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Buddhism

Back to listApr 27, 2011

Soka Gakkai Publishes Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series 11

Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscript from the British Library (Or. 2204), Romanized TextSanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscript from the British Library (Or. 2204), Romanized Text

Soka Gakkai recently published the Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscript from the British Library (Or. 2204), Romanized Text, the 11th part in its ongoing Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series.

Responding to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's proposal, Soka Gakkai started a Lotus Sutra manuscript project for the research and publication of the scripture in 1994. The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) was commissioned by Soka Gakkai to organize and undertake the publication of facsimile editions and romanized texts of Lotus Sutra manuscripts in cooperation with various academic institutions and experts. The publication of the Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series began in 1997.

The publication of the series has greatly improved resources for textual studies of the Lotus Sutra. It has also made available to the general public facsimile editions of the manuscripts, which can be viewed at SGI-IOP exhibitions, giving people opportunities to learn about the essence of Buddhist culture.

It is estimated that manuscript Or. 2204, one of the most important Nepalese palm-leaf manuscripts, was copied between the 11th and 13th centuries. It is one of the original texts that were used for collating the Kern-Nanjio edition (published in 1908-12), the first critical edition of the Sanskrit Lotus Sutra.

With the completion of the romanized text, following the Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscript from the British Library (Or. 2204), Facsimile Edition, issued in 2009, the entire text of the manuscript has been made available. It is historically significant that the British Library manuscript has been recorded as a facsimile edition as well as in romanized form, nearly one century following the publication of the Kern-Nanjio edition.

The romanized text version includes a preface and footnotes in both English and Japanese. Noriyoshi Mizufune, a researcher at the IOP, has spent over two and a half years editing and finalizing the romanized text. 

[Adapted from an article in the April 27, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]