Oldest surviving Pali manuscript

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Oldest surviving Pali manuscript

Postby Dmytro » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:43 am

Hello Pali friends,

"The oldest surviving Buddhist texts in the Pali language come from the relic chamber of a Buddhist stupa at Sri Ksetra. They consist of a twenty-leaf manuscript of solid gold and a large gilded reliquary of silver (Fig. 2). A new and exhaustive palaeographic study of these inscriptions shows that they date from the mid-fifth to mid-sixth century AD. Unlike all the other early Buddhist societies of Southeast Asia, evidence of Mahayanist contacts in Pyu sites is scant. It is clear that the Pyu kingdoms were in contact with several Indian kingdoms in the south east as well as in North India, but stood in a tutelary relationship to none. From the earliest evidence, Pyu Buddhist writing, art, and architecture show processes of adaptation at work that laid the foundations for distinctively Burmese traditions of Buddhism within the greater Buddhist eucumene."

http://www.iias.nl/iiasn/25/theme/25T6.html

Gombrich mentioned it in the first chapter of "How Buddhism Began: the conditioned genesis of the early teachings":

http://books.google.com.ua/books?id=aIO ... Yo#PPA9,M1

These leafs are probably now at the Sri Ksetra archaeological museum:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/820/
http://www.hsdejong.nl/myanmar/pyay/ind ... ttaya.html
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Ksetra
http://www.visitmyanmar.com/Pages/Other ... visit.html

Echalon wrote:

For anyone that is interested, here's a black and white photo of a portion of the aforementioned Golden Pali Text:

Image

The Golden Pali Text, which as far as I can find out is the oldest surviving Pali manuscript, consists of 20 solid gold "leaves" containing 60 lines of Pali, which make up 8 excerpts from the Canon. It dates from the 5th-6th century, and is a golden replica of a palm-leaf manuscript. If you're interested in learning more about the circumstances of its creation, check out Tracing Thought through Things by Janice Stargardt (where this photo is from). If you want to know what it says (the transcription, that is), check out "Die Goldblätter aus Śrī Kṣetra" by H. Falk in Issue 41 (1997) of Wiener Zeitschrift Für Die Kunde Südasiens.

Metta, Dmytro
Last edited by Dmytro on Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Oldest surviving Pali manuscript

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:14 am

That's fantastic, Dmytro.
I'll be in Myanmar in about six weeks and if I have time, I'll check it out. Is there any information on the museum at Sri Ksetra that you have?
Thanks again,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Oldest surviving Pali manuscript

Postby Dmytro » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:23 am

Hi Ben,

Ben wrote:I'll be in Myanmar in about six weeks and if I have time, I'll check it out. Is there any information on the museum at Sri Ksetra that you have?


Here's the official page:

http://culturemyanmar.info/pages/doa_ar ... ayekhittra

Even if the leafs are not there, it seems worth checking out.

Have a nice journey,
Dmytro
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Re: Oldest surviving Pali manuscript

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:32 am

Excellent!
Thank you so much, Dmytro!
with Metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Oldest surviving Pali manuscript

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:16 pm

Dmytro wrote:
The Golden Pali Text, which as far as I can find out is the oldest surviving Pali manuscript, consists of 20 solid gold "leaves" containing 60 lines of Pali, which make up 8 excerpts from the Canon. It dates from the 5th-6th century, and is a golden replica of a palm-leaf manuscript.


Beautiful!
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