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22. BUDDHISM

22.1. AGAMA SUTRAS

MS 2179/44 India, 2nd-3rd c.
MS 2376/1 India, 4th c.

22.2. MAHAYANA PRAJNAPARAMITA SUTRAS

See also MS 2169, China, 620-756
MS 2450 Japan, 8th c.
MS 2342 Japan, 10th-11th c. v
MS 2371 Tibet, ca. 1400

22.3. MAHAYANA SUTRAS

MS 2378/1 India, 5th c.
MS 2385 Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 6th c.
See also MS 2152, China, 625-650
MS 2100 Tibet, early 8th c.
See also MS 2414, China, 9th-10th c.
See also MS 2153, China, ca. 920 See also MS 2457/1, China, late 14th c.
See also MS 2457/2, China, 15th & 16th c.

22.4. VINAYA

MS 2382/269 India, 6th c.
MS 2474 Burma, 19th c.

22.5. ABHIDHARMA

MS 2373/1 India, 2nd c.
MS 2375/08 India, late 3rd - early 4th c.

22.6. TANTRA

MS 2096 Nepal, 1801

22.7. VARIOUS BUDDHIST LITERATURE

MS 2379/44 India, 6th c.

22. Buddhism

22.1 Agama Sutras

MS 2179/44  
MAHAPARINIVANASUTRA MS 2179/44

MS in Gandhari on palm-leaf, India, 2nd to early 3rd c., 6 partial ff., originally ca. 4x40? cm, single column, (ca. 3,5x38? cm), 3 lines in a late Kharosthi book script.

Binding: India, 2nd to early 3rd c., Poti with 1 string hole dividing the leaves 85 % - 15 %.

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. A few fragments with Karosthi script from the same library are in a private collection in Japan. Further 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. MSS 2179/44, 2544, 2552 and 2564 contain the same sutra.

The original numbers of this MS was MS 2179/44, 2179/65, 2179/108 and 2179/109.

Provenance: 1. Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika, Bamiyan, Afghanistan (-7th c.); 2. Cave in Hindu Kush, Bamiyan.

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: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection I, Jens Braarvig, Editor-in-chief: Buddhist manuscripts, vol. 1. Oslo 2000.

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MS 2376/1

MS 2376/1

CAMGISUTRA OF THE MAHASAMGHIKA-LOKOTTARAVADINS

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, India, 4th c., 6 partial ff. and 20 fragments, originally ca. 5x40? cm, single column, (ca. 4x38? cm), 6 lines in an early western Gupta script with strong Kusana affiliations.

Binding:India, 4th c., Poti, no string hole present.

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. A few fragments with Karosthi script from the same library are in a private collection in Japan. Further 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. The original numbers of this MS was MSS 2376/1/6a, 2376/1/4a, 2376/1/1, 2376/1/3, 2376/1/2, 2376/1/5, 2376/1/6b, 2376/1/4b, 2376/1/13b, 2376/1/10a, 2376/1/9, 2376/1/14a, 2376/1/14b, 2376/1/16b, 2376/uf3/5e, 2376/uf4/4e, 2376/1/15, 2376/1/12a, 2376/1/10b, 2376/1/12b, 2376/1/11, 2376/1/13a, 2376/181a, 2375/32.

Provenance: 1. Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika, Bamiyan, Afghanistan (-7th c.); 2. Cave in Hindu Kush, Bamiyan.

Commentary: Three version of the sutra are now available, and, exceptionally, all of them are preserved only in Indian languages. No translations into Chinese, Tibetan or any of the Central Asian languages formerly used for the transmission of Buddhist literature are known. Only the Pali version of the Theravada school, the Cankisutra of the Majjhimanikaya, is preserved in its entirety. In this MS the brahmin reads Cangi, but this version bears the title Kamathikasutra after the brahmin youth Kamathika. 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: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection I, Jens Braarvig, Editor-in-chief: Buddhist manuscripts, vol. 1 and 2. Oslo 2000 and 2002.

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22.2 Mahayana Prajnaparamita Sutras

See also MS 2169, Mahaprajnaparamita Upadesa, China, 620-756

MS 2450

MS 2450
PERFECTION OF WISDOM SUTRA; DAIHANNYAHARAMITA-KYO. VOL. 174. TRANSLATED FROM SANSKRIT BY XUAN ZANG

MS in Chinese on paper, Japan, 8th c., 1 scroll of 16 sheets (complete), 25x793 cm, 29-31 columns per sheet, 17 characters in Chinese script.

Binding: Japan, 20th c., wooden box.

Context: Other volumes in this set of 600 rolls are vols. 514 and 522, both in the Collection of the Kyoto National Museum (Registered Important Cultural Property). Vol. 244 is at Harvard University Art Museums (Arthur M. Sackler Museum).

Provenance: 1. Buddhist temple of Kofukuji, Nara (1232-); 2. Kunitama Shinto Shrine, Osaka; 3. Sam Fogg cat. 19(1998):153.

Commentary: This collection of scriptures focuses on the doctrine of emptiness and the illusory nature of life. In Japan, from the Nara Period (710-794) onwards, this work, containing a total of 5 million Chinese characters, was read from beginning to end in Buddhist rituals as a prayer for abundant harvest and for the protection of the state from pestilence. Later priests sped up the reading process by only reading out the title or one section of each roll.

This 600-volume set was produced over a 15-year period beginning about 730, a time when Emperor Shomu (701-756), who had particular faith in this sutra, was promoting the ceremonial reading and copying of many sets. Each volume was commissioned by a member of a small group of court officials.

In 1232, this set was included in a large number of 8th and 9th c. transcriptions of the Greater Sutra of Perfection of Wisdom that were assembled in the monastery of Kofukuji in Nara, and carefully punctuated in red ink by the monk Eion (1167-after 1233), who was in charge of sutra storage. Later they were donated to the Kunitama Shrine near Osaka, the tutelary Shrine of the Kii family.

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MS 2342  
PERFECTION OF WISDOM SUTRA; PRAJNAPARAMITA MS 2342

MS in Chinese on blue- stained paper, Kamakura, Japan, 10th-11th c., outer sheet of a scroll, 27x44 cm, 17 columns, (21x33 cm), 17 characters per column in gold ink in Chinese book script.

Provenance: 1. Buddhist temple of Dai Butsu, Kamakura, Japan (-1923); 2. Manly P. Hall; 3. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.

Commentary: The Prajnaparamita sutras were translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the 5th c.

This sheet was found rolled inside a standing figure of a Buddhist disciple at the temple of Dai Butsu, when the image was opened at the time of the great earthquake in 1923. This is part of a luxury MS using gold ink on blue dyed paper, also used in Europe from 4th c. to the Carolingian period for princely commissions, with gold script on purple or blue stained vellum.

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MS 2371 MS 2371
PERFECTION OF WISDOM SUTRA IN TEN THOUSAND LINES. TRANSLATED FROM SANSKRIT BY THE INDIAN ACARYAS JINAMITRA AND SURENDVABODHI, TOGETHER WITH THE TIBETAN LOTSA BA YE-SHES-SDE

MS in Tibetan on thick paper stained black and varnished, Tibet, ca. 1400, 198 ff. (complete), 19x67 cm, single column, (13x58 cm), 9 lines in a formal Tibetan dbu can book script in gold, 4 opening pages with 3-4 lines in large ornamental script in gold.

Binding: Tibet, ca. 1400, Poti with thick paper boards, the upper with a panel, deeply inset, with the title in 2 lines of 5 cm tall ornamental gold script, flanked by 2 fine miniatures, 10x9 cm, of the Buddha seated within a stupa, in full colours.

Context: MSS of the Perfection of Wisdom in eight thousand lines, see MSS 2154 and 2167. Provenance: 1. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.

Provenance: 1. Sam Fogg, London.

Commentary: Perfection of Wisdom Sutra is the central text of the Mahayana Prajñamarmita school, here in a translation from the original Sanskrit. It exist in a range of shorter and longer recensions from 25 to 100,000 lines, of which that in 8,000 lines is regarded as having been the source. The first Tibetan translation was made in around 850 and the second in 1020. The Tibetan translation has been useful to modern scholars occupied in analysing the Sanskrit text, because of its high level of understanding and accuracy.

The Sutra recounts a debate a Rajagriha, on the Vulture Peak, where 1250 Buddhist monks gathered to hear the Buddha. The other main speakers are the Buddha's disciples Subhuti and Sariputra.

The present MS is a luxury MS of the highest quality, probably either a princely commission, or perhaps, for the supreme leader of one of the larger monasteries.

   
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22.3 Mahayana Sutras

MS 2378/1  
THE MAHAYANA SUTRA MANUSCRIPT
  1. SRIMALADEVISIMHANADANIRDESA; THE LION'S ROAR TEACHING OF QUEEN SRIMALA
  2. PRAVARANASUTRA
  3. SARVADHARMAPRAVRTTINIRDESA
  4. AJATASATRUKAUKRTYAVINODANASUTRA
  5. UNIDENTIFIED TEXTS
MS 2378/1

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, India, 5th c., 5 ff., 30 partial ff., 3 unidentified fragments of originally: ca. 550 ff., 4x38 cm, single column, (3x37 cm), 4 lines in North Western Gupta book scripts.

Binding: India, 5th c., Poti with 1 string hole, dividing the leaves 25 % - 75 %.

Context: MSS 2179, 2372-2386 and 2416 comes 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. The original numbers of this MS was: Text 1: MSS 2378/1/27a, 2378/1/15, 2378/1/1, 2378/1/3, 2379/3/2b; text 2: 2378/1/3, 2379/3/2b, 2378/1/17, 2378/1/34b, 2378/1/29; text 3: 2378/1/44, 2378/1/4, 2378/1/10, 2378/1/17c, 2378/1/26, 2378/1/45, 2378/1/11a, 2378/1/12, 2378/1/17b, 2378/1/32, 2378/1/32b, 2378/1/46, 2378/1/33, 2378/1/40a, 2378/1/41a, 2378/1/42a-b, 2378/uf2/1a, 2378/1/8, 2378/1/34a, 2378/1/37a, 2378/1/36a, 2378/1/43, 2378/1/40b, 2378/1/24, 2378/1/9, 2378/1/25, 2378/1/30; text 4: 2378/1/28, 2378/1/38a, 2378/1/18, 2378/1/14, 2378/1/20, 2378/1/7a+b, 2378/1/11b, 2378/1/13, 2378/1/16, 2378/1/23, 2378/1/21, 2378/1/22, 2378/1/19, 2378/1/5, 2378/1/6, 2378/21, 2378/1/11b, 2378/106; text 5: 2378/1/17f, 2378/1/27b, 2378/1/35.

Provenance: 1. Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika, Bamiyan, Afghanistan (-7th c.); 2. Cave in Hindu Kush, Bamiyan.

Commentary: The original MS is estimated to have contained over 10 Mahayana sutras. Text 1, Srimaladevisimhanadanirdesa, is one of the most famous Mahayana sutras representative of the Tathagatagarbha theory. The original version has be lost. Text 2, Pravaranasutra, has numerous irregular forms of Buddhist Sanskrit terms, and is identical with the Chinese version translated in 381-395. Text 3, Sarvadharmapravrttinirdesa, belongs to literature representing the middle period of Mahayana sutra literature. Text 4, Ajatasatrukaukrtyavinodanasutra, it is the first time parts of this text have survived in Sanskrit. It is one of the small group of Mahayana sutras translated into Chinese by Lokakasema in the late 2nd c. AD. 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: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection I, Jens Braarvig, ed.: Buddhist manuscripts, vol. 1 and 2. Oslo 2000 and 2002.

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MS 2385 MS 2385
  1. BHAISAJYAGUR SUTRA
  2. VAJRACCHEDIKA SUTRA; DIAMOND SUTRA

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 %.

MS 2385Context: 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.

See also MS 2152, Mahaparinirvana, China, 625-650

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MS 2100  
BOUNDLESS LIFE MAHAYANA SUTRA, TRANSLATION FROM SANSKRIT OF THE ARYA-APARIMITAYURJÑANA-NAMA-MAHAYANA-SUTRA

MS in Tibetan on paper, Tibet, early 8th c., 1 scroll (complete), 29x158 cm, 7 columns, (28x156 cm), 19 lines in Tibetan dbu can book script.

Context: The Dunhuang hoard consisted of about 13,500 MSS; with printing and fragments included, 19,200 items. It is the largest and most important group of oriental MSS ever found. The present distribution is as follows: London, British Library, Stein collection 8080; Bejing, National Library 8000; Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Pelliot Collection ca. 3000; Shanghai Library 100; Shanghai Museum 4; Japan, museums and libraries 5; and The Schøyen Collection 4.

MS 2100

Provenance: 1. Dunhuang cave no. 151, Gansu, China, (ca. 9th c. - ca. 1900); 2. Wang Yuanlu, Daoist priest and guardian, Dunhuang (ca. 1900); 3. Berthold Laufer, Tibetologist, U.S.A.; 4. Newberry Library, Chicago (-1994); 5. Sam Fogg cat. 17(1996):1.

Commentary: The importance of this scroll lies in its extremely early date of origin and its provenance. The text was composed in Sanskrit around 500 AD, and translated into Tibetan in the 7th c. This MS was written a few years after the beginning of Tibetan Buddhist literary production, and is one of the earliest witnesses to the text. It belongs to the Prajñaparamita literature, and was used in ritual context aimed at the prolongation of life.

The famous Mogao caves, over 1000 in number, located near the oasis town of Dunhuang on the Silk Road in Central Asia, were used as library repositories for a wide range of literary MSS for conservation purposes in the period ca. 500-1000 AD by the Tibetan and Chinese occupants of the town. The caves were sealed at the beginning of the 11th c., and left undisturbed for almost 900 years. The MSS preserved in the Dunhuang caves, are probably older than any surviving in Tibet itself.

Exhibited: 1. Cultural relics from Dunhuang and Turfan. Jointly presented by the Shanghai Museum & The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Art Gallery, 24 June - 2 Aug. 1987. 2. "Preservation for access: Originals and copies". On the occasion of the 1st International Memory of the World Conference, organized by the Norwegian Commission for UNESCO and the National Library of Norway, at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, 3 June - 14 July 1996.

See also MS 2414, Sutra, China, 9th-10th c.

See also MS 2153, Buddhanama sutra, China, ca. 920

See also MS 2457/1, Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, China, late 14th c.

See also MS 2457/2, Avalokitesvara sutra, China, 15th & 16th c.

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22.4 Vinaya

MS 2382/269  
PRATIMOKSA-VIBHANGA OF THE MAHASAMGHIKA-LOKOTTARAVADINS

 

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, India, 6th c., 1 f. + 2 partial ff., originally ca. 4x38 cm, single column, (ca. 3,5x36 cm), 6 lines in a calligraphic Gilgit/Bamiyan type I script, with 1 string hole dividing the leaf ca. 75 % - 25 %.

MS 2389/269

Binding: India, 6th c., poti with 1 string hole dividing the leaf ca. 75 % - 25 %.

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. A few fragments with Karosthi script from the same library are in a private collection in Japan. Further 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. The original numbers of this MS was MSS 2382/269, 2382/270, 2381/7, 2382/uf6/4f, 2382/uf6/2c, 2381/67, 2381/109.

Provenance: 1. Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika, Bamiyan, Afghanistan (-7th c.); 2. Cave in Hindu Kush, Bamiyan.

Commentary: The text is a part of a commentary on a pacattika offence. The deed of a monk who boasts of having acquired superhuman dharmas is condemned as such. Similar commentaries on the offence are found also in the Chinese translation of the Pratimoksa-Vibhanga of the Mahasamghikas and in Vinaya texts of other traditions. 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: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection I, Jens Braarvig, Editor-in-chief: Buddhist manuscripts, vol. 1 and 2. Oslo 2000 and 2002.

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MS 2474

MS 2474
KAMMAVACA; OFFICIAL ACT OF THE BUDDHIST ORDER

MS in Pali on copper gilt, Burma, 19th c., 16 ff. (complete), 11x54 cm, single column, (11x52 cm), 6 lines in Burmese square tamarind script in black lacquer, decorations in red around and between text, first and last opening with deities flanking the text.

 

Binding: Burma, 19th c., Poti with wooden covers with gold and red lacquer decoration, 1 binding -hole. Provenance: 1. Sam Fogg cat. 19(1998):115.

Commentary: The Kammavaca is a collection of extracts from the Pali Vinaya-pitaka, the monastic code of discipline. It was usually commissioned by a Burmese family on the occasion of their son's entry tho the monkhood. Only in Burma these texts were produced as highly ornate and decorative manuscripts.

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22.5 Abhidharma

MS 2373/1 MS 2373/1
ABHIDHARMA EARLY COMMENTARY

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, India, 2nd c., 3 partial ff., up to 5x41 cm, single column, (4x41 cm), 4-5 lines in early Kushana book script.

Binding: India, 2nd c., Poti with 1 string hole, dividing the leaves ca. 25 % - 75 %.

Context: MSS 2179, 2372-2386 and 2416 comes 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 that 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. The original numbers of this MS was MSS 2373/1/1, 2373/1/3, 2373/1/4, 2373/4, 2373/7. 2 small fragments, MSS 2373/4 and 2373/5, may also belong to the present MS.

Provenance: 1. Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika, Bamiyan, Afghanistan (2nd-7th c.); 2. Cave in Hindu Kush, Bamiyan.

Commentary: One section of the text obviously deals with the concepts of "material gift" (amisadana) and "gift of the Law/Doctrine" (dharmadana). 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: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection I, Jens Braarvig, Editor-in-chief: Buddhist manuscripts, vol. 2. Oslo 2002.

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MS 2375/08 MS 2375/08
SARIPUTRA-ABHIDARMA, SECTION IV, CHAPTER IV

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, India, late 3rd - early 4th c., 3 fragments from f. 160 and 6 from another f. in the same section, largest 4,3x11 cm, originally ca. 4,3x40? cm, single column, (ca. 4x38? cm), 4 lines in Kusana script.

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. A few fragments with Karosthi script from the same library are in a private collection in Japan. Further 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. The original numbers of this MS was MSS 2375/8/1, 2375/8/2, 2375/12, 2374/2/3, 2374/2/6, 2376/66, 2376/126, 2376/146 and 2376/171/2.

Provenance: 1. Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika, Bamiyan, Afghanistan (-7th c.); 2. Cave in Hindu Kush, Bamiyan.

Commentary: The present fragments are corresponding with the opening part of Section IV (Xufen), chapter IV (Jiajie pin) of the so-called Sariputra-Abhidarma, which exists only in Chinese translation as the Shelifo apitan lun, a translation dated 415. Recent research in Japan has adopted the theory that the work Sariputra-Abhidarma covers the entire Abhidarmapitaka of the Dharmaguptakas. In Northern India from Kashmir to Gandhara where various Buddhist schools coexisted, it is not inconceivable that they shared essentially the same corpus of Abhidharma literature. 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: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection I, Jens Braarvig, Editor-in-chief: Buddhist manuscripts, vol. 2. Oslo 2002.

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22.6 Tantra

MS 2096 MS 2096

  1. GUHYASAMAJA, BUDDHIST TANTRA
  2. SAMPUTODBHAVA, BUDDHIST TANTRA

MS in Sanskrit on paper, Kathmandu valley, Nepal, 1801, 205 ff. (complete), 9x40 cm, single column, (5x34 cm), 4 lines in Newari script by Amrtananda a Newar Vajracarya of the Vagvajra lineage, in gold on indigo blue stained paper glazed within the text area, a miniature of Sakyamuni Buddha. Dedicated by Cakrapati, a Kathmandu Buddhist Newar of the Tamrakar caste and his family.

MS 2096

Binding: Kathmandu valley, Nepal, 1801, wooden boards, the upper board with a painting of a hill-top stupa, (of Svayambhu in the Kathmandu valley), flanked by a 4-armed Prajñaparamita and a 4-armed Avalokitesvara. London, England, 1995, cloth gilt folding case, by Ruth Kirkby.

Provenance: 1. Cakrapati, Kathmandu Buddhist Newar of the Tamrakar caste, Kathmandu (1801); 2. Jokhang temple, Lhasa (1801-); 3. Sam Fogg cat. 17(1996):33.

Commentary: With colophons and notes of the donators. The Guhyasamaja was composed during the 8th c., and was the principal scripture of the class of Buddhist Tantras termed Yogottara or Mahayoga. It has been critically edited latest in 1978. The Samputodbhavais of the class termed Yoginitantra, emerged during the 10th c., and was translated into Tibetan in the 11th c. It remains to be critically published. In future editions of both texts, this MS' readings deserve to be taken into consideration.

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22.7 Various Buddhist Literature

MS 2379/44  
  1. ASOKA LEGEND; PAMSUPRADANAVADANA, KUNALAVADANA, VITASOKAVADANA, ASOKAVADANA
  2. ASOKA MUKHANAGAVINAYAPARICCHEDA
MS 2379

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, India, 6th c., 6 partial ff. and 41 fragments, originally ca. 3-4x35 cm, single column, (ca. 3x33 cm), 4-5 lines in a tiny delicate upright Gilgit/Bamiyan type I script.

Binding: India, 6th c., Poti with 1 string hole, dividing the leaves ca. 25 % - 75 %.

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. A few fragments with Karosthi script from the same library are in a private collection in Japan. Further 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. The original numbers of this MS was MSS 2378/uf/1/1a, 2378/46, 2380/6, 2378/35, 2379/7, 2380/7, 2380/5, 2380/21, 2379/uf/1/6b, 2378/48, 2381/6, 2378/41, 2379/61, 2379/65n, 2379/65r, 2379/50, 2378/38, 2379/44.

Provenance: 1. Buddhist monastery of Mahasanghika, Bamiyan, Afghanistan (-7th c.); 2. Cave in Hindu Kush, Bamiyan.

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. Text 2 belongs to a separate MS, of 1 f. only, and contains the beginning of the text.

Published: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection I, Jens Braarvig, Editor-in-chief: Buddhist manuscripts, vol. 1. Oslo 2000.

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