Soka Gakkai Publishes 7th Book in the Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series
The Soka Gakkai recently published Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscript from the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (No. 6), Romanized Text, the seventh of the "Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series," edited by Haruaki Kotsuki, researcher in charge of manuscript studies at the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP). Beginning in 1997, the Soka Gakkai commissioned IOP with the research and publication of the romanized texts and facsimile editions of the Lotus Sutra. Efforts to publish the series have been carried out in cooperation with academic institutions and scholars in Japan and abroad. The series has been acclaimed highly by experts and students worldwide. The recent publication came into being through the IOP's efforts in cooperation with the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
The Sanskrit Lotus Sutra manuscript preserved at the Royal Asiatic Society, on which the romanized text has been transliterated, is a manuscript used as the first original text for the collation of the Sanskrit edition of the Saddharmapundarika, Bibliotheca Buddhica, 10, commonly called the Kern-Nanjio (abbreviated hereafter as "Kn") edition published from 1908 to 1912.
In later collations, the Kn text included readings from other manuscripts without correctly identifying their lineages, making it impossible for researchers to identify the original readings of the society's manuscript from the Kn edition alone. Hence the new romanized text, recently published as the first of its kind, serves to identify the society's manuscript and is indispensable as a basic material for Lotus Sutra manuscript studies.
Mr. Kotsuki, who spent some five years completing the romanization of the text, commented on the way each new generation advances research into the Lotus Sutra, and how this process has resulted in wide-spread adherence to the Lotus Sutra since Kumarajiva translated it from Sanskrit into Chinese in CE 406.
IOP is planning to publish Lotus Sutra texts in the collections of Société Asiatique, the British Library and Cambridge University Library. Further information is available at: http://www.totetu.org/ (in Japanese).
The book is not for sale and is distributed on a discretionary basis to scholars and academic institutions.
[Adapted from an article in the April 17, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]