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Scholars Get Closer to Words of Buddha as They Unravel Oldest Buddhist Scrolls in the World

June 16, 2019 - General
The head of a Buddha statue. Credit: Richard / Adobe Stock. Inset: Fragments of a birch bark manuscript from ancient Gandhara. Credit: British Library (public domain)

The oldest Buddhist scrolls ever discovered were made on birch bark and spent two millennia folded in clay pots, in a cave, situated along the northern border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and now they’re bringing team of researchers “close, very close” to the words of Buddha.

In 1994, around 200 scrolls were discovered in clay pots in a cave on the Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the ancient kingdom of Gandhara, left behind by a culture which flourished between 100 BC and 200 AD.

“Gandhara was a vibrant crossroads of Indian, Iranian and Central Asian cultures,” writes The British Library. “At the peak of its influence, from about 100 BC to AD 200, it was perhaps the world’s most important centre of Buddhism and was almost certainly the gateway through which Buddhism was transmitted from India to China and elsewhere, to become one of the world’s great religions.”

The team of scientists is being led by Dr Mark Allon of the University of Sydney, which according to an article on ABC News “is digitising some of the 2,000-year-old manuscripts, which have only recently been unfurled.” Through this teams work the public will soon have online access to the writings to help them understand the ancient teachings.


Source: origins

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