By Stephe Berkwitz
Buddhist Manuscript Cultures explores how spiritual and cultural practices in premodern Asia have been formed by way of literary and inventive traditions in addition to by means of Buddhist fabric tradition. This examine of Buddhist texts makes a speciality of the importance in their fabric types instead of their doctrinal contents, and examines how and why they have been made. jointly, the e-book bargains cross-cultural and comparative insights into the transmission of Buddhist wisdom and using texts and pictures as ritual gadgets within the creative and aesthetic traditions of Buddhist cultures. Drawing on case reports from India, Gandhara, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mongolia, China and Nepal, the chapters incorporated 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 through reputed students in Buddhist reviews and symbolize various disciplinary techniques from spiritual stories, artwork historical past, anthropology, and heritage. This booklet could 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 (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism)
Iki¯ala was similarly constructed according to its discoverer, General Court (as quoted in Prinsep 1834: 559): “At ten feet … from the level of the ground, we met with a cell in the form of a rectangular parallelogram, built in a solid manner, with well dressed stones, ﬁrmly united with mortar. The four sides of the cell corresponded with the four cardinal points, and it was covered with a single massive stone. ”16 In light of these examples, I consider it very likely that the “square chamber of stone slabs about half a meter of diameter” in which the Bajaur scrolls were found was in fact a relic chamber, rather than some sort of storage compartment for old books as proposed by Strauch.
In any case, it can be safely assumed that the manuscripts in question, regardless of their speciﬁc character or condition, were understood and treated as relics. The status of written representations of the words of the Buddha (buddhavacana) as dharma-relics (dharma-´sar¯ıra), functionally equivalent to bodily relics (´sar¯ıra) of the Buddha or other Buddhist venerables, is widely acknowledged in Buddhist tradition. Thus, the essential motivation for interring manuscripts is obvious; it was a form of relic dedication.
71–6). , pp. ” In support of this interpretation, comparisons may be drawn with similar ritual laws or customary practices in many other parts of the ancient (and modern) world, for example in Tibet and China, or in Jewish and Islamic practice, according to which sacred scriptures and even, by extension, any written document had to be disposed of in a ritualized manner rather than destroyed or casually discarded. This explanation for the rationale of the interment of the British Library scrolls is, however, by no means beyond doubt.