On Sanskrit Manuscripts in Tibet, their Past and their Future Eleventh Gonda lecture
2004 | 40 pages | ISBN 90-6984-409-5 | free
During the 7th to 9th centuries A.D. and later 10th to 14th centuries spreading of Buddhism in Tibet, numerous Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts on palm leaves and, later, on paper were brought to Tibet to be translated. After their translation these Sanskrit manuscripts were used only rarely for study and as a rule were carefully kept in special chapels where they survived into the twentieth century. These original Sanskrit manuscripts are some of the greatest cultural treasures of the world. Two tasks of utmost importance are their preservation with the best available techniques and providing their accessibility to the scholarly community. These would constitute an invaluable contribution to international cooperation in the area of the humanities. Many of these manuscripts contain texts from the Indian Buddhist tradition that until today have only been known in their Tibetan translations or not known at all. For many years now, various individual scholars and academic institutions have been attempting to make the responsible institutions in Beijing and Lhasa aware of the need of making these treasures available to scholarship. In this book Steinkellner gives a general survey of these manuscripts' history and of the beginnings, the present state and the possible future of their return to the world of knowledge.