Sanskrit Manuscripts : Prajñāpāramitāstotra, Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā


Sanskrit Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'> A palm-leaf manuscripts containing Rāhulabhadra's <i>Prajñāpāramitāstotra</i> and the <i>Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā</i>. The 'Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines' (<i>Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā</i>) is one of the earliest Mahāyāna scriptures. This foundational sūtra of Mahāyāna Buddhism developed gradually over a period of about two hundred years, from the first century BCE to the first century CE (some of its earliest recensions were translated into Chinese during the Han dynasty, 206 BC – 220 CE). There is still no scholarly consensus as to the provenance of the text, but the most widespread view is that it was probably written in central or southern India. The 'Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines' presents its doctrine in the form of a dialogue between the Buddha and one of his disciples, the <i>arhat</i> Subhūti. In this dialogue "the principal ontological message (message concerning what ultimately exists) […] is an extension of the Buddhist teaching of not-Self to equal no essential unchanging core, therefore no fundamentally real existence, as applied to all things without exception" (Williams 2009; 52). This sūtra belongs to the early stratum of the so-called 'Perfection of Wisdom (<i>prajñāpāramitā</i>) literature,' subsequently expanded between the second and fourth centuries CE into other huge scriptures, for instance the 'Perfection of Wisdom in One Hundred Thousand Lines' (the <i>Śatasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā</i>). The 'Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Stanzas' enjoyed a central role in the Buddhist cult of the book, and particularly in Newar Buddhism. The manuscript is protected by two painted wooden covers. </p>

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