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Chinese Works : Da bo re bo luo mi duo jing

Chinese Works

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Buddhism was introduced to China from India during the first century BCE, and one of the most important means of its transmission was the translation of scriptural and liturgical texts into Chinese.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Buddhism places special emphasis on the acquisition of merit by the reproduction and distribution of sacred texts, and this motivation in fact provided an important stimulus to the development of printing in China and the Far East in general, the earliest known specimens being all of this nature.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Buddhist literature is extremely voluminous, and since the time of the introduction of Buddhism to China there have been several large-scale projects, often imperially sponsored, to translate and publish complete sets of the Buddhist canon.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The item shown here is a part of such a project which was undertaken in China from 1127 to 1175. The text is the <i>Mahaprajña-paramita-sutra</i> or <i>Perfection of Wisdom</i>, translated into Chinese by Xuanzang (c. 602-664), who is famed as much for his translation work as for the seventeen year pilgrimage to India which he undertook in order to collect religious texts and bring them back to China.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The text is printed from finely engraved wooden blocks, the characters being in the Song style (named after the dynasty during which the work was printed), which has been highly influential to the present day.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The text comprises part of chapter 39, the whole of chapters 40-42 and part of chapter 43, occupying juan 卷 (fascicles) 301-310 of the Chinese translation of the <i>Śatasāhasrikā Prajñapārāmitā ('Perfection of Wisdom in 100,000 lines')</i>. A Nepalese manuscript of the Sanskrit original (<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='/view/MS-ADD-01630/1'>MS Add.1630-1632</a>) also features in the Cambridge Digital Library.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The contents are summarised in the following table: <div>A: Fascicle (卷) number<br />B: Chapter number<br />C: Sections of chapter<br />D: Chinese chapter title<br />E: Pages in <i>Taishō Tripitaka</i> (No. 220, Vol. 6)<br />F: Image numbers<br /></div><br /></p><p style='text-align: justify;'><table border='1'><tr><th>A</th><th>B</th><th>C</th><th>D</th><th>E</th><th>F</th></tr><tr><td>301<br /> 302</td><td>39</td><td>5<br /> 6</td><td>难闻功德品</td><td>531a-535c<br /> 535c-541a</td><td>2-36<br /> 40-78</td></tr><tr><td>303<br /> 304</td><td>40</td><td>1<br /> 2</td><td>魔事品</td><td>541a-547c<br /> 547c-552c</td><td>80-124<br /> 127-162 </td></tr><tr><td>305<br /> 306<br /> 307<br /> 308</td><td>41</td><td>1<br /> 2<br /> 3<br /> 4</td><td>佛母品</td><td>552c-557b<br /> 557b-562c<br /> 562c-568b<br /> 568b-571a</td><td>165-200<br /> 203-241<br /> 245-285<br /> 288-308</td></tr><tr><td>308<br /> 309<br /> 310 </td><td>42</td><td>1<br /> 2<br /> 3</td><td>不思议等品</td><td>571a-573b<br /> 573c-578c<br /> 578c-580b</td><td>308-325<br /> 328-364<br /> 366-380</td></tr><tr><td>310</td><td>43</td><td>1</td><td>办事品</td><td>580b-583c</td><td>380-405</td></tr></table></p>

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