NEW DELHI: The Gilgit Lotus Sutra Manuscripts, discovered by cattle grazers in Gilgit in a Buddhist stupa in 1931, are set to be released in a facsimile edition in New Delhi on Thursday.
The rare manuscripts, housed with the National Archives of India, date back to 5th-6th century AD and are perhaps the only body of Buddhist manuscripts discovered in India. This is not just the oldest surviving manuscript collection in India but also one of the oldest manuscripts in the world.
The facsimile edition of the manuscripts, discovered in three stages in 1931, is the exact replica published in the form of a book designed to reach wider readership.
The first set of the Gilgit Lotus Sutra Manuscripts was found in a wooden box inside a circular chamber of a Buddhist stupa in Gilgit in 1931, now in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Sources at the National Archives informed that the ancient manuscripts had managed to survive for centuries due to two vital reasons - the near-zero temperatures of the region and the fact that the manuscripts were written on the bark of the Bhoj (birch) tree that does not decay. Read more.
Beijing, June 12 (IANS) An unfinished Buddhist scripture dating to around 386 A.D. has been found engraved on a cave wall in China.
Archaeological workers discovered the scripture in northern China’s Hebei province, Xinhua reported.
The scripture - named the Lotus Sutra - was found in a cave in Xiangtangshan region, an official said.
It is believed to have been created during the Northern Dynasties (386 to 581 A.D.), but was not finished, the official said.
‘We’ll probe into the reason why the work was halted,’ he added.
The Xiangtangshan area includes 16 caves and over 450 cliffside sculptures. It came under state protection in 1961. (source)