[gthomas] Buddhist Equivalent of the NHL
- This is interesting -- I have been in Gandhara. Its an amazing place.
Please note --- "Professor Richard Salomon, one of the world's greatest
scholars of Kharosthi - a script derived from the Aramaic alphabet that was
restricted to a small area of India." --- The web-site has a photo of one
of the scrolls. http://www.buddhanet.net/mag_scr.htm
The British Library has discovered remarkable manuscript
fragments which it says may be as significant for Buddhist scholars as the
Dead Sea Scrolls are for Christianity and Judaism. The manuscripts,
birchbark scrolls that look like "badly rolled up cigars" when first shown
to the library, are believed to be the earliest surviving Buddhist text.
The exact origin is unknown beyond that they were probably found in
Afghanistan in earthen jars.
"These will allow scholars to get nearer to what Buddha said than ever
before."the deputy director of the library's Oriental and Indian Office
Collection, Mr Graham Shaw said. They date from the end of the first
century AD or the beginning of the second century AD. Apart from bringing
scholars closer to the original language of the Buddha, this could
corroborate the authenticity of teachings recounted in later text.
The manuscripts include 60 fragments, ranging from the Buddha's sermons to
poems and treatises on the psychology of perception. The library acquired
them 18 months ago from a British dealer. "Their value was incalculable",
Mr Shaw said. " How would you put a value on the Dead Sea Scrolls?" It is
believe they are part of the long-lost canon of the Sarvastivadin Sect that
dominated Gandhara - modern north Pakistan and east Afghanistan - and was
instrumental in Buddhism's spread into central and east Asia.
Gandhara was one of the greatest ancient centers of Buddhism. Mr Shaw
explained: "The scrolls tell us something about the way Buddhists passed on
the teachings, which were for a long time passed on orally." After Buddha's
death, his disciples are said to have gathered in assemblies where they
recited his sermons and organized them into what came to be the Buddhist
Although nothing is known of their provenance, their attribution has been
confirmed by the University of Seattle's Professor Richard Salomon, one of
the world's greatest scholars of Kharosthi - a script derived from the
Aramaic alphabet that was restricted to a small area of India. They were he
said, "the Dead Sea Scrolls of Buddhism". Years of study lay ahead before
the text can be deciphered, analysed and compared with existing texts.
The fragments include tales told on Lake Anavatapata's banks at an assembly
of the Buddha and his disciples. Another is one of Buddha's sermons on the
rhinoceros horn (Suttanipata). "The rhinoceros and its horn in particular
is a symbol of non-attachment to material things ... it is not a herd
animal. It just wanders alone."
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