A Preliminary Report on Newly Identified Text Fragments in Śāradā Script from Źwa lu Monastery in the Tucci Collection

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A Preliminary Report on Newly Identified Text Fragments in Śāradā Script from Źwa lu Monastery in the Tucci Collection
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Citation: Kano, Kazuo. "A Preliminary Report on Newly Identified Text Fragments in Śāradā Script from Zhwa lu Monastery in the Tucci Collection." In Part 1 of Sanskrit Texts from Giuseppe Tucci's Collection, edited by Francesco Sferra, 381–400. Rome: Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO), 2008.

Article Summary

In the summer of 2007 I had the opportunity to participate in Francesco Sferra’s course on Kamalaśīla’s First Bhāvanākrama at the University of Hamburg. For his lectures Sferra kindly provided us with digital images of Tucci’s photographs of the Sanskrit manuscript of this text. The 27 extant folios of the Bhāvanākrama (fols. 2–28), which were used by Tucci for the editio princeps of the text,[1] have been photographed in three successive multi-folio images together with nine extra folios that appear in two photos only, namely those labelled MT 41 II/01 and MT 42 II/02. My attention was caught by these folios since while the Bhāvanākrama manuscript is written in Magadhi script, these nine folios are written in Śāradā script — a rather rare phenomenon among the corpus of Sanskrit manuscripts preserved in Tibet. They and the rest of the Bhāvanākrama manuscript were originally preserved at Zwa lu Ri phug.[2] The manuscripts preserved there were probably taken to Beijing (The Cultural Palace of Nationalities) in the 1960s, but were returned to Lhasa sometime after 1990 (first to Nor bu gliṅ ka and then to the Tibetan Museum).[3]
      Of the nine folios, Tucci photographed both sides of seven of them, while he photographed only one side of the remaining two (here labelled 7.2 and 9.2). The two sides not filmed were probably blank or contained title pages (unfortunately, Tucci did not photograph title pages). Some images are out of focus and barely legible, and thus a complete diplomatic transcription is almost impossible. If Rāhula Sāṅkṛtyāyana photographed the same folios, this would be very helpful in deciphering them; however, I have yet to find evidence that he did. Therefore, I have only been able to go through the folios haltingly, and so identify a limited number of them. (Kano, introductory remarks, 381–82)

  1. The reproduction of these folios will appear together with a new critical edition of the Sanskrit text, a new edition of the Tibetan translation and an annotated English translation in a new issue of Manuscripta Buddhica which is being prepared by Francesco Sferra and Iain Sinclair.
  2. It should be noted that in the introduction of the editio princeps of the First Bhāvanākrama, Tucci states: "The manuscript is preserved in the monastery of sPos k’aṅ on a side valley to the right of the Myań c’u, between Gyantse and Shigatse" (Tucci 1956: 6-7). However, this information is most probably wrong for the following reasons: a) the same manuscript was most likely seen by Sāṅkṛtyāyana in Źwa lu Ri phug in 1936 (1937: 39); b) the envelope itself containing the negatives of Tucci’s photographs are labelled "Zha lu" (see above, p. 46); c) in Źwa lu Ri phug there were other manuscripts in Śāradā script, in particular a manuscript containing Sajjana’s Mahāyānottaratantraśāstropadeśa, which might be connected with the Sūtrālaḿkārapiṇḍārtha reproduced together with the First Bhavanākrama.
  3. Cf. Steinkellner 2004.