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In collaboration with the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP), the Soka Gakkai recently published the 16th part in its Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series, the Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscript from the Asiatic Society, Kolkata (No.4079), Romanized Text.
Written on paper, the original manuscript, which is currently kept at the Asiatic Society in Kolkata, India, is estimated to have been copied in the Kathmandu Valley in the seventeenth century, making it the oldest paper manuscript of the Sanskrit Lotus Sutra found in Nepal. Included are postscripts by the copyist(s) (colophons) written in verse form in 1680 and 1681 which express the hope that the benefit gained from copying the Lotus Sutra by hand would be shared and enjoyed by people of the past, present and into the future. At the time, it was believed that great benefit would be gained through the copying of the Lotus Sutra.
Haruaki Kotsuki, an IOP researcher specializing in manuscript studies, has worked to render the romanized text over a period of several years.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the IOP's Lotus Sutra manuscript project, which began in 1994. The project was commissioned by the Soka Gakkai to research and publish facsimile editions and romanized texts of Lotus Sutra manuscripts in cooperation with various academic institutions and experts around the world. Over the years, the project's publications have contributed considerably to textual studies of the Lotus Sutra. Some have also been included in the IOP exhibition "The Lotus Sutra--A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence" which has been shown in countries including Brazil, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and the UK.
[Adapted from an article in the April 22, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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