would seem, puts them in a very different category from the British Library manuscripts; the ramifications of this contrast will be discussed below.

Art et archéologie des monastères gréco-bouddhique du Nord-Ouest de l’Inde et de l” Asie centrale, Paris: De Boccard, 2005; p. 284, fig. 15. (Courtesy Z. ) 24 Richard Salomon In any case, it is highly likely that the pot that contained the British Library manuscripts was originally interred in a Gandh¯aran st¯upa-cum-monastery site in one or the other of the two types of situation described above. a at all—it is unlikely that it will ever be possible to confirm this hypothesis. However, we can at least hope that some day we will be lucky enough to find Gandh¯aran manuscripts interred in a similar situation at some other location, in a legitimately documented archaeological context.

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