Institute of Oriental Philosophy UK Hosts Lotus Sutra Event at the British Library
On November 23, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, UK, hosted a special event at the British Library to mark the publication of a facsimile edition of a Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscript, which is held in the library's archives. Originating from Nepal, this document was used for collating the first critical edition of the Sanskrit Lotus Sutra in 1908-1912.
In 1994, the Soka Gakkai set up a committee for the publication of color printed facsimile editions of Sanskrit Lotus Sutras from around the world. The research and editing is carried out by the IOP. This project has so far made available 12 important texts in facsimile and romanized form to scholars of Buddhist and Sanskrit studies.
IOP-UK Director Jamie Cresswell read a message from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, which said, "In the midst of contemporary society in which we are swamped by vast amounts of information of various kinds, precious manuscripts and books that have triumphantly survived the vicissitudes of the past shine on as crystallizations of wisdom, becoming spiritual lighthouses that serve as a source of support for those seeking an unerring path of life."
Dr. Sam van Schaik, from the British Library, described some of the original discoveries made along the Silk Road, including the Buddhist cave library near Dunhuang in Western China, where 40,000 manuscripts and paintings were found.
Dr. Lucia Dolce from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, explained the different ways in which the Lotus Sutra is practiced in Japan, which include making copies of the sutra, engaging in ritual debate, as well as recitation.
[Adapted from an article in the December 1, 2010, issue of the SGI-UK Online News Bulletin; photos courtesy of Yoichi Masumoto]