By Stephe Berkwitz

Buddhist Manuscript Cultures explores how spiritual and cultural practices in premodern Asia have been formed via literary and inventive traditions in addition to through 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 publication bargains cross-cultural and comparative insights into the transmission of Buddhist wisdom and using texts and photographs as ritual gadgets within the creative and aesthetic traditions of Buddhist cultures. Drawing on case experiences 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 by way of reputed students in Buddhist stories and symbolize various disciplinary ways from non secular reviews, paintings historical past, anthropology, and background. This e-book should 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)

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Strauch further observes, “It seems odd that old and worn-out manuscripts were sorted out and stored in one place, outside the regular library (for which a stone casket would be rather uncomfortable) but still in reach of the monks in case of urgent need. Probably, not all of the texts were partially destroyed. , p. 66). Here, however, I disagree with Strauch’s claim that the manuscripts were not ritually buried, because “a square chamber of stone slabs about half a meter of diameter” is in fact typical of chambers in which reliquaries were deposited in Gandh¯aran and other Buddhist st¯upas.

This suggests that the inscription specifically records the dedication of its contents, namely the manuscripts, although it does not mention them explicitly; this, in contrast to the British Library inscription that merely commemorates the gift to the monastery of the pot on which it is written. The inscription on the Senior pot therefore has two important consequences with regard to the present discussion: first, it provides a specific date for the manuscripts, and second, it provides some hints as to the donor’s conception of their character and function.

By focusing on Buddhist manuscripts as material culture and ritual objects that conditioned the ways that Buddhists in premodern Asia lived in the world, we can begin to see how texts shaped and informed religious worldviews, cultural practices, and the lived realities of Buddhists. We therefore encourage additional research into the manuscript cultures of premodern Buddhist communities alongside the continued examinations and reconstructions of ancient texts, and view these approaches as complementary, not inimical, in our efforts to apprehend the history and practices of the Buddhist religion.

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