BHAISAJYAGUR AND VAJRACCHEDIKA SUTRA

MS 2385
MS Short Title BHAISAJYAGUR AND VAJRACCHEDIKA SUTRA
Text 1.BHAISAJYAGUR SUTRA
2.VAJRACCHEDIKA SUTRA; DIAMOND SUTRA
Description MS in Sanskrit on birchbark, Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 6th c., 46 ff., 6x18 cm, single column, (5x17 cm), 5-6 lines in Gilgit/Bamiyan ornate type book script.
Binding Afghanistan, 6th c., Poti with 1 string hole, dividing the leaves 40 % - 60 %.
Context MSS 2179, 2372-2386 and 2416 come from a Library that must have been of considerable size originally, maybe 1400 MSS or more. It probably belonged to a Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika which was in Bamiyan, according to the report of the Chinese monk, Xuan Zhang (604-662) who visited this monastery in the 7th c. Ca. 60 birch bark scrolls and fragments in Karosthi script in British Library, which according to Prof. Richard Salomon are "The Dead Sea Scrolls of Buddhism" (The Times, 26.06.1996). Similar fragments were in the Hackin collection in Kabul Museum, which was destroyed during the recent Afghan civil war. There are 725 leaves and fragments with similar scripts from this period found in Chinese Turkistan, now in Berlin.
Provenance 1. Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika, Bamiyan, Afghanistan (-6th c.); 2. Cave in Hindu Kush, Bamiyan; 3. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.
Commentary The hoard contains a great number of hitherto unknown Buddhist texts, as well as the oldest surviving MS testimony to some of the most important texts of Mahayana Buddhism. Among these are the by far oldest Prajnaparamita MSS known (2nd-3rd c.) This literature is the earliest scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. The Mahasanghikas are regarded as the traditional Buddhist school, which first propagated Mahayana ideas. The present collection stands right at the roots of the formation of Mahayana Buddhism, and is its single most important source.
Published To be published in: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection I, Jens Braarvig, ed.: Buddhist manuscripts. Mahaparinirvana, China, 625-650
See also See also MS 2152
Place of origin Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Dates 6th c.

Location