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An Examination of the Manuscripts about Buddhist Narratives Discovered in Central Asia and Ancient Northwest India
Wen-Ling Chang, Researcher
National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
The Buddhist manuscripts discovered in Central Asia and ancient Northwest India (today’s Afghanistan and Pakistan) over the recent century have been partially organized and deciphered through the efforts of scholars around the world. The research results have offered many new perspectives on the study of Buddhist history, and have also advanced our understanding of Buddhism in Xinjiang.
Based on the research outcomes of American and European scholars, especially that of the German scholars, the essay aims to explore the roles of the Jātaka and Avadāna narratives in the spreading of early Buddhism, as well as their contents and developments. The outline of this essay is as following:
Preface: The Discovery and Significance of Buddhist Manuscripts over the last Century
1.The Contents of Jātaka in the Central Asian Manuscripts ~ using the Berlin Turfan collection as an example
a.The Jātaka in the Sanskrit manuscripts of the Berlin Turfan collection.
b. Description of selected manuscript content, for example the Sanskrit and Old Uighur versions of the Kalmā?apāda-Jātaka
2. The Research on the Buddhist Narratives as found in the Manuscripts from ancient Northwest India
a. Jātaka and Avadāna from Gilgit, Northern Pakistan
b. Narratives as found in the Gandharian manuscripts collected at the British Library
c. Jātaka from the manuscripts in the Martin Sch?yen collection
3. An Exploration on the Causes and the Effects of the development of Jātaka based on the Manuscripts.
Keywords: Manuscript, Gandharian, Sanskrit, Old Uighur, Kalmā?apāda-Jātaka