By Rebecca Davis, Kogen Mizuno, Morio Takanashi, Koichiro Yoshida, Takahiro Matsumura, Kazumasa Osaka
This booklet deals an engrossing account either one of the foundation and improvement of the sutras and of the priests who braved perilous trips and mastered surprising languages for you to hold the sutras to new lands.
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Extra resources for Buddhist Sutras: Origin, Development, Transmission
TH R E E Trans l ating the Scriptures THE EARLI E S T CHINESE T R A NSLAT I O N S M I mentioned earlier, Shakyamuni ordered his disciples to transmit his teachings in the local languages of the districts in which they would be preaching. Therefore, in India Buddhist scriptures were communicated in the vernacular. When Emperor Moka dispatched Buddhist monks on teaching missions in various places within and outside India, Buddhist scriptures were translated into both Indic and non-Indic languages as a matter of course.
D. This system seems to have been b ased originally on the Old Persian and Brahmi scripts used in northwestern I ndia after the Persian king Darius the Great conquered the area at the end of th e sixth S C R I P T S A N D S U T RAS 37 century B . C . Like the Arabic or I ranian system today, it was written horizontally from right to left. So far, edicts of Emperor Asoka have been found in some thirty odd sites throughout the area of ancient India, but only the edicts discovered in two places in the northwest, in modern Pakistan, are written in Kharoshti.
Fragments of the Udana-varga in Sanskrit--discovered in Central Asia by Western explorers early in the twentieth century were taken to England, France, and Germany, where they were published; but the complete sutra was already known th rough extant Chinese and Tibetan translations. Fragments of the Gandhari Dharmapada, which h as also been called the Prakrit Dhammapada, were discovered independently in Central Asia in the 1 890s by a Frenchman and a Russian. Each man obtai ned roughly one-third of the whole scri pture, and the remain ing third was lost .