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[Bibliotheca Buddhica X:] Saddharmapuṇḍarīka. Edited by H. Kern and Bunyiu Nanjio. With 1 plate. St.-Pétersbourg, 1908 (I), 1909 (II), 1909 (III), 1910 (IV), 1912 (V).


Nearly thirty years have passed since I made a complete copy of the text of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra, while I was studying Sanskrit under the instruction of Professor Max Müller at Oxford. The manuscript then used was in the possession of the Royal Asiatic Society in London. It was a modern MS., consisting of 174 leaves, each leaf being 17 inches by 3 inches, six lines in a page, as described in Cowell and Eggeling’s Catalogue, p. 7. At that time my friend Mr. Kenjiu Kasawara was with me, who was in fact always a partaker of my work. Accordingly as soon as my copy was completed, we went to Cambridge, where we collated it with two MSS. of the University Library of that place. After that I alone went to London, where I did the same with a rather old palm-leaf MS. of the British Museum. It was in July 1882, when Kasawara’s illness became evident, and he determined to start from England for Japan. Next year I met Mr. Watters in London, who was then the British Consul at Formosa. He possessed a Nepalese MS. of the same Sutra, and lent it me for collation. Beside these five MSS., I also saw the lithographic text of the 4 th chapter, published by Ph. Ed. Foucaux, and a wood-cut one of the 24 th chapter in a collection of several texts, edited in China or Tibet. The latter book was given to Mr. Wylie by a gentleman in Peking. A specimen would be seen in the last page of the Anecdota Oxoniensia, Aryan Series, Yol. 1, Part 1 [Another copy of it is to be found in the Library of the St. Petersburg University cf. Minajev Introduction to his «Буддизмъ» vol. I, 2]. Though I knew well that there were two MSS. in Paris, and one each in the Library of the College of Fort William, and that of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, yet I was unable to see them. A few years ago, Rev. Ekai Kawaguchi brought with him MSS. of 43 different texts from Nepal, one of which was that of this Sutra. I at once borrowed it from him and collated my old copy with it. But after all, all the MSS., I ever used, belonged to the same family of texts, except the Chinese or Tibetan text of the 24 th chapter above mentioned. From such sources I have carefully copied the whole text for publication, adding various readings in foot-notes, and sent it to Professor Kern. It is he, who has made the final judgment for the most part of many obscure passages, adding different readings of some fragments of MSS. from Kashgar.

Now I shall add a few words about the Chinese translations and commentaries of this Sutra. First of all this Sutra is said to have been rendered into Chinese six times, but three of these translations were already lost in A. D. 730, when a Catalogue was compiled by Ch’-shang (Chi-shō in Jap., № 1485 of my Catalogue of the Chinese Tripiṭaka). The dates of these six versions are about A. D. 255, 270, 286, 335, 400 and 601 respectively. Those of A. D. 255, 270 and 335 are the lost ones. The remainiug there arc Nos. 138, 134 and 139 of my Catalogue, being the versions of Dharmarakṣa, Kumārajīva, and Jñānagupta and Dharmagupta respectively. The details of these versions will be seen in my Catalogue, col. 44—46. JV« 139 is the latest Chinese translation and agrees for the most part with the Sanskrit text. Beside these, two incomplete versions are mentioned in Ch’-shang’s Catalogue, the dates being about A.D. 223 and 335, but they were also lost already in 730.

As to the commentaries of this Sūtra, there are two versions of a similar text, entitled the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra-çāstra, compiled by the Bodhisattva Vasubandhu. In the Chinese title, the word of upadeça is given in transliteration instead of g’astra. One of them was translated by Bodhiruci (As 1232), and the other by Batnamati (№ 1233), the dates being the same as A. D. 508, or the latter being somewhat later. In China and Japan, Kumārajīva’s version is most popular, and itis almost worshipped by the followers of Tendai in both countries, and Nichiren in the latter. They are used to repeat the seven characters Na-mu-myō- hō-ren-ge-kyō, i. e. Namaḥ Saddharmapuṇḍarīkāya sūtrāya, as their formula. So there are several works on the version, among which the following are found in the sacred canon: Nos. 1542, 1543, 1547 (the author Heoni-sz’ (E-shi in Japanese) died A.D. 577), 1510,1534,1536,1538,1540,1555,1557 (the author Ch’-i (Chi-gai) d.597) 1511, 1535, 1537, 1539,1541, 1578 (the author Tsān-zhan (Tan-nen) d. 782), 1518, 1556, 1558 (the author Ch’-li (Chi-rai) about 1010) of my Catalogue. According to a Catalogue of the Books of several Sects (Sho-shiu-shō- sho-roku) compiled in Japan (A. D. 1790), there are 2 or 4 works of the Kegon sect, 60 of the Tendai, 15 of the Sanron, 38 of the Hosso, and 14 of the Shingon. Some of these works are of course not only commentaries of older commentaries, but also treatises and extracts. Among the 60 works of the Tendai sect, Hokke-gi-sho (Commentary of the Saddharmapundarlka) is mentioned. The name of the author is Umayado, better known by his posthumous name Shī-toku-tai-shi, the Prince Imperial of his aunt, the 36-th reigning Empress Sui-ko (A. D. 593 — 628). He wrote a commentary each on three Sutras, namely, Çrīmālādevīsiṃhanada(№ 59),Vimalakīrttinirdeça (As 146) and Saddharmapuṇḍarīka (№ 134), from A. D. 609 till 615. He composed his works in pure Chinese, so that even a Chinese priest named Ming-khung (Myō-kū) of the Tang (Tō) dynasty made a commentary on his first work. The Prince died in his 49 th year (A. D. 622), and he was the first promulgator of Buddhism and Confucianism in Japan.

So far for the Chinese translations and commentaries. Now in conclusion, I wish to express my grateful feelings for the possessors of the MSS. already alluded to, who have so freely allowed me that I could have used them for some time, and equally for my partaker Professor Kern, through whose perseverance only this text has been published for the first time. Moreover I do not wish to omit to thank for the editor, whose agreement has very much encouraged me to forward my own copy for the press.

Bunyiu Nanjio

Tokyo, 30th June 1910


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