Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

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Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby plwk » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:54 pm

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Experts in Indological Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich are in the process of analyzing 2000-year-old Indian Buddhist documents that have only recently come to light. The precious manuscripts have already yielded some surprising findings.

The oldest surviving Buddhist texts, preserved on long rolls of birch-tree bark, are written in Gandhari, an early regional Indic language that is long extinct. The scrolls originate from the region known in ancient times as Gandhara, which lies in what is now Northwestern Pakistan.


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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:50 pm

Wow.
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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:56 pm

Do they know what's in them yet?
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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby Yudron » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:33 pm

Well, sounds like we have 21 years to wait for them to be translated. From the phrase "come to light" and the information that fragments are in collections all over the world, including the British Museum, it sounds like a complicated tale of discovery.

First century BC! Wow! We should print all our texts on birch bark.
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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:39 pm

Oh, I've translated it. Basically, it says that Goenka's Vipassana is the only true method taught by Sakyamuni, and Sutra Mahamudra does, indeed, come from Dzogchen texts, but only very special ones........Buddha's teaching was actually more of a socialist, anti-caste movement, reincarnation is false and was only taught for those who needed expedient means to spur them to practice. All that Mahayana and Vajrayana stuff isn't Dharma, and by the way, the Nagas want their children's fairytale books back!











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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:52 pm

Wow, no responses? :smile: M'kay, then.....
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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby Will » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:12 am

These Gandhari texts were partially published over 10 years ago. Whether these being worked on in Germany are part of that original find or new ones is not clear.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandhāran_Buddhist_texts
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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby Yudron » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:10 am

conebeckham wrote:Oh, I've translated it. Basically, it says that Goenka's Vipassana is the only true method taught by Sakyamuni, and Sutra Mahamudra does, indeed, come from Dzogchen texts, but only very special ones........Buddha's teaching was actually more of a socialist, anti-caste movement, reincarnation is false and was only taught for those who needed expedient means to spur them to practice. All that Mahayana and Vajrayana stuff isn't Dharma, and by the way, the Nagas want their children's fairytale books back

:tongue:


It's really good to have all that settled once and for all.
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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:36 am

From what I can see it says something to the effect of "the best way to get a big house is..."
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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby Jinzang » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:29 am

If I recall correctly, they are abhidharma texts. Probably a dull discussion of how many yojanas tall gods are in the Heaven of the Thirty Three.
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.
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Re: Indian Buddhism: Birch-Bark Treasures

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:31 am

Gāndhārī studies are ongoing and developing. In due time the language might be as well understood as other Indic languages, though probably never so widely studied unless a huge cache is unearthed revealing a complete or near-complete early canon.

We can only hope...

See the following:

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/gandhari-language
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

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